Pronunciation instruction in Jordan : practices and beliefs

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2013
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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- Second language pronunciation remains a seriously neglected part of English Language Teaching (ELT), both in research and in classroom practice. Speakers of Arabic constitute the fifth largest language group worldwide, and English is no less vital a part of globalisation in the Middle East than elsewhere. However, to date there exist no published studies in the region, either in Arabic or English, which document classroom practices of pronunciation pedagogy, nor any which explore teachers’ or students’ views on these practices. This study is located in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, where English functions as a foreign language in a unique secondary role to Arabic, the lingua franca of the Middle East. The research is qualitative in nature, comprising the observation of six classes at a major provincial university, together with surveys of students and interviews with both lecturers and students. Analysis is based on theories of teacher cognitions/beliefs and of language learning strategies; it also draws on current debates regarding global Englishes, as well those relating to teachers who are native or non-native speakers of English. The study provides a rare glimpse of how English pronunciation is taught and learned in an early 21st century, Middle Eastern setting. It finds that English graduates are prepared for teaching via linguistic knowledge, rather than pedagogic skills; that is, the syllabus addresses phonology rather than pronunciation. Within phonology, teaching was limited almost entirely to segmental features, and examples were confined to sounds or individual words. Teaching techniques consisted mainly of teacher explanation and student drills. Arabic speakers’ beliefs are explored in relation to a number of current pedagogical issues. Both teachers and students firmly rejected the appropriateness of a lingua franca core for L2 phonology, instead favouring British or American standard varieties. While lecturers’ high levels of competence and expertise were valued by students, a preference was still demonstrated for native speakers to be involved in the delivery of phonology courses. Issues of identity – a major interest in ESL settings – were not considered relevant by students or teachers, who remained embedded in their local contexts, viewed English in enthusiastic and instrumental ways and whose concerns were rather to develop the quality of curriculum in this foreign language setting.
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