Pronunciation in a College-Level Beginner French Course Teaching

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Jessica Sertling Miller
[email protected]
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Teaching
Pronunciation with
Phonetics in a
Beginner French
Course
Impact on Sound
Discrimination
PSLLT 2011
Introduction
Phonetics taught in advanced classes
Why not earlier?
Phonetics in French 101?
2
Observations
Balancing writing & speaking
Challenges: time constraints,
students’ varied abilities and
interest, teachers’ training.
3
Attitudes
Rated as “very important” by students
Pronunciation - 90%
Vocabulary - 86%
Grammar - 73%
Culture - 43%
4
Phonetics 101:
Potential Benefits
To avoid fossilization
To apply concepts early on
To give students learning tools
5
Phonetics 101:
Potential Drawbacks
IPA symbols = foreign code
Time-consuming
Not communicative, not authentic
6
Pedagogical Goals
Acquisition of fundamental principles
Intelligibility
Functionality
7
Research Questions
Explicit instruction = positive impact
(Elliot on Spanish L2 pronunciation, 1997)
IPA = positive impact
(Kendrick on English L2 pronunciation and
discrimination, 1997)
IPA = efficient teaching tool
(Morin on Spanish teaching education,
2007)
8
What impact
on speaking
and listening
in a beginner
college
French
course?
Experimental Design
4 target sets of sounds
2 teaching methods
Counterbalanced groups
15-minute lessons, every 2 weeks
Sound discrimination test after each
lesson
10
Target Sounds
Reference
Approach
Comparing & contrasting
Reflection on spelling to sound
Repetition of sounds
Written & oral application
12
Phonetics
Approach
Comparing & contrasting (IPA)
Reflection on spelling to sound
Articulatory information
Repetition of sounds
Written & oral application (IPA)
13
Results: Discrimination
“Among the teaching techniques used by
your instructor this semester, describe one or
more that you feel helped improve your
listening comprehension of French and
explain how it helped.”
Teaching & Learning Survey
Content Analysis
Discussion
Explicit instruction preferred by learners
Phonetic approach is favored by them:
it addresses various learning styles.
Short-term vs. long-term effect?
17
In Support of
Phonetics
Importance of explicit instruction
IPA shows what is not heard
Learning tool: notes, dictionaries
Assessment tool: written and oral exams
18
Conclusion
Two ways of approaching instruction
What matters: drawing attention
Phonetics 101 to prepare for 300 level
19
Learners’ Comments
•
•
“The handouts describing the differences in
pronunciation (...) were very helpful. Rather than
overwhelming the class with all sorts of
pronunciation rules, it focused in on some of the
most important and allowed us to directly
compare two (or more) commonly
mispronounced sounds.”
“I thought when we used the phonetic symbols
with different words such as vous and vu, and the
teacher explained the difference between them,
was very helpful to me.”
20
Learners’ Comments
•
•
“I think the phonetics alphabet helped me.
Sometimes you look at a word and trying to
pronounce it seems overwhelming, but having it
written in only phonetics tells you exactly what
sounds to make.”
“(...) I would have liked to spend more time with
pronunciation. For example, doing more exercises
with different partners, or going over some of the
more difficult words for 5 mins. at the beginning of
each class period.”
21
Future Research
Exploring current pedagogies
Designing communicative tasks using IPA
22
Thank You!
UW-System Leadership Site for the
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
UW-System Office of Professional and
Instructional Development
UW-Eau Claire Summer Research
Experiences for Undergraduates
UW-Eau Claire Student Differential Tuition
Funds
UW-Eau Claire Center for Excellence in
Teaching and Learning
25
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