Monday, September 15, 2008

Part 2 Bad Habits That Spoil the Development of Good English Language Speaking Skills

More Bad Habits That Spoil the Development of Good English Language Speaking Skills

In the first part of this article post, we began a discussion of seven bad habits which spoil the development of good English or other foreign language speaking skills. In this second part, we’ll continue with some additional aspects to be considered when teaching and learning to speak English or another foreign language.

4. Leaning Face, Chin or Head Against Hand, Fingers or Palm

By all means, learners need to avoid leaning their head against their arm, fingers, palm or hand when speaking. This prevents correct enunciation in a number of ways which can be easily avoided. Be sure that you and your foreign language learners sit or stand up straight during speaking practice sessions with hands and arms away from the head or face.

5. Having Generally Poor Posture

When speaking, neither you nor your foreign language learners should stoop, slump or be hunched over in any manner. Bad Posture restricts the chest cavity, overly compresses the diaphragm and muffles breathing and tone production.

6. Elision, Slurring or Generally Poor Enunciation of Spoken Sounds

If the practice of “cutting off” or eliding word endings is common in your or the EFL learners first language (L1), careful attention should be paid to avoiding this habit crossing over into the speech of English or other foreign language. One technique that is very helpful with this is the “mirror technique”. Briefly, a mirror is used by the foreign language learners to watch themselves speaking and pronouncing in the target foreign language. You can also imitate an English teacher or videos of correct spoken dialogues, conversation or English language sounds pronunciation.

7. Not Correcting “Problem Sounds” When Speaking

When someone is learning English as a foreign language, they tend to get stuck on a certain series of problem sounds in English. These “problem sounds” tend to be quite specific depending on the first language (L1) of the learner. Since these problem sounds are predictable, for the most part, in a particular L1 language group, the English as a foreign language teacher must take care in teaching their correct formation and pronunciation. Native Spanish speakers, for example, will need to work on the correct formation and pronunciation of letters and sounds such as: sh, ch, x, g, w, p, b, v and “th”, among others. Below is a "g" sound pronunciation video from one of my classes.

Promoting the Development of English or Foreign Language Speaking Skills

One final point for now in regards to good speaking skills development is the use of dental prosthetics. If your learners have them they can either be removed, if possible, during English class as an aid to better pronunciation, if applicable. Alternatively, the EFL teacher and EFL learner must take impediments caused by dental or other prosthetics into account when practicing speech and pronunciation in English or other foreign languages. Be sure to consult with a qualified Dentist or Orthodontist too in order to better understand the inter-related relationship between dental mechanics and speech production.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

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