how to teach pron for elf use

How to Teach Pronunciation for English as a Lingua Franca Use

Previously on this blog I wrote about the fact that despite the fact that standard ‘native speaker’ pronunciation still remains the default standard in teaching and course book writing, there’s no evidence that it is more intelligible in international contexts (read the post here).

Now this is hugely surprising!

After all, our gut feeling would suggest that standard ‘native-like’ pronunciation is the model our students must strive for if they want to be easily understood. And in fact, not such a long time ago I was also convinced that the more my students’ pronunciation resembled standard ‘native speaker’ pronunciation, the better.

But our gut feeling seems to be wrong…

Perhaps then, as Cook (2001, 2005) argued already over a decade ago, it is time we based language teaching on successful second language users.

Perhaps it is time then we started focusing on intelligibility in international contexts rather than imitating a ‘native speaker’ model.

From a practical perspective, using ‘non-native speakers’ as valid models of language (pronunciation included) can have many benefits. For example, it:

  • Reflects the reality of the English language and its users – there are at least three times as many ‘non-native speakers’ out there, many of them highly proficient;
  • Reflects who many of our students will interact with outside class;
  • Can be very motivating – seeing an example of a successful second language user who on top of that speaks the same first language as you do, for example, can help students gain confidence;
  • Is a more achievable model – let’s be honest, how many students will actually be able to pass off for ‘native speakers’? (Mind you, not that this should be a valid goal for our students)
  • Prepare students for the variety of English(es) out there;
  • Avoid native speakerism, or the belief that any ‘native speaker’ is a priori a better model and a better teacher of the language;
  • Gives students a choice about how and which English they’d like to use in the future;
  • Raises their awareness of the incredible diversity of  different Englishes out there.

This is all well and good in theory, but you might be wondering:

  • how exactly do I go about it?
  • And if I don’t focus on a standard ‘native speaker’ model, which model should I choose to teach pronunciation?
  • How do I help my students be more intelligible?

To answer these questions, I recorded for you this video where I explain how you can teach pronunciation for English as a Lingua Franca use, promoting students’ intelligibility, rather than a particular ‘native speaker’ model.

Would love to hear your thoughts, so let me know in the comments section:

  • how do you choose pronunciation?
  • Which priorities do you set for your students?
  • Which pronunciation model do you use?

Would you like to

Check out my on-line course “The Ultimate Guide to Teaching English as a Lingua Franca”, which was recently nominated for the ELTons award for innovation in Teacher Resources.

What will you during the course?

It consists of 8 modules:

Module 1: What is Native Speakerism

You will learn:

  • to understand the ideology of native speakerism and its effects on ELT
  • how to tackle it through your teaching approach

Module 2: Understanding the Global Spread of English

You will learn:

  • about the incredible diversity of the English language
  • how to promote this diversity in your classes

Module 3: How to Promote an ELF Mindset and Raise Your Students’ Awareness

You will learn: 

  • why its vital to discuss native speakerism and ELF with your students
  • how to do this in class while engaging and motivating your learners

Module 4: How to Teach ELF Communicative Strategies

You will learn:

  • which communicative strategies can facilitate communication in international contexts
  • how to promote them in class

Module 5: How to Teach Intercultural Communicative Skills

You will learn:

  • what intercultural skills involve and why they are vital for successful communication
  • how to help your students develop these

Module 6: How to Teach Pronunciation for ELF Use

You will learn:

  • which pronunciation features you need to focus on extensively in your classes
  • how to really help your students improve their pronunciation quickly

Module 7: How to Teach Listening for ELF Contexts

You will learn:

  • how to select the right recordings for your students
  • how to hep your learners understand a wide variety of accents

Module 8: How to Adapt Your Course Book and Write Your Own Materials

You will learn:

  • how to quickly supplement and adapt your course book
  • how to easily create your own lesson plans and course curricula

Sounds good?

See what other English teachers about this course

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