Pronunciation in English High Beginning+
Step-by-step Lesson Plans

Table of Contents

Introduction:

FOCUS

In the past, much time has been spent in pronunciation courses on individual sounds. The disadvantage of this approach is that it is very difficult and time consuming for adult learners to make changes in this area. There is an individual sound section in this program in chapter three, but this is clearly secondary to the focus of the program. The emphasis is on the big picture items: stress, intonation, and rhythm. Research indicates that improvement in these areas makes the biggest difference in intelligible speech.

TARGET AUDIENCE

Pronunciation in English - High Beginning+ was designed for ESL/EFL students at the high beginning through intermediate level. (Of course, many students, even at the advanced level, still need practice identifying and using stress and the schwa at word level.)

MULTIPLE LEARNING STYLES

The video presentations, extensive audio files and immediate feedback on practice activities appeal to multiple learning styles.

PROGRAM ACCESS

These lesson plans are designed for the High Beginning level of Pronunciation In English.

NAVIGATION

At the main Table of Contents, there are two kinds of 'roll over' flash menus:

  1. Mouse over the magnifying glass at the bottom of the tool bar, and a program level index appears.
  2. Mouse over each chapter, and a chapter level index appears.

Click on the index button to go to the new index section inside the program with expanded choices showing all 300 interactive pages.

The chapters are color coded for ease of navigation.

Note the bar of color at the top of each screen, which is matched to the color of the chapters on the Table of Contents.

VIDEO, AUDIO, and FEEDBACK

  1. The videos that present the concepts have text for all the audio, so students can follow along, but students are not asked to reproduce this language as it is part of the presentation for the lesson.
  2. The audio tracks feature three native speakers with an American, British, and Australian accent. These “flavors” of English are similar to those on the new TOEFL® test from ETS®.
  3. Students receive audio and visual feedback on answers throughout the practices:
    • In chapter one, the cuckoo plays in response to an incorrect answer. The woodblock sound plays in response to a correct answer, and students will also see the number for the syllable count appear in the box.
    • In chapter two, students will see the stressed syllable appear underlined in a different color in the box, along with the cuckoo and woodblock sounds for incorrect and correct answers respectively.
    • In chapter four, the correct answers show the words turning color and being underlined.
    • In chapter five and six, additional visual feedback includes: down/up arrows for intonation, dashes for linking, and reduced phrases like “gonna” for “going to.”

APPLICATION ACTIVITIES

Pronunciation in English is unique in that the content in the application section is generated by students. These activities guide students in applying the pronunciation skills presented in the program to language they use every day. This will help bridge the gap between the classroom and the world outside, which is always a challenge.

RECORD AND PLAYBACK FEATURE REQUIREMENTS

Each computer should be multi-media enabled with a microphone. Students must be able to use the record and playback feature in each practice and application, which allows them to listen to their own work, evaluate it, and make adjustments and record again. This will guide them in bridging the gap between the classroom and the world outside where the teacher and the software are not available to give them immediate feedback.

TOEFL® Skill Builder Buttons

Mouse over the TOEFL® skill builder buttons in each section to get specifics on how this program will help build skills required for the TOEFL® test.

Organization:

Pre-Test

The pre-test has multiple rotating versions. Students’ pre-test scores can be compared to their final review scores to track their progress. Scores are available in the User Management System.

UMS (User Management System)

Instructors can view all student activity in the UMS if students are using individual licenses. It’s useful to let students know that you can see their online activity, including any chapter review and final review scores. This can motivate students to use their time in the lab productively.

Chapter 1: Syllables - Lesson One

Pre-Test

Have students take the pre-test in the program. Lower the affective filter by telling students that if they get a perfect score, they don’t need to be in the class.

Notes for Teachers:

User Interface Tour

Spend some time in the lab with the program on the screen to give students a quick tour of the navigation (see earlier notes in the navigation section). Make sure students know how to use the “choose your language” button.

  1. Show students the “Using this software” screen in the Introduction. Take some time to emphasize the importance of recording themselves in the practices and playing it back to listen to their recordings.

Videos

  1. Show the Overview video in the Introduction of the two people dancing together
  2. Show the first video in Chapter 1: Syllable Skill #1: What are Syllables?
  3. Show students practice 1; review the feedback; cuckoo for mistakes; woodblock sound for correct answers; reinforce recording.

