As We Speak (SPLIS)

SPLIS News, Volume 4:1 (March 2007)

by User Not Found | 11/03/2011
In This Issue...
  • Leadership Updates
    • Message from SPLIS Chair Carole Mawson
    • Messages from co-editors Kate Hahn and Paula Baird
  • About This Community
    • The SPLIS Interest Section
  • Articles and Information
    • In Memoriam: Roberta Rettner
    • A Profound Change
    • Preparing for Public Speaking: Activities for English Language Learners
    • Telling “My Own Story”
    • Teaching Hints from SPLIS members
    • Correction from E-newsletter Spring 2006
    • Call for Submission to E-newsletter and Submission Guidelines

Leadership Updates Message from SPLIS Chair Carole Mawson

Dear SPLIS members,

The TESOL Conference in Seattle, Washington, is fast approaching and our interest section has many wonderful presentations, workshops, PCIs, Academic and Intersection sessions, Poster sessions and booth activities planned. If you go to the following webpage: , you will be able to find all the SPLIS sessions, as well as all other sessions. There are 33 discussions and presentations on listening, pronunciation and speech, as well as 13 poster sessions. In addition, of great interest is the Academic session on Computer Technology in Teaching Speaking and Pronunciation on Thursday morning from 8:30-11:15. On Wednesday, March 21, from 2-3:45, the Intersection session, with speakers from ESOL in Elementary Education, CALL and SPLIS, is entitled Fluency Through SIOP, CALL and Readers Theatre. There are many Pre and Post Convention Institutes as well on teaching pronunciation and listening. Our booth should be fabulous this year as Mary Diaz has organized a video loop of innovative teaching techniques which will run throughout the conference. Please visit the booth and/or volunteer to help host it. And finally, remember to attend our Interest Section meeting from 5-7on Wednesday afternoon in the Tampa Convention Center, room 205, to meet our newest board members and your fellow members. I hope to see all of you at TESOL Seattle!
(For those members who are unable to make it to Seattle, we will be letting you know how to get information on the sessions at a later date)

Carole Mawson, SPLIS Chair

Messages from co-editors Kate Hahn and Paula Baird

Kate Hahn, Faculty Development Specialist for ESL, Northeastern University, Chicago, IL,
Paula W. Baird, Assistant Professor, Tunxis Community College, Farmington, CT,


It's hard to believe it is time for the spring edition of As We Speak. Chicago is frozen solid and spring seems so far way. However, TESOL Seattle is right around the corner and before we know it another academic year will be coming to a close.

If you are traveling to Seattle for this year's convention, please think about topics you might want to write about and contribute to the next edition of As We Speak. TESOL is always a good place for inspiration and revitalization of old ideas. Take some notes and think about writing something up! Are you presenting this year? Write up a summary of your work and send it in!

I've been thinking a lot about pronunciation topics lately as my current employment does not allow me to work in the area of speaking, pronunciation, and listening as much as I would like. I am always amazed, though, that when people learn of my background and interest in pronunciation topics the conversation takes a quick and often animated turn. This makes me even more hungry for connections to my colleagues across the world and news about what we are all doing and what we are learning. Share your experience, ideas, and knowledge with our community by submitting something to As We Speak!

Please e-mail Paula Baird or me if you have ideas for or questions about contributing to the newsletter. We are always looking to publish a range of topics and utilize the full spectrum of possibility with our electronic format. Please contact us whenever you get the urge to publish.

Until then, happy and safe travels to those venturing to the convention, happy spring to all!


Kate Hahn


Dear SPLIS Members,

I hope winter is not being too harsh on anyone in the first quarter of the New Year. My condolences to anyone in Western New York State; you have been buried. As the TESOL convention grows near, some of you will be revived by the flood of information and experiences—a result of being among so many professionals in our field of choice. For those of you who do not attend, I hope that the e-newsletter gives you some ideas to think about as you move into spring.

