Article: Rona Dale Ortiz
Sounding like an American is the ultimate goal of some EFL learners. This not far from impossible when the right kind of energy and focus is given during language training sessions. Teacher Marianne (Mars) is the master for Speaking training. Get to know her and weigh your learning options. Push through reading , and you’ll find out the reality of pronunciation learning.1 Tell me something about yourself
I’m Teacher Marianne and my favorite things are books, art, literature, nature, and meaningful conversations with people. Speaking Training and Pronunciation classes are my specialty. Nice to meet you!
2 Describe your teaching style
I don’t have a fixed teaching style because students always differ from each other. I think it’s a mixture of both strict and casual. My class has three parts. First, I allot 5-10 minutes for daily drills targeting the student’s problem areas. Then we have general pronunciation practice using lessons from books and other resources. Lastly, we have conversation practice wherein the student can apply the pronunciation rules in a natural setting, while using vocabulary and expressions he/she can use in real life. The first week is very crucial. Teachers need to stress the importance of the rules early on so that the student will appreciate the class and participate voluntarily.
3 What is the best way to improve pronunciation?
To put it bluntly, the best way to improve pronunciation is having consistent and proper speaking training and practice with the best teachers. An example of this is by knowing the proper oral formation when producing sounds. This greatly helps in neutralizing strong accent as well as acquiring sounds foreign to the student. Some specific ways to have immediate gratification for the student is to teach the schwa and dive a sounds, American T, blending or linking, and elisions (especially for students who only stay for few weeks). With these, the student will see actual results.
4 Can you really sound like an American in 6 months?
Realistically speaking, it is not easy to master new skills in a short span of time. BUT with daily practice and proper training, you can acquire something close to the American standard accent even in less than 3 months. Definitely. This also depends on the learner’s motivation level so it is a must to be both a teacher and friend to the student. It is important to set realistic goals and aim for improvements step by step. Aside from this, there is also a need for learners to improve on vocabulary, comprehension and fluency to name a few. Watching movies, series, and documentaries as well as listening to music aides in faster acquisition of American accent. It is difficult but not impossible.
5 Best advice or message to students
Set realistic goals, have proper training and daily practice, and of course just enjoy it. Remember, nothing is easy and everything will be worth the effort. Don’t expect your teachers to do everything for you. Do your part. Now, I am sounding like a lecturer. Haha! Don’t just sit there. Get out, be confident, and speak with people. Take it from T. Mars !~ Setting a realistic goal in learning will help and will lead you to improvement. Don’t forget to stick with the pronunciation drills and practice everyday. Still can’t get enough of her tips? Watch her actual video interview. You may also check her actual class.