Sessions / Literacy, Media and Multimodality
The Effect of Using Automatic Speech Recognition System to Improve EFL Students’ Pronunciation Performance #2502
Pronunciation has been an important topic in the field of English education. However, students’ pronunciation performances are often difficult to be evaluated statistically and systematically with instant feedback. To solve this problem, some studies applied Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) system to help students correct the pronunciations. Yen (2019) used Learn Mode to help Taiwanese senior high school students to solve their English pronunciation problem, however, very few elementary school students in Taiwan have used this system to help with their pronunciation problems. This study aims to demonstrate how the phonetic-based ASR system, Speech Ace, could provide elementary school students phonetic-based feedback and identify the problems more precisely by investigating the effect of applying Speech Ace to improve young EFL students’ pronunciation performance. This study provides the analysis of 130 fifth grade elementary school students’ pronunciation performances and the relevance between ASR and their performances. The participants received pronunciation instructions focusing on 3 topics, including “m, n and ŋ”, “ɔ and ɑ” and “ɛ and æ” as a reviewing activity. After the instruction, the participants use Speech Ace to practice with the target words. The results are recorded and analyzed to compare the difference between the participants’ pronunciation performances before and after using Speech Ace. Our preliminary findings show the participants’ pronunciation performances improved through online practices with the ASR system, Speech Ace. The students are more engaging to improve pronunciations with gamification and multimodality based on the system, initiating positive peer competition and self-learning motivation. With ASR system, teachers can help students clarify the results more efficiently and guide the students how to practice more specifically to improve their pronunciations.
Discussions on content area reading proliferate in the literature. Similar topics like academic literacy, disciplinary literacy, efferent reading, all akin to reading in the content area, provide classroom practitioners rich sources in their instructional concerns. Interest in the topic points to a belief embraced by many, i.e. reading as a major gateway to lifelong learning. Reading to learn is inevitably linked with content area reading, aimed at helping learners to be grounded on "knowledge of the world by being able to read the word." The significance of being literate vis-a-vis the demands of a knowledge-based society in an information age is a given and there is no way out than to cope with the demands. Hence, not a few literacy scholars recommend a strong foundation in early literacy where the young will be reading for meaning early on. The idea however should not be misinterpreted as violative of a long time guideline for many teachers that reflect a sequence-sensitive practice in reading instruction in setting goals: first, learn to read and then read to learn. This presentation explores ideas on how instructional activities for beginners aimed at learning to read (which focus on the more mechanical aspects of handling print language like phonemics, phonics, etc.) can be creatively harmonized in the "reading to learn" component. Teachers may find the practices a good try notwithstanding certain predictable tensions/challenges that may emerge along the way. With reading to learn as the overarching goal of literacy instruction, blending early instruction on mechanical skills with relevant content that even simultaneously familiarizes learners, (serendipitously or through explicit instruction) with different genres, text types, and other linguistic devices used by authors in crafting their works is worth looking into. Since content area reading is reading for meaning, learners also get exposed to comprehending processes needed for effective comprehension - the essence of reading. With the foundational skills, hopefully young learners polish their skills through the years, discover the magic of meaningful reading, address problems in their knowledge gaps or inadequate prior knowledge that is necessary as they go through more complex content area reading.