The Teaching of English Pronunciation in Polish Secondary Schools


Master's Thesis, 2011
117 Pages, Grade: 63

Excerpt

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
1.1 INTRODUCTION
1.1.1 POLISH SECONDARY SCHOOLS
1.1.2 STRUCTURE OF THE DISSERTATION

CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 INTRODUCTION
2.2 PRONUNCIATION PROBLEMS
2.2.1 SEGMENTALS
2.2.2 SUPRASEGMENTALS
2.3 SUMMARY

CHAPTER 3 LITERATURE REVIEW
3.1 INTRODUCTION
3.2 TEACHING SPEAKING AND PRONUNCIATION
3.2.1 PROBLEMS WITH TEACHING SPEAKING
3.2.2 HOW PRONUNCIATION IS TAUGHT
3.2.3 TECHNIQUES OF TEACHING PRONUNCIATION
3.2.4 EVALUATING PRONUNCIATION
3.2.5 INTRODUCING LISTENING AND READING
3.2.6 AGE FACTOR
3.3 TEACHER’S ROLE
3.4 TECHNOLOGY IN TEACHING PRONUNCIATION
3.5 ENGLISH AS A GLOBAL LANGUAGE
3.6 SUMMARY

CHAPTER 4 METHODOLOGY
4.1 DESCRIPTION OF THE RESEARCH METHOD
4.1.1 RESEARCH OBJECTIVE
4.1.2 SAMPLE SELECTION
4.1.3 RESEARCH TOOLS
4.1.4 RESEARCH IMPLEMENTATION

CHAPTER 5 DATA RESULTS
5.1 INTRODUCTION
5.2 QUESTIONNAIRE
5.2.1 BIODATA
5.2.2 TEACHER’S VIEWS AND VALUES ON PRONUNCIATION
5.2.3 TEACHING PRONUNCIATION
5.3 CLASSROOM OBSERVATION
5.4 INTERVIEW
5.5 SUMMARY

CHAPTER 6 DISCUSSION, IMPLICATIONS AND LIMITATIONS
6.1 INTRODUCTION
6.2 RESEARCH FINDINGS
6.3 IMPLICATION OF FINDINGS
6.4 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
6.5 RECOMMENDATION FOR THE FUTURE RESEARCH
6.6 CONCLUSIONS

BIBLIOGRAPHY

APPENDIX 1: QUESTIONNAIRE FOR A TEACHER

APPENDIX 2: KWESTIONARIUSZ DLA NAUCZYCIELA

APPENDIX 3: CLASSROOM OBSERVATION TRANSCRIPT

APPENDIX 4: INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

APPENDIX 5: RAW DATA FROM QUESTIONNAIRE

APPENDIX 6: INFORMED CONSENTS

LIST OF TABLES

Table 1 Scale of oral testing criteria

Table 2 Questions and issues

Table 3 Questions and issues

Table 4 Where and how often teachers speak English

Table 5 Where and how often teachers listen to English

Table 6 Correction methods

Table 7 Activities and frequency to improve students’ pronunciation

Table 8 Lesson breakdown

LIST OF FIGURES

Fig. 1 English and Polish vowels

Fig. 2 English and Polish consonants

Fig. 3 Teachers’ age

Fig. 4 The period of teaching experience

Fig. 5 Teachers’ view on their own pronunciation

Fig. 6 Have teachers visited an English speaking country?

Fig. 7 Is correct pronunciation important to teachers?

Fig. 8 Sufficient knowledge to teach English pronunciation in the classroom

Fig. 9 Place of teaching pronunciation in a lesson

Fig. 10 Areas of students’ problems

Fig. 11 Criteria to evaluate students’ pronunciation

Fig. 12 Taught accent in school

Fig. 13 Usage of computers in teaching pronunciation

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION

1.1 Introduction

“Pronunciation teaching is not popular all the time with teachers and language-teaching theorists, and in recent years it has been fashionable to treat it as a rather outdated activity. It has been claimed, for example, that it attempts to make learners try to sound like native speakers of RP, that it discourages them through difficult and repetitive exercises and that it fails to give importance to communication.” (Roach, 1991).

