22 Jun 2010

English Pronunciation Resources for Students and Teachers

Given the many different places that "native" English speakers hail from, there is no such thing as perfect English pronunciation. That said, knowing how to pronounce words is an important part of learning any language. If you are struggling with pronunciation or know a student who is struggling, the following free resources may help:

SpokenSkills - SpokenSkills offers many different resources for ESL teachers, language professionals and students, including vowel sounds, consonant sounds, audio and video clips, and listening comprehension podcasts.

Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary - This online learning dictionary from Merriam-Webster provides 15 free sessions of perfect pronunciation exercises for ESL students. Each session includes practice with words, phrases, and sentences.

New English File - This Oxford University Press site offers pronunciation practice for beginner, elementary, pre-intermediate, intermediate, upper-intermediate, and advance
d level English language learners. Students in each level can check their pronunciation of English sounds against audio files and play games to reinforce learning.

Fonetiks - Fonetiks offers comprehensive pronunciation guides for nine different varieties of the English language. Other site features include an online English dictionary with instant sound, minimal pair practice, an interactive reading course, a list of words that are difficult to pronounce, and a pronunciation guide for names of people and places.

Inogolo - Inogolo is an online American English pronunciation guide for ESL and EFL learners. The guide includes pronunciations for the names of people, places, and things.

Howjsay - Howsjay is a talking online dictionary that contains audio pronunciations for more than 130,000 English words and phrases. If the word you are looking for is not contained in the dictio
nary, you can post a question about the word on the site's comment board.

English Interactive - English Interactive links to a wide range of sites that offer English pronunciation practice. Other site features include interactive vocabulary practice with audio and conversation resources.

American English Pronunciation Practice - Charles Kelley, a textbook writer and ESL enthusiast, created this page for ESL and EFL students who need pronunciation practice. The page includes listen and repeat videos, tongue twisters, and game-like minimal pair practice using Flash and MP3 files.

Write Back Soon - Radio Lingua Network provides several different podcasts for English learners, including this phrasal verb podcast known as Write Back Soon. The podcast series consists of eight archived episodes that help ESL students understand and practice phrasal verbs.

Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab - This online listening lab is great for students who need speaking, listening, and pronunciation practice. The lab provides short listening quizzes and activities for beginner and intermediate students as well as videos of long conversations and interviews for more advanced students.

Phonetics Flash Animation Project - This online project from the University of Iowa features animated libraries of phonetic sounds of English. An animated diagram, description, and audio file of the sound being used in context are available for each English consonant and vowel.

KanTalk - Created specifically for English students who need spoken English practice, this online community offers a space to practice conversations and share recordings and videos.

Busuu - Busuu is an international language learning community for people who want to practice English and other languages with native speakers. The site's integrated video-chat-application makes it easy to chat with anyone you meet on Busuu.

SharedTalk - SharedTalk is a free Rosetta Stone community that provides both voice and text chat for members who want to practice their language skills online.

Livemocha - Livemocha is a popular online language learning community that supports six different languages, including English. Students can use the site to find language partners, user-made videos, and other ESL resources.

AddLang - AddLang makes it easy for students to practice pronunciation with native English speakers over Skype. Students can also practice their English with other AddLang members using MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, and AOL Messenger

UsingEnglish.com - The English Language Discussion Forum on UsingEnglish.com has a special section just for students who want to discuss questions related to pronunciation, phonetics, and other aspect of speech. The forum also offers an "Ask the Teacher" section for students who need additional help.

est post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the About.com Guide to Business School. She also writes about pharmacy technician certification for PharmacyTechnicianCertification.com.

8 Jun 2010

PLAYCOMIC, more than a simple comic creator

It has been a long time ago since I wrote my last post, due to lack of time. However, today I found an incredible comic creator tool which I would like to share with you. It is called PLAYCOMIC and it has been designed and created by Antonio Muñoz Germán in order to help stu

dents to develop their writing and oral communication skills in English and in Spanish.

There is a great amount of characters and backgrounds students can choose from, so the possibilities to create different kinds of situational dialogues is almost endless. They will be able to create their own comic strips, finish one of more than 40 stories included, transform a comic into a narrative and viceversa, fill the balloons with their own dialogues and add as many pages as they want to.

Teachers will benefit as well from this software since it includes a didactic guide with a series of methodological principles, as well as educational suggestions for different kinds of activities using comics, and a detailed guide to learn how to use this tool.

Well, I hope you find time to explore and try this tool with your students because it is really worth it.

If you want to know more about how to integrate comics in the classroom, I recommend you to see S. Hendy presentation. She suggests different ideas to integrate comics within the curriculum.

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