This report will try to describe and compare two books on pronunciation that I have used as a learner while I was in college studying to become a teacher of English. The first Book is called Sounds English, by J.D. O’Connor and Clare Fletcher; the second one is Pronunciation for Advanced Learners of English by David Brazil.
I have organized the report in thefollowing sections:
a. Comparison chart establishing differences towards the teaching of pronunciation used in each book.
b. Elaboration and on each of the concepts contrasted on section a. with citations and examples from the books.
c. Reflection on findings and conclusion.
My reasons for choosing these two books were both pedagogical and personal. Firstly, from all the bookson Pronunciation that I know and have used, they represented very different ways of approaching the subject. Secondly –and more importantly, I think- I had had a very difficult time learning with Sounds English, whereas Pronunciation for Advanced Learners of English was unbelievably easy for me, as I was used to struggling with Phonetics. Therefore, I thought this assignment was the perfectopportunity for me to find out whereas there was any pedagogical or theoretical explanation to my experience, or if it was just that I had made progress with my language and consequently by the time I used Brazil’s book I could understand the theory much better.
I will elaborate and give my views on this last issue in my conclusion. It suffices to say that after doing enough research onboth Brazil and J.D. O’Connor’s approaches to the teaching of Pronunciation and how it was applied on their books, I am once more assured of the importance of being a “reflective practitioner”: by looking at the materials I used as a learner with the eyes of a teacher and theoretical instruments to analyze my experience I believe I will be able to use my findings in the classroom and teachPronunciation more effectively.
As I started examining each of the books, I noticed there were some aspects in which there was a clear difference between the books. In order to illustrate those differences, I designed the chart below. My basis for pairing each set of concepts being contrasted here is given below, grouping the concepts where possible:
||Sounds English |Pronunciation for Advanced Learners of English |
|General approach |Teacher-centered |Student-centered |
|Gives predominance to: |Segmental level (sounds) |Suprasegmental level (intonation) |
|Criteria used toorganize |Bottom-up |Top-down |
|units of work: | | |
|Type of activities |Repetition, drilling, dictation. |Communicative, problem solving. Pair/Group work. |
|Sequencing of tasks|Transition from controlled practice to |Exposure, procedure, exercise, explanation. |
| |free speech. | |
|Role of listening exercises |Listen for contrasting sounds, listen to |Listening for meaning, listening for information. |
||identify sounds practiced. | |
|Use of phonemic notation and |Only to show falling / rising intonation.|Clear notation for tone unit, prominent syllables, |
|transcription conventions. |Symbols for sounds used only on titles. |tone and key. |