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TLE 2 TH vs. T
Toni Bell
EDUC 540B: Practicum in Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Languages
Rossier School of Education
University of Southern California
Dr. Serena Gould
April 20, 2015

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Classroom Setting and Background

Teacher: Toni Bell
Host Teacher: Shindale Seale
Lesson Title: Pronunciation & Grammar
Topic: TH and T Pronunciation, Sentence Building (subject, verb, complement, indirect & direct
objects), and adjective definitions
Learner Level: Beginning & Intermediate
Age: 8-35
Location: Los Angeles Public Library Overland Branch.
Number of Students: 7
Countries represented: China, Iran, India, Guatemala
Date: 4/20/2015
Duration: 2 hours
Pre-Planning Conference
I met with my host teacher via phone to go over the anticipate lesson for the week.
Because, I had been observing the class for the past few weeks, Id gotten a sense of the structure
of the class. The teacher would begin the lesson by asking about the students weekend. Then
shed go over the agenda for the day. This would be followed by pronunciation, grammar,
vocabulary, and finally sentence structure exercises. Students were always encouraged to go over
the lesson materials at home.
For the two week prior the students pronunciation focus was on the S and IZ sounds.
The introduction of TH and T was going to be new material. I prepared by watching linguistic

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that focused on pronunciation of the different sounds. I paid special attention to tongue and teeth
placement so I could effectively describe the actions to the students.
I did ask if there was anything I needed to be aware in regards to specific student needs.
This was difficult to anticipate because of the nature of the class. Although there were a core
group of students who came on a regular basis, the makeup of the class could shift at any time
because of the nature of the classroom. Id noticed over the weeks that all the students were
eager to participate. I was not concerned about student engagement. A few students did tend to
arrive about forty five minutes late to class due to their work schedules. Usually at the 45 minute
mark, the instructor was starting the grammar or sentence structure segment of the lesson.
Although the host teacher has the students do individual and pair work at times, she
rarely circulates around the room to help students with any possible problems. She primarily
allows them to work alone. I decided to make a point during the group and individual to circulate
during the lesson. It is a small class but getting that short one on one time with the student would
help better anticipate the specific student needs
The teacher makes up her own handouts for the lesson from resources that she finds
online. The students who attend the class regularly are use to a certain format and agenda in the
class. In order to be consistent, I opted to use the provided handouts. I did consider looking
online for animation that illustrated the pronunciation of certain words but was unable to find
segments that were short, clear and concise.
Theoretical Background
Although there are only 26 letters in the English alphabet, those 26 letters can represent
over 40 sounds. This means that the same letter or groupings of letters can have one or more
ways of being pronounced. (Schmidt & Mardsen, 2006). Unfortunately, few ESL teachers focus

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on pronunciation during classes for their beginning students. As a result, student pronunciation
can become fossilized. (Gilbert 2011). Behavioral theory posits that learning and behavior are
defined by a stimulus-response relationship. In regards to a lesson focused on pronunciation,
this means that the stimulus, the teacher saying a word, and the response, the student repeating
the word, must happen close in time. Teaching of pronunciation also requires explicit and
consistent reinforcement of behaviors, i.e. correct pronunciation. Not only must an educator
positively reinforce students correct response but they must demonstrate exactly how that
correct response was made by providing detailed information as to how sounds are made
Learning Outcomes/Objectives

Students will be able to pronounce the TH sound and differentiate it from the T and S

Students gain knowledge of new vocabulary terms.
Students will be able to read a passage and point out the TH and T sounds.
Students, via their recordings, will be able to hear their own errors, compare that with the
teacher pronunciation, and correct their mistakes.
Materials Required


Pronunciation Exercise and Passage retrieved form website by Paul and Bernice Nolls
Window to the World, American Clear Speech Sounds TH and T

iPhones and other recording devices

Scratch Paper
Instructional Procedure
Introduction (10 minutes)

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Students discuss their weekend. New students introduce themselves.

Teacher goes over agenda for the day.

