These are the questions most often asked by our prospective clients. We include these here to help you better understand how our programs work and how you can achieve optimum progress in your training.
- I’ve been studying English for years, but people still look annoyed at me and say they don’t understand me! Why?
- Will I really be able to improve my pronunciation?
- How long does it take to really see some improvement?
- It’s easy to do the exercises in the classroom, but what about when I go out into the real world?
- What about when I’ve finished the program? How do I continue to practise after the course?
- Why teach students one on one?
- What is a ‘Diagnostic Assessment’ and what does it achieve?
- What if I need training in other English communication skills?
I’ve been studying English for years, but people still look annoyed at me and say they don’t understand me! Why?
This is the most common complaint of the migrants and overseas university students Dr Yvonne Perczuk has taught over the past 25 years. Their vocabulary range is often good and their grammar is often technically excellent. Their problem is poor pronunciation.
“The single biggest cause of poor communication among non-native speakers of English is the failure to grasp the rhythm, stress and intonation of English.” (Dr Corinne Adams, Sydney speech therapist)
Surprisingly, the words we say account for less than 10% of communication. It’s how we say it that gets our message across.
Native English speakers can be remarkably tolerant of the grammatical problems or limited vocabulary of non-native speakers. However, research shows that they can become quite impatient and frustrated with poor pronunciation.
For non-native speakers, pronunciation training is the most effective way of overcoming the barriers to being accepted and understood, to landing that important job and to getting ahead in their careers.
Will I really be able to improve my pronunciation?
Yes, if you practise regularly you will notice significant progress each week. You need to commit to doing the practice exercises every day. A minimum of 40 minutes a day, divided into two 20minute sessions, is recommended. As well you’ll be given a weekly ‘focus’, certain frequently used phrases, to monitor and correct in your everyday speech. This enables you to clean up a number of persistent pronunciation problems in your spontaneous speech each week.
How long does it take to really see some improvement?
That depends on your motivation and your commitment to practice. Most students report that they have positive feedback about their improved pronunciation from colleagues and friends after about 5 weeks. By 10 weeks, students feel a new sense of confidence and a definite change in their speech.
It’s easy to do the exercises in the classroom, but what about when I go out into the real world?
Practice is the key! I will ask you to focus on different elements of your pronunciation in your daily speech each week with strategies to help you integrate what you have learned in the classroom into your spontaneous speech in the real world.
What about when I’ve finished the program? How do I continue to practise after the course?
You’ll be given a Follow-up Guide Package on completion of your course. This contains targeted pronunciation exercises, a CD and special guidelines for independent study. It will direct you to online audio and transcript resources, which will enable you to monitor and consolidate your own progress. It will also provide you with practical strategies to assist you in maintaining and building on the progress you have already made
Why teach students one on one?
Each individual has a different language background, a different learning style and different pronunciation difficulties.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ course with a ‘quick fix’ speech remedy.
The only really effective method of dealing with pronunciation problems is to work with students ‘one on one’.
In special cases, students may be taught in small groups where students have similar levels of English and pronunciation issues- see Programs
What is a ‘Diagnostic Assessment’ and what does it achieve?
Dr Perczuk has created a diagnostic assessment tool, which is used in the first session of a program. The assessment consists of a variety of speaking tasks used to identify students’ individual pronunciation problems.
A program, tailored to each student’s specific needs, is then designed based on the individual problems ‘diagnosed’ in the assessment.
The systematic training, which follows, is geared to provide students with reliable, targeted strategies to rectify the individual pronunciation issues, which hinder effective communication in their professional and social lives.
What if I need training in other English communication skills?
In their initial interview, most clients request an additional focus in their training to suit their own professional, academic or social requirements.
Training is offered in a range of skills, including:
- Lecturing skills
- Interview skills
- Phone skills
- Speaking fluency and confidence
- Grammar repair
- Vocabulary development
- Test preparation
Each program created for students is a unique package, combining pronunciation training with specific skills areas essential to the individual client.