About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1419-1425
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.1304

Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain

THE USE OF THE INITIAL TEACHING ALPHABET (I.T.A.) FOR ACQUISITION OF ENGLISH PHONOLOGY, VOCABULARY, GRAMMAR, READING, AND WRITING BY SPEAKERS OF OTHER LANGUAGES

J. Anderson

Initial Teaching Alphabet Foundation, Inc. (UNITED STATES)
English is considered one of the most difficult languages to learn. Linguistic domains that present special difficulties for English learners include phonology, orthography, vocabulary, grammar; and fluency. Phonologically, English has 44 sounds, and although many of the consonants may be present in a person’s native language, the 16 vowel sounds of English present a daunting challenge for many English learners. Orthographically, the 44 sounds of English can be written in more than 1,100 ways. For example, the “long” (open) vowel sound /a/ may be spelled as a, ai, ay, a_e, ea, eigh, or aigh. Vocabulary acquisition can be facilitated by cognates that are similar in both the native language and English (e.g., psicologia, psychology) but “false friends” can leave one embarrassed by the use of "embarazada". And the ultimate challenge for English learners is to speak, read, and write with fluency and correct grammar.

This presentation discusses the theoretical advantages and methodology of using the initial teaching alphabet (i.t.a.) to master English pronunciation, minimize the difficulties of English orthography, and develop fluency in speaking, reading and writing using a language experience approach. The initial teaching alphabet represents each of the 44 sounds of spoken English with a unique symbol. For example, the letter a represents the sound of “apple,” and a picture of an apple helps with sound/symbol acquisition. In contrast, the symbol æ represents the sound of “acorn.”

Intelligible pronunciation is often a struggle for English sounds that do not exist in the native language. For example, /th/ is not present in Spanish. Using the i.t.a. sound/symbol/picture chart, the English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher can complete a contrastive analysis with English learners, marking the English letter-sound combinations that occur in both languages (usually consonants), noting letters that are the same but sound different in the two languages (e.g. i and e in Spanish and English), and emphasizing English sounds that are not present in the native language (e.g., sh, wh). Letter-sound combinations in the native language not present in English (e.g., ll, ñ) can be added to the chart.

While focus on the individual sounds of English embedded in common English words is helpful to new English learners, the greatest advantage of using i.t.a. is in a language experience approach to speaking, reading, and writing. Because i.t.a. allows English learners to write phonemically any words that are in their speaking vocabulary, it facilitates rapid acquisition of spoken and written language. Speaking fluency is reinforced when they read what they have written. Using i.t.a. to write personal narratives is an organic approach to learning grammar and vocabulary because it focuses on whole sentences and connected discourse. Rather than teaching isolated vocabulary terms and rules for verb tenses, pronouns, etc., the ESL teacher can focus on helping students formulate spoken sentences correctly, followed by phonetic representation of each word in writing.

The experiences of ESL teachers who have used i.t.a. for mastery of English speaking, reading, and writing will be discussed in this presentation. For example, Somali newcomers in an ESL class answered questions about their family and what they like to do after school. Next, they wrote these sentences in i.t.a. and read their stories to each other for reinforcement of both reading and speaking.
@InProceedings{ANDERSON2017USE,
author = {Anderson, J.},
title = {THE USE OF THE INITIAL TEACHING ALPHABET (I.T.A.) FOR ACQUISITION OF ENGLISH PHONOLOGY, VOCABULARY, GRAMMAR, READING, AND WRITING BY SPEAKERS OF OTHER LANGUAGES},
series = {9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN17 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-3777-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2017.1304},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2017.1304},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {3-5 July, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {1419-1425}}
TY - CONF
AU - J. Anderson
TI - THE USE OF THE INITIAL TEACHING ALPHABET (I.T.A.) FOR ACQUISITION OF ENGLISH PHONOLOGY, VOCABULARY, GRAMMAR, READING, AND WRITING BY SPEAKERS OF OTHER LANGUAGES
SN - 978-84-697-3777-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2017.1304
PY - 2017
Y1 - 3-5 July, 2017
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN17 Proceedings
SP - 1419
EP - 1425
ER -
J. Anderson (2017) THE USE OF THE INITIAL TEACHING ALPHABET (I.T.A.) FOR ACQUISITION OF ENGLISH PHONOLOGY, VOCABULARY, GRAMMAR, READING, AND WRITING BY SPEAKERS OF OTHER LANGUAGES, EDULEARN17 Proceedings, pp. 1419-1425.
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