English Australia Journal : English Australia Journal 31.1
Volume 31 No 1 20 English Australia Journal therefore, appears to be gradually ‘shifting towards greater acceptance of non-native Englishes as possible pedagogical goals’ (Litzenberg, 2014, p . 19). Yet, irrespective of this resurgence in interest in pronunciation and English varieties, for second language (L2) instructors pronunciation remains one of the most challenging areas to teach (Foote, Holtby, & Derwing, 2011; Macdonald, 2002; Setter & Jenkins, 2005). Reasons associated with why pronunciation teaching is challenging encompass a range of factors, including instructors’ lack of confidence, inability to address pronunciation systematically, and uncertainty about what aspects of pronunciation to teach and how to use textbooks and materials in their classrooms effectively (Baker, 2011a). In addition, if English pronunciation is taught in L2 classrooms, the focus is mostly on segmentals (consonants and vowels) as suprasegmentals (stress, rhythm, intonation) are frequently viewed as difficult to teach (Breitkreutz, Derwing, & Rossiter, 2001; Foote, Trofimovich, Collins, & Urzúa, 2013; Wahid & Sulong, 2013). These findings are somewhat surprising as experts argue for a balance between segmentals and suprasegmentals in contemporary pronunciation instruction (Grant, 2014), and various research has shown that teaching segmentals and/or suprasegmentals can result in noteworthy improvement of L2 learners’ pronunciation (Couper, 2003; Derwing, Munro, & Wiebe, 1998; Hahn, 2004; Saito & Lyster, 2012; Varasarin, 2007). Nevertheless, teachers’ challenges are understandable, given that relatively few TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages) programs include subjects on pronunciation pedagogy (Foote et al., 2011). To improve pronunciation practices, therefore, experts are stressing a need for increased educational opportunities for L2 instructors (Murphy, 2014b). However, as minimal research exists in this particular context, little is known about how teachers are equipped to teach pronunciation and what factors impact the development of second language teacher cognition (hereafter SLTC) – defined here as teachers’ beliefs, thoughts, attitudes and knowledge (S. Borg, 2006) – about pronunciation pedagogy. In one of the few studies of the cognition development of L2 pronunciation instructors, Baker (2011b) explored the development and relationship between cognitions held by five experienced English language teachers and their actual pronunciation teaching practices. Her work established that postgraduate education can have a substantial influence on SLTC about pronunciation pedagogy. However, the practitioners’ cognition change was reported several years after their studies were completed and does not show us how cognition develops in the context of pronunciation teacher preparation. Hence, the present research involves a close analysis of student teachers’ cognition growth during a postgraduate subject in order to provide recommendations for enhancing the preparation of pronunciation instructors and for pronunciation teaching in L2 classrooms.
English Australia Journal 30.1
English Australia Journal 31.2