Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Correcting ESL Beginners’ Pronunciation

As a private ESL tutor, I have the opportunity to give a lot of feedback to my ESL students. Feedback is one of the things students appreciate about private tutoring.

Many of my advanced students have some serious pronunciation problems, although their grammar and other English skills are very good. Many advanced students also specifically want to work on their pronunciation and accent reduction. Teachers in the past haven’t spent much time correcting these problems and my advanced students are now dealing with this issue.

As an ESL teacher, I’m sometimes in a difficult situation with beginning ESL students. It’s often very challenging for students to have the self-confidence to speak when they are just starting to learn English. Constant correction tends to paralyze students. They tend to be afraid to speak because they are afraid of the errors they will make in grammar and pronunciation.

I find that I have to reach a balance of which corrections to make and what feedback to give to my students. I tend to not make too many pronunciation corrections unless I absolutely cannot understand the word. With some issues, such as pronunciation of the past tense, I will spend specific time working on correct (or better) pronunciation.


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