It can be very frustrating when you have a good level of English but people still have problems to understand you. It is a shame that there are no formal classes that introduce the subject of pronunciation because it is so vital to being understood.
There are some sounds that just don't exist in your language, sounds that you have never pronounced. However, they can be learned and practiced.
This table highlights some of the most difficult sounds for students learning English as a second language. It is a table of the phonetic alphabet. I use this chart as a diagnostic tool.
First I select a text for the student to read out aloud. While the student is reading, I make corrections and a note of the difficult sounds. Sounds that we can focus on for future classes or I can develop a programme specifically designed just to fix these problems.
Within just a few hours of lessons, students have a marked improvement and at least 70% of the problematic areas can be resolved.
Being aware of the exact nature of the difficulty is important. I focus on the problem to work towards a solution. Although this program has a lot of reading in it... I'm not really listening for the content or worried if the student understands the text. It's purely for pronunciation correction.
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