Finding a Link Between Pronunciation Drills and Self-Expression

In a previous entry, I shared my approach to teaching linking to promote smooth speech. The exercise is helpful and meaningful, but the content is teacher-generated.

I want to share a related activity I do when a learner has grasped the concept of thought groups and linking. The next step is to personalize the drills by allowing the student to generate the content. I choose a theme, for example, workplaces. Then I find about 10 photos related to the theme. The student’s task is to describe/ react to each photo in one sentence. I correct the vocabulary and grammar as necessary. The student then repeats the comment, consciously applying his/ her knowledge of pausing and linking. I either confirm by repeating the statement with the exact same patterns or note where adjustments could be made to achieve better rhythm and smoother speech. Whether I make corrections or not, the student repeats the statement a final time after me.

Most recently, I had a private student look at a series of online photos related to workers and workplaces. Some photos and the comments elicited from them were as follows:

The final step was an open discussion in which we considered all the workplaces we saw in the photos and decided which environment we’d like to work in for one day. We each took turns explaining our choices.

This entire activity could easily be modified for large groups. You can display 4-5 photos to the class and have each student write down a one-sentence comment on each image. With partners, students can help each other to edit and identify thought groups as well as practice reading their statements aloud. After this prep work is done in pairs, the comments can be shared with the whole class. Going around the room, each student will read his/ her comment on photo 1 (then photo 2, then photo 3, etc.) Teacher feedback can be given at this time. Finally, in either pairs or small groups, students can answer a discussion question that requires consideration of all the images viewed.

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