- 01. Helpful Tips for Every Online English Teacher
- 02. What Role Does Perfect Pronunciation Play in English Teaching?
- 03. Common pronunciation errors in English
- 04. Listen to English to improve your pronunciation
- 05. What is the English accent?
- 06. The importance of flexibility in speaking English
- 07. Where to Find Opportunities to Improve Your English Language Skills?
Although English does not use any written accents to give clues to the way that the language should be spoken, there are some stringent rules about English pronunciation, which should be followed if you want to be correctly understood.
It can be challenging to understand the notion of the hidden tonic accent in English, and many words just have to be learnt individually. For example, the word ‘read' which can be said in 2 ways, both have different meanings. This word has no accents or indications of how to read the word nor which pronunciation is correct until it is added to a sentence to give context.
We see this occurs a lot in English, for example, why are two words that are almost identical (beard and heard) not pronounced following the same rules?
Continue reading and we will squash some of these mysteries!
Helpful Tips for Every Online English Teacher
Many languages are spoken in Canada because of their complex history with England, France, and Spain. However, of all the languages spoken, English is the most widely spoken. In reality, it is the country's lingua franca aside from French, as most official communication is done in English. In Canada, as with other countries in the world, English is essential.
Business people need an understanding of the English language to scale up their businesses and interact with a global audience. Students who want to further their studies in English-speaking countries must be fluent in the language too. Whether you speak English now or not, a time will come when you'd be left with no choice but to learn.
Many people have caught the truth of how beneficial the English language is to the world and have invested in learning English as a second language. The success of such students rests on the quality of tutors tasked with teaching English as a second language.
As an online English teacher, there are some tips you must know. These tips will help you get better at understanding the English language and help you teach your students better.
Superprof understands this, and that is why we have created this guide just for you.
What Role Does Perfect Pronunciation Play in English Teaching?
Pronunciation plays a vital role in English teaching. To understand this role, you must know certain English words are used in other languages. The difference between where and how these words are used is in their pronunciation. Even in the English language, certain words have similar spellings but are pronounced differently.
A perfect example is "read," which doesn't change in spelling, whether it is used in the present or past tense. The difference is in the pronunciation and based on how it is used in the sentence.
As an online English teacher, you have to learn the different and correct pronunciation of English words. To do this, you will have to go through different English registers to know how words, though having similar spellings, are pronounced.
How can you perfect your pronunciation?
You will have noticed that pronunciation in English is very different from your own language. If you already practice English, you probably already know about the different elements that are involved:
• The pronunciation of English sounds.
• The pronunciation of English words.
• The rhythm of the sentence.
• The intonation within a sentence.
It is very likely that, even with a grammatically correct sentence, you have been misunderstood, especially by a native English person. A significant part of proper pronunciation is practising the language and learning how to pronounce each word.
Even native English speakers have to do this because how you read a word does not always equal how you say it. In this case, you need to learn the word independently and add it to the long list of irregular words in the English language.
Common pronunciation errors in English
Errors in English are easy to make and hard to correct when you are unsure of what mistake it is that you have made. Some common errors seen in English are:
- Pronouncing the ‘th' - This is one of the hardest sounds to pronounce in English, and it can be pronounced in a few different ways.
- Confusing the ‘L' and the ‘R' - These sounds are often mixed up, which gives a different meaning to the words altogether. For example, Rice and Lice.
- Confusing the ‘W' and the ‘V' - This is often noticed when saying the word water or west. Again, saying Vater instead of Water gives your sentence a different meaning which could give confusion to listeners.
- The changing intonation with the letter ‘E' - Adding an ‘e' to a word changes its pronunciation and the number of syllables. For example, not and note. Although they look the same, are not said with the same intonation. Not is said with 1 syllable and note has 2 syllables. Another example are breath and breathe. How would you pronounce each word?
- Silent consonants – Many words in the English language contain letters which are silent. It is hard to know which words have silent letters as there is no structured rule to define how it works. For example, the word Wednesday is said Wensday.
Learning the words with silent letters is an excellent way to make sure that you are pronouncing words correctly. Pronunciation is so essential in the English language that errors can be easy to make and difficult to correct. There is an inexhaustible list of pronunciation errors English tutors should avoid, but let's try and examine some of them.