I decided to write on pronunciation because I am interested in pronunciation of languages, mostly English and Japanese. What is more, from my experience it seems to be that teachers in Poland still neglect teaching pronunciation in classrooms. It is also hard to find more sources that Polish teachers could use as a guide to see how English pronunciation is taught in Poland and realise that teaching pronunciation in their country is still neglected. Therefore, I will try to investigate how English is taught in Polish secondary schools.

1.1.1 Polish secondary schools

“Since the change of political system in 1989, when Poland began to tighten its links with the West, the role of English, always a popular language, has dramatically increased.

English is now considered an essential part of a good education, and is widely taught in and out of schools. Many employers organise in-service EFL courses.” (Swan and Smith, 2001:162).

Students start a secondary school in Poland at the age of 16 and they may take one of three routes. Basic Vocational School lasts

2 years and after finishing it, students may go to a supplementary Liceum or Technikum. There are two types of Liceum (3 years): general and specialised and Technikum which lasts 4 years. The last two routes allow students to continue their education at the university, they also finish with Matura (equivalent to the Advanced Level General Certificate of Education) where English is one of the subjects available to choose. One school hour equals to 45 minutes and full time teachers usually work 18 hours per week (teachers have to check homework and prepare for lesson in their own time).

1.1.2 Structure of the dissertation

The literature review is divided into two chapters. One chapter is divided into segmental and suprasegmentals sections where the most common mistakes made by the Polish speakers are introduced. Furthermore, the chapter provides a comparison between English and Polish phonetics including vowel and consonant charts.

Another chapter of literature review presents a historical view on pronunciation teaching in different approaches and methods and encloses the principles of teaching English pronunciation (Roach, 1991; Ponsonby, 1982; Baker, 2008), problems with minimal pairs, manner of articulation and intonation (Kreidler, 2004; Roach, 1991). Two additional subchapters on Technology and English as a global language are introduced to support questions in a questionnaire and to find answers for research questions.

The research method chapter includes the description of the research tools that will be used to gather data. A questionnaire for teachers teaching in secondary schools in Poland is a tool which gathers qualitative data. Another two tools gather quantitative data, these are: a classroom observation and a short interview with a teacher which will be conducted after the observation. This chapter is divided into: research objective, sample selection, research tool and research implementation.

The fifth chapter presents analysis of the gathered data which draws a visible outline of problems with English sounds and intonation of a teacher. This chapter points to the role of a teacher in developing students’ pronunciation. Evaluation criteria of students, correction techniques, activities introduced by the teacher to improve students’ pronunciation. What is more, the frequency of speaking, listening, pronunciation and transcription classes introduced by the teacher in the classroom. Additionally, it shows what accent is preferred by the teacher and the place of technology in or outside the classroom.

The last chapter concludes the research and provides implications. It highlights the main ideas of improving spoken English in Poland in secondary school education. Moreover, this chapter shows deficiency of pronunciation and speaking activities caused by teachers’ avoidance of the topic and course book insufficiency. Limitations of the study and recommendations for further research are also presented in this chapter.

CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Introduction

In this chapter I will introduce common problems that Polish speakers have whilst speaking English. What is more, this chapter will cover phonetic differences between Polish and English.

2.2 Pronunciation problems

The English language like Polish is an Indo-European language and although they belong to the same language family there are a number of phonetic differences and issues that Polish learners face when speaking English which I will try to introduce in this chapter.

Polish learners of English often despair of the apparent of consistency between spelling and pronunciation. Learners at elementary levels expect each letter to be pronounced, and give Polish values to each letter. The multitude of stress patterns in English is also an unpleasant surprise to Poles, given the regular penultimative-sillabe stress of their mother tongue. Their initial impression of English pronunciation is that “everything sounds together” or that the English “eat their words”. (Swan and Smith, 2001:162).

