Spanish teachers’ beliefs on the usefulness of pronunciation knowledge, skills, and activities and their confidence in implementing them

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Nagle, Charles
Sachs, Rebecca
Zarate-Sandez, German
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World Languages and Cultures
Despite substantial advances in the field of instructed second language acquisition (SLA) with regard to our understanding of second language (L2) pronunciation development and pedagogy, many language instructors continue to report a lack of confidence in incorporating pronunciation instruction (PI) into their classes. This survey study examined 100 Spanish instructors’ perceptions of the usefulness of various types of knowledge, skills, and approaches to PI, as well as their confidence in those domains, and the extent to which their previous training in teaching methods was related to their ratings of usefulness and confidence. After running principal components analyses to identify factors in the survey data, we fit mixed-effects models to each factor, then delved more deeply into some descriptive trends to offer recommendations for professional development opportunities. The latter results suggested that Spanish teachers might have greater appreciation for, as well as confidence in, focusing on segmentals over suprasegmentals, practice activities over assessment, perception assessment over production assessment, and implicit over explicit feedback. Consistent with previous research, some of the highest confidence levels were expressed regarding controlled techniques, alongside relatively low confidence in familiarity with research. Concerning metalinguistic tools, respondents seemed to value diagrams and descriptions over terminology and transcription, but they viewed these tools as less useful than