Is the English Textbook a Suitable Vehicle for Creative and Innovative Teaching of English Pronunciation to Slovak Learners?

Michal Bodorík, Slovakia, ID LLCE2016-202;        English pronunciation is an important part of language acquisition for Slovak learners. The manner in which a non-native speaker presents his/her acquired oral production when speaking in a foreign language plays a crucial role. Any foreign language is learned not only for translation purposes but as a means of expression, persuasion, definition, amusement or giving an impression. Being able to pronounce properly is therefore an inevitable component of foreign language education. Within the English classroom environment in Slovakia many teachers use various textbooks that influence the learner’s process of familiarization with English pronunciation – the world of segmental and suprasegmental phonology. To make lessons motivating and the process of learning English pronunciation attractive it is necessary to create English classes that resemble real life. Learners are asked to focus on the textbooks that are implemented at school and used for various activities. As there are several different textbooks used in Slovakia for teaching English it has become this researcher’s focus to investigate what is offered in these texts for acquisition of proper pronunciation.  What knowledge can be gained and in what way do the activities allow for the creativity of teachers and learners. The research that was carried out focussed on tasks linked to English pronunciation as found in the texts. This presentation discusses the findings of the analysis of the selected textbooks and the reality of what individual activities provide for the learners. What are the options? At this point innovation enters the foreign language classroom. Are these textbook activities creative enough; do they develop a learner’s positive attitude toward a foreign language; are these tasks supporting individuality and creativity of learners; do they give opportunities for practicing pronunciation similar to the natural language acquisition of native speakers? These issues as well as innovation in the language classroom will be central to the presentation and subsequent article on this topic.