Teaching English pronunciation in the context of the Chinese education system

  • Wang Yu-Zhen

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    Pronunciation is an important component of English teaching,
    particularly in a non-English speaking country like China,
    where students' exposure to the target language may be only
    listening to tapes or to the teacher in class, or occasionally
    watching a film in English, if these audio-visual facilities
    are available.
    However, the majority of teachers do not pay enough attention
    to pronunciation because it always competes for class times
    with other aspects of language teaching. Moreover, it is not
    usually tested. As a result, after several years of studying
    English, some students still cannot speak or read aloud with
    any degree of accuracy or fluency.
    Therefore it is essential that in China, the teacher's
    professional inventory should include acquaintance with basic
    articulatory phonetics and the phonological system of English,
    because the teacher is inevitably a pronunciation model for the
    student. Furthermore, the correction of students' aberrant
    pronunciation is a continuing task throughout years of teaching
    at different levels, and one which requires patience and
    alertness as well as effective techniques.
    With the rapid development of education in China, the problem
    of effective teaching of pronunciation has become more
    prominent. According to the government's plan, the number of
    students planned to be enrolled in tertiary institutions alone
    will increase by 42.2 per cent from 1981 to 1985. Foreign
    language teaching, in theory, starts from the third year of
    primary school and continues right through the second year of
    college. The training of teachers at these levels, especially
    at the primary and secondary levels, is a serious problem.
    Pronunciation is an inescapable part of language teaching. The
    questions raised in this paper and the suggestions made may, in
    part, assist with the training of the large numbers of
    effective speakers of foreign languages that China needs.
    Date of Award1983
    Original languageEnglish

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