Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Graduation Thesis ★ June 6

There were some English songs in New Horizon!!

We can approach pronunciation through music. There are obvious parallels between music and lauguage: both use rhythm and pitch changes to express meaning.

Music plays with sounds to produce pleasure, helps to overcome self-consciousnss, and can activate other abilities which can in turn consciousness, and can activate other abilities which can in turn help to activate liguistic capacity.

We need to choose music our students will respond to easily for a start, expanding our selection as we go, catering for all our students and opening up their sonic world and their minds.

Graduation Thesis ★ June

How much pronunciation work should we do?

Pronunciation should always be at the back of our mind. Be ready to steer our leanrers when necessary, and weave the activities into the fabric of our lessons. Many of the actvities will only take 5-10 minutes. It is important that we do not allow mistakes to become fossilized with beginners, but correcting too much and too overtly is counter-productive.

pronunciation is not something the teacher can instil in learners; it is something the learners assimilate for themselves. As a teacher we are the initiator, but respect our learners' choices and encourage them to have a personal agenda for development and to express their feelings. Develop their autonomy by suggesting they can and should work on their own, at home and in the wider world. Finally, welcome initiative and listen carefully to any ideas they may have about their progress.

Even if we have too little time to do pronunciation exercises using Sound Box, consider that most of the activities are short and can be integrated with other work in class. Most of them are simple and fun. We will probably find that 10 minutes spent on one of these at the begining of or during a lesson will not only result in a great improvement in our learners' pronunciation, but willalso have a positive effect on their attitude to the language and how they relate to the group.

Graduation Thesis ★ June 6

What makes learners believe they will not be able to pronunce English well?

People from some language backgrounds think it is unimaginable for people from their culture to pronunce English well, and this is often reinforced by prejudices and streotypes. Atually I had a streotype that Japanese cannot achieve good English pronunciation compared with Scandinavian and Dutch people. The differences that contrastive studies bring to light between the mother tongue and English will only reinforce this conviction , even in teachers. This can adversely affect divelopment of learners from these countries, even if they come acoss people who provide the contrary. Though there may be some apparently objective reasons for the learners' problems, they don't provide sufficient explanation for the lack of success. Near-similarity can be just as much a problem as great differences. In the end, the most important single factor is the leanrers themselves.

Another common belief, which is sometimes presented as an axiom of psychology, is that after certain age good ponunciatioon of a foreigh language can no longer be achieved. Even junior high school students they sometimes seem to give up to have good speaking skill and pronunciation of English since they started learning English from junior high school and only hope to be able to survive in English tests for entrance examinations. Whatever truth there may be in this, it is also true that many people who start learning a foreigh language after elementary school manage to achieve execellent pronunciation . The problems of those who appear to be incapable of doing so may simply be due to the self-consciousness that comes with ages and not to age itself.

Also junior high school students seems to feel rediculous producing `strange` sounds, or they may feel they look awful. This inhibits them; they avoid speaking and cannot develop a frame of mind that allows them to use their full potential. As the years go by they become convinced that for them `English is simply impossible to pronunce`.

So teachers neet to be up against, prejudice, myth, and belief that all efforts will be hopeless. All these - and there are can be as many different and compounded problems as there are learners - need to be tackled in order to help learners with pronunciation.

Laroy, C. (1995). Pronunciation. Oxford English

Graduation Thesis ★ June 6

Why do we need to teach pronunciaiton?

Almost all English laguage teachers get students to study grammar and vocabulary, practise functional dialogues, take part in productive skills, and become competent in listening and reading. Yet some of the same teachers make little attempt teach pronunciation in any overt way and only give attention to it in passing. It is possible that they are nervous of dealing with sounds and intonation; perhaps they feel they have too much to do already and pronunciation teaching will only make things worse. They may claim that even without a formal pronunciation syllabbus, and without specific pronunciation teaching, many students seem to acquire serviceable ponunciatin in the course of their studies.

However, the fact that some students are able to acquire resonable pronunciation without overt pronunciation teaching should not blind us to the benefit of a focus on pronunciation in our lessons. Pronunciation teaching not only makes students awere of different sounds and sound features, but can also improve their speaking immeasurably. Concentrating on sounds, showing where where they are made in the mouth, making students aware of where wods should be stresses - all these things give them extra information about spoken English and help them achieve the goal of improved comprehension and intelligibility.