Reflect:

Take a moment to reflect on the lesson and share with a partner/the group what you've learned. How will you apply it to your spoken English?

On your own in the lab/homework

  1. Review the first video in Chapter 1: Syllable Skill #1: What are Syllables?
  2. Complete practices 1-16 in Chapter One, Syllables, while:
    • Making sure to record yourself in each practice
    • Using the “playback” & “compare” buttons to listen to your recording
    • Re-recording where necessary
  3. Complete Mini-review 1 in chapter one. If you do not get 100% on the mini-review, go back to review the practices.

* Note that instructors can decide in later lessons whether to have students use the online program in the language lab for part of the class depending on scheduling and lab availability. Lesson plans give instructors the option of covering the online material in class if the computer lab is not available.

Lesson Two

Warm-up

Watch the first video

Syllable Skill #1 - What are Syllables?

Then, to review, put the following words on the board and then read them aloud. Ask the students how many vowels there are in each word.

good (2)
gorgeous (4)
beautiful (5)

Next, ask them how many vowel sounds there are in each word. Consider drawing a heart around each vowel sound.

good (1)
gorgeous (2)
beautiful (3)
Note the silent vowels.

Complete practices 1-16 & mini-reviews 1 & 2 in Chapter 1

Whole class practice

A useful technique for reviewing this chapter is to have students “show you” the number of syllables they hear. It is important that this be a silent exercise with no vocalization. The teacher models a word, and the students indicate the number of syllables by holding up the appropriate number of fingers. This technique can be used again in Chapter two to indicate the syllable that receives the most stress. This gives the teacher a very quick way to assess the entire group.

Ask the students to “show you” the number of syllables in the words as you read them. For example:

strategy (3)assigned (2)

If you see lots of mistakes based on the number of fingers students held up for these words, take a minute to write those words on the board and draw a heart around the vowel sound in each syllable or underline the vowel sounds.

Group practice

Have students work in small groups or with partners to brainstorm a list of words that they hear or use frequently. Write them down and decide how many syllables for each. Groups will take turns sharing their lists orally with the class. The instructor will write any words on the board where the syllable count was incorrect.

At this point, the instructor will probably hear some words where the students have incorrect stress. Depending on the level of the class, the instructor may jump ahead to talk about stress and note the mistakes. Calling the misplaced stress excellent mistakes can be useful. This helps to highlight the error and the fact that if you identify the mistake in the class, you have a chance to fix it for conversation outside of class.

Reflect:

Take a moment to reflect on the lesson and share with a partner/the group what you’ve learned. How will you apply it to your spoken English?

On your own in the lab/Homework

Complete practices 17-25 & Mini-review 3 in Chapter One; look at the video for Syllable Skill #2

Lesson Three

Watch the video for

Syllable Skill #2: Hints for Counting Syllables with Past Tense

Whole class practice

Then to review:

Ask the students to “show you” the number of syllables in the words as you read them:

land (1)landed (2)
inspect (2)inspected (3)

Group practice

Have students work in small groups or with partners to brainstorm a list of verbs that end with a “t” or “d” (do not include irregular verbs as they do not end in “ed”). Write down the root word, without the “ed,” and decide how many syllables for each. Example: “tend” (1) Then write down the past tense with “ed” and note the number of syllables. Example: “tended” (2) Groups will take turns sharing their lists orally with the class. The instructor will write any words on the board where the syllable count was incorrect.

At this point, the instructor will probably hear some words where the students have incorrect stress. Depending on the level of the class, the instructor may jump ahead to talk about stress and note the mistakes. Calling the misplaced stress excellent mistakes can be useful. This helps to highlight the error and the fact that if you identify the mistake in the class, you have a chance to fix it for conversation outside of class.

Reflect:

Take a moment to reflect on the lesson and share with a partner/the group what you’ve learned. How will you apply it to your spoken English?

On your own in the lab/Homework

Complete practices 26-43 & Mini-reviews 4-6

Lesson Four

Watch the video for


Syllable Skill #3: Syllables and “s” Endings

Put the following words on the board and then read them aloud:

Ask the students how many syllables there are in each word.

office (2)offices (3)
promise (2)promises (3)

Whole class practice: In the classroom

A useful technique for this chapter is to have students “show you” the number of syllables they hear. It is important that this be a silent exercise with no vocalization. The teacher models a word, and the students indicate the number of syllables by holding up the appropriate number of fingers. This technique can be used again in Chapter Two to indicate the syllable that receives the most stress. This gives the teacher a very quick way to assess the entire group.