The areas that generate problems for Polish speakers of English

can be divided into four main categories: vowels, consonants, word stress, intonation. For the purpose of this dissertation I divided them into segmentals, suprasegmentals and accent sections.

2.2.1 Segmentals

The Polish language consists of eight vowels (including two nasal nuclei - ę /ɛ/ and ą /ɔ/). Gussmann (2007:2) mentions that both nasal nuclei are treated as diphthongs, for example, kąt / ˈkɔnt /. On the other hand, some scholars such as Swan and Smith (2001:164) argue that diphthongs and triphthongs do not exist in the Polish language. In contrast, the English language contains twelve vowels, eight diphthongs and forty-four phonemes. (Sousa, 2005:37).

To compare the place of articulation for both English and Polish I combined two vowel charts (fig. 1).

Fig. 1 English and Polish vowels.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

The black monophthongs represent the Received Pronunciation accent of English presented by Roach (2004:242), the red ones symbolise Polish monophthongs (Jassem, 2003:105). The Polish language has no weak vowels. Because of that fact, Poles replace schwa and /ɪ/ by full vowels. Minimal pairs like man - men or sheep - ship are often mispronounced by them. The following vowels seem to be problematic for the Polish speakers of the English Language: /a:/ may be confused with / æ / (father), /ɜ:/ is replaced with /o/ and all the second elements of the closing diphthongs are pronounced as /j/ and /w/. “As a result vowels cause major problems to Poles, both as regards perception and articulation.” (Swan and Smith, 2001:162). When it comes to consonants Jassem (2003:1) describes the Polish language as a ‘consonantal’ language because it is rich in consonant phonemes and allows consonant clusters to appear in a large number, mostly at the beginning of a word. For example, “A phonological word may begin with a five-consonant cluster: /’spstroŋɟem/ z pstrągiem ‘with (the) trout’, and a 4C lexeme- initial cluster is not unusual: /vzglont/ wzgląd ‘respect (n.)’”. (Jassem, 2003:1).

For the purpose of this dissertation and to familiarise the reader with the place of articulation of English and Polish consonants I created a chart (Fig. 2) which consists of consonants from both languages.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Fig. 2 English and Polish consonants.

Consonants in red belong to Polish pronunciation, green are specific sounds of English and consonants in black are common to English and Polish.

Consonants do not cause significant problems for Poles, but some of them need more practice. The consonants /θ/ and /ð/ are often replaced by /f/, /v/, /s/, /z/, /t/, /d/, /ts/ or /dz/. The Polish speakers of the English language often transfer the Polish r sound into English and pronounce r in word-final position and before consonants in British English. The sounds /ʃ/, /ʒ/, /tʃ/ and /dʒ/ are replaced with the Polish /ɕ/, /ʑ/, /tɕ/ and /dʑ/. (Swan and Smith, 2001:164-165). On the other hand, the sound /ŋ/ sing can be easily mastered by a Pole because of the fact that a similar sound exists in the Polish language as a velar, nasal sound, for example, in a name Kinga.

2.2.2 Suprasegmentals

When it comes to Polish word stress, it is predictable and according to Gussmann (2007:8) and Swan and Smith (2001:162) it falls on penultimate syllable with a few exceptions. Word stress is a major problem for the Polish speakers of the English language; they have problems with recognising weak forms and pronounce them with the same stress. The English articles and words such as and , that, as are pronounced with strong stress in all cases. Schwa is replaced by full vowels and secondary stress is often omitted e.g. ,infor'mation. Moreover, many words are mis-stressed because of the negative transfer from L1. (Swan and Smith, 2001:163). Dziubalska-Kołaczyk et al. (2006:2) add that Poles have difficulty with placing stress and are unable to reduce unstressed vowels. According to them, word-final obstruent devoicing when speaking English is the most characteristic error made by the Polish speakers of English. For example, a word disguise is pronounced by the Poles as /dɪsˈgaɪs/ and should be /dɪsˈgaɪz/. The Poles often mispronounce the certain sounds of English. In particular: r, th, ng and at final devoicing (s in place of z) as mentioned above. One of the biggest drawbacks is that the Poles make interference from their native accent into English; they use full vowels in unstressed syllables. (Swan and Smith, 2001:162). As described above, interference from L1 is a common problem for the speakers of Polish, I as a native-speaker of Polish and English teacher observed such an issue and faced it whilst speaking English (and probably still facing this problem). In Polish we pronounce words as we write them (in most cases) and because of that, another interference from L1 occurs when Poles try to speak English.

