Journal entry – HMUN and some thoughts on pronunciation

It is customary for Brazilians to say that the year only truly starts in Brazil after our world famous Carnaval. This is a tongue in cheek remark, obviously, but I may just be getting the feeling that my 2011 is still about to begin. I’ve just returned from the US with a group of students…

Why teach pronunciation?

“But, teacher, why do I need to learn those funny symbols? It only makes it a lot more complicated.” This is a question I’ve been asked quite often, and not only by students, but also by teachers. I must say I myself failed to see the purpose of learning the phonemic chart when I was…

World Englishes and standards

The idea of world Englishes, or even Globish, seems to be everywhere I look this past month. Not only was there an article by David Crystal on the Braz-TESOL magazine about world Englishes and the importance of learning a bit more about the variety of English of the country you’re going to visit – vocabulary…

Teaching, recycling, and correcting pronunciation

A lot is said about the importance of recycling in language learning. By that, we mean that it’s important for students to be exposed to what they learned on previous lessons as a way to, for example, allow for faster retrieval from memory. Not only do we talk about multiple encounters with words, expressions, grammar…

Pronunciation, Grammar and Vocabulary

There are three things involved in knowing a language, and these have been called “the ‘what‘” by Penny Ur in her “A course in Language Teaching“. The three ‘whats’ would be pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar. Needless to say, there are lots of things involved in each one of these topics. For instance, when we’re talking…

Linking sounds

I’ve noticed that some of my students, or perhaps most of them, have problems with connected speech. This is true to many different areas, but I realised it’s particularly difficult for them to understand the linking sounds in English. So, this is an activity I used a long time ago to show students such linking…