You can read an account of this event by Louise Guyett below as well as on her blog posts, and on the PronSIG Facebook page.
There was great excitement and buzz around pronunciation at this year’s conference. Apart from our PCE and SIG day, there were many other pronunciation-related talks and workshops to choose from.
It was fantastic to see a growing interest in teaching pronunciation and meeting many teachers who were there to share their tried and tested ideas on integrating pron into their lessons.
Our PCE set the tone for the week with talks from some well-known ELT teachers and writers. Alan Tonkyn discussed the connection between pronunciation and fluency. Our co-ordinator Wayne Rimmer, talked about the need for a pronunciation syllabus to encourage the integration of pronunciation teaching. John Field focused on how teaching phonological features are key in assisting learners with their listening skills. Robin Walker then presented the importance of awakening our learners to the variety of different accents in English to help them survive outside the classroom. Finally, Richard Cauldwell demonstrated how we need to break down messy spontaneous speech to enable our learners to understand better.
Our SIG day brought many other well-known names, including Mark Hancock and Piers Messum , with Richard Cauldwell opening the day for us; but there were many others, just as inspiring, who presented. The day closed with our PronSIG Open Forum that brought about great debate and discussion on why pronunciation teaching is so important, but missing from most classrooms, and more importantly, it sparked ideas on what we can do to encourage teachers to incorporate and integrate pron into their lessons. As Robin Walker said, with the level of enthusisasm and passion for pron that surfaced at the conference, the future of pronunciation is very bright indeed.
Check out some pictures of the event here. Below you will find a great summary by Louise Guyett, which was also published in IATEFL Voices.
Ways of Pronunciation Teaching – Bath 2013 by Louise Guyett, PronSIG Member
What a pronunciation packed day we had on Saturday 28th
On arriving in Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, there was a buzz of excitement in the air in anticipation of the day ahead. We entered the Duncan Room, collected our name tags and went to find a seat. Looking around the room we spotted Adrian Underhill, Ray Parker and Mark Hancock. I have to admit I was a little star struck and I knew that we were in for one incredible day.
First up was Adrian Underhill. Touch base with pron: find the muscles that make the difference was the title of his session, and find the muscles we did! This interactive workshop showed us practical ways to deal with pronunciation issues that arise in our lessons. Adrian demonstrated how we could help our learners to discover the physicality of pronunciation in order to free themselves from their ‘phonetic grip’. The session also allowed us to reconnect with our own muscles and discover new journeys from one sound to another.
We then had a break, which gave us the opportunity to chat to the others around us about the session, have a cup of tea and a few biscuits from the lovely selection available. Next to present was Ray Parker whose theme was “Bringing back” stress-timing. This opened with 3 statements about rhythm in the English language which we had to discuss in small groups. Ray went on to demonstrate how rhythm is a distortion of speech, it can be memorable and enjoyable, but it is not natural. Following this, he showed and discussed different activities and exercises we can use with our learners to make them aware of stress, which helps them improve their productive, but more importantly, their receptive pronunciation skills.
After enjoying some delicious gourmet sandwiches, fresh fruit skewers and a selection of cakes for dessert, it was time for Mark Hancock to take centre stage with his session entitled Pronunciation Play. Mark presented us with a variety of activities, including games, puzzles and rhymes, which focused on both segmental and suprasegmental features of pronunciation. These activities are designed to develop learners’ productive and receptive pronunciation skills. Mark also demonstrated how we could adapt the activities to suit the needs of our own learners.
After one last tea break, the composer Ed Hughes delivered his session on Music and Speech, which presented us with ideas of the cross-over of music and spoken text and how we engage in sung text, like that in songs and operas. Through recordings of his own operas, The Birds and When the Flames Dies, we witnessed how layering music and delivering vocals in a performance or recording can appeal to us in different ways.
The day closed with a Q & A, where we were all invited to ask the panel of experts any questions. This led to some interesting opportunities to discuss some of the issues from the day in more depth.
Overall, it was a very successful day which was beneficial to all teachers of varying experience. It provided a strong foundation for those who were only beginning their pronunciation teaching journey, but also continued to build for those further on in their practice.
Thank you very much to Wayne Rimmer and to Lucy Palmer from Teachitworld for organising this wonderful event. Thank you also to the four guest speakers and their inspiring sessions. And thank you to everyone who came and shared in a powerful day of pronunciation.
Louise Guyett – PronSIG Member