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IMPROVING L2 PRONUNCIATION WITH AUDIO TECHNOLOGY AND REFLECTIVE COLLABORATION

G. Dettori1, V. Lupi2

1CNR (ITALY)
2Junior High School “Don Milani-Colombo" (ITALY)
Identifying pronunciation errors is a complex task for the learners of a second language (L2), which requires good self-observation, reflection and evaluation skills. Its difficulty is witnessed by both experience and the literature, which highlight that learners are often unable to identify their own errors, unless they are specifically trained in this respect. Acquiring a correct pronunciation and applying it in language production, on the other hand, is crucial for effective language use. This aspect, however is often neglected in school due to lack of time and task complexity.
A support to help learners become aware of sound nuances and of their own utterances, as well as to improve them, can be provided by the use of audio files. As with any other technology exploited in education, however, we can not expect the tool to do the job if not paired with a suitable methodology of use. In order to meet this learning need, we have designed a methodological approach to the use of audio technology, based on collaborative, metacognitive reflection, aiming to guide language learners to observe their own oral productions so as to notice pronunciation errors. Conceived in the context of task-based language teaching and learning, our proposal consists of a number of short tasks of increasing complexity to be carried out, individually or in collaboration with peers, over a few months, in parallel to regular classes, so as to complement the usual curricular activities on grammar, lexicon and civilization, yet running independently of them.
In this paper we analyse the nature of the considered issue and describe our methodological approach to the use of audio technology to improve L2 pronunciation. We also discuss its application to French Learning in a junior high school, describing what kind of technological tools were used and highlighting what type of learning behaviours are put into play by its application.