Teaching English Pronunciation Online to Swedish Primary-School Teachers
This paper presents an online course devised to meet the needs of Swedish primary school teachers who need to teach English to their pupils despite not having studied the language themselves more than minimally at tertiary level. Over a hundred teachers took the course as an online summer course. The course was on the learning and teaching of English pronunciation and grammar. Since Swedish primary school teachers often have significant Swedish accents and many cannot write a text in English without a number of characteristic grammatical errors, the course was designed to focus on a limited number of features of English grammar and pronunciation that are both frequently difficult for Swedish speakers and particularly salient, in addition to introducing the teachers to general principles of language education. Because the teachers were not all in Sweden at the time, it was deemed desirable to minimize the real-time interaction needed for the course. This produces particular challenges for the teaching of pronunciation. Ten strategies for teaching English pronunciation online at tertiary level were implemented. This paper reports the process of identifying the most prominent non-native features of each teacher’s pronunciation and working intensively to improve their pronunciation for these features. The strategies are presented and their effect on and reception by the teachers is accounted for with reference to previous research in the teaching and learning of pronunciation and in online learning. The lessons drawn from the first iteration of the course and how these have informed the upcoming second iteration are discussed.
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