I want to thank the members who have taken time to send articles, ideas, and student essays to share with their peers. I also want to thank our readers. If you—as a reader—like a particular article or have a particular interest in an aspect of SPLIS that you would like to read about in the future, please let one of us (coeditors) know. Hearing from you is always good.

At the same time, if you have a new classroom or pronunciation technique that is working for you, or you are using an older method that is not working for you, or you have a teaching tip, or you are using a new book that you love—think about putting your ideas into writing and sharing them with our membership! The e-newsletter is the perfect forum for short articles on all aspects of what you know and do as a speech, pronunciation, and listening expert.

In any event, have a great semester and spring.



About This Community The SPLIS Interest Section

By Nancy Hilty,

SPLIS-L is the electronic discussion list for the Speech, Pronunciation, and Listening Interest Section of TESOL. Its function is the exchange of information, questions and answers about instructional techniques, learning challenges and successes, as well as research finding related to speech listening and pronunciation. SPLIS-L, along with the SPLIS Newsletter will also provide information about SPLIS-related issues, projects and Interest Section business.

There are 483 members in the discussion group, many of them published authors. The focus is very practical, most often related to teaching issues and questions. No job advertisements or promotion of commercial products are allowed on the list. To join the list, go to the official site of the SPLIS Interest Section: which will direct you to the TESOL site and lead you through subscription to the list. You must be a TESOL member to join the list. Welcome and enjoy participating in SPLIS-L

Nancy Hilty

Articles and Information In Memoriam: Roberta Rettner

Roberta Rettner (Nacmias) was member of SPIS and a friend. She died unexpectedly last fall.

Roberta was the founder and president of American Ways—a New York based institute that had the general purpose of teaching English as a foreign language and a specific focus on teaching foreign executives and officials in U.S. business communication, culture and customs. She was a graduate of New York University and received master's degrees in adult education from Columbia University and in political science from the University of Utah.

Being new to our Interest Section, I met Roberta at the first SPLIS meeting I went to at a TESOL conference about five years ago. We remained in touch through e-mail. We were co-presenters once and made it a point to meet and talk at conferences. I will miss her this year.

Paula Baird
Co-editor of SPLIS
Tunxis Community College
Farmington, CT

A Profound Change

By Kim Le
Submitted by Marsha Chan

When I was 19 years old, my family immigrated to the US as refugees from war torn Viet Nam. Since then, I have changed tremendously, both physically and emotionally. The most profound change for me is my effort to treat people without prejudice and instead judge them for who they are, not what they own or how they look.

When I was six years old, my parents were so poor that they could not afford to raise me, so they sent me to live with my wealthy uncle's family. In return for my room and board, I had to work and was treated as one of their dozen servants. I felt sad, inferior and unprivileged. There was an unwritten rule that having wealth or being born in the right family equated with power, dignity and respect. Other qualities were overshadowed by material possessions. After ten years of hard work, my parents became wealthy, retrieved me, and in turn hired servants to serve us. I remember one young girl my age was sent by her parents to work for my family. We treated her just as my uncle's family had treated me before that. Our innate prejudice drove us to do so even though I had been in her position ten years back.

Twelve years after Viet Nam fell in 1975, my parents fled the country, losing everything they had worked for all their lives. Life had come full circle for us: from poverty to prosperity and again to poverty. Recognizing that our skin color was different, we were destitute and we did not speak much English; our family fully anticipated and expected to be discriminated against. The first American family we came to know were our sponsors, the Warhursts, whom we lived with our first seven months in the U.S. Much to our astonishment and pleasant surprise, this family treated us as equals even though we depended on them for everything, from food to shelter to clothes. They truly judged us by our character and treated us with dignity, compassion and kindness. By doing so, the Warhursts helped us build confidence and belief in ourselves. We thrived despite the obstacles because they gave us their best and brought the best out of us. I began to realize how positive it felt to be treated for whom I was, not what I had. Since then, I diligently treat people the way the Warhursts treated us.

