Esl Pronunciation Lesson Plans
Lesson One: Differentiating between /r/ and /l/ Target group: This lesson targets students learning English who speak Chinese, Japanese, and Korean as a native language. Additionally, this lesson probably works best as a remedial response to observed difficulties in perception or production of these sounds.
Time: 50 minutes 1. Introduction: This section involves introducing the sounds to the students using learner friendly explanations. In this section, I will also model the sounds for students and play a sound file recording of another speaker producing the sounds.
Here are the explanations I will give for how to produce each sound: /r/ — Point the front of your tongue towards the roof of your mouth. Use your voice. /l/ — Put the front of your tongue against the bump behind your front teeth.
Use your voice and let air pass out of your mouth. ***Commentary: The purpose of this section is to give students several ways to figure out exactly what they should do with their mouths to make the sounds in question since this is the first barrier to proper production.
Students can try to match the description, they can watch me and try to do what I do, or they can try to replicate the sound they hear, depending on what works for them. Hearing the sounds repeated in isolation will also help them hear the sounds in context. 2.
Minimal Pairs and Drilling: In this section, I’ll introduce students to 20 sets of /r/-/l/ minimal pairs in which the target sounds appear in various places in the word. I’ll display these words on the overhead (or whiteboard), and we will drill them as a class (choral drilling). The pairs of words chosen can vary based on the age/level of the students.
Here are some sample pairs: Raw/law Rice/lice Rock/lock Rake/lake Read/lead Rain/lane Wrong/long Ramp/lamp Rather/lather Writer/lighter Free/flee Crown/clown Grammar/glamour Grow/glow Brew/blew Pray/play Fry/fly Grass/glass Brush/blush Arrive/alive Berry/belly Pirate/Pilot Jerry/jelly Correct/collect Boring/bowling Fair/fail Litter/little ***Commentary: Choral drilling lets students practice producing the target sounds in a no-stress/pressure environment. This will also give the students enough familiarity with the words and their sounds that they will be able to complete the next part of the lesson.
. Minimal Pairs Bingo: Give each student a Bingo card (if time permits, students can make their own). Each square of the Bingo card has one word from the minimal pairs sets the class just practiced. Explain the rules of Bingo if necessary. I will read the words at random, and students will mark the word on their card when they hear it. Students who call Bingo must read the words on their card pronouncing the target sounds correctly to claim their prize.
We’ll keep playing until everyone gets a bingo and has some practice pronouncing the words individually. **Commentary: I chose this activity because it’s fun, and it gives students a chance to practice reception and production. Lesson Two: Reduced Vowels Target group: I think this lesson could be used with any group of intermediate ELL students since few languages utilize vowel reduction as often or as extensively as English. I think this would work best as an integrated lesson, and it should be placed after students have discussed stressed and unstressed syllabus in words. Time: 50 minutes 1.
Introduction In this section, I’ll explain the process of English vowel reduction to students.
I’ll probably also give them the following two reasons why it’s important to understand reduced vowels in English: 1) Understanding the process is important to understanding the speech of native speakers, and 2) Reducing vowels is important for any students who desires to sound more like a native speaker. Here’s some of the information I’ll present to students: In English, there are two situations in which a vowel occurs in an unstressed position: 1) when a vowel occurs in an unstressed syllabus in a multisyllabic word, and 2) in unstressed function words such as the following: Articles: the, a/an Prepositions: on, of, at, in, to, for, from
Copula be: am, are Auxiliary verbs: is, was, has, have, can, could, do, will, would, should Pronouns: he, you, his, her, him, them, our, your, that Conjunctions: and, or, as, than Conditionals: if Since this lesson is geared toward more advanced learners, I’ll also want them to be familiar with exceptions to the general vowel reduction rules, so I’ll also explain the following information, as appropriate: Note: These function words have both a stressed citation form (a form with a stressed vowel when the word is spoken alone, out of context) and a reduced form (the version of the word that usually occurs in natural speech).
You might need to use the citation form in the following situations: 1) When you’re placing special emphasis on the function word to convey a particular meaning (You should have listened the first time. ) 2) When signaling a contrast (Give it to him not them. ) ***Commentary: The point of this lesson is to help students understand what native speakers say and to give them some rules that will help them sound like native speakers if they want to.
It will also make their speech easier for native speakers to understand. One thing I’ve noticed about many of the ESL students I’ve worked with, is that they appreciate rules.
This lesson gives them some rules that they can learn and apply to their own speech as appropriate. 2. Written Exercise: In this section, students will have a list of words. They’ll have to mark which syllables would have reduced vowels in natural speech.
Really, any multisyllabic words would for this assignment, so it might be useful here to use words students have been learning or practicing anyway. After completing the written assignment individually, students can check their answers with a partner, and practice saying the words together. 3.
