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UNIVERSIDAD PEDAGÓGICA NACIONAL
Facultad de Humanidades
Departamento de Lenguas

Maestría en Enseñanza de Lenguas Extranjeras
Seminario de Teoría y Construcción Lingüística II
Unidad de Expresión Oral en Lengua Extranjera
Docente: Ana María Valenzuela

Elaborado por: Claudia Cuevas Jiménez, Andrés Leal y Gudrun Kern

Didactic Unit: Phonetics - homophones, homographs, and minimal pairsJUSTIFICATION

Communication is one of the basic human needs, and it is a matter of human development in a world where it is a must to be updated with information and the variety of cultures. We can communicate in many different ways, but what we most commonly use is speech.
When we communicate in a foreign language, this language should be pronounced as correctly and as close to nativespeakers as possible. In order to achieve this, and to avoid misunderstandings, a didactic unit about phonetics can be of great help.

This didactic unit is addressed to intermediate level students whose priority is not English but a different career. This explains why many of them are not very interested or motivated to learn English, so that the classes have to be quite dynamic. Our proposal forthis class is to work specific aspects of Phonetics (homophones, homographs, and minimal pairs) and by the way show them that Phonetics not necessarily has to be a boring topic.

Prior to the elaboration of this didactic unit we made a survey on the pronunciation of English in order to identify the needs and difficulties of the students. The purpose is to correspond to their needs of improvingthe pronunciation of certain phonetic features, in this case homophones, homographs, and minimal pairs, to avoid misunderstandings when talking to English-speaking people.

METHODOLOGY

From the four skills that are used when learning a second language (reading, writing, speaking, listening) we will prioritize the last two, speaking and listening.
This didactic unit consists of three lessons;each lesson is calculated for one class and includes three parts: introduction, practice, and production.
Some parts of this didactic unit are teacher-based, where the teacher’s role is to guide and support the students. Other parts consist of group work among the students, and there are other parts where their role is active and participative not in a small group but within the whole class.Taking into account the importance of correct communication, we follow a communicative approach whenever possible. This means that we try to foster students’ participation not only with regard to correct pronunciation but also by eliciting examples from their personal experiences and by giving them the opportunity to talk to their fellow students in small groups.

With respect to the evaluationof this didactic unit, at the end of each lesson there is a self-evaluation section where the students can check the knowledge they acquired in class. This section can be given as homework to be corrected in the following class. On the other hand, group work offers the possibility of co-evaluation among the students.

The following aspects will be incorporated into this process of the didacticunit:
• The group work tasks encourage cooperative learning among the students.
• The self-evaluation tasks are directed towards the students’ individual progress more than towards a quantitative accumulation of pre-established goals that only allow the students to affirm or fail the fulfillment of a strict achievement.
• The final project at the end of this didactic unit allows the studentsto socialize with their fellow students what they have learnt in this unit in an entertaining and cooperative manner. This socialization can give them more self-confidence when speaking in the second language.

DIDACTIC UNIT

PHONETICS - HOMOPHONES, HOMOGRAPHS, AND MINIMAL PAIRS

General Objective
Students recognize the importance of a correct pronunciation and increase their awareness of...
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