Ask the students to “show you” the number of syllables in the words as you read them:

pass (1)passes (2)
energize (3)energizes (4)

Group practice

Have students work in small groups or with partners to brainstorm a list of words that end with a hissing sound. Write down the root word, without the “es” and decide how many syllables for each. Example “blush” (1), then write down the word with “es” and note the number of syllables. Example “blushes” (2) Groups will take turns sharing their lists orally with the class. The instructor will write any words on the board where the syllable count was incorrect.

At this point, the instructor will probably hear some words where the students have incorrect stress. Depending on the level of the class, the instructor may jump ahead to talk about stress and note the mistakes. Calling the misplaced stress excellent mistakes can be useful. This helps to highlight the error and the fact that if you identify the mistake in the class, you have a chance to fix it for conversation outside of class.

Reflect:

Take a moment to reflect on the lesson and share with a partner/the group what you’ve learned. How will you apply it to your spoken English?

On your own in the lab/Homework

Complete practices 44-71 & mini-reviews 7-9

Take the chapter review

Chapter 2: Stress in Words

Introduction: Chapter Two is the longest chapter as it introduces stress. Students coming from languages that do not have stress may need to spend more time here. The program builds sequentially, so students are asked to identify both syllable count and the stressed syllable in a word at the beginning of this chapter.

Chapter Two introduces rules for stress at word level. There are a number of practice and application activities that work to reinforce these rules. These varied activities will help students internalize the rules for stress in words.

Chapter Two also addresses fossilized stress problems where students have learned the incorrect stress pattern for certain words. These old habits are hard to break, and it takes lots of practice to change them. The “guide words” have worked well to reinforce the correct patterns. Once the problem words have been identified, they can be paired with “guide words” and used for practice with partners at the beginning or end of each session.

Finally, the schwa sound is introduced in chapter two. For many students, this is the first time they have heard of this sound. It is an important sound because it allows English speakers to highlight the stressed syllable and minimize the unstressed syllable. In the final section of chapter 2, students identify the syllable count, stressed syllable, and schwa sound/sounds in a word.

Lesson Five

Demonstrating stress: 2 options - rubber band or hand

The use of the rubber band is introduced in Chapter Two. It is a very useful visual and kinesthetic tool to reinforce the concept of stress for students. Another option for showing syllables and stress in a word to a group is to have the teacher use a “knocking” gesture for each syllable and an “open palm” for the syllable that gets the most stress. So, for example, the word “expensive” would be shown by one knock, one open palm, and then one more knock for the third syllable in the word, “ex-PEN-sive.”

Chapter 2 - Stress in words

Watch the video for

What is Stress?-A & B Stress Skill #1

Whole class practice:

Go to practice activity #1 in Chapter 2- Stress in Words. Ask the students to “show you” the number of syllables in the words as you read them.

Second ask the students to “show you” the stressed syllable in the words.

Note: the program just asks students to click on the vowel sound of the stressed syllable.

Example:

It is not necessary to identify the syllable breaks in the stressed syllable as the program does that automatically as soon as the student clicks on the stressed vowel.

Group practice

Have students work in small groups or with partners to brainstorm a list of words that they use or hear frequently. Decide how many syllables and which is the stressed syllable for each. Groups will take turns sharing their lists orally with the class. The instructor will write any words on the board where the syllable count or stress was incorrect.

Reflect:

Take a moment to reflect on the lesson and share with a partner/the group what you’ve learned. How will you apply it to your spoken English?

On your own in the lab/Homework

Complete practices 1-23: Mini-reviews 1 & 2; Review the video for stress skill #2 & #3

Lesson Six

In the classroom

Comprehension check in class - Stress in numbers (Review of homeworkpractice activity 17 in the online program)

Rules for stress in adjective/nouns:
Application Activity #3

Depending on the level of the class, you may need to review the terms “nouns” & “adjectives.” It's easy to look around the classroom and see a number of nouns: paper, student, laptop, pencil. Adjectives are a little harder. Start them off with some examples like handsome, lazy, or sunny.

Instructors can turn many of the application exercises in the pronunciation program into cooperative learning exercises in the classroom. Options for grouping include: Having students number off from 1-4; then have the person with the shortest hair be the scribe to write down words they come up with on a piece of paper. Another time, the scribe can be the person with the longest hair, or the longest fingers.

