I often hear from ESL teachers that they wish they were more confident in teaching their students pronunciation while they’re also teaching: grammar, tense use, syntax, and so on. What ESL teachers lack is the background and understanding to teach pronunciation in English the way a Speech Pathologist can.
As a Speech Language Pathologist myself, I can honestly say, I wouldn’t know how to get in front of a classroom and teach the building blocks of English—I don’t have the skill set to teach someone how to begin to learn English. It’s not my specialty, and likewise, I do not feel confident teaching those skills.
For this reason, I believe that ESL teachers and Speech Pathologists must work together, teaching what they know best, to provide our students with the best possible training that will prepare them for a successful English-speaking future.
This leads to a two fold idea: pronunciation absolutely needs more time in the classroom, and ESL teachers can use technology to give accent reduction and pronunciation training to their students in tandem with their teachings of English vocabulary, grammar, and so on.
In many dual immersion classrooms, pronunciation and learning a new language are not separated, but this is generally because dual immersion schools are for children—amazing little people whose pallets are not yet constrained by years of using one language alone.
In adults what we see are people eager to learn a new language, but even after they become relatively fluent in English, they lack the confidence to speak up because their pronunciation is not what it should be.
I see it all the time from my own students. They spend years and years learning the English language: grammar, vocabulary, syntax, etc., but after only a few instances of people asking, “what was that?” and, “will you say that again?” they lose their confidence to speak up. This has nothing to do with their command of the English language, but everything to do with their thick accent and incorrect pronunciation.
They may be able to read an entire dissertation or even write one flawlessly— but when they are in social setting or a scenario where they need to speak in front of a group, they freeze up. And in this sense, English instruction with a lack of pronunciation training is a disservice to these hard working people who have already climbed the very steep slope of comprehending English.
Not just any technological tool will work, but a well thought out curriculum by a Speech Pathologist such as the Pronunciation Pro course would do the trick.
The Pronunciation Pro Course offers a 12-week accent reduction and pronunciation training program with videos and worksheets for ESL students that could be a great supplement to the classroom setting.
Further, if used in tandem with ESL courses, a pronunciation program with videos and the opportunity to receive feedback from a professional Speech Pathologist will mean time saved, skills attained, and most of all, a well rounded English speaker as the final product.
By combining the abilities and curricula of professional ESL teachers and professional Speech Pathologists, students gain what they were most likely looking for in the first place: complete English fluency in comprehension, reading, writing, and speaking English clearly.
Students can get started with the Pronunciation Pro course for a low subscription fee of only $19.97/month per student.
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