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Frauke Apr 23rd, 2006 07:23 am

Students don't remember correct pronunciation

I teach in Spain, adults in companies. One of my classes is a total beginners class aging from 30 to 55 years, 5 students in total. I teach them once a week for 2 hours. They are motivated and we have a lot of fun together, but my big problem is that they don't seem to be able to remember the correct pronunciation of new words.

E.G. I did description of people (beautiful, tall, long hair, blue eyes etc) last year and this year - I started 1.5 months ago again with them - I 've been teaching body parts.

We have been pronouncing body parts ever since then. I feel I have repeated the words about a thousand times and more and they still don't get it right. I am glad that they actually finally remember what e.g. leg, etc means as that was a problem, too, that they did not learn their vocabulary.

I am so frustrated about that. Can somebody please give me some advice what to do. I feel I cannot do more than just repeating it over and over again.

I would like to start something else as I don't want them to get bored, but if I start with new words, I will have the same problem....

Any ideas? Thanks!!

mesmark Apr 24th, 2006 11:50 pm

Re: Students don't remember correct pronunciation
Sometimes getting the words into sentences helps. It's often difficult to pronounce the one word but students get better when using the word in combination with other words.

Another option is to record them and let them listen to themselves to draw attention to the vast difference.

I'm not a big proponent of strict pronounciation practice. I only correct pronounciation if it impeeds meaning. I also feel pronounciation improves with fluency. So, I would say move on and hope that over time with increased fluency you will see improvements in pronounciation.

little sage Apr 25th, 2006 08:49 am

Re: Students don't remember correct pronunciation

Quote mesmark
I would say move on and hope that over time with increased fluency you will see improvements in pronounciation.

I agree with mesmark that it sounds like it's time for you to move on. I think sometimes things just click in after you've left it mull it your head for a little while and started learning something else.

Also, with adults of the age group you mentioned, it might be really difficult if not impossible for them to reach the exactness in pronunciation that you're hoping for. Perhaps start the class with a 5 minute session focusing on one sound, or comparing two sounds [r] v. [l], for example and practice for accuracy for that time only. Mouth diagrams help a lot to explain exactly how sounds are formed. If you have the time, making a cassette or CD for them to listen to at home might help.

Oh, one activity I really like that helps a lot with pronunciation accuracy is the simple dictation. Prepare one or two different sentences for each student, or a different list of words for each, and make each student read their sentence aloud for the other students to write. Being forced to be speak so accurately because all of the classmates are listening so attentively might help your students remember both the word and the pronunciation.

Hope this helps.


Frauke Jun 1st, 2006 06:39 am

Re: Students don't remember correct pronunciation
Hi everyone,

thanks for your help here, but I think this does not really work for my students. They are not even able to copy the correct spelling from the board, so how will they manage a "dictation"? -They also don't have time to study at home.

It's not that I only give them new words. They alway learn some language in context, too. E.G. with food "I like..." and "I don't like" and with description: She has got, she is etc. but they are also not able to remember what goes with which (has got brown hair and is tall) not even with examples given where they just have to copy, common sense for me.

It really does drive me crazy. I don't expect super correct pronunciation at all but at least I like to know what word/sentence they are saying and sometimes it's really not possible..........:mad:

Anyway, I have moved on and try to repeat some stuff at the beginning of each class as a game.

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