Put students in groups, give them a 5-minute time limit and have them brainstorm a list of adjectives & nouns with 2 syllables and mark the stressed syllable.

Groups can then share lists orally while instructors monitor to make sure words fit the categories and that the stress is correct. Instructors can guide students in articulating the rule they have discovered.

Instructors will get more information about problems students have with stress at the word level during this activity. This same activity will work for application activities #4 & #5.

Whole class practice

In the classroom

WordNumber of SyllablesStressed syllable
ceiling21
flowers21
table21
guitar
Note: that this word does not follow the rule
22

Reflect:

Take a moment to reflect on the lesson and share with a partner/the group what you’ve learned. How will you apply it to your spoken English?

On your own in the lab/Homework

Review Application Activity #3 & Click for the Rule.

Complete practices 24-31 & Mini-review 3

Lesson Seven

In the classroom

Chapter 2 - Rules for stress in verbs
Application Activity #4

Depending on the level of the class, you may need to review the term “verbs.” Start them off with some examples like decide, inspect, or defend.

Put students in groups, give them a 5-minute time limit and have them brainstorm a list of verbs with 2 syllables and mark the stressed syllable.

Groups can then share lists orally while instructors monitor to make sure words fit the categories and that the stress is correct. Instructors can guide students in articulating the rule they have discovered.

Instructors will get more information about problems students have with stress at the word level during this activity.

Whole class practice

First ask the students to “show you” the number of syllables in the words as you read them.

Second ask the students to “show you” the stressed syllable in the words.

WordNumber of SyllablesStressed Syllable
erase22
envy
Note: this word can also be a noun
21
divide22

Reflect:

Take a moment to reflect on the lesson and share with a partner/the group what you’ve learned. How will you apply it to your spoken English?

On your own in the lab/Homework

Review application #4. Complete practices 32-39 & Mini-review 4

Lesson Eight

In the classroom

Chapter 2 - Stress in words: Rules for stress in words with suffixes Application Activity #5

Group Exercise

Depending on the level of the class, you may need to review the terms “suffixes.” Start them off with some examples like: pronunciation, humanity, economical, kilometer, atomic, identify, biography, recipient.

Put students in groups, give them a 5 minute time limit and have them brainstorm a list of words with the following suffixes or endings: ion, ient, ic, meter, ity, iant, ial, ious, ical, iable, ogy, graphy or ify.

Groups can then share lists orally while the instructor monitors to make sure words fit the categories and that the stress is correct. Instructors can put pronunciation mistakes on the board during this process. (Note: Students often mark the correct syllable for stress, but when they say the word, the stress is on another syllable.)

Another way to review the oral group sharing is to ask the rest of the class to indicate the number of syllables in the word and the stressed syllable by holding up the correct number of fingers.

Instructors can guide students in articulating the rule they have discovered.

Instructors will get more information about problems students have with stress at the word level during this activity.

In the classroom

First ask the students to “show you” the number of syllables in the words as you read them.

Second ask the students to “show you” the stressed syllable in the words.

WordNumber of SyllablesStressed Syllable
applicant31
application43
economy42
economic43
economize42

Reflect:

Take a moment to reflect on the lesson and share with a partner/the group what you’ve learned. How will you apply it to your spoken English?

On your own in the lab/Homework

Complete practices 40-65 & Mini-review 5 & 6

Lesson Nine

In the classroom

Instructors take a minute to review the rules for stress for:

Elicit the rules and examples for each from the class and write the examples on the board.

Presentation

Watch the video for

Stress Skill #4 - Stress in Compound Nouns

Whole class practice

Ask the students to “show you” the number of syllables in the words and the stressed syllable as you read them:

homeworkstrawberrynewspaper
teapotovertimewaterfall
thunderstormleadershipwindshield

Group practice

Have students work in small groups or with partners to brainstorm a list of compound nouns that they use or hear frequently. Decide how many syllables and which is the stressed syllable for each. Groups will take turns sharing their lists orally with the class. The instructor will write any words on the board where the syllable count or stress was incorrect.

Watch the video for

Stress Skill #5: Stress in Two-word Verbs

(Depending on the students’ level, you can introduce the term “particle” to describe the preposition/adverb in phrasal verbs.)

