1. Phonetic transcription in the classroom
1.1. The relevance of introducing phonetic transcription into the syllabus
The prospect of introducing phonetic transcription during regular English lessons may seem unrealistic to say the least. However, in this chapter an attempt will be made to demonstrate that not only should teachers make sure that their students are able to decipher any transcribed items but they should also ensure that the students can transcribe newly heard items themselves; in other words, that they should possess both passive and active knowledge of the phonetic transcription.1 At the end of this subchapter, two contrasting real life examples will be given to show that difficult though it may seem, it is possible to achieve positive results in this sphere.
Secondary school students, unlike university students of English philology, are expected to acquire practical knowledge of English in the sense that they should become efficient users of English without necessarily being aware of what theoretical concepts are included in the description of the language. Such expectations are reflected in the European standards, where measuring the knowledge of English is accessing the level of communicative skills, i.e. listening and reading comprehension, speaking and writing. However, the question remains whether phonetic transcription is only a theoretical aspect of English or a necessary step in achieving a communicative efficiency in it.
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