Why is it important to teach ESL pronunciation and phonics to students?
No matter what level your students are, no matter how advanced or fluent they are, if their pronunciation of certain key sounds is incorrect, they’ll be misunderstood by other speakers of English. For example, if an English learner talks about owning three ship (/ʃɪp/), but actually means three sheep (/ʃi:p/), the listener might assume that he or she is a very rich person, while the speaker in fact just wants to talk about his private little farm.
In such a case, the purpose of learning English to effectively communicate with other people around the world is not fulfilled. This can be extremely demotivating for learners of a language and it can also cause students to hesitate to speak.
The same goes, of course, for students’ listening skills. If your English students misunderstand the word ship (/ʃɪp/) as sheep (/ʃi:p/) when they hear it, similar confusion will arise.
For effective communication, both receptive and productive skills are equally important. This is why we need to equip our students with the necessary tools to speak and listen, right from the beginning of their lessons.