Elisabetta Alborghetti is a private teacher working in Milan.
She described to me the challenge facing learners of pronunciation in this poetic way….“…. sounds I did not know were somewhere in the air, floating, not reachable. I only used the ear … which was not prepared to grasp the sound…. As soon as the sound became physical it gained a form and precise identity and thus became more recognisable. And then I was using three senses not just one, ear, sight, and touch. Three senses are better than one….” Here is Betty’s reflection on her own teaching of pronunciation in her business
In July 2016 I attended Adrian’s course on Pronunciation and Storytelling based on the Sound Foundations approach. His method struck me as the greatest epiphany in TEFL and dramatically affected me both as a learner and a teacher.
As soon as I came back to Italy, bearing Adrian’s teaching in mind (his book Sound Foundations is a must) I worked to organise a private course dedicated to improving English pron, addressed mainly to businessmen (but not only) from level B1 to C1.
I chose this target as in the past I had met dozens of Italian professionals and managers with a good mastering of English grammar and vocabulary but with such poor pronunciation that you had the impression they were not good at English. This of course represents a great handicap to them, especially in an international market.
In order to optimise time and efficiency (both issues being of utmost importance to my target students), I planned an 8-lesson-course either on a weekly or biweekly basis. One can choose between a group course or individual lessons, the first being of 16 hours with a max of 8 students, the second of 12 hours. Group courses can also take advantage of individual tutoring via Skype.
Moving from sounds, to words and to connected speech (that includes rhythm and intonation) the students are taken into a thoroughly unknown territory with one star to guide them: the phonemic chart.
They are genuinely surprised, often incredulous, always enthusiastic about what and how they are learning, irrespective of their age or status. As their mouth starts to articulate in a different way (a mantra of my course is: You cannot speak English with an Italian mouth) their ears increasingly open to new sounds. Their awareness grows and they can appreciate new sensations. So it happens that they improve both pron and comprehension.
I‘ve enriched the course with drills, exercises, phonetics games, videos and the use of the Macmillan Sounds App.At the very beginning of the course I record my students while reading a short text (e.g. Alice’s Mad Tea Party); at the end a new recording of the same text will assure them of the progress they made.
I’m perfectly aware that I cannot expect people to perfect pron in only 8 lessons to the point that they might sound like natives, but they certainly improve and above all they learn an approach they can apply from now on to keep up with good English pronunciation. And they do agree with me on that.
To crown it all, I created a website and a facebook page that I dutifully feed (not as often as I should) with new materials, links, information, articles. Here is my contact. Please get in touch me if you’d like to know more
Elisabetta Alborghetti, private teacher, from Milan, Italy www.corsipronunciainglese.it info@corsipronunciainglese,it