In some particular cases pronunciation help allows students get over serious intelligibility problems. I had taken English courses called English as a second language in the United States and the professor was able to help Cantonese, Korean, Japanese speakers of English achieve considerably greater intelligibility by working on our point of articulation. With other language groups it maybe a problem of the degree to whichspeakers do or do not open their mouths. Other language groups may have trouble with intonation o stress patterns in phrases and sentenses, and there are many individual sounds wchich cause diffeiculty for different first language speakers.

For all peaple, being made aware of pronunciation issues will be of immense benefit not only to their own production, but also to their own understanding of spoken English. Of course for Japanese junior high school English learners teaching pronunciation is very beneficial.

Harmer, J. (2004). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Longman.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Graduation Thesis ☆ May 30

What results do I expect???

Teachers may not teach Sound Box.
I think some of the English teachers don't teach pronunciation using Sound Box. When I did student teaching I skipped teaching Sound Box as well since I didnt have enough time to teach it. Also, I felt teaching Sound Bow was a little bit difficult since I didnt have confident in my ability of pronunciation.

Students may hesitate to read the sentences like native speakers.
When I teach English at cram school, a lot of students hesitate to pronunce English like native speakers. I think some of them are too shy to speak English like English. I think they might do well for intonation, linking, and pause, but I think it might be hard for them to pronunce "r", "th", and "v" correctly.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Graduation Thesis ★ May 30

My methodology for the research.

I'm going to evaluate the pronunciation sections using my rubric.
Also I'm going to give a small reading text to students and see how they pronunce the sentences and how they mastered Sound Box.

[Reading Test]
I want to give a reading test to 10 9th grade students I teach English at the cram school from different junior high school.

1) Check Point
Segmental phoneme
Accent, Stress, Rhythm

2) Examples of the reading test

A: Which do you like better, vegetables or meat ?
B: I like vegetables. How about you?
A: Me, too. I eat a lot of vegetables. Can you eat tomatos? I want to make a tomato cake to welcome you to our house.
B: That's great. Thank you.

Linking: about you [NH2SB3], lot of[NH2SB1], can you[NH2SB1]
accent, stress, rhythm: 質問内容に対する答えの強調 [NH2SB2],
Intonation: 疑問文の音調(A or B?) [NH1SB3], 疑問文の音調[NH1SB1]
Pause: コンマ前の区切り、不定詞の副詞用法の前での区切り[NH2SB4]
segmental phoneme: "v, th, r"の発音[NH2SB5], "tomato, cake"の発音

3) questionnaire
- When did you start learning English?
- Do you go to English Conversation school?
- Does your school English teacher teach Sound Box?
- Do you like learning English?
- Do you want to speak English like native speakers?
- How do you practice pronunciation at school?
- How do you practice pronunciation at home? ... etc

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Graduation Thesis ★ May 9

My Rubric
1) Segmental phoneme
2) Linking
3) Accent, Stress, Rhythm
4) Intonation
5) Pause

I decided to use these rubrics to evaluate Sound Box. Because I read a couple books and every book mentioned almost the same areas of pronunciation.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Graduation Thesis ★ May 9, 2007

What are different areas of pronunciaton?

・ 現代の標準的な発音(segmental phoneme)
・ 語と語の連結による音の変化(linking, Assimilation, Elision, weakening)
・ 語、句、文における基本的な強勢(accent, stress, rhythm)
・ 文における基本的なイントネーション(inotnation)
・ 文における基本的な区切り(pause)

渡辺和幸(1994). 英語のリズム・イントネーション指導. 大修館書店
・ 文の区切り方(pause)
・ 語、句の強勢(accent)
・ 文強勢とノーマル・ストレス(stress)
・ 強勢移動と音声変化(stress, linking)
・ リズムとイントネーション(rhythm, intonation)

畑中 考實・久松 豊(1997). 最新英語教育法. 成美堂
・ 個々の音の正確な発音に慣れること
・ 機能語の弱形に慣れる
・ 内容語の弱形節
・ 同化作用
・ 無声化と有声化
・ Stress, rhytm, intonation