It has not always been easy to avoid prejudging people but I strive to make conscious decisions to evaluate people by their character, integrity, and moral compass, not by a superficial façade. I teach my children to live by this principle. The American people have opened my eyes. I am proud to say that I like this change in me, and I believe I am a better person for it.

Author: Kim Le

Kim Le is a student in class Advance Grammar Review and Editing at Mission College in Santa Clara, CA.

Teacher: Marsha Chan
Mission College: 3000 Mission College Blvd Santa Clara, CA 95054-1897

Marsha Chan is a professor at Mission College in Santa Clara, California. Professor Chan, an author of several ESL text books that address speaking and pronunciation, is also noted for excellence in teaching and for her use of technology to engage the student in the process of learning.


Preparing for Public Speaking: Activities for English Language Learners

I have found the two activities (and variants thereof) outlined below very useful in preparing upper-level English language learners for presenting informative speeches and persuasive speeches, respectively. These activities help familiarize students with the guidelines for presenting effective speeches and, in addition, serve to reduce the level of anxiety that typically precedes public speaking. They are each in-class group activities which can be completed easily in less than two hours. Moreover, students tend to enjoy these activities.

A. Informative Speaking (do prior to the presentation of individual informative speeches by the students)

Instructor: 1. Have the students engage in a brainstorming session with the aim of suggesting general topics for informative speeches. They should keep in mind that the goal of brainstorming is to gather as many ideas as possible. Evaluation of any of the ideas comes later.

2. Write the student-generated suggestions on the board. Most of the time, students can come up with 20 or more. Some of the suggested topics typically include education, politics, health, movies, sports, finance, travel, and food.

3. After the elicitation of a sufficient number of topics, divide the class into groups of five or six students.

4. Ask each group to select one of the general topics on the board and answer (as a group) the following questions:

What is a sample-specific purpose for a speech on this topic?

If the general topic chosen is travel, students might suggest a specific purpose such as: To inform the audience about interesting museums in Europe.

How might you introduce the speech?

For example, the speech could begin with a question (e.g., How many of you enjoy going to museums?). Other methods of introducing a speech are also possible (e.g., a quotation, an interesting statement, a reference to the audience). Class lectures preceding this activity will have familiarized the students with the many ways of introducing a speech.

What pattern of development would you use for the body/development the speech?

It is likely that the students would choose a spatial pattern for this topic. That is, each main point on an outline of the speech would be a different location (e.g., France, Spain, and Italy). Other topics might lend themselves more to a pattern based on time (chronological pattern) or to another natural and logical subdivision of the topic (topical pattern).

What visual aids would you use during the speech?

With the topic selected here, it is likely that pictures/photographs, to the extent that they are available, would be desirable.

5. Give the groups a set time to answer the four questions (approximately 30 minutes). In each group, one student should be chosen as the chair. Instructors can sit briefly with each group during the discussion process, offering guidance as needed, and assessing the communication skills of the group (including pronunciation). Assessment of communication skills need not be addressed immediately, but can serve as the basis for future lessons or individual work with particular students during office hours.

6. At the end of the allotted time, ask the chair of each group to tell the class how his/her group responded to the questions. Feedback about the responses from members of the other groups is likely to lead to a lively and, critically, useful discussion of the dynamics of informative speaking.

B. Persuasive Speaking (do prior to the individual presentation of persuasive speeches by the students)

Instructor: 1. Divide the class into groups of five or six students each, similar to the exercise for informative speaking, and request each group to answer the questions below:

What is a sample specific purpose for a persuasive speech?

In responding to this question, students may select a specific purpose for a speech (solely) to convince (e.g., to persuade the audience that cigarette smoking should be made illegal) or a speech to actuate (e.g., to persuade the audience to do volunteer work in a hospital).

What are the advantages of this proposal?

Regarding the proposal on banning cigarette smoking, the health benefits for smokers and passive smokers would be indicated. Advantages of doing volunteer work in a hospital would include providing friendship to those who might have few, if any, visitors.

