TEFL course classroom tips. The TEFL Centre Malaga. Drilling 5: Tricky words.

TEFL course classroom tips. The TEFL Centre Malaga. Drilling 5: Tricky words.

As mentioned in the previous article, TEFL teachers sometimes come up against the problem of students that find it difficult to reproduce the sounds modelled by the teacher, usually because they are either non existent in their mother language or as best very rare. It is not only individual sounds, but also clusters of syllables or consonants that can cause difficulties.

‘Back chaining’ is one way to overcome the problem. It consists of the teacher modelling the target word or sentence starting at the end and working backwards. As an example, take the word ‘crisps’. Spanish speakers find it difficult to include the first ‘s’, pronouncing the word as ‘crips’. Back chaining would be as follows:

Teacher: s                   (Student repeats)

Teacher: ps                 (Student repeats)

Teacher: sps                (Student repeats) This is the challenging element, so it should be modelled and repeated quite e few times before moving on.

Teacher: ɪsps               (Student repeats)

Teacher: rɪsps             (Student repeats)

Teacher: krɪsps           (Student repeats)

It is surprising how effective the method is at enabling an English language student to pronounce something that was previously impossible for them! It works because it puts the new element first, removing the precursor sound that usually triggers the incorrect pronunciation.

Finally, note that whole sentences can be treated in this way too.


Posted on June 17th, 2017


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