Polish intonation is less varied than English and has six tone contours, while English has thirteen including tritonal accents. Accent does not belong to segmental or supersegmentals, however, it is vital to mention that Polish accent is fixed and falls on the second (rarely on the third) syllable from end. (Zięba- Plebankiewicz, 2007:114).

2.3 Summary

In this chapter I introduced information about the Polish language and phonetic differences between Polish and English. For the purpose of this study I created two charts, vowel and consonant, which contain sounds from English and Polish and show the place of their articulation to make the differences more clear to the reader. What is more, I listed the most common problems that the speakers of Polish may have when they speak English. In the next chapters I will introduce place of teaching pronunciation in different teaching methods and approaches and how it changed over decades.

CHAPTER 3 LITERATURE REVIEW

3.1 Introduction

In this chapter of literature review I will try to present problems with teaching speaking and pronunciation. Next, I will present information on how teaching pronunciation was and is taught in different approaches. I will also focus on evaluation of pronunciation by teachers and the impact of listening and reading in classrooms. Importance of age factor and teacher’s role in teaching pronunciation will be also touched in this chapter. Additionally, I will introduce two supportive subchapters on technology and English as a global language.

3.2 Teaching speaking and pronunciation

According to Ur (2006:120) speaking seems to be the most important skill out of all four (listening, speaking, reading and writing) because “…people who know a language are referred to as 'speakers' of that language, as if speaking included all other kinds of knowing; and many if not most foreign language learners are primarily interested in learning to speak.” (Ur, 2006:120).

3.2.1 Problems with teaching speaking

Many speakers of the English Language may face several issues that inhibit them from producing speech in both the classroom and real life situations. While introducing speaking activities in the classroom a student may encounter problems described by Ur (2006:121). Firstly, since speaking activities take place in real time and a student may face inhibition about saying something in English. It can be caused by the fear of criticism, making mistakes or just the fear of speaking in front of the whole classroom Thornbury (2005:27) mentions that even among L1 speakers there is a difference between their native tongue fluency. Those differences are increased when it comes to speaking in L2 or any other language different from our own. Lack of fluency leads to frustration, embarrassment, anxiety or lack of confidence and despite good grammatical and lexical knowledge it inhibits face-to-face interaction. Secondly, students can simply have nothing to say about a certain topic even if they are required to say something. Thirdly, some students may dominate others due to large groups not all students will have equal time to speak or participate in speaking activities. Harmer (2007:127) adds that big classes are hard to organize and a student may have not many opportunities to speak out or even stay quiet if he or she is afraid of speaking. Lack of cooperation is also a common problem, students often find speaking activities boring and do not want to talk. Some students may feel dominated by others or because of different cultural backgrounds. It can be also caused by the fear of ‘losing face’ and making mistakes in front of the classroom. Finally, many students tend to use their mother tongue in the classroom because it is easier for them to communicate, they will not make mistakes and are less inhibited and they feel unnatural while speaking English to their classmates or a teacher - social aspect of using L1. They also use their mother language to translate or perform “meta-talk” about L2 because it is easier for them to do it in their native language. Harmer (2007:127). Students at different levels comprise the biggest problem to face; those at the beginner level may not understand a teacher or students at higher levels. Harmer (2007:127).

Kelly (2001:13) pointed to two key problems with teaching English pronunciation. First of all it tends to be neglected, secondly, reactive. Neglecting teaching pronunciation is caused by the lack of theoretical knowledge in teaching English pronunciation and practical classroom skills in teaching it. Another problem of teaching pronunciation is that it is introduced only when errors occur (reactive).

