Teach English in ChagAnaobAo Zhen - Xilinguole Meng — Xilin Gol

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Phonetics and pronunciation are often an area of learning that teachers feel they can skip when teaching English to non-native speakers. Schools no longer require it when teaching students and have almost eliminated it all together. Does this harm the students or help them learn the language faster? Are there any benefits to skipping over phonetics and pronunciation, or does it hinder the student from learning therefore causing more harm? The definition of phonology is, “the system of contrastive relationships among the speech sounds that constitute the fundamental components of a language” (dictionary.com). In other words, the sounds that come out of our mouth to make up sentences to infer different feelings, understanding, and emotions. Starting at the most basic level, words can be broken down into letters that make basic sounds. While English is famously known for not always following the rules of pronunciation, which can be hard for students to sound out, it does follow most of the basic rules. When students from a country who do not use English letters are first learning the alphabet, phonetics and sounding out the letters can be a great help. Figuring out the different sounds that certain letter combinations make, can assist with pronunciation and forming new words. Another benefit of phonetics is learning about spelling. If the students understand what sounds each letter makes, it can help them sound out the words and figure out what letters are needed to spell the word correctly. Again, the English language is known for having a difficult spelling structure, but after the student has advanced far enough, they will become accustomed to which letters make the appropriate sounds needed for the word. Specific spelling at some point, just needs to be memorized the same way that native English speakers have learned to do. After a while of memorizing certain spelling patterns, the student will have an easier time when encountering words they may not know. When students are given the proper tools for pronunciation and spelling, along with knowledge comes confidence in the classroom. If the student knows they will be successful in their endeavors, they will be more inclined to speak out loud and actually use what they have learned. They will be more bold and experiment because they already know they have most of the basics down. A more confident student leads to a more fluent student. While there are many positives to learning phonetics, there are also negatives that come with it. When someone is a native English speaker, sounding out words for pronunciation and spelling helps us to comprehend a word that we most likely already know in the English language. We have used it before and understand where it fits into a sentence. Non-native speakers are still learning vocabulary and grammar and most likely do not know the words they are reading. It gives a false sense of understanding because while they understand how to pronounce the word, they do not necessarily know what it means or how to use it in a sentence. As covered before, because English spelling has many exceptions to the rules, and does not follow a strict order, it can become frustrating to the students when they try and sound out a word and it does not sound the way it is spelled. Some of the confidence they may have built up in the past can be broken down because they keep reading and pronouncing words incorrectly. We, as teachers, need to be patient and encouraging because while yes, they are mispronouncing words, it comes with the territory for learning English. It is something every native speaker has had to go through as well. Lastly, since phonetics are not taught to teachers in school, it takes a great effort for them to learn and in turn, teach to their students. Showing the breakdown of how each word is spelled can become tiresome and take up too much time. While students are there to learn all aspects of English, like reading, writing, listening, and speaking, they are mainly there to learn how to hold a conversation. Wasting time on something they may not use in the future should be avoided. In conclusion, it can be seen that phonetics has its advantages as well as its disadvantages. While some phonetics should be used and taught to help students learn how to spell and pronounce words, the deeper parts of it can be avoided. No way of teaching is flawless and most teachers will come to figure out their own way of teaching the sounds of words to their students. It takes some experimentation but after some experience, they will find the right balance for their class.