M. Pospieszynska-Wojtkowiak

The State School of Higher Professional Education in Konin (POLAND)
Numerous research studies show how affective (individual) factors influence foreign language learning, namely how particular personal features affect the choice of learning styles and strategies, and how these help the learners achieve success in some skills.

However, there is marked scarcity of empirical studies in the field of the influence of learning styles upon FL oral attainment which lies in the sphere of the main interest of the author of this article. Research findings that have been gathered so far mostly apply to such skills as reading and writing or listening comprehension. There have been relatively few studies investigating the influence of individual styles and strategies upon the oral skill – speaking in general or a particular aspect of the oral skill, e.g. pronunciation or other.

The place of pronunciation teaching is particularly important in FL pedagogy. Not only can pronunciation teaching/learning influence the quality of spoken language but it also helps understand certain aspects of descriptive linguistics (phonetics) concerning the structure of the vocal tract, speech production and perception. Especially a person who is trained to be an English teacher should be both good at FL using and at interpreting particular phonological rules and principles.

Although the current trend for language intelligibility and global understanding in EFL may undermine the role of pronunciation teaching/learning, the majority of both teachers and students find it equally important as teaching/learning grammar or lexis. Some may, however, claim that there is no reason to teach phonetics at all age levels due to the fact that the critical period for pronunciation is believed to be earliest of all (~6 years of age). Nevertheless, even though not all learners will achieve native-like pronunciation, research studies have shown that highly motivated adult learners with sufficient training can attain it.