Teaching English immersion courses in Canada provides a great opportunity to learn how to teach English to people from all over the world. Most of my students are from South Korea, Japan, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Turkey, or Saudi Arabia, so there is a wide spectrum of accents to work with during a pronunciation class. This challenge presented a great opportunity for me to search deeper into TESOL methodology. Here are 6 tips on how to teach English pronunciation in a multilingual class.
-About the Author: Clare completed our 140-hour TESOL Certificate Course with Practicum–
- Introduce a multilingual class to the phonemic chart one phoneme at a time. Every morning, present one word spelt in its regular form and in its phonemic form. Try to choose words that were discussed the previous day that students struggled to pronounce or words that are meaningful to them, such as their name or hometown. Do drills as a warm up and give sample sentences. Show the word stress and where it exists in this word. Eventually have students create their own sentences as a team race or at the end of the week have students create a group story using all the words taught throughout the week and have them each present a part of the story to the class.
- Keep accurate notes on certain problems each student faces and give them different techniques for dealing with their particular challenges as weekly homework.
- Sometimes, it’s possible to adopt a general approach and include specific practice in general exercises. For example, if you have one student who has problems with the sh and ch sounds then create a general activity involving sh and ch sounds which includes practice with these nouns as well as other noun related practice. The whole class can participate and learn from it. In this way, you are helping the student or group of students with his/her/their specific problem.
- Encourage group work among different nationalities as well as a variety of different types of communicative activities such as role plays, information-gap exercises and Q&A sessions. Students learn from each other and will even correct each other’s mistakes. They are also more likely to absorb their fellow peers corrections more than their teacher’s, who is frequently correcting mistakes. This takes you off the hook!
- Never assume that because most of the students understand a certain point that all students do. Check that everyone in the class understands by asking concept questions.
- Have students do a presentation on a particular topic and be sure to listen for the particular pronunciation errors from students from each nationality group. Give feedback to every group. This kind of feedback helps students to be patient with each other’s linguistic limitations, as they learn that while the challenges may not be the same for each group, each group has its own challenges.
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