The first and what appears to be a common error is mistaking the pronunciation of "th" for "t", which can change its meaning. For example, imagine you want to pronounce "thought" but are prone to this error. The chances are that you will pronounce "taught," as “though.” They might sound similar to you, but they mean different things.
Another common pronunciation error an English tutor can make is pronouncing "sour" as "soar." For a newbie who is still trying to learn the language they might not identify the error. The challenge will come when you speak among native speakers who have a firm understanding of the language.
Many errors like these exist, and that's why you have to pay attention to the details of the language, especially when speaking. Many times, it is easier to abide by these rules when writing than it is when conversing.
Listen to English to improve your pronunciation
If it is your aim to learn English online or at home to speak English quickly, it is best to listen to it as often as possible! This can be in conversations, in movies, on the radio, online or in exchanges. This is how children learn to speak their mother tongue. Using the same technique and given dedication and patience, you can do the same. Listening and imitating are very important when you are working to improve your pronunciation skills.
Regularly learning by exposure is a great way to make your language learning more accessible. Listen to the radio in English, watch films in English, listen to music in English... You have access to English in many areas, all of which can help to solidify your learning.
How does listening aid better pronunciation in English teaching?
Whether you're an online English teacher or a student who wants to learn English online, good listening skills are vital. The more you read as a tutor or take English lessons as a student, the higher the chances of coming across new words.
No doubt, some words are easy to pronounce, especially those with fewer letters. The challenge always comes when you have to learn how to pronounce longer words with different rhythmic patterns. You will have to listen to these words over and over again to master their pronunciation.
Good listening skills are vital to teaching English and a major requirement for online English teaching jobs. In addition, listening is as good for students as it is for an online English teacher. It is, however, the duty of the tutor to improve the listening skills of their students. You can do this by recommending and providing audio materials for your tutees to listen to. During virtual classes, you can pronounce new words and ask them to repeat after you.
What is the English accent?
English is one of the most commonly spoken languages on the planet since many countries speak English as a first language; all of which have their own expression of the language.
To complicate matters further not only are there different English sounds internationally and different ways to pronounce words but also within countries you can find different pronunciations.
While the English words have a similar meaning worldwide, the rhythm and the intonation do differ significantly in all parts of the English speaking world. So, when we speak about English accents, it is better to try to focus on one country zone at a time. The English accent is vast and varied all over the world.
Is having an English accent necessary for English tutors?
Across different provinces of Canada, there is a serious misconception that having an accent is the same as knowing how to pronounce words correctly. In every sense of it, this is not true. It is possible to have a good English accent and not know how to pronounce words.
This is why tutors should always encourage their students to prioritize good pronunciation skills over a good accent. Until a word or phrase is properly pronounced, the purpose of communication is defeated. Your audience will always find it difficult to understand your expressions if you don't pronounce words correctly, no matter how fluent your accent may be.
The importance of flexibility in speaking English
The first step to speaking English as a native is to agree to be flexible in the way that you speak. Indeed, it is often said that children learn English more easily, but children are just more flexible in their thinking and have no problem changing their way of thinking and speaking. On the contrary, adults are only able to pronounce English correctly and progress in the English language when they agree to change the way they form their words and express them verbally.
Though the English language has many rules that must be followed, this should not take away flexibility from the language. When teaching English as a second language, an online English teacher should make students know the importance of flexibility.
Flexibility doesn't mean breaking the rules; it means not getting caught with the rules so that you don't forget the fun of speaking. The more you learn English and engage in conversations with people, the more you will need flexibility. No wonder English native speakers don't pay so much attention to the rules. Instead, they flow as they speak, and it's always interesting to hear.
Flexibility in English helps you to know how to blend formal and informal English. It starts with you understanding your audience and determining the best ways to communicate with them. For example, there are certain words you're not expected to use in a business setting. However, nothing stops you from using formal expressions when discussing with your colleagues or trying to buy an item from a shop down the street.
English tutors should infuse that flexibility when teaching students. Instead of only presenting the formal English language, you can teach students to understand their audience and be flexible in their communication.
