Teach English in Shuxun Zhen - Nantong Shi

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It is the fact, for many years in Vietnam, that Vietnamese students can easily complete grueling written tests, they cannot communicate in English though. Besides the lack of confidence and practice environment, one major reason for their English communication incapacity is their poor pronunciation, particularly the lack of ending sounds. In fact, when you ask randomly a Vietnamese student a simple question “What is your name?”, you probably get an answer like “My name i …”. Another example is when I asked a grade 6 student “How many rooms are there in your house?”, the answer I got was “My how ha 6 room”. Vietnamese students usually miss ending sounds of even simple and popular words. Some students miss /l/, /f/, /S/ or /θ/ while many other students do not pronounce any ending sounds. In my opinion, the first reason for this pronunciation mistake is Vietnamese teachers’ teaching method. Many Vietnamese teachers nowadays still apply “traditional” teaching methodology in which they focus mainly on grammar and semantics. Students rarely have chances to practice pronunciation and speaking English. What Vietnamese students are usually asked to do in class and at home are completing exercises and doing practice tests for continual examinations. Secondly, even though Vietnamese parents all understand the importance of English, they are not aware of what English should actually be. Many of them are satisfied when their children get high score in written tests. They do not know the essentiality of speaking English and pronunciation. As a result, only few parents show concern and encourage their children to practice speaking skills, especially English pronunciation. In addition, due to the orientation from teachers and parents, students themselves apply wrong methods when self-studying and practicing English. Vietnamese students usually buy numerous reference books about grammar and practice tests and hardly purchase or collect materials relating to speaking. People usually see them stay at home doing exercises and homework instead of going out, making friends with foreigners and communicating with them. Finally, the difference between Vietnamese and English is an undeniable reason for this pronunciation problem, especially for young learners. Vietnamese is a single-syllable language while English is a multi-syllable language. Unlike English, Vietnamese does not have schwa, linking sound, stress and ending sounds. To improve Vietnamese pronunciation in general and ending sounds pronunciation in particular, Vietnamese teachers should be the first ones to change. They should change their teaching methods by teaching students correct pronunciation, spending more time in class on practice speaking, explaining to students the importance of pronouncing words correctly and encouraging them and showing them how to practice speaking and pronunciation. Besides the effort from teachers, parents also play a vital role in helping their kids improve their speaking skills and pronunciation. For example, when teachers at school give their children practice-speaking homework, parents can remind their kids to practice, record then send it to their teachers. Apart from teaching and learning in class, students should have an environment to practice English through activities such as English club, English speaking competition and English day. Participating in these activities, students will have wonderful opportunities to speak English and exchange ideas. English teaching in Vietnam has been gradually changing. Many people now understand that the ultimate goal of learning English is to communicate. In the future, Vietnamese students will be able to speak English fluently and never miss ending sounds.