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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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2. Teaching the phonetic system


When teaching pronunciation to secondary school students, a decision needs to be taken whether to use a supplementary course-book devoted entirely to teaching pronunciation, or whether to prepare additional exercises, with the specific group in mind. However, at least two problems appear, which must be borne in mind. First of all, the expected level will seldom be suited to the students’ particular needs; secondly, with the learners’ communicative efficiency in mind, a very particular choice of sounds and pronunciation problems would have to be made. This does not mean that pronunciation textbooks should not be used; on the contrary, good pronunciation textbooks are particularly helpful, but a careful choice of problems practised there and the extent to which they are taught must first be made.

Nevertheless, bearing in mind the time limitations and additional pressures frequently placed on teachers with regard to holding on to the curriculum and preparations for the junior or senior secondary school final examinations, an alternative to this path is suggested here; namely, to incorporate the material present in the regular English course-book that is being used and modify its exercises in such a way that they may serve the goal of teaching the pronunciation without disrupting regular lessons.

Before one starts teaching pronunciation, however, one must realize that the most important tasks lying ahead are not limited to teaching sounds absent from the native phonetic system. A task which is just as important is to wean students from an...

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