Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tired of being stressed, are we? How about some intonation then?

We started with review. The students did not have as much difficulty with this review quiz as they had last week. I collected it, and then handed out the sentence stress handout. I told them this time to use the same size dots for the stressed words to simply it for them. I thought that using different size dots may be more confusing and since I just wanted to focus on the stress, I thought it would be better to go with something simpler after all. I gave them enough time to work on it in pairs and then I read the questions aloud. I also told them to think about what the important words were. I then had them come up again to the board to write in the stress. Finally, I had them repeat after me before having them repeat after one another in pairs. I told them that next class we would focus on blending sounds.

Next, I dictated many questions, the most so far, and I played the CD twice. I then had them repeat after me instead of the CD.

After that, I gave them a crossword to practice some vocabulary necessary for shopping. This activity was more for fun than for actual educational purposes because although the students had some difficulty, the vocabulary itself was not so difficult for them. By the time we finished this activity, we did not have enough time to go further in the book, so I stopped there and told them what to review for the test next week.

I think overall this class went well, but I think that the pronunciation activity may be taking too much of the class time. However, next class we will be looking at blended sounds (I have to look up what it’s actually called because I am fairly sure there is a name for it), and I don’t think this will take as long as the sentence stress. I will also have to refigure the pronunciation component of the course because I had been considering continuing the sentence stress for one or two classes more and then moving on to intonation, but I think the way I am going is that I will look at blended sounds and maybe focus on that for one or two classes and then maybe look at contrastive stress, and finally, focus the rest of the semester on intonation. Honestly, now that I think about it, this semester’s pronunciation component has been greatly influenced by Cambridge University Press’s Teaching Pronunciation. I just realized that the order in which I am introducing things is quite similar to how it is outlined in that book, but simplified of course. It’s interesting, but I think I really find sentence stress and intonation well, interesting. I think it may be because it is still quite challenging for me, but more than other EFL subjects, I think I could spend hours practicing and thinking about this and not get tired of it.

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