Hewing, M.(2004) Pronunciation Practice Activities. Cambridge
Higher priority features of proninciation to teach
・ Consonants 
・ Consonant clusters
・ Vowel length (ex. tins, teens)
・ Word Stress (ex. BABYsit, babySIT)
・ Tonic words (ex. A: Was it expensive? B: QUITE expensive.)
Lower Priority features of pronunciation teach
・ The exacy shape of vowels
・ Weak and strong forms
・ Using features of connected speech
・ Tones
・ The overall pitch of the voice

岡秀夫・赤池秀代・酒井志延(2004). A Manual for Improving the Teaching Ability of English Teachers. 大修館書店
・単音: 母音、子音、子音の連続
・音声変化: 連続(Linking)、同化(Assimilation)、脱落(elision)、弱化(weakening)
・プロソディー: 文強勢、リズム、イントネーション

Graduation Thesis ★ May 9, 2007

Linking リンキング
NH1SB5(p97): get up, did you, went to, at two
NH2SB1(p9): gave it, lot of, can you, get it
NH2SB3(p27): want to, use it, could you, read it, about you
NH3SB3(p25): don't you, could you, did you

Pause 区切り
NH2SB4(p45): 接続詞の前、副詞句後
NH3SB2(p17): 不定詞の副詞的用法前、従属節(コンマ)後、接続詞の前

Graduation Thesis ★ May 9, 2007

New Horizon 1 's Sound Box
SB1(p31): 疑問文の音調(be動詞&一般動詞の疑問文)
SB2(p55): 疑問文の音調(疑問詞で始まる疑問文)
SB3(p71): 疑問文の音調 (A or B?)
SB4(p89): 文における強勢 リズム
SB5(p97): リンキング

※その他、New Horizon1でのみ、基本練習の項目で●印で強勢を表している。

New Horizon 2's Sound Box
SB1(p9): リンキング
SB2(p17): 文における強勢 
SB3(p27): リンキング
SB4(p45): 文の区切り
SB5(p55): Tongue Twister/ f&v, s&-, t&-
SB6(p63): 母音の発音???
SB7(p81): 音調???

New Horizon3's Sound Box
SB1(p9): 文における強勢 リズム
SB2(p17): 文の区切り
SB3(p25): リンキング
SB4(p45): 台詞文後の音調
SB5(p55): 聞き返す際の音調
SB6(p63): thatの発音???

What I found out...
- In 7th grade New Horizon they don't use IPA. They only use IPA in the end of the book.
- They don't teach how to pronunce "r" and "l".
- They changed how to teach rhythm from "ター" to "●".
- I thought they should teach the difference between denizen and English. (ex. ボタン vs. button)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Graduation Thesis ★ May 6

1) My central question
"Which areas of pronunciation does the New Horizon Sound Box cover and what implications does this have for students' pronunciation development?"

2) Summary of the article I found this week
I found a really useful article called "発音教育をめぐる教育環境 -入門期の発音指導の現状" by 山本久仁子.
She investigated how the English textbooks (New Horizon, Total English, and One World English Course) of 7th grade deal with pronunciation and analyzed with 5 areas of pronunciation(Segmental Phoneme, Accent, Intonation, Pause, and Linking). She found that every textbook teaches the phoneme of each words well, but she figured that the teaching of suprasegmental phoneme is not enough for the English to communicate with foreign people. Each textbook have different approaches to teach intonation and stress, and especially New Horizon is making a new attack on the teaching the pronunciation.

3) How does this article relate to my thesis?
I want to investigate only about New Horizon becasue it is one of the most widely used textbook in Japan(it has a circulation of 2,000,000 in 1998). Also I want to analyze not only 7th grade but also 8th&9th grade textbooks to know how it teaches different areas of pronunciation in each grades. I still don't know how many areas of pronunciation I am going to use to analyze but I am sure the way she analyzed the textbooks will help my analysis.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Graduation Paper ☆ April23, 2007

How can we improve students' English pronunciation?
How can we motivate students to improve their pronunciation?
What kind of activities are effective to improve students' pronunciation?