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Teaching speech

PostPosted: 23 Sep 2019 12:27
by Richard
From the film, The King's Speech, in the video about the exercises ( starting at 2 minutes), do any of these exercises have a place in the normal ELT classroom? Might you use any, and, if so, which ones and why?

Re: Teaching speech

PostPosted: 26 Sep 2019 06:32
by stevelouw
The speech therapist (I guess) in this video is trying to work on the problem of stammering and has a pretty interesting range of ways he attacks the issue. From the perspective of an ESL teacher, I see some connections with teaching pronunciation, and for this some techniques may work - not all of them: having students rolling around on the floor while vocalising specific phonemes may cause lead to complaints from mothers who have to do the laundry, and might create classroom management problems of epic proportions with the wrong sort of class.

I find the question of how much attention to give to pronunciation in class quite tricky - as a teacher I find working on pronunciation frustrating and I believe it can be embarrassing for students. In the clip, the jaw loosening vowel warble strikes me as about embarrassing as the common 'stick your tongue out of your mouth to make a 'th'' routine. I have a meme for this, I'll try to stick it in here if I can figure out how.

Nevertheless, many learners seem to like a focus on pronunciation, or at least feel it's important for their mastery of English. Some of the techniques we see here could work nicely in an ESL class. Drilling of specific words ('father') isn't fun but maybe useful. Tongue twisters are fun ('I'm a thistle sifter'), but not necessarily very useful. Repeating CV sounds ('ga ga ga') is probably really useful if it can be alternated with a minimal pair (something like 'ga ge ga ge') for those sounds that are difficult for the students to hear or which are missing in their own language. I found this useful as a learner of Thai, to help with identifying the two different Thai 'o' sounds ('som' (orange) and 'som' (repair)) that are allophones in English.