In curricula driven by test scores, where the focus of instruction tends toward content

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areas, communicative skills may not always seem practical. However, to comprehend lectures
and participate in discussions, these skills are still required. Therefore, I have designed this
student project in an attempt to address one such skill, namely the prosodic elements of
pronunciation, and to show that because the instruction thereof has the potential to aid
vocabulary development, it is not in conflict with current academic trends.
Research has shown that attention to prosody has had positive results on both production
and perception (Reed 96, Naito Billen 25, Levis 190) and that it can be effectively employed
through mediums that use intonation, rhythm, and stress as a device; such mediums would
include jazz chants, poems, and songs (Wong 27, 31, Ilčiukienė 27, Chujo). Because the
activities that utilize these are typically of a repetitive nature, one ramification is the
memorization of the piece, which can then serve as a mnemonic device to facilitate the storage
and recall of information (Anjomafrouz 102). This has been shown to be a highly effective
strategy for vocabulary building (Marzban 4961); and, it encourages the creation of a lexical
structure for the addition of new words and ideas (Marzban 4958).
With this in mind, the following project attempts to use pronunciation drills to assist the
learner in the acquisition of English prosody as well as to build vocabulary and schema. Though
lexicon building may seem dull compared to the interaction of social media, it is essential for
academic success. As Blake says, “L2 reading is next to impossible without a critical mass of
vocabulary… (55).”
To perform the pronunciation drills, students will use the program Speech Analyzer. This
will allow for the individualization of pronunciation tasks as well as for the optimization of
class-time. Even if this is not the ideal program for motivating students to perform such tasks, as
called for by Blake (110), it is immediately and freely available; in other words, it is practical.
This project was designed for intermediate level high school students involved in a
pullout program for content area English; and, it will continue throughout an academic year.
Each student, with the instructor’s assistance, will select his/her own poem that will serve as a
pronunciation guide, a mnemonic device, and a lexical structure for the addition of new words
and ideas. In addition to the drills, students will create a personalized digital reference, which
will facilitate engagement with each word within the poem in a variety of contexts, for they will
look up its definition and usage, translation and synonyms, depiction in pictures and
pronunciation in audio files. To obtain this information, students will use visual (Stanley 50) and
urban (56) dictionaries, concordances (58), SoundCloud, Google Images, YouTube, and
Forvo.com, all of which will enable them to gain a deeper understanding of not only the primary
word but of the words that stand in relationship to it.