When the LEAP Intensive English Program began receiving numerous requests from community members and Wright State students and faculty for pronunciation instruction, Jeanette Horowitz, director of the program, and Pamela Everly, adjunct instructor, decided to explore the possibility of a class to meet that need.
“We found that there seemed to be a demand in the community,” Everly said. “So we thought we should explore that.”
After nearly a year of development, LEAP offered the first session of Pronunciation Improvement during the fall of 2017. The third session of the course ended on Feb. 15. The next session will begin March 6. It will also be offered during summer A term.
The course is non-credit, pass/fail and can be taken more than once for practice.
Students come from on and off campus to take the class.
“We’ve had engineers from Colombia and Saudi Arabia; military liaison officers from the base; Wright State graduate and undergraduate students from Laos, Thailand and India; business people from Russia, Turkey, Colombia and Peru; a nurse from India; and a pastor from Rwanda,” Everly said.
The goal of the class is to teach non-native English speakers difficult aspects of English, such as intonation, word and syllable stress and rhythm. These practices not only enable the students to be more easily understood, but they also enable easier understanding of native English speakers. One student even said it helped her with academic reading, because she knows how words are grouped and which words are important.
In the most recent session, five students — one from Colombia, one from Mexico, two from Brazil and one from Thailand — gave presentations demonstrating how their pronunciation had improved. The presentations covered a variety of topics: Working with Welcome Dayton and the Dayton Human Relations Council, differences in how Thai and American families raise their children, a student’s trip to her home country of Mexico, cultural differences between Brazil and America, and a student’s experience of coming to America and living with her host family.
Student evaluations of the course have been exceedingly positive. Everly said she has seen significant improvements in the students’ pronunciation, even in such a short class.
The next session of the class begins March 6. Students can register through the LEAP office in 106 Allyn Hall.
More information about the course can be found on the LEAP website.