Part A (10 minutes)

Teacher and students engage in pronunciation exercise TH, T, S

Part B (10 minutes)

Teacher reads passage

Students in groups of two read the passage to one another.
Teacher monitors student speech.
Class comes back together to focus on common errors and review pronunciation

Part C: (10 minutes)

Students record themselves reading the words from Part A.

Students listen to their recording.
Teacher asks one of the students to volunteer to play their recording.

Part D: (10 minutes)

Students record themselves reading the passage from Part B.

Teacher asks one of the students to volunteer to play their recording.
Teacher asks students to record her reading the words from Part B and the passage from
Part C.
Informal and formative assessment
The informal was conducted through observation and immediate correction of student

pronunciation. I focused on student errors specifically related to pronunciation focus of the day
as well as the pronunciation focus of the previous two weeks (S an IZ). The teacher will confirm
understanding of vocabulary terms, ask if students need further clarification, and directly address
common student errors.
Extension Activities

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Extension activities include an at-home audio review of the recordings from Part A and
Part B. Students will compare their own recordings with that of the teacher. Students will be
instructed to focus on their errors to improve pronunciation. The remainder of the lesson focuses
upon sentence building with an emphasis on subject, verb, and object and complement
agreement. The teachers will also review indirect and direct objects. The teacher will review the
definitions of these terms, identify the parts of sample sentences and then ask the students to
complete sentences on their own. The teacher will go over a list of adjectives and ask the
students to infer definitions. The students will then write at least three sentences using three
The class includes advanced beginner and intermediate students. The teacher will
differentiate instruction based on the following: language group and time that the student entered
class. For example, the students from India are able to pronounce the TH sound when it is in the
middle or at the end of a word. However, they sometimes find it difficult to pronouncing the
sound when it was at the beginning of a word. A few students due to work schedules arrive to
class late. Upon their arrival, the teacher will spend extra time with these students during the pair
work and recording time to go over the pronunciation one-on-one.
There were several strengths and weaknesses to my lesson. The students were motivated
and actively engaged. The pacing of the lesson was effective. For the most part, I was able to
stay within the time frames I assigned during my original lesson plan. Asking the students to
record themselves as well as me greatly enhanced the lesson and some students were able to hear

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and correct some of their pronunciation mistakes. The directions were clear and because of the
nature of the lesson, I was able to effectively model the lesson
There were several weaknesses to my lesson. I needed to better differentiate instruction to
target the pronunciation of students from different language groups. For example, the student
from India was able to pronounce the TH sound when it was in the middle or at the end of a
word. However, she had difficult pronouncing it when it was at the beginning of a word.
Although, I sat with her and demonstrated the proper placement of the tongue and teeth to make
the sounds, she was still unable to hear her mistakes. For my part, I wasnt clear as to help her to
make the distinction. Learning about the very specific ways that L1s can interfere with the
acquisition of an L2 will help me to be able to anticipate student errors. Ill be able to provide
them specific tools to address these problems. Its important to incorporate pronunciation
exercises with beginning students to prevent fossilization.
I also would have liked to have had more time to have students from different language
groups play back their recordings. Author of Clear Speech, Judy Gilbert suggest that when
teaching pronunciation one should focus upon the musicality of English (2011). Taking a few
minutes of each class to focus on particular phonetic unit would benefit the student in their future
speaking endeavors
There are other ways to teach pronunciation as well as introduce students to the variety of
American English dialects that exist in this country. My peers had some great suggestion.
Playing movie clips that feature similar words would help students develop their listening skills.
Using a kazoo to teach suprasegmentals would allow students to hear word emphasis.
Introducing tongue twisters would help the students develop the appropriate muscles. Students
could also clap or tap when saying certain words. Gestures could be effective to teach emphasis

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Gilbert, J. (2011, August). Phonology.

Noll, Bernice & Paul. (n.d.) Paul and Bernice Nolls Window to the World, American Clear
Speech Sounds TH and T. Retrieved on April 14, 2015.
Schmitt, N., & Marsden, R. (2006). Why is English like that? Historical
answers to hard ELT

questions. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan.

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