Listening Activity: In this section, students will listen to a recording of a short poem/limerick. I’ll give a printed copy to each student in the class. Then I’ll read the poem also students can hear the rhythm and flow of stressed and unstressed syllables.
Next, I’ll have the class as a whole read the poem together. We’ll form small groups, and have them more the words that contain schwa on their handouts while I read the poem. I’ll repeat the poem a few times until the groups have finished. Then, I’ll have the groups take turns reading the poem to each other. **Commentary: Together, these lessons practice both production and perception. They also have the added benefit of reinforcing new vocabulary and helping students hear how reduced vowels contribute to stress patterns in the language.
Lesson Three: Using Intonation to Express Emotion Target Group: All English language learners will benefit from this lesson, and it will work best as an integrated lesson (or, rather, as one of a series of integrated lessons on intonation). This will be useful to speakers of a variety of native languages, regardless of whether those languages are tone languages or not. . Introduction In this section, I’ll remind students what intonation is and how it affects to way a speaker is understood and sometimes even the meaning that speaker conveys. Students should also know that nonnative speakers are frequently misinterpreted as rude, abrupt, or uninterested solely because of their intonation (or lack of it) since intonation is one of the ways English speakers show respect and attentiveness. Specifically, we will take about the rise/fall patterns that can be used to express four emotions: uncertainty, boredom/disinterest, enthusiasm, surprise/disbelief.
Uncertainty: Since a fall in an intonational phrase indicates certainty or finality, a rise at the end of a phrase indicates uncertainty. Generally, this corresponds with yes/no questions, open-choice alternative questions, and tag questions that indicate uncertainty. Boredom: If a low tone (fall) is used on the final or only prominent syllable of an utterance, the speaker may be expressing disinterest or boredom. Excitement: When a speaker expresses an excited emotion, such as enthusiasm, the range of pitch is expanded and an exaggerated rising intonation is used.
Importantly, the rise occurs in a two-syllable sequence (or all in one syllable if the prominent syllable is the last in a thought group) with the prominent syllable receiving a high or extra high tone and the preceding syllable receiving a low tone.
Surprise: When a speaker expresses surprise or disbelief, an exaggerated rising intonation is gain used. It is important to note that once again the rise occurs in a two-syllable sequence (or all in one syllable if the prominent syllable is the last in a thought group) with the prominent syllable this time receiving the stressed low tone and the following syllable receiving a high tone.
In addition to these descriptions, I can model example sentences with rising and falling lines for students on the board or overhead. It would also be helpful to hear recordings of examples of each kind of sentence. This way I’ve got an explanation for visual learners and auditory learners with a written description to serve as a reference point. Next, I’ll show students how one sentence can be interpreted as a statement of fact, uncertainty, disinterest, enthusiasm, or disbelief depending on context and intonation pattern.
Below is a chart from Teaching Pronunciation: A Course Book and Reference Guide (2nd Edition) which illustrates the point well. ***Commentary: This lesson builds on other intonation lessons that students have had in the past by showing them how intonation patterns can completely change the way a sentence is interpreted. A lack of understanding of intonation is a barrier to communication between native speakers and ELLs. The lesson presents information visually, aurally, and in writing for all varieties of learners. 2.
Listening Exercise: This exercise has two parts.
In the first part, students will listen to a recording of a speaker reading a single sentence as a statement of certainty and expressing each of the four emotions previously discussed. Students will need to match what they hear with the proper intonation of the sentence. In part two, students will listen to a recording of a speaker saying ten different statements. Students will chose either statement, uncertainty, disinterest, enthusiasm, or disbelief to explain how they would interpret what they hear. ***Commentary: This activity practices perception two ways.
In the first, the students get to hear how intonation changes the meaning of a sentence by hearing all the different ways a single sentence can be produced. In the second activity, students aren’t focusing on how intonation changes meaning, they’re using the intonation of a sentence to determine meaning. 3. Production Activity: Students will complete this activity in pairs. One person will act as the speaker, and one will interpret the speaker’s emotions. The speaker will have a list of statements/questions to produce that the interpreter will not be allowed to see.
This list will give the speaker both the statement to say and the emotion that they should try to convey. For example, it might say “Enthusiasm: The children cleaned their room. ” The speaker would need to say the sentence “the children cleaned their room” using an intonation that expressed enthusiasm. The interpreter will have 5 flashcards representing the four emotions the students (one has a surprised face, one has an uncertain face, et cetera) are working on and one that represents a neutral statement of fact (no emotion).
After the speaker produces each statement, the interpreter should hold up the card that reflects the emotion he or she hears.
The goal is for the card the interpreter holds up to match the instructions the speaker was given. After the speaker has read all the statements on his or her list, the students will switch roles and the new speaker will be given a new list of statements and corresponding emotions. ***Commentary: This activity practices both production and perception, and it gives students immediate feedback on whether or not their production is being received the appropriate way.