As Augustin Simo Bodba states, “The evaluation
of students’ pronunciation is not given the place it deserves in many EFL and ESL classes in Cameroon and probably elsewhere”.
As a group, we do agree that the purpose of testing pronunciation is not only
to evaluate knowledge and award marks, but also, to motivate students to be sensitive to this aspect of English. As future
teachers we think that the first step to succeed in pronunciation is the motivation of our students for learning.
We think that the problem of testing pronunciation
is related with what a teacher wants, for instance, in our country, most of teachers are selfish, this perception is based
on our experiences as students in high school because teachers did not teach us pronunciation, most of them arguing that pronunciation
was not important, in addition, whether pronunciation was important or not they were selfish because they did not share their
knoledge with us.
Miss Vasquez states, “Schools in Chile do not
have the necessary equipment to teach pronunciation, in my case, it is difficult to teach and evaluate pronunciation because
of the location of the school, it is too noisy”. As Miss Vasquez said, most of schools in our country are very poor
and that is the reason why pronunciation is not tested. She compares private education with public education as two opposite
sides because private schools have the advantage that their rooms are very comfortable and have the equipment to teach and
test pronunciation, and public schools do not.
In our country schools improve the quality of education but the outcomes are
only seen in Private schools because the system is different from the public ones. However, we have almost no empirical evidence
on whether public or private systems actually affect school quality. In our research, We figured out that the advanteges and
the enviroment affect the result of students´ comprehention. We could see that sudents, who learn pronunciation in a laboratory,
have a better pronunciation than students who have not had the opportunity to practice in a laboratory.
There many ways of testing pronunciation. As we said
in our video, teachers have several options in order to teach pronunciation. Some of them are Phonetic Transcription, Segments-Matching, Finding an Odd Member, Regrouping, Circling Silent Letters, Stress-Circling,
Underlining the Stressed Syllable, etc. “I suggest that to the usual sections on Grammar and Vocabulary, Reading
Comprehension, Essay, etc., be added a section called Pronunciation, using the hints suggested above.” (Augustin Simo Bobda “Testing Pronunciation” 1993), this is a very important point because not only is English
grammar and vocabulary but also is listening and pronunciation.
teachers do not give pronunciation the place it deserves, this is a terrible mistake,
and moreover the fact that listening is closely related to pronunciation, therefore the mistake becomes even much bigger. As David F. Dalton (Some Techniques for Teaching
Pronunciation) said, “Given this reality, it would seem logical to place a heavy emphasis on listening (reception) as
a way into releasing appropriate pronunciation (production).” He proposed techniques in order to deal with production
and reception errors, one of them is:
Exercise: It involves giving and
carrying out instructions.
Stage 1: Having identified some
problem areas for the class, the teacher makes a list of instructions containing these. Below is such a list.
1. Draw a sheep on the board. (Spanish speakers often
draw a ship).
2. Write the letter "P" above the sheep. (Arabic speakers
often write " B").
3. Use the "P" as the start of the word "pleasant"
and write the word (Japanese speakers often write "present ").
4. Write "light" next to pleasant. (Japanese speakers
often write "right").
5. Draw a mouse next to the word "light". (Spanish
and Japenese speakers often draw a mouth)
6. Draw a pear next to the mouse. (Arabic speakers
often draw a bear)
Other examples can be added.
Stage 2: After presentation and
practice of the problem areas, each student is given a piece of paper with an instruction containing such sounds. The papers
are given so that a student will hear an instruction containing a sound which they have a problem hearing. The instruction
is then whispered in the ear of the receiving student and they carry out what they hear. They sit down and read their instruction
to the next student. This continues until all the instructions have been carried out and there is something resembling a picture
on the board. No comments should be made as the work is in process.
Stage 3: Feedback
There will be reactions
from laughter to dismay as the students see how ther instructions were carried out. The teacher needs to focus the students
on what went wrong. Was the problem production or reception? What did Miko say and what did Joel hear? The dilemma pushes
the students to correct themselves and hear what they are saying. The discussions are often very animated and again the teacher
must arbitrate. The learners also see the real-life consequences of not producing or not hearing appropriate English sounds
as well as getting personal and class feedback on their problem areas. As in exercise A, discussion can take place on strategies
the importance that pronunciation deserves is not only a matter of teachers but also a matter of students. Students need to
realize how important pronunciation is.