Abstract

Different opinions exist about the use of phonetic alphabet symbols in teaching English pronunciation to second language learners. Some authors and researchers believe phonetic symbols can benefit students in many ways; others consider this tool hardly recommendable. However, little empirical research has been done to find out what ESL teachers think about the use of this linguistic tool. Thus, via an online survey this study sought to identify ESL teachers' attitudes towards the use of phonetic symbols in teaching ESL pronunciation. A total of 120 teachers took the survey and most of them were experienced in teaching pronunciation to adult ESL students. The analyses of qualitative data identified a contradiction between experienced teachers' opinions and what they practiced in class. On the one side, the teachers had predominantly positive attitudes towards the use of phonetic symbols, and about 80% of them agreed that it was a valuable use of class time. Despite this, many teachers (n=40) did not report using phonetic symbols in their teaching. In addition, though the teachers pointed out enabling student independent learning as the main reason to teach phonetic symbols, only three participants reported that they used phonetic symbols for this purpose. The results of the study suggest that ESL teachers' lack of training in teaching phonetic symbols to ESL students can be one of the main factors causing this contradiction.

Degree

MA

College and Department

Linguistics and English Language

Rights

https://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2020-12-12

Document Type

Thesis

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd11945

Keywords

teaching pronunciation, phonetic alphabet symbols, ESL, adult students, teachers' attitudes

Language

english

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