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An Alternative Way to Provide Pronunciation Feedback in Distance Education

by Yusuf Ozturk | 30 Sep 2021
Resource Description: In distance education, providing on-the-spot corrective feedback on pronunciation can be challenging and not as useful as thought. Letting learners spot their own mistakes and encouraging peer learning can be a real alternative.
Audience: University
Audience Language Proficiency: Intermediate
Teaching Tip:

Corrective feedback is a valuable means of input for second language learners. However, on-the-spot or immediate corrective feedback can be a challenge for both teachers and learners in a course that is taught via distance education. This is particularly challenging for corrective feedback on pronunciation since computer-mediated communication tools may have delays up to one second or even longer and connection quality is not always good, which makes it difficult for students to notice the correction and focus on meaning instead.

In such a context, error-analysis type of activities or letting students play with their own errors can be a useful alternative to help them notice and correct their own mistakes.

During an online class, the teacher does not directly correct pronunciation errors, but takes notes of these errors along with the name of the student who makes that mistake. In the next class, the teacher can make up a short story or paragraph that includes the words that the students mis-pronounced in the previous class. If there are too many mistakes, he/she can choose the common ones or the ones that tend to be fossilized. He/she reads this made-up text with the original mis-pronunciations of the students and asks them to spot any mistakes in the pronunciation. This also allows for peer learning as learners may have made different mistakes. As they spot the mistakes, when necessary, the teacher provides meta-linguistic explanations regarding certain sounds with which learners have difficulty. Following the class, the teacher privately shares the mistakes every student made in the previous class.

This procedure is represented in the uploaded figure. After the activity, the teacher can tell the students that these mistakes actually belong to them and ask them if they remember having made one of those mistakes.

Uploaded Files:
TESOL Interest Section: English as a Foreign Language