Why might some members of the audience be opposed to this proposal (in the case of a speech to convince) or why might people be opposed to, or reluctant to support, the proposal (in the case of a speech to actuate)?

If the topic selected in #1 above is cigarette smoking, students might note, among other issues, that in banning cigarettes, the government is infringing on freedom of choice by individuals.In short, people (aware of the consequences of smoking) should be allowed to make the decision for themselves. If the topic selected in #1 above is doing volunteer work in a hospital, students might note, along with other concerns, that doing volunteer work in a hospital might be depriving people of jobs.

The reason it is important to address why people might be opposed to a particular proposal is that a speaker is unlikely to be effective in persuasion if only advantages of a proposal are considered. Many people will agree with the advantages of a particular proposal, and yet not support it because they believe the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. An effective persuasive speaker will show either that there are no disadvantages or that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

How might you introduce this speech?

Either one of the topics listed above could be introduced with a question.
Two possible questions are below:

  • How many of you know someone who is a cigarette smoker?
  • How many of you have ever visited friends or relatives in the hospital?

    Of course, a quotation, personal story, or other devices can be used.

2. Once the groups have had sufficient time to answer the questions, follow the procedure above for informative speaking for class discussion of the questions related to persuasive speaking. Instructors might consider allowing a little more time for the groups to work on the persuasive speaking questions as the task is a bit more demanding.

The students should complete either of the activities discussed above in class without the benefit of researching a given topic. Nevertheless, if students have a general understanding of informative and persuasive speaking, they can answer the above questions reasonably well and can, in addition, can begin to fine-tune their skills as public speakers. Instructors who teach a speech course (or a course with a major speech component) that includes public speaking might want to consider incorporating these activities. Again, I have found that students benefited from them, enjoying themselves in the process as well.

By Martin R. Gitterman
Lehman College and The Graduate Center, CUNY

Telling “My Own Story”

With this handout, I ask the learners to write little bits, over time, about "their stories." They can write in their native language or English, so that the other learners and I can know something about each one, and for conversation and class practice material. This task can be used in class or integrated into a language learning Journal.

Directions and questions are first in English and then in Spanish.

Tell us about yourself with "MY STORY" (your story) so the teacher and students can know you better.

Others are interested in your story. Below are suggestions for telling your story to help others to know you better. Answer only what you want to now. And you can keep adding to your story over time. Not answering any part, or all of it, is okay too.

  • Who lives in your home - Husband, daughters, sons, other relatives and non relatives?
  • What are ages and school grades of daughters? Of sons?
  • What work do the adults do? If they don't work outside the home, what do they do?
  • What pets do you have? Tell us a little about them.
  • What are your interests, hobbies? What do you like to do for fun?
  • What are your favorite foods to eat? To cook?
  • What music do you like to listen to? To play?
  • What dances do you like to watch? To do?
  • What do you like to read about in books, magazines, newspapers or other things?
  • What TV and movies do you like to watch?
  • Tell us about your family outside of your home, your parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, others.
  • How long have you lived in Oakland and where did you live before?
  • Where did you live before you came to the USA? What did you do there?
  • Tell us about your life as a child.
  • Tell us any short stories about yourself.
  • Tell us anything else you want to say or you want us to know.

Díganos sobre se con "MI HISTORIA" (su historia) así que el profesor y los estudiantes pueden conocerle mejor.

otros están interesados en su historia abajo son sugerencias para contar su historia ayudar a otras para conocerle mejor. Respuesta solamente qué usted desea a ahora. Y usted puede guardar el agregar a su historia más adelante. No contestando a cualquier parte, o a toda la ella, es aceptable también.

