Lesson One: Differentiating between /r/ and /l/
Target group: This lesson targets students learning English who speak Chinese, Japanese, and Korean as a native language. Additionally, this lesson probably works best as a remedial response to observed difficulties in perception or production of these sounds.
Time: 50 minutes
This section involves introducing the sounds to the students using learner friendly explanations. In this section, I will also model the sounds for students and play a sound file recording of another speaker producing the sounds. Here are the explanations I will give for how to produce each sound:
/r/ -- Point the front of your tongue towards the roof of your mouth. Use your voice.
/l/ -- Put the front of your tongue against the bump behind your front teeth. Use your voice and let air pass out of your mouth.
***Commentary: The purpose of this section is to give students several ways to figure out exactly what they should do with their mouths to make the sounds in question since this is the first barrier to proper production. Students can try to match the description, they can watch me and try to do what I do, or they can try to replicate the sound they hear, depending on what works for them. Hearing the sounds repeated in isolation will also help them hear the sounds in context.
2. Minimal Pairs and Drilling:
In this section, I’ll introduce students to 20 sets of /r/-/l/ minimal pairs in which the target sounds appear in various places in the word. I’ll display these words on the overhead (or whiteboard), and we will drill them as a class (choral drilling). The pairs of words chosen can vary based on the age/level of the students. Here are some sample pairs:
***Commentary: Choral drilling lets students practice producing the target sounds in a no-stress/pressure environment. This will also give the students enough familiarity with the words and their sounds that they will be able to complete the next part of the lesson.
3. Minimal Pairs Bingo:
Give each student a Bingo card (if time permits, students can make their own). Each square of the Bingo card has one word from the minimal pairs sets the class just practiced. Explain the rules of Bingo if necessary. I will read the words at random, and students will mark the word on their card when they hear it. Students who call Bingo must read the words on their card pronouncing the target sounds correctly to claim their prize. We’ll keep playing until everyone gets a bingo and has some practice pronouncing the words individually.
***Commentary: I chose this activity because it’s fun, and it gives students a chance to practice reception and production.
Lesson Two: Reduced Vowels
Target group: I think this lesson could be used with any group of intermediate ELL students since few languages utilize vowel reduction as often or as extensively as English. I think this would work best as an integrated lesson, and it should be placed after students have discussed stressed and unstressed syllabus in words.
Time: 50 minutes
In this section, I’ll explain the process of English vowel reduction to students. I’ll probably also give them the following two reasons why it’s important to understand reduced vowels in English: 1) Understanding the process is important to understanding the speech of native speakers, and 2) Reducing vowels is important for any students who desires to sound more like a native speaker.
Here’s some of the information I’ll present to students:
In English, there are two situations in which...
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