Cameron is from London, UK, and attended the four-week in-class course in Buenos Aires because he wanted to get out of his comfort zone. He is also passionate about helping others and teaching English abroad seemed to be the perfect fit for him. In his TEFL review he speaks about his experience at our in-class center in Argentina. He gained valuable teaching experience with children and adults and is excited to put
Below you can read feedback from an ITTT graduate regarding one section of their online TEFL certification course. Each of our online courses is broken down into concise units that focus on specific areas of English language teaching. This convenient, highly structured design means that you can quickly get to grips with each section before moving onto the next.
Unit 13 involves teaching pronunciation and principles of phonology as summarized below. Phonology is the study, science, analysis and classification of the physical properties of sounds and increasingly means the whole sound system. Unit 13 covers stress, rhythm and intonation.
Intonation refers to the variation in volume and pitch in a whole sentence and carries the message of the sentence. Intonation has various patterns:
? Rise/ fall intonation such as I haven?t seen him for a week with the pitch rising until ?him? and fall to normal where speaking started or lower. Falling intonation such as I?ll see you at six, then indicate completion of speak and inviting feedback. Intonation falls when finished speaking.
? Fall/rise intonation such as Hi, How are you doing? Good morning! These may indicate surprise, disagreement or frequently the speaker want a response but may indicate speaker is not finished talking.
? Level intonation, flat, such as carry on, don?t stop or I understand, which often indicate the speaker does not really have that much to say and perhaps does not want to communicate.
Intonation serve as predictors of the nature of forthcoming information with an example given of reading results to hear how the newsreader sounds, always pausing between each club and the number of goals scored.
There are techniques to indicate and teach intonation. These techniques include nonsense words, by gesture, humming or singing or on the board with arrows and direction pointers.
Stress, the next topic in the unit, is the strong part of the word or bears the principle emphasis in the sentence. There are two basic rules to follow. First, one word has only one stress and cannot have two unless secondary. Next, one can only stress syllables not individual vowels or consonants.
There are broad rules on stress below but many exceptions. Most 2 syllable nouns and adjectives stress first syllable. China, slender. Most 2 syllable verbs stress the last syllable. Create, decide. Words ending in ?in?, ?sion? and ?tion? stress the penultimate syllable. Jurassic, pathetic, competition. Words ending in ?cy?, ?ty? ?phy? and ?gy?, ?ive? and ?al? stress the ante-penultimate syllable (third from end). Democracy, indicative, critical. Compound nouns stress the first part. Blackbird. Compound adjectives and compound verbs stress the second part. Understand.
More syllables in normal speech lack stress. The common rule is that only vital syllables in the words conveying essential information are stressed. Auxiliary verbs, articles, prepositions and pronouns are commonly not stressed.
There are techniques to indicate and teach stress as outlined below.
Contrastive stress involves enabling a student to more readily perceive a sound voiced by placing it alongside a sound unvoiced to show the contrast. A rising question tone is easier to recognize when it is heard immediately before or after a falling tone. Teachers can say it correctly, then stress a different syllable but remembering to make sure to say it correctly again to ensure student knows appropriate stress.
Other methods include by gesture, choral work and on the board with underline, boxes and stress marks.
There are 4 major ways that sounds join in English ? linking, sound dropping, sound changing and extra lettering. Meaning often gleaned from context.
Linked speech involves the difference between how English sounds and how it is written. A dictionary can be helpful to assist students on how to pronounce new words. Dictionary entries may include the international phonemic alphabet. The alphabet focus on sounds to form the phonetic spelling. The language contains 15 voiced consonants, 8 unvoiced consonants, 11 vowels and 7 diphthongs. Voiced and unvoiced consonants are best heard by putting your hand to your throat and saying ?bat? and ?pat?. The ?b? vibrates as voiced and the ?p? does not as unvoiced. This tool is useful for students.
The unit then turns to Articulation.
Articulation involves the vocal organs and others including tongue, larynx, glottis and mouth areas of the alveolar ridge, hard palate and soft palate.
The places of articulation occur as follows:
? Soft palate or velum when the back of the tongue is raised and strikes the velum producing velar consonants like /k/ and /g/.
? Palatal when the central part of your tongue comes in close contact with the central part of the roof of your mouth such as /j/.
? Palatal-alveolar where the tip of the tongue should be between the alveolar ridge and the palate with a final ?sh? type sound.
? Alveolar where the front or tip of the tongue is raised toward the alveolar ridge such as /t/.
? Dental ? two sounds ?th? voiceless and voiced.
? Labio-dental where two consonants are pronounced by having the top teeth come in contact with the lower lips such as /f/ or /v/.
? Bilabial ? means sounds made by putting two lips together such as /p/, /b/, /m/ and /v/.
? Glottal ?Uh Oh? where air is restricted in the glottis ? single sound.
The manner of articulation refers to the differences in identification of sounds.
?Plosive? refers to sounds where the air is completely blocked before release in an explosive manner.
?Fricative?, 9 total, where an obstruction is made but the air is still forced through a small space such as /f/, /v/, /sh/ and s.
Nasal where produced by making an obstacle in the mouth and lowering the soft palate so that air can only escape through the nasal cavity such as /m/ and /n/.
Lateral consonants where produced with the air escaping on the side of the tongue rather than on the front.
Affricate refers to the succession of a plosive by the corresponding fricative or a plosive with constrictive release such as /tf/ in church or dg in judge.
Approximant where a sound is produced by narrowing (but not blocking) the vocal tract by placing the tongue near another part of the vocal tract.
The most import manners of articulation are plosives, fricatives, affricates and nasals.
The techniques to teach the pronunciation of individual sounds include peer dictation where students read and speak words or sentences for a partner to write down, your own mouth and visuals, phonemes or symbols for sounds can be introduced on problem areas and tongue twisters.
Teachers must decide when to teach pronunciation but examples include whole lesson, lesson slots and as and when required.
Unit 13 was new to be and will require review and study to apply in future lessons.