Tools you can use to improve pronunciation of students

Pronunciation tools for ESL teachers

Pronunciation tools for ESL teachers

26.04.2024

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  • Pronunciation
  • Tips & Strategies
  • Methodology

It is impossible to underestimate the importance of pronunciation training for everyone  who learns English. Well-trained pronunciation is undoubtedly a huge part of success, as it immensely boosts students’ communication and listening skills. 

However, the main question is how to work on the students’ pronunciation properly and which tools to use. 

Rapid development of technologies has eased a lot of tasks, including pronunciation training. In this article, we are going to overview the best online pronunciation tools an ESL teacher can use.

Why is it crucial to pay attention to the students’ pronunciation?

First of all, it is important to define the reasons why pronunciation training is such a priority and how exactly it affects students’ general progress in the process of language acquisition:

  • Pronunciation contributes to better listening skills.  It is not a secret that pronunciation training makes listening easier. Students get used to the peculiarities of pronouncing certain words and recognize them in a speech further after.
  • Good pronunciation improves the effectiveness of speaking. Well-trained pronunciation makes students’ speech much more comprehensible for others and therefore eases the process of communication, making it more natural.
  • Proper pronunciation increases self-confidence. Knowing that your pronunciation is correct and your speech is clear boosts your confidence and gives you much more inner freedom to express yourself .
  • Pronunciation is an integral part of any exam’s evaluation. Finally, whatever test or examination your student decides to take, they will eventually face the necessity of  demonstrating how good their pronunciation is.

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What are the apps you can use to work with pronunciation?

As I have already mentioned, nowadays we have a lot of great tools to improve pronunciation that graduates of any online TEFL courses can effectively implement into their lessons. 

So, here is the list of the most popular choices worldwide:

Accent Training

The purpose of this app is to help the students begin practicing their American accent. Voice quality, intonation, liaisons, and pronunciation are the four basic components that make up an accent. The app focuses on all of them at once and provides a user with extremely helpful and immersive experiences.

ELSA Speak

An English Language Speech Assistant, or ELSA, was developed to assist students in perfecting their pronunciation of American English. ELSA is the first and one of the smartest artificial intelligence pronunciation coaches, driven by built-in, cutting-edge speech recognition technology. Thanks to this technology, students can listen to ELSA and repeat after it as well as get real grades and feedback on what to improve.

Dictionarist

Dictionarist is an online dictionary where you can check words’ pronunciations and meanings. Students may improve their English by seeing the term in many sentences across various settings. This is unquestionably a highly useful and helpful tool for talks.

This app also gives a hint on a very nice pronunciation training strategy for which you don’t need any apps at all. The thing is that any dictionary actually has the function of listening to the word, including accents sometimes. Therefore, you may advise your students to check the pronunciation in the dictionary every time they are not sure about how to pronounce a difficult word.

Forvo

Forvo is one of the useful apps to improve pronunciation for anyone who wants to know how a certain word is pronounced by native speakers.

Students may search for any term using this resource, and verify how it is pronounced by native speakers from different regions and with different accents.

Lyrics Training

Using music to improve students’ pronunciation is one of the finest strategies.

Songs are an excellent tool for learning a language since they help us pronounce words more accurately. It is much simpler to learn how to pronounce each word correctly once you have learned the lyrics of your favorite song by heart.

This is exactly what Lyrics Training is based on. Its users can  look through their favorite music videos, adjust the difficulty level, and participate in karaoke singing. All of these activities make Lyrics Training a truly fun and engaging online pronunciation tool.

Say It

Say It: English Pronunciation was created by Oxford University Press to teach English language learners how to pronounce terms they are already familiar with in a clearer and more understandable manner.

There are many cool and useful features like recording your pronunciation, creating a list of words you would like to practice often, playing the word slowly to hear all the peculiarities, and much more.

Spell Up

Google developed this free resource three years ago. This software uses an advanced speech recognition algorithm to assist users with pronouncing words correctly in English.

The user’s goal is to accurately spell the words they hear. Words and characters will rise up as a tower after every accurate answer. The higher the tower, the more difficult it is to pronounce.

Online Presentation Tools & Software

Tips & strategies

Here are some other practical tips and strategies you can use to integrate pronunciation training into your lessons effectively:

  • You should start with teaching the fundamental sounds of English phonetics. Focus on individual phonemes, including vowels, consonants, and diphthongs, and provide clear explanations and examples of how each sound is produced.
  • Use visual aids like phonetic charts, mouth diagrams, and instructional videos to help you elucidate the intricacies of correct pronunciation. They are extremely helpful for learners in comprehending the articulatory mechanisms involved in sound production.
  • Also, don’t forget to highlight the significance of word and sentence stress in English pronunciation. Engage students in exercises to identify stressed syllables and underscore the role of intonation in conveying meaning and emotion.

  • Facilitate peer collaboration and feedback sessions where students can assist each other in refining their pronunciation. Pair students with diverse linguistic backgrounds to foster exposure to a variety of pronunciation models.
  • Integrate drills and repetition exercises into your lessons to help students learn and remember the correct pronunciation. To reinforce specific sounds and phonetic patterns, use activities such as minimal pairs practice, tongue twisters, and rapid-fire drills.
  • Encourage students to engage in consistent pronunciation practice outside of class through self-study exercises, audio recordings, and conversational practice with language exchange partners. It’s your task as a teacher to explain to your students the importance of regular practice in honing pronunciation skills over time.

Let's sum up

Here's a table that compares each tool and provides a comprehensive overview of its features. From accent refinement to interactive speech recognition, these tools encapsulate the diverse spectrum of pronunciation aids available to educators and learners.

Pronunciation ToolKey FeaturesTarget AudienceFree/Paid
Accent TrainingComprehensive accent trainingStudents aiming for American English accentPaid
ELSA SpeakReal-time feedback, speech recognition technologyStudents focusing on American English pronunciationBoth
DictionaristWord pronunciation check from multiple sentencesAll ESL learnersFree
ForvoPronunciation by native speakersAll ESL learnersFree
Lyrics TrainingEngaging karaoke experience, adjustable difficulty levelAll ESL learnersFree
Say ItPronunciation recording, word lists, slow playbackESL learners at various proficiency levelsFree
Spell UpTower-building game format, advanced speech recognitionAll ESL learnersFree
Article authors & editors
  • Arina Kravchenko

    Arina Kravchenko

    Author

    Teacher of General English & IELTS

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