I can’t remember ever having seen so many pronunciation-focused talks on an IATEFL programme as there were in Manchester this year. Too many to fit into a single PRONSIG strand day. What’s more, many of them were so over-subscribed that there wasn’t even space to sit on the floor, as I found out to my own disappointment. I did get to see a fair number, nevertheless.
Here's the phonemic chart for vowels and consonants. See a video explanation of the vowels here. Click on the jpegs below for either the colour or black and white versions. If you prefer a version with no mention of alcoholic drinks, choose the files with ME at the end of the title.
For myself and many other ELT professionals, Stephen Krashen is a legend. In the words of Wikipedia, for instance ‘He is credited with introducing various influential concepts ... including the acquisition-learning hypothesis, the input hypothesis, the monitor hypothesis, the affective filter, and the natural order hypothesis’. So naturally, he is a big pull at a conference.
Carol Read’s plenary at TESOL France was titled, ‘Reflections on How to be a Highly Effective Teacher’. I’ve seen her give a number of conference presentations, but for me this was the best – a broad view of the field underpinned by good references, and a vivacious delivery.
Mike McCarthy gave the opening plenary at English UK Academic (North) conference last Saturday (Oct 4 2014), revisiting the topic of the grammar of spoken English. Spoken language, he pointed out, is in no way an imperfect, poorly realized version of the written form.
Follow the link to see my review of Adam Brown's Pronunciation and Phonetics in the ELT Journal. (I'm sorry to say that this item is now in the membership section of the ELTJ but you can read more in the Articles section.)
In a profession of many specialist interests, it's important to keep the big picture in mind in order to maintain a balanced and proportional outlook. Enthusiasms are great, but need to be kept in context. With this purpose in mind, I have been developing conceptual maps of aspects of ELT - so it's beginning to turn into an atlas. Click below for:
Sugata Mitra argued with evangelical flourish that, given the right resources, children will learn without schooling. He said that the right resource has now come into existence and is potentially available to every child: the internet. To support this argument, Mitra described what have become known as “the hole in the wall” experiments.
Kathleen Graves’s title contained the paradox that in teaching, you sometimes have to be less efficient to be more efficient. In a time in which testing and accountability have become paramount, in an attempt to cut out the dead wood in education, we have neglected the learner and a broader vision of what learning is for.
In this plenary, David Graddol delved into the murky world of the English teaching business, where the imperative is firmly profit over people. He asks, ‘Who benefits from English teaching?’, and answers, ‘Follow the money!’. On that basis, it’s clearly not teachers and learners who benefit.
Michael Hoey’s was a compelling argument in favour of teaching language lexically, because that’s how language is, and that’s also how it’s learnt and mentally stored. On the linguistics angle, he endorsed the work of Michael Lewis and his ´lexical approach´, and on the pedagogic side, he recommended the ´Monitor Model´of Stephen Krashen.
I think of the world of ELT as a map divided into four quarters – the content of what we teach – the English language; the reasons why the students are learning – their needs; how people learn – pedagogy; and the procedures we use to teach – methodology.
IATEFL Pronsig's "Speak Out" magazine 50th Edition celebratory issue is just out, and what an amazing collection it is. Contrats to Robin Walker for getting it together! I'm very proud to have an article in it myself, entitled "A Map of Pronunciation Teaching". Here's the map and excerpts from the intro and conclusion of the article.
For awareness of pronunciation features including sounds and spelling, and features of connected speech, for B1 upwards: put this poem on the board and ask students to read it and work out what it's all about. Here's what happened when I tried: they all looked totally blank. One or two asked for vocab items, like 'gee!', which I then explained.
The opening plenary was a presentation by Russell Stannard on the use of screencapture tools as a ´revolutionary´ way of providing feedback to students. Screencapture tools effectively create a video of what´s occurring on a (portion of) computer screen, including highlighting, cursor movements and so on, plus the voice of the user as picked up on the microphone.
Ray Parker argued that, regarding stress-timing and rhythm, we have tended to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The notion that natural spoken English has a regular rhythm, he says, has been discredited by the research, but our response has been to abandon both that, and any attention to stress-timing.