English Australia Journal : English Australia Journal 27.2
English Australia Journal Volume 27 No 2 17 Performing English: Adapting actor voice training techniques for TESOL to improve pronunciation intelligibility Peter Copeman University of Canberra If, as performance theory proposes, human communication, especially speech, is essentially performative, then fundamental connections between performance education and TESOL – beyond the common communicative paradigm – become imaginable. One such connection, linking speech and pronunciation in TESOL with intercultural performance and, in turn, with the rich tradition of actor voice training techniques, is developed in this article. A practical classroom application of this connection is then provided, in the form of a set of specific teaching strategies adapted from actor training techniques and developed and tested in an ongoing classroom research project over several years, to help learners improve their pronunciation intelligibility at a segmental level. Introduction Over the past several years I have been conducting an ongoing classroom research project addressing two related questions that arise at the intersection of three main professional trajectories (TESOL/academic skills teacher, theatre practitioner/teacher, academic researcher): whether or not the emerging field of performance theory could be productively applied to speaking skills work in TESOL, and if so, what opportunities that might open up for practical teaching and learning. Drama techniques are widely used in English language classrooms, and the TESOL literature is extensive in this area (e.g ., Burke & O’Sullivan, 2002; Copeman, 2002; Maley & Duff, 1982; Stinson & Winston, 2011). There are also numerous websites, such as http://tesoldrama.wordpress.com. The literature mostly tends to focus on the benefits of the use of drama in fostering student motivation, engagement, confidence, receptivity and interactivity. These benefits are, of course, shared by many other techniques within the broad current practice of English language teaching.
English Australia Journal 28.1
English Australia Journal 27.1