Featured speakers

Michael Burri (University of Wollongong, Australia)

L2 learners’ perceptions and L2 teachers’ practices and cognitions about pronunciation instruction

The interplay between L2 learners’ perceptions and L2 teachers’ cognitions (beliefs, knowledge) and pronunciation instruction is complex and multi-dimensional, and not well understood. In a study of three classrooms, a student questionnaire, semi-structured instructor interviews, and classroom observations were triangulated to explore the relationship between the perceptions of 49 lower level English language learners and three instructors’ pronunciation practices and cognitions. The findings revealed some discrepancies between students’ desires/goals and instructors’ pronunciation practices, whereas error correction and teachers’ cognitions generally tended to meet students’ preferences. The presentation concludes with recommendations and implications for L2 instructors, L2 teacher educators, and researchers.

Speaker bio:

Michael Burri is a Senior Lecturer in TESOL at the University of Wollongong, Australia. He has taught and conducted research in a variety of contexts in Australia, Japan, and Canada. His professional interests include pronunciation instruction, second language teacher education, educational neuroscience, context-sensitive/innovative pedagogy, and non-native English-speaking teacher issues.

Joshua Gordon (University of Northern Iowa)

L2 Pronunciation and Task-Based Instruction: Effects of a Short Classroom Intervention

Studies that have investigated task-based instruction (TBI) in L2 pronunciation have been carried out mostly in laboratory settings, and it is necessary to explore how different types of tasks could enhance pronunciation learning in actual classrooms. This study investigated the effects of explicit pronunciation instruction combined with communicative tasks that differed in complexity in three intact EFL classes. The results demonstrated that learners exposed to more complex tasks significantly improved their comprehensibility from pretest to posttest. These findings, although modest, give more validity for the incorporation of TBI in pronunciation teaching to help learners automatize the forms learned in controlled conditions and develop comprehensibility in L2 speech.

Speaker bio:

Joshua Gordon is assistant professor of TESOL and Applied Linguistics at the University of Northern Iowa. He has trained pre-service and in-service language teachers in the United States and in Costa Rica. His research interests include L2 pronunciation teaching and learning, L2 teacher cognition, and nonnative-speaking teacher issues.

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Ingrid Mora-Plaza, Joan C. Mora, & Roger Gilabert (University of Barcelona)

Task-essentialness for L2 phonological acquisition: A TBPT study

L2 speech research has shown that phonetic training and explicit pronunciation instruction is effective at developing learners’ L2 phonology. However, few studies have tried to apply task-based language teaching (TBLT) principles to pronunciation learning through the design of real-world problem-solving tasks that make L2 phonological forms essential to task completion (Task-Based Pronunciation Teaching). Findings from Catalan-Spanish adolescent learners of English showed that manipulating task design to make confusable English vowel contrasts task-essential during classroom interaction raised learners’ awareness of the vowel quality differences between the contrastive L2 phonological forms, which improved in perception, in production and in lexical encoding.

Speaker bios:

Ingrid Mora-Plaza is postgraduate researcher and lecturer at the University of Barcelona, Spain. Her main research focuses on the potential benefits of task-based pronunciation teaching (TBPT) on L2 speech development in instructional settings. Her research interests also include phonetic training methods and cognitive individual differences in second language acquisition.

Joan C. Mora is associate professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and English Studies at the University of Barcelona, Spain. His research interests include cognitive individual differences in L2 speech learning, L2 phonology and speaking fluency, L2 pronunciation learning and teaching and phonetic training methods.

Roger Gilabert is currently associate professor and researcher at the University of Barcelona, Spain. His research interests include second and foreign language production and acquisition, task-based needs analysis, task design and task complexity, individual differences and L2 production and acquisition, multimedia learning, and game-based learning and SLA.