It’s sometimes hard with classes, especially of adults, to practise pronunciation of key sounds without it becoming a monotonous stage of drilling. An exciting way to practise two similar sounds is by doing the following section of a lesson:
1. Write on the board in two columns a number of words which have the key sounds. This works especially well if they are minimal pairs, but it’s also good to include spellings which don’t visually relate to the sound. Let’s use the example of /s/ and /ʃ /.
Point at each word so that students say them. Correct any pronunciation problems at this stage and drill briefly.
2. Divide the class into groups and give each group a series of cards with a word on each. Tell them to divide the words into two columns: those with /s/ and those with /ʃ /. Feedback as a class by asking students to tell you which words are in each column – this will again give you a chance to check pronunciation and you can drill any difficulties.
3. Give each group a larger card with the phoneme on it and model the next activity. Put the cards face-down on the table, pick one and read it, telling students to slap the correct sound. Students then play in groups. This activity provides an opportunity for students to peer-correct both the speaker and the “slappers”, whilst you monitor.