Can consistently miraculous results ever be guaranteed? Probably not, but I will say that with adult learners I’ve found it most effective to present vowel and consonant sounds by performing these steps in various sequences:
1. Explain the mechanics in a slow, simple manner;
2. Model the mechanics using your hands to represent the articulators;
3. Draw a mouth on the board and show how the articulators must work;
4. Use imagery, an analogy, or otherwise vivid explanation to make the production of the given sound memorable;
5. Repeatedly model the sound yourself as you perform the steps above so that the students can watch the movements of your mouth.
6. Put the sound in context, focusing on its placement in different parts of words (i.e., initial, medial, final). Note any changes in articulation of the sound depending on its position within a word.
7. Contrast the sound with another one when possible. For example, voiced and unvoiced pairs such as /g/ and /k/ or commonly confused sounds such as / ɪ / and / i /.
8. Build upwards. For example, if it’s a consonant sound, does it appear in blends or clusters?
9. Move to the phrase and sentence level so that students can practice smooth, connected speech.
10. Incorporate fun, meaningful practice to encourage sound production that is less conscious and more automatic.
For a demonstration of these 10 steps, click here.