  • ¿quién vive en su hogar - marido, hijas, hijos, otros parientes y no parientes?
  • ¿cuáles son edades y grados de la escuela de hijas? ¿De hijos?
  • ¿qué trabajo hace los adultos ? ¿Si no trabajan fuera del hogar, qué hacen?
  • ¿qué animales domésticos usted tienen? Díganos un poco sobre ellos.
  • ¿cuáles son sus intereses, manías? ¿Qué usted tiene gusto de hacer para la diversión?
  • ¿cuáles son sus alimentos preferidos a comer? ¿A cocinar?
  • ¿qué música hace usted tiene gusto de escuchar? ¿A juego?
  • ¿qué danzas le hacen tienen gusto de mirar? ¿A hacer?
  • ¿qué hacen usted tiene gusto de leer alrededor en libros, compartimientos, periódicos o otras cosas?
  • ¿qué TV y películas hacen usted tiene gusto de mirar?
  • díganos sobre su familia fuera de su hogar, sus padres, hermanos, hermanas, abuelos, tías, tíos, primos, en-leyes, otras.
  • ¿cuanto tiempo tenga usted vivió en Oakland y dónde usted vivo antes?
  • ¿donde lo hizo usted vivo antes de que usted viniera a los E.E.U.U.? ¿Qué usted hizo allí?
  • ¿díganos sobre su vida como niño?
  • ¿cuéntenos cualquier historia corta sobre se.
  • ¿díganos que cualquier cosa que usted desea decir

Copyright @ 2007 by Joel Brodsky

Teaching Hints from SPLIS members

Teaching Hints: Theory and Practice

1. Lots of spontaneous conversation with native speakers, outside of class, is
the fastest way to develop new language speaking skills. The learners must
develop listener-friendly pronunciation so that the native speakers will
want to continue speaking with them.

2. Auditory perception develops before, and then monitors pronunciation. "Ya
gotta hear it right before ya can pronounce it right." To learn to hear the
sounds and the "music" of the new language the learners' auditory nerves
must be stimulated with massive repetitions of the new sound patterns that
they don't already have in their first language. Only then can they can
speak with listener-friendly pronunciation.

3. Only with massive repetitious stimulations (same sentence 30 or 50 or 100 times) do the neural outreaches and connections become stronger, longer lasting, more complex, and eventually, habituated long-lasting memory. Only then can the learners hear the new
sound patterns and produce them with the necessary listener-friendly pronunciation.

4. With massive choral repetition, the learners hear the new
English sounds from my voice, from their own voice and from the other
learners, and thus receive greater amounts and variety of auditory

5. I know that speaking with native speakers outside of class is often
difficult, stressful and scary for learners. I do everything that I can to
help them improve their listener-friendly pronunciation, express delight in
their successes and increase their confidence and courage for speaking with
native speakers.

6. Motivating learners to speak English outside of class continues to be my BIG
teaching challenge. I heartily welcome any help on how to be more skilled
and successful with this.

copyright 2007 by Joel Brodsky

Correction from E-newsletter Spring 2006

Gitterman correction ---

chart in Spring 2006 had wrong headers

place of articulation -------------------------- manner of articulation

Call for Submission to E-newsletter and Submission Guidelines


The SPLIS e-newsletter, As We Speak, is soliciting articles on any of the various aspects of teaching and tutoring pronunciation, oral skills, and listening that apply to and/or focus on ESL/EFL pedagogy, second language acquisition, accent addition/reduction, assessment of those skills, and other related research. We also solicit book reviews for both classroom and methodology texts. Sharing teaching tips, tutoring tips and classroom strategies are also acceptable submissions.


Articles should have the following characteristics:

  • Be no longer than 2,500 words
  • Include a 50-word (500 characters of less) abstract
  • Contain no more than five citations
  • Follow the style guidelines in Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Fifth Edition (APA)
  • Be in MS Word or ASCII format
  • Follow accepted conventions for on-line publishing (hand out available upon request)

Publication schedule: As We Speak will be published two times per year: November 1
and April 15.

  • Submission deadline for November issue is September 20
  • Submission deadline for April issue is March 1
  • Note: You may contact the editors at any time to discuss possible submissions.