Why start teaching pronunciation to young learners

"On the road to sounding better"
TESOL Conference 2012
Yvonne M. Moore
[email protected]
[email protected]
Young learners enjoy playing with language, perhaps because they do not feel uncomfortable in
front of their peers. This session will look at how we can get young learners on the road to
pronouncing lexical items well, and going on to show how we as teachers can look at our
students sounding more natural, through work on intonation and connected speech.
Yvonne is an experienced primary teacher, who is interested in the way young learners learn and
are motivated by different approaches. She is now a Trinity Young Learner and Diploma Tutor
and YL Speaking Examiner
Why start teaching pronunciation to young learners?
 Students are less self-conscious than older learners
 Love to have little conversations, sing songs and learn short phrases
 Respond strongly to music and rhythm
Where to start?
We have to realise that before students can consistently produce a given phoneme they
must be able to hear it
What to be aware of?
When teaching at the phoneme level we are struggling to expand physical and
neurological limitations. We are taking irrelevant noises, and making them significant to
our students and at the same time teaching them a greater range of articulation with their
mouths, tongues and lips.
Pronunciation needs to be taught from the start because; Students need to understand how sounds are produced
 Students need to be able to communicate efficiently and effectively as soon as
The United Kingdom’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. A registered charity: 209131 (England and Wales) SC037733 (Scotland).
Purpose of Activities
Activity 1
Learner-centred activity, whereby students firstly choose their 6 letters and then a
student calls out the letters
If the students do not understand they can ask for clarification
The students need to focus on listening for the correct letter sound
Activity 2
(Chant “What’s your favourite?)
To teach stress patterns and rhythm
For the students to get used to the sound, without having to worry about how to
formulate what they want to say
Activity 3
(Differentiating the Sound)
Recognising the sound and responding correctly with a visual clue of where the
tongue is placed in the mouth when saying the sound “TH”
Being able to produce the sound
Activity 4
(Hear and Say)
Recognising the sound of the word and responding correctly with the next
word in the sequence
A self-correcting activity, as if the words are said correctly the game will end
with a student saying the word “FINISH
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