Learning French pronunciation outside the classroom: a sound pedagogical experience?

Bosmans, Daniel (2014). Learning French pronunciation outside the classroom: a sound pedagogical experience? EdD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000d5c9


New technologies have revolutionised the way people learn. In language learning, using a web-conferencing system is a relatively new development, and acquiring pronunciation skills in a virtual environment even more so. The central question of this exploratory study is whether learning pronunciation outside the classroom is a pedagogically sound experience. The focus is on learners: their emotions, with a particular emphasis on Foreign Language Anxiety (FLA), and the strategies they use to learn pronunciation on their own and with others in a new on line environment. Macdonald et al. (1994) contended that second language (L2) pronunciation needed more research and over the years, more studies have explored the effectiveness of pronunciation teaching (see Munro and Derwing, 2011; for a review of L2 pronunciation teaching). The present study also looks at L2 pronunciation but investigates the learning of it in a non-conventional setting.

The mixed-method research approach in this study, grounded in a post-positivist paradigm, involved two quantitative instruments: a questionnaire and a recorded reading activity of a text; and two qualitative instruments: think-aloud verbal protocols (TAPs) and semistructured interviews. Participants who were involved in every stage of the study were then the object of case studies as these 'can penetrate situations in ways that are not always susceptible to numerical analysis' (Cohen et al., 2003, pI81). The four different sources of data provided multiple perspectives on students' emotions and strategies when working on pronunciation in a vutual learning environment (VLE) or on their own, and these perspectives deepen our understanding of how distance learners can acquire good pronunciation skills outside the classroom.

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