Don't you think that being able to teach a subject well is key for all teachers? Of course, we all have our preferences and there are bound to be some aspects of our subject which we would rather not teach, or certain topics we prefer, and this is totally natural. However, when our self-confidence is so low in one particular area that it prevents us from doing our job well, this can cause us to feel like we are not good enough, and can develop a real anxiety.
There are many possible causes of a lack of self-confidence. For example, we may not feel like an authority on that topic, which might come from a lack of knowledge or understanding. It could be because of a lack of practise, or low self-confidence could be part of your personality. You will be pleased to know that feeling uncertain about your abilities is not a permanent state and can be changed with a little help.
I'm sure many of you reading this article may lack confidence when teaching pronunciation. So this write up looks at 3 simple ways to increase your self-confidence to help you teach English pronunciation.
Firstly, I would like to try and help you with a little bit of a mindset shift. We cannot increase our confidence by merely wanting it to be so; an increase in confidence comes from doing something and learning that you can do the thing you are nervous about doing. We can also increase our confidence by becoming aware of the fact that when you try something, even if you do not get everything correct, you can still cope with the situation you find yourself in and get through it. You cannot wait to feel confident before doing something, unfortunately it does not work like that. So with that in mind, think about what aspects of pronunciation you want to include in your lessons and just do it – you will soon be feeling confident that you can teach it.
Secondly, making a conscious effort to include aspects of pronunciation practise in your lesson planning can make a huge difference. Adding intonation, stress, rhythm, chunking or any other focus on pronunciation to your plans, means you are more likely to cover it in your lessons. As you have planned to cover some part of pronunciation, you will be sure to review it, make sure you understand it and that will help you feel more prepared. It also means you do not need to worry about having to go over pronunciation points you are unsure about off the top of your head when they come up in class, because you know you have got something covering pronunciation in the plan and you can simply make a note of any arising issues and plan to review the emergent problem for the next lesson.
If you still feel that you need more support, then I would definitely recommend learning more about English pronunciation, this certainly helped me on my journey to feeling confident teaching pronunciation. The best place to start would be to look at differences between your students’ language(s) and English. If you have the same mother tongue as your students this will be slightly easier as you will have a better understanding of which sounds are more challenging. There are many ways to increase your understanding of intonation, stress, rhythm and sounds in English. This can be through reading articles online or books, taking a self-study course or participating in an interactive pronunciation programme. There are plenty of options online.
If you want to improve your self-confidence to be able to teach English pronunciation proudly then start implementing the ideas above and feel free to let me know how you get on. If you would like some more personal tips, please get in touch – I always love hearing from you.
If you’re interested, you can find a few pronunciation course options here.