Frustration when learning English
English can be a very frustrating language with its different rules, lack of structure and disconnection between the pronunciation and writing of the language.
This is perfectly expressed in the poem Our strange lingo:
When the English tongue we speak.
Why is break not rhymed with freak?
Will you tell me why it's true
We say sew but likewise few?
And the maker of the verse,
Cannot rhyme his horse with worse?
Beard is not the same as heard
Cord is different from word.
Cow is cow but low is low
Shoe is never rhymed with foe.
Think of hose, dose, and lose
And think of goose and yet with choose
Think of comb, tomb and bomb,
Doll and roll or home and some.
Since pay is rhymed with say
Why not paid with said I pray?
Think of blood, food and good.
Mould is not pronounced like could.
Wherefore done, but gone and lone –
Is there any reason known?
To sum up all, it seems to me
Sound and letters don't agree.
How do you manage the frustration of teaching English as a second language?
Learning something new can be challenging, and when it comes to language, it can be frustrating. As a tutor, you will come across students who will get the pronunciation and use of words and phrases quickly.
You'd also have to deal with those who will take a lot of time to grasp it. Teaching the latter can be quite frustrating. So, how do you handle the frustration of teaching English as a second language to a slow learner?
First, you have to understand that every student cannot learn at the same pace as others. One major reason people choose to learn English online is that it allows them to learn at their own pace. As such, you have to exercise patience when interacting with such persons. Patience is vital in managing the frustration that comes with teaching English as a second language.
Secondly, you can change the teaching method. Perhaps, the reason why the student is finding it difficult to learn English online is that the teaching method doesn't suit them. During the learning process, you can introduce new teaching methods to determine which one works best for the student.
Finally, you can recommend opportunities that will help students improve their English speaking skills. For example, you can ask them to buy a textbook written in English and highlight words as they read. During lessons, you can discuss these words with them, give them their different meanings, and help them with the right pronunciation.
You can recommend movies and documentaries with English subtitles because who doesn't love to watch movies? Maybe some, but many people will prefer to watch a movie than read a book. To help your students learn better from watching movies, you can recommend some English movies for them.
English is a detailed language, and to teach, you must invest in continuous learning. The more time invested in learning English spelling and pronunciation, the easier it becomes to surmount any challenge around them.
The inconsistencies in English comes about because the language has been inspired by Germanic, Norse, French, Italian, Arabic and many more languages. Since we can't change the rules of English spelling and pronunciation we might as well learn what we can and study hard to overcome them.
Where to Find Opportunities to Improve Your English Language Skills?
YouTube has many wonderful videos which can help you learn all about how to pronounce a word in English.
Moreover, Audible is an audiobook website which allows you to listen to books. The great thing about this is that you can buy the book in English and follow along with audible.
Besides, there are online streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, that allow you to watch movies, documentaries and TV series with subtitles. The great thing is that they also have options to listen in multiple languages and read subtitles in various languages too.
Online apps like Babbel allow you to meet with other language learners and improve your English oral skills by exchanging a language or working together.
You can join forums like those on the Lonely Planet website to meet people who would like to help individuals from other countries so that you can learn and concrete your English.
Couchsurfing is a global travel community where you can also interview English speakers or make friends internationally with people who are open to know other cultures and backgrounds. Also, should you choose to, you could host an English speaker in your home or travel to meet a native English speaker.
How to improve your English skills with a tutor on Superprof
You can learn English language and find many ways to infuse it into your everyday conversations with friends and family when you work with a professional. Fortunately, Superprof is glad to connect you with these professionals. no matter your region in Canada, there is an English tutor near me on Superprof willing to take you by the hand and help you improve your language skills.
Whether you prefer group lessons, face to face tutorials or online lessons, these teachers are up to the task. The best part is that if you enroll for English lessons right away, you could get your first lesson free. This will help you learn English without spending money. Thereafter, you can choose to continue with the lessons at your convenience. Many students who once struggled to speak English fluently can attest to the magic hands of our tutors. It's no joke! Hurry!! go to Superprof.ca - the world's best platform for learning English as a second language.
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