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Introducing Voice-Setting Phonology by Sarn Rich
- lesson plan 1

Prelminary information

Time: 1 hour

Level: Intermediate

Main Aims:
to explore suprasegmental approaches to improve English voice-setting,by
- raising awarenesS.
- noticing.
- imitating.

Subsidiary Aims:
- (depending on time) using English voice-setting to communicate emotions.
- to improve recognition of ideas, emotions and relationships conveyed by gesture, body language and voice-setting.

Timetable Fit:
This is an experimental lesson, which relies on the willing co-operation and enthusiasm of the learners, as well as a comfortable atmosphere so that the learners will feel relaxed in each others' company doing things they might feel inhibited trying in front of strangers. For these reasons it comes a fair way into the course (lesson 18) when a good rapport has been established.

Previous lessons addressing phonology have looked at intonation and expressive backchannelling in oral interaction, and weakening and elision. Tomorrow we will look at rhythm, and in another experimental lesson another teacher will introduce intonation for proclaiming and referring.

This is the first lesson to make use of video. Previous listening lessons have encouraged the learners to deduce relationships and feelings of speakers from their tone of voice.

The learners are aware that we will be trying experimental teaching approaches in this lesson.

Anticipated problems & solutions:
The activities in this lesson are probably best introduced one by one and spread over a course. Presenting them all together might give the learners too much to take in.
I will maintain their enthusiasm and goodwill by presenting each activity as an experiment, for the learners themselves to evaluate.

In the past I have taught monolingual classes of speakers of Arabic, Italian, Czech, Hungarian, Taiwanese/Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Japanese, Polish, Tibetan, Georgian, and South American Spanish, but having only encountered a couple of European Spanish-speaking learners (in multilingual classes in Britain), the poor pronunciation of the learners in this class took me by surprise. I can well believe Coe's claim that 'European Spanish-speakers.. .probably find English pronunciation harder than speakers of any other language' (in M. Swan (ed) 'Learner Training' CUP 1991:73).

The learners have all put speaking, listening and pronunciation at the tops of their lists of priorities for the course, and so we have devoted several lessons to these already.

The learners in this class are interested in the learning process itself, and appear to have a good grasp of the rationale behind typical classroom activities. This makes it a good class with which to present and discuss experimental teaching approaches.

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