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Teaching English Pronunciation at the Secondary School Level


Karolina Janczukowicz

This book aims to aid English teachers at the junior and senior secondary school levels in teaching pronunciation within a regular EFL syllabus. It presents such a way of incorporating the phonetic and lexical components so as to facilitate students’ acquisition of a standard phonetic system and to prevent them from forming habitual mistakes in individual words. It highlights key areas of the English phonetic system and provides examples of strategies how to use a course-book for the sake of teaching pronunciation. The discussion of teaching the phonetic system relies on the comparison between its conscious and unconscious acquisition. Teaching individual vocabulary items (especially reversing habitual mispronunciations) is analysed through contrasting mental and behavioural learning.
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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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