Beyond “Repeat after Me”
Teaching Pronunciation with Imagination
How can we teach pronunciation
We need to do more than simply teach rules and use
mechanical drills.
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Balance and variety
• Individual sounds vs. the musical aspects of
• Simple repetition is fine, but we also need meaningful
or communicative activities
• Use a wide range of techniques.
• Teach real speech patterns and use authentic
materials as much as possible.
• Include some practice activities that promote
accuracy and some that promote fluency. You don’t
have to concentrate on both in every activity.
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Fluency-building techniques
Speaking activities can also be good for
pronunciation practice. For example: The Onion
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Fluency-building techniques
Try using
games that
get students
to speak
(“Lace” them
with sounds
you want to
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Multisensory reinforcement techniques
Visual: Let students see how to
pronounce sounds through
• pictures and diagrams
• demonstrations (live/on video)
• models (like giant teeth)
• phonemic alphabets
• colors
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Multisensory reinforcement techniques
• Choral and individual repetition
• Memory pegs: an image or phrase connected to
the sound
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Multisensory reinforcement techniques
Tactile: Use the sense of
Stretch rubber bands to
represent word stress.
A feather shows aspiration of
Hand on throat to feel the
vibration of the vocal cords
Play a kazoo to feel intonation
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Multisensory reinforcement techniques
Kinesthetic: Hand and body movements to help
learners understand how pronunciation works.
Body movements to represent sounds and
suprasegmental features.
Marsha Chan: Using Your Hands to Teach
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Millicent Alexander: Pronouncercizing
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Drama Techniques
Plays, skits, and role plays
Many students feel more comfortable trying out new
sounds or intonation patterns when they are
pretending to be someone else.
Puppets can also be fun for pronunciation practice.
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Shadowing and Mirroring
1. Choose a short video clip with natural-sounding dialog.
2. Have the students watch the clip to see what’s happening.
3. Watch the clip again, marking intonation, pauses, etc.
4. Have students practice the dialog with a partner.
5. Play the clip again. Students speak the dialog with the characters,
trying to sound just like the characters.
Belle,/are you /happy here with me?
What is it?
If only I could see my father again,/
just for a moment. // I miss him so much!
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Games can give
students practice in a
fun way.
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Authentic materials
• Songs
• Poetry, rhymes, and chants
• Advertisements, menus, and pictures
• Cartoons
• Magazines and newspapers
• Video clips from movies, TV programs, YouTube,
or other online sources
• Stories, plays, and other literature
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Use your imagination to find new
ways to teach pronunciation
communicatively and effectively.
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Visual - Teaching Pronunciation / FrontPage