Pronunciation – Phonological Awareness Training for Tertiary ESL Students to Enhance Academic Experience – On and Off Campus

Conference: The Paris Conference on Education (PCE2022)
Title: Pronunciation – Phonological Awareness Training for Tertiary ESL Students to Enhance Academic Experience – On and Off Campus
Stream: Foreign Languages Education & Applied Linguistics (including ESL/TESL/TEFL)
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation
Beena Giridharan, Curtin University, Malaysia
Reginald Miller, Curtin University, Malaysia


Quite often, the extent of English language proficiency required by ESL (English as a second language) tertiary International students, studying in universities, where English is the medium of instruction, fall short of the levels required, to achieve full academic success and fulfil their potential in the workforce post, graduation (Edwards et al., 2007; Jordan and Kedrowicz, 2011; Leki, Cumming and Silva, 2008; Murray 2011). Undergraduate students are accepted at universities with scores between 5 - 5.5 or equivalent, in their TOEFL, IELTS tests. Such scores do not ensure that their English linguistic/academic skills are at a satisfactory standard to participate successfully in classrooms, off campus, and in the workforce. To date, extant research has established that effective L2 usage in, academic speaking and writing, demands comparatively advanced language proficiency (Hinkel, 2011; Leki, Cumming, and Silva, 2008; Weigle, 2002). This language dilemma is tacitly understood by all stakeholders in the industry and has been addressed by individual university language-support programmes, and through broad Government directives. Reforms have taken place, but endemic low-levels of English language proficiency still exists. Notable studies suggest that (Arkoudis and Doughney, 2014) the English-skills needs for tertiary level students in Australia are still not being met. The present paper discusses an ongoing AR (Action Research) project undertaken to investigate the effectiveness of a pronunciation and phonological training course to advance English language, reading, listening, and speaking proficiency among tertiary students. Initial data from the study suggest that phonological training using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), is not only effective for improving pronunciation, but also provides major carry-over benefits to reading skills, that help build self-esteem, and encourage better participation among ESL tertiary students.

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