Morley (1991:489) mentions an important issue that arises from the concept of intelligible pronunciation: the focus is on communication not pronunciation. Students’ pronunciation needs are ignored because the emphasis is put on effective and intelligible language use in communication. Such concept allows students to become not "perfect pronouncers".

3.2.2 How pronunciation is taught

“All language teaching methods (apart from the most bookish) prioritize speaking, but less as a skill in its own right that a means of practicing grammar. (...) Frequently, training and practice in the skill of interactive real-time talk, with all its attendant discourse features, is relegated to the chat stage at the beginning and end of lessons It is the lack of genuine speaking opportunities which accounts for many students’ feeling that, however much grammar and vocabulary they know, they are insufficiently prepared for speaking in the world beyond the classroom.” (Thornbury, 2005:28).

Language teaching approaches and methods were changing over the decades and shifting into more communicative ones. One of the oldest is the grammar translation method where students were drilling grammatical structures. Therefore there were no place for speaking or pronunciation activities. Pronunciation is important in the direct method, nonetheless, “...the methodology is primitive: The teacher is ideally a native or near-native speaker of the target language presenting pronunciation inductively and correcting through modelling.” (Hişmanoğlu, 2006:102). The audio-lingual method holds many features from the previous method (including importance of pronunciation) and Celce Murcia and Goodwin (1991:136) state that the method concentrates on the traditional notions of pronunciation, for example, drills, short conversations and minimal pairs. Limitations of the previous methods and approaches led to dominance of the communicative approach in language. Equipping students with the skills needed to use the language in real life and making them communicatively competent are the main domains of the communicative language teaching approach. (Larsen-Freeman, 2000:121). “Communicative competence involves being able to use the language appropriate to a given social context.” (Larsen-Freeman, 2000:131). Students are not repeating after the teacher, but they are taking part in meaningful interaction in the classroom with use of authentic materials. What is more, students may work in groups, pairs and take part in role-plays or information gap activities. Nonetheless, the teacher might have less opportunities to correct students’ pronunciation as they work in pairs or groups. Morley (1991:500) adds that the approach sets more realistic goals in pronunciation learning - it does not have to be “native-like” but intelligible. In task-based learning (TBL) students have a lot of opportunities to interact, in interaction students are checking if they have comprehended the meaning correctly or seek for clarification. What is more, in this approach students listen to language which may be beyond their level. (Larsen-Freeman, 2000:144). Larsen- Freeman (2000:146) comments that TBL does not focus on a specific function or language form. In this case a teacher may have less chances to focus on students’ pronunciation and correction of it. The post-method gives freedom to teachers (teachers are autonomous and not bounded to one method or approach) and according to Bell’s (2007) research the post- method allows teachers to combine most effective methods and use them in appropriate situations, in this case to improve students’ pronunciation. Nevertheless, teachers must be familiar with different methods to apply them correctly because they may bring more limitations to their pronunciation teaching. Teaching pronunciation trough multiple intelligences may bring good effects by introducing various teaching techniques linked to each intelligence. Hişmanoğlu (2006:102) gives an example that “…students with visual / spatial intelligence, techniques like using wall charts, using a mirror, card games, etc can be used.” Teachers will have an opportunity to use different tools in teaching pronunciation and thanks to addressing all or at least most of the intelligence types may fit into students’ personal needs.

3.2.3 Techniques of teaching pronunciation

In this place I will introduce different techniques of teaching pronunciation and in classroom actives suggested by some researchers.

Harmer (2007:128) described the ways of teaching in many different situations.

A teacher may use better students to help weaker ones; they can work in pairs or in groups and provide proper models of speaking.

The class may also find their own level on their own or the teacher can do different tasks with the same material. In large classes using pair work or group work allows even inhibited students to talk with their peers.

Using “chorus reaction” where students can repeat words or sentences after the teacher.

Using only English to respond may encourage students to use it as well and make it clear that the teacher requires an answer in English. Students tend to speak more freely when they are playing a role and they do not have to be themselves.

Another good idea is to let the student write what they are going to say first.