Ask the students to “show you” the number of syllables in the words and the stressed syllable as you read them:

call upsend downcall off
turn offtry outlook out

Next, talk about phrasal verbs that can become compound nouns like:

tryouthandoutdropout

Comprehension check in class: Compound nouns vs. Phrasal verbs

Reflect:

Take a moment to reflect on the lesson and share with a partner/the group what you’ve learned. How will you apply it to your spoken English?

On your own in the lab/Homework

Complete practices 66-91 & Mini-review 7; review the videos on Stress Skill #6; Stress with Acronyms; and Stress Skill #7 Correcting Bad Habits & Guide Word Activity 1 & 2

Homework to bring to class -

Applications 9 & 10 - Bring your problem words and “Guide Words” & your sentences with your problem words to class.

Lesson Ten

In the classroom

Watch the video for

Stress Skill #6: Stress with Acronyms

Group Practice

Put students in small groups, give them a 5- minute time limit and have them brainstorm a list of acronyms.

Groups will take turns presenting their lists. Teacher will monitor for any acronyms that are words and don’t follow this rule, like MADD (Mothers against Drunk Driving).

Watch the video for

Stress Skill 7

Listen/Read

Guide word activity 1 & 2; Applications 9 & 10

Check in class - “Guide Words” for problem words

Teachers: This can be done as a cooperative learning exercise.

Reflect:

Take a moment to reflect on the lesson and share with a partner/the group what you’ve learned. How will you apply it to your spoken English?

Homework

Lesson Eleven

In the classroom

Watch the video for

Stress Skill 8/8a: Reduced Syllables

In class review 1

Teachers: Put the word “adjustable” on the board and elicit from the class:

  1. How many syllables? (4)
  2. Which syllable is stressed? (2nd)
  3. How many schwa sounds? (3) adjustable

Note that different dictionaries use different symbols for the schwa.

In class review 2

Group Practice

Put students in small groups, give them a 5-minute time limit and have them brainstorm a list of words they use or hear frequently that have a schwa. Mark the number of syllables, the stressed syllable and any schwa sounds.

Groups will take turns presenting their lists. Teacher will monitor for any problems and put those on the board.

Reflect:

Take a moment to reflect on the lesson and share with a partner/the group what you’ve learned. How will you apply it to your spoken English?

On your own in the lab/Homework

Take the Chapter Review for Chapter 2

Look at the IPA in Chapter 3; Complete Practices 1-2, Application 1

Homework to bring to class: Application 1 - Look up 3 words that you use frequently in the dictionary. Note the markings and the number of syllables.

How does your dictionary mark stress?

How does your dictionary show the schwa sound?

Is the IPA in your dictionary the same as the one in the pronunciation program?

Chapter 3 – The IPA*: Lesson Twelve

*International Phonetic Alphabet

In the classroom

The IPA

Practice 1 - 2, Application 1

*Depending on their level, students may need to spend considerable time reviewing the IPA and listening to the examples for the vowel & consonant sounds. This version of the IPA was chosen after much discussion with experts at ETS® (Educational Testing Service®, makers of the TOEFL® Test). Note that many dictionaries use a slightly different version of the IPA.

Have students share their homework for Application 1:
(see instructions below)

Groups or Whole Class

Instructors can decide based on the class to have students first share their homework in groups and then elicit examples from each group, or to elicit examples from the whole class at the start.

Individual sounds:

Instructors can decide which individual sounds they want to have the class review in chapter 3 based on problems they have heard in class.

Listen/Read

Presentations on the individual sounds

Whole class practice: In the classroom

Practice the sentences for each of the individual sounds.

Partner practice - Step One

Have students work with partners to practice these sentences together.

Partners will give each other feedback by using the “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” signal to indicate that the “x” sound (for example) was clear.

Partner practice - Step Two

Write five more words with the “x” sound (for example) that you use frequently (see Application 2). Then create a sentence for each of these words (Application 3). Take turns reading your sentences. Again, partners will give each other feedback by using the “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” signal to indicate that the “x” sound was clear.

Reflect

Take a moment to reflect on the lesson and share with a partner/the group what you’ve learned. How will you apply it to your spoken English outside of class?

On your own in the lab/Homework

Students who have trouble with a particular individual sound will need more practice. Have them write their sentences on the back of a business card/index card and keep the card on their dashboard or in their pocket to practice while commuting.

Final Review

On your own/Homework:

Take the final review

Appendix

Chapter 1: Syllables

Chapter 2: Stress in Words