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.
- Buckingham, L. (2014). Attitudes to English teachers’ accents in the Gulf. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 24(1), 50-73. doi:10.1111/ijal.12058.
- Council of Europe. (2011). Common European framework of reference for languages: Learning, teaching, assessment. Council of Europe. http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/Cadre1_en.asp.
- Cunningham, U. (2009). Models and targets for English pronunciation in Vietnam and Sweden. Research in Language, 7, 113-128. Google Scholar
- Cunningham, U. (2011). Liminality and disinhibition in online language learning. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(5), 27-39.Google Scholar
- Cunningham, U. (2013). Twenty quick steps to better English for teachers and other busy people. Lund: Studentlitteratur.Google Scholar
- Cunningham, U., Beers Fägersten, K., & Holmsten, E. (2010). Can you hear me, Hanoi? Compensatory mechanisms employed in synchronous netbased English language learning. International Review of Research on Open and Distance Learning, 11(1), 161-177.Google Scholar
- Henderson, A., Frost, D., Tergujeff, E., Kautzsch, A., Kirkova-Naskova, A., Waniek-Klimczak, E., Levey, D., Cunningham, U., & Curnick, L. (2012). The English pronunciation teaching in Europe survey: Selected results. Research in Language, 10(1), 5-28.Google Scholar
- Hyltenstam, K. (2004). Engelskan, skolans språkundervisning och svensk språkpolitik. In Svenska språknämnden, Engelskan i Sverige: Språkval i utbildning, arbet och kulturliv. Stockholm: Norstedts Förlag. Google Scholar
- Murphy, D. (2011). An investigation of English pronunciation teaching in Ireland. English Today, 27(4), 10-18. doi:10.1017/S0266078411000484.
- Murphy, J. M. (2014). Intelligible, comprehensible, non-native models in ESL/EFL pronunciation teaching. System, 42, 258-269. doi:10.1016/j.system.2013.12.007.
- Smith, J. (2011). Teaching pronunciation with multiple models. New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistics, 17(2), 107-115.Google Scholar
- Sobkowiak, W. (2012). Five years in Second Life or phonetically augmented virtuality in Second Life English as a foreign language. http://wa.amu.edu.pl/wa/node/3945.
- SOU 2002:27. Mål i mun: Förslag till handlingsprogram för svenska språket. [Speech: Draft action programme for the Swedish language]. Kulturdepartementet. Google Scholar
- Sundqvist, P. (2009). Extramural English matters: Out-of-school English and its impact on Swedish ninth graders’ oral proficiency and vocabulary. Karlstad: Karlstad University. Google Scholar
- Sundqvist, P., & Olin-Scheller, C. (2013). Classroom vs. extramural English: Teachers dealing with demotivation. Language and Linguistics Compass, 7(6), 329-338. Google Scholar
- Tergujeff, E. (2013). Learner perspective on English pronunciation teaching in an EFL context. Research in Language, 11(1), 81-95. doi:10.2478/v10015-012-0010-z.
- Van den Doel, R. (2008). The blind spots of Jenkins’ Lingua Franca. In E. Waniek-Klimczak (Ed.), Issues in accents of English. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.Google Scholar