Saturday, September 09, 2006

Teaching Pronunciation (16)


The easiest way for students to practice stress and intonation is by repetition. Prepare sets of sentences with contrasting intonations and give them to the students to practice. You should identify such sentences, wherever possible, from within the lesson.

Give a good model of the sentence. Say it at normal speed, making a clear difference between stressed and unstressed syllables, and using natural intonation. Indicate the stress and intonation clearly, using gestures.

Say the sentence in sections, starting with the end of the sentence and gradually working backwards to the beginning. For example, living here/been living here/have you been living here?, etc. Ask groups of students to repeat the whole sentence, then individual students should be asked to repeat the whole sentence. You should watch carefully whether the students pay attention to stress and intonation when they repeat the sentence (Doff 1988).

As a teacher of TESOL, you need to do more homework when you wish to teach stress and intonation. Before you begin giving the practice, practice saying the sentences yourself. Mark the stressed syllables. Mark places where you could divide the sentences for working backward. Mark rising or falling intonation (Doff 1988).


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