Assessment and feedback play an important role in any ESL classroom. If you are teaching ESL pronunciation, you will need to assess your students’ progress at some point, too. Here are some ideas on how to assess and give feedback to your ESL students.
During a group speaking activity, walk around the room and listen, taking notes on your students’ pronunciation errors. Later, you can organize your notes and give individual error correction feedback (in written form or during a personal meeting) or create a lesson for the whole class based on common errors you observed.
Have your students do individual or group presentations in front of the class. Ask the rest of the class to take notes, fill out a rubric sheet, or write a comment on each presentation, focusing on pronunciation and intonation. After each presentation, students can give each other feedback. This works well if the students are comfortable with each other and are motivated to participate in class. You can also add your own comments afterward.
Learn more about error correction in the EFL classroom with this 20-Hour TEFL/TESOL Micro-credential course.
If you’re teaching English online, having your students hand in audio or video recordings is a convenient way to assess their ESL pronunciation. Some ways you can do this are:
Give students a reading passage to read out loud and record, and then send them a sample of you reading the same passage to compare.
Give free-speech assignments and give students feedback on individual words and sentence stress.
Send your students digital handouts and ask them to read the target words on it, and give points or stars for each word.
Regardless of the activity, you can play their recordings over and over in order to write extensive feedback.
If you’re teaching English for Specific Purposes, creating an interview test that includes the target language and is set in a specific context is a good way to assess more advanced students. During the interview, you can repeat the incorrectly pronounced words back to your student and give them a chance to self-correct.
Graded paper test
If you are working in a public or private school, you might be asked to do some grading based on paper tests, or similarly easy-to-process assessments. In that case, you can create tests on minimal pairs, word stress, sentence stress, and intonation, and if possible, include a listening section with your own voice recordings.
Teaching ESL pronunciation is a challenging part of English language teaching. However, including ESL phonics practice in your lessons and helping your students produce intelligible language will improve their ability to communicate effectively with people around the world and help to fulfill the purpose of learning English.