Published 6th July 2018

Integrating pronunciation

Pronunciation matters, we know this. Yet for most of us pronunciation does not feature hugely in our EFL lessons. Sure if we discover our students making particular pronunciation errors during the lessons we will stop and deal with them. Other than that, though, we are happy to deal with pronunciation issues as they come up. After all, we’ve got important things like grammar and vocabulary to deal with. However, we should consider integrating pronunciation since it it vital for communication.

Teaching English is all about communication and pronunciation is a major part of that. If our students have trouble with pronunciation then they have problems with communication – it’s as simple as that.

How to tackle integrating pronunciation issues in the EFL classroom

There are three steps involved in deciding how to tackle pronunciation issues. Firstly, you need to identify and define the error. Is it a problematic sound? A stress issue? Intonation? This will also involve deciding whether or not the problem would be problematic in communication.

Secondly, can the students identify the error? Usually students are not even aware they are making a pronunciation error. If this is the case there is no way we can expect them to correct it. We need to draw their attention to it and ensure they realise where the problem is.

Next, try understand why the mistake is being made. Is it because of their first language? Is it a physical problem? Is it because they don’t know how to pronounce a sound?

Finally, you need to decide how to address this problem in the classroom. Thinking of ways to deal with pronunciation issues will depend on your students and the nature of the pronunciation error. The key here, though, is that you come up with activities which deal with the issue in-depth and extensively. You should not just deal with the issue quickly as it comes up in class.

Ways of  integrating pronunciation into your EFL lessons

Bearing all this in mind, here are a few ideas for integratrating pronunciation into your lessons:

  • Predict pronunciation errors

With experience you should be able to predict certain errors certain students will make with language. Consider this during your lesson planning so that you can prepare appropriate activities beforehand.

  • Plan appropriately

Don’t forget about pronunciation in your planning. If you are teaching vocabulary with problematic sounds or a dialogue which depends on stress and intonation, plan applicable activities.

  • Every little helps

You don’t need to dedicate an entire lesson to one aspect of pronunciation. Instead, plan short but frequent activities to include in your lessons.

  • Keep it real

Use real-world language examples and authentic language to illustrate the pronunciation issue at hand. This will make it more understandable for your students.

  • Revise revise revise

Just like any other language point, pronunciation needs to be revised again and again.