CALICO Journal, Vol 33, No 2 (2016)

Exploring Optimal Pronunciation Teaching: Integrating Instructional Software into Intermediate-level EFL Classes in China

Barbara Elizabeth Hanna, Yang Gao
Issued Date: 28 May 2016


This study sought to investigate the effectiveness of teaching pronunciation with instructional software to a cohort of Chinese speakers of English aged from 13 to 16 with a lower-intermediate language proficiency level. It also attempted to explore the relationship between language learners’ attitudes towards pronunciation and their pronunciation learning.

Sixty students at an English language school in China participated in this project: 20 were instructed by a teacher, another 20 used instructional software (New Oriental Pronunciation) alone, and the remaining 20 received combined instruction from both a teacher and the software. Participants’ performances on pronunciation were evaluated in a pre-test and post-test. Their attitudes towards pronunciation were also assessed, in pre- and post- surveys. In addition, an open-ended questionnaire collected students’ reflections on the software and the lead researcher took observation notes during instruction.

The greatest increase in performance was achieved by students who had undergone both forms of instruction, suggesting that the combination is optimal. Participants whose attitudes towards pronunciation changed the most made the greatest improvement in pronunciation, indicating that attitudes are crucial to pronunciation learning. This study provides a number of recommendations for various fields including software design, teacher training, and future research.

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DOI: 10.1558/cj.v33i2.26054


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