According to a recent study (Foote at al., 2013) exploring pronunciation teaching practices employed by instructors teaching in an intensive English program in Quebec, Canada, the answer is: most likely no. The findings showed that, not surprisingly, pronunciation received minimal attention in the classroom. When it was addressed, repetition and recasts were the main pedagogical tools. Remarkably, suprasegementals (e.g. rhythm, intonation) were not taught during the classes that were observed. Combining these findings with a survey-based study in which instructors indicated that they did in fact address suprasegmentals in their classrooms (Foote, Holtby, & Derwing, 2011), the authors suggest that "teachers are not focusing on pronunciation as much as they think they are" (Foote at al., 2013, p.11). Consequently, recommendations are made for teacher training to include more pronunciation-specific aspects. My question is: what else can be done to close this gap between teachers' beliefs about their practices and their actual classroom pedagogy? This is of interest to me because it is (although somewhat indirectly) related to my doctoral research. Any suggestions?
Foote, J. A., Trofimovich, P., Collins, L., & Urzúa, F. (2013). Pronunciation teaching practices in communicative second language classes. The Language Learning Journal, 1-16. doi: 10.1080/09571736.2013.784345
Foote, J. A., Holtby, A. K., & Derwing, T. M. (2011). Survey of the teaching pronunciation in adult ESL programs in Canada, 2010. TESL Canada Journal, 29(1), 1-22.
I am a Senior Lecturer in TESOL at the University of Wollongong in Australia. This blog is a reflection of my journey as a researcher, L2 teacher educator, and language teacher.