7 Tips for Targeting Consonant Sounds

It took me long enough, but I finally decided to create an overview of the 24 consonant sounds in English. The YouTube lesson is just over 15 minutes, and I include some insights and additional resources for learners at the end. I had created a whole playlist for American English vowel sounds back in 2011,…

4 Listening Tasks for Accurate Pronunciation

Recognizing sounds is an important step toward achieving more accurate pronunciation. My pronunciation lessons often have a good balance between listening and speaking. If students can’t hear sounds accurately, how can we expect them to produce the sounds successfully? Words are combinations of sounds, and the most logical way to divide those sounds is by…

Top Tips for Accent Reduction

How can you help over two hundred learners with pronunciation in real time? This was the fun challenge I faced at my latest live stream. These public events are very large, and I can only invite a handful of students to join me on camera one at a time. Nevertheless, I get a sense from…

A Realistic Path Toward Accent Reduction

I’m not a big believer in accent elimination. A successful pronunciation lesson of mine doesn’t guarantee a 100% “native-like accent.” I support progress towards accent reduction. The end goal is clear, natural, confident pronunciation. Reducing one’s foreign accent in English is about targeting a model closely enough so that variations don’t confuse or distract the…

TESOL 2019 Highlights: The Playful Side of Poetry

Did you know it’s National Poetry Month? I feel fortunate that I was among the attendees at one of the last sessions of the TESOL 2019 convention because the topic was…yes, poetry! Quite a number of us decided to attend The Uses of Poetry in the ESL Classroom at 5:00 p.m. on the final day….

Moving with the Times: A Cool Movie Clip-Based App

I’ve been recommending YouGlish as a listening and pronunciation tool for quite some time. It’s wonderful to hear different speech models and consider the various contexts a word or phrase is used in. However, the search results don’t include movies, TV shows, or music videos. What if there were a similar app that did include…

Using LEA to Build a Bridge to Self-Expression

The Language Experience Approach intrigued me the first time I read about it. I’ve always liked the idea of using student-generated content as the basis of language practice. The LEA was developed to build literacy in L1, but ESL teachers have successfully brought it into L2 classrooms. I suggested a spin on the original approach…

TESOL 2018 Highlights: Online Tools for ELLs

Visiting the Electronic Village at the annual TESOL convention is a must for me. Even a single visit can result in the discovery of a few different resources. The title of one presentation this year immediately caught my attention: Three Powerful Online Tools for Skills Development. The presenter, Silvia Laborde of Alianza Cultural Uruguay-Estados Unidos…

Celebrate Women’s History Month

We’re only at the halfway point in March, so with two weeks left to go it’s not too late to observe Women’s History Month if you haven’t already. Discuss an article, assign mini reports, or include any of the unofficial anthems for International Women’s Day. There are plenty of playlists online showcasing “songs empowering women.”…

Going the Distance: Intonation in long sentences

  When I began to create my video series on intonation patterns, I knew it would take more than two lessons. I wanted to go well beyond basic rising and falling intonation. I find that students pick up quite well on these two patterns – at least in short sentences. The confusion grows, however, as…

Pronouncing C and G: Tips and Tricks

One of my private students reminded me that the challenges of English pronunciation go beyond knowing how to say sounds. It’s also important to know when a particular sound is used. In other words, how can one look at a word and know how to say it correctly because some of the letters have more than…