Teaching English Pronunciation to Adult Refugees: A Personal Narrative of a Graduate Student in Newfoundland

Juan Marcelo Zapata Rugel


This narrative is based on the Experiential Learning portion of the course ED-6676 “Teaching ESL: Theory and Practice” at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN). The practicum consists of imparting 6 hours of ESL lessons to a student appointed by the Association for New Canadians (ANC) in St. John’s. Designated students are usually refugees or economic immigrants to Canada and the lessons being provided are pro bono. The topics were chosen according to the level of English proficiency of the student, which in my case was Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 4, and included conversational themes ranging from social conventions, family and friends, nationalities and differences between the home country and the host country. A mix-method approach to ESL teaching was used, including Audio-lingual, Communicative language teaching, Computer-assisted language learning, Direct Method, Grammar-translation method, Language immersion and Task-based language learning. After reflecting on this experience, my conclusions stress the importance of self motivation and student enthusiasm about their learning process, besides the allocation of an enormous amount of study time and dedication, in order to succeed, both economically and personally, in North American Anglophone society.

Keywords: ESL, pronunciation, accent, refugee.

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