Ur (2009:121) mentioned many ideas that are described above by Harmer like using group work and even if students tend to make more mistakes and switch into their mother tongue but they can produce speech for longer time span. What is more, the level of the material used for discussion activities should be at lower level than intensive language-learning tasks; which helps students to speak more fluently. Reviewing vocabulary before speaking activities and choosing topics that stimulate students’ interest is also very helpful in maintaining students’ fluency.

Including instructions about how students should participate in speaking tasks helps students to participate equally. A teacher should monitor if students are using the target language and not using their native tongue. “A consideration of learners’ pronunciation errors and of how these can inhibit successful communication is a useful basis on which to asses why it is important to deal with pronunciation in the classroom.” (Kelly, 2001:11).

Kelly (2001:15) described the model of teaching pronunciation which is flexible because a teacher must consider the students’ needs, may slightly modify her or his accent to provide more comprehensible sound for students. “The best advice for teacher is to teach what they know and use, and be informed as they can be about other varieties.” The two key skills to teach pronunciation described by Kelly (2001:15) are: productive and receptive skills. Firstly, the receptive skills help students to hear the difference between phonemes. Secondly, production is now equipped into the knowledge from the receptive skills. Both of those skills can be successfully developed by drilling. Drilling in the case of teaching pronunciation simply means repeating words, phrases or sentences after the teacher. Thanks to drilling the process called eliciting occurs and encourages students to evoke learned sounds and the teacher can help the process by showing images or using other techniques (of course the teacher must provide a correct model of the world). Different types of drilling are meant to help in different situations and for instance; choral drilling encourages inhibited students to speak together with his or her friends. Another interesting type used by many teachers is chaining, where a sentence is drilled part by part and a teacher is gradually adding more parts of the sentence. Chaining can be divided into two models: Front chaining and back chaining, for example back chaining may look in the following way:

… told him. … would ’ ve …

… would ’ ve told … I would ’ ve told him. If I ’ d seen him …

If I ’ d seen him, I would ’ ve told him.

Drilling is very important to teach intonation, word and sentence stress, moreover, teachers can use drills at any levels of proficiency.

Teaching distinguishing minimal pairs is very important since the words differ by only one phoneme. Kelly (2001:18) suggested four exercises to help students in grasping minimal pairs. Firstly, students work in pairs and are given a list of words where they have to decide which of them have required sound. Secondly, students are given a task where they have to say how many times they hear a particular sound. Thirdly, teacher may say an utterance with minimal pairs in it as close as possible and ask students sot distinguish the sounds. For example: Pass me the pepper and the paper.

Lastly, students may also listen to a number of words and find a minimal pair among them. Students may also suggest their own minimal pairs and say them to their peers in the classroom. A teacher can invent as many variations of exercises with minimal pairs as she or he wants but should focus on the vocabulary known for the students which is more productive than searching for new minimal pairs. “Teachers need to decide what is relevant to their class at a particular time”. (Kelly, 2001:20). Tuan (2010:540) states that minimal pair drills “...create a contrastive environment where these sounds are phonemically presented in such a way that they can be perceived with utmost ease and high motivation.” What is more, minimal pairs make pronunciation acquisition successful if they are correctly employed. (Tuan, 2010:540). Tuan (2010) research shows that teaching minimal pairs rises awareness of the role of the discrete sounds in oral communication and motivates students to study other features of the English language pronunciation.

3.2.4 Evaluating pronunciation

Polish final exams in middle schools and the Matura exam (final exam in secondary schools) do not include any speaking parts. It might be caused by the fact that teachers testing oral proficiency face many difficulties and such exams are less important than other parts of the exam. What is more, many of them do not include any techniques for testing the oral proficiency. A teacher may test it by using techniques like: interview, role play, group discussion and monologue or picture description which was described by Ur (2001:133).

A scale of oral testing criteria provided by Ur (2001:135) may be used to evaluate the oral proficiency of learners.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Table 1 Scale of oral testing criteria.

The examinees are tested on accuracy and fluency and can score a maximum of ten points. Slight foreign accent has an impact not only on accuracy but also on fluency. What is more, while testing student’s pronunciation a teacher should also evaluate L1 transfer.

3.2.5 Introducing listening and reading

Thanks to introducing listening comprehension tasks and exercises students may hear the native pronunciation of English and try to produce as close sounds as possible. What is more, course books provide real life English with natural speed of speech and intonation. Such exercises may be helpful for a teacher to link pronunciation and listening task together. Reading aloud in the classroom by the teacher creates a opportunity for students to hear intonation, stress and words linking. Not only a teacher but also students may read aloud and compare their pronunciation to their peers or if a word is miss pronounced the teacher may correct it. Kelly (2001:21).

Harmer (2007:68) mentions that reading may make classes fascinating; it stimulates responses and provides new topics for discussion. By introducing listening activities students are exposed to different accents of English; more real life language with all its varieties.

3.2.6 Age factor

Age is an important factor in achieving a native-speaker level. Students in secondary schools in Poland are still in the stage of puberty that is why I decided to mention about importance of age in learning and teaching pronunciation. Patkowski (1980) conducted a research to see if there is a difference between learners who began to learn English before and after puberty. He found that the age of acquisition has a big impact on pronunciation. Brown (1994:53) said that age is very important in learning pronunciation, the earlier one starts the better results will he or she achieve. It is caused by “critical period” where children benefit most and learn pronunciation effortlessly. What is more, children have flexible speech articulators and are able to learn native (or native-like) accent. Ellis (1997:67) mentions the “critical period hypothesis” which is a fixed span of years after which it is not possible to be completely successful in language learning. During “critical period” learning processes take place effortlessly and in a natural way. Therefore, children have a big advantage here and teachers should use it as soon as they can.

“Children generally enjoy an advantage over adults in L2 learning because of their age, particularly in pronunciation. However, this will only become evident after substantial exposure to the L2. in the short term, adults may learn faster. The evidence relating to the existence of a critical period for L2 acquisition, after which full competence is not possible, is mixed, with no definite conclusion possible. Children and adults manifest similar processes of learning.” (Ellis, 1993:522)

Ellis (1993:491) made some conclusions about the age factor:

- Children are able to acquire a native accent if they receive massive exposure to the L2.
- Active use of L1 may interfere with native-like accent acquisition.

3.3 Teacher’s role

Teacher’s role in teaching English pronunciation is crucial. Firstly, a teacher provides language samples and is responsible to provide a proper sound. If the teacher makes mistakes in pronunciation, students are more likely to make the same mistakes as their teacher. Secondly, the teacher is the one who mostly motivates and encourages her or his students to learn. Lastly, the teacher adjusts the level of the material accordingly to the level of the students to make progress.

To support the facts mentioned above, Gonet (2004) describes the roles of a teacher, how he or she should perform and when they should start teaching pronunciation. Gonet (2004:4) state that teachers in Poland, especially young, think that they should start teaching pronunciation no sooner than in secondary school. He thinks that teachers should start teaching pronunciation of a foreign language as soon as possible.

[...]

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Details

Title
The Teaching of English Pronunciation in Polish Secondary Schools
College
University of Salford  (School of Arts & Media - The University of Salford Manchester)
Course
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages - TESOL
Grade
63
Author
Year
2011
Pages
117
Catalog Number
V308552
ISBN (eBook)
9783668078208
ISBN (Book)
9783668078215
File size
998 KB
Language
English
Notes
- MA awarded with Merit. - The dissertation includes a questionaire for teachers with results (in graphic form and also as raw data) and research findings. - Extensive EFL/TESOL bibliography. Comments: "The combination of methodologies was a strength of the work" "Clear merit-level submission"
Tags
Teaching, Pronunciation, TESOL, English, Native speaker, Non-native speakers, Phonology, L1, L2, phonetics, IPA, Teaching English, Teaching Pronunciation
Quote paper
Arkadiusz Cetlawa (Author), 2011, The Teaching of English Pronunciation in Polish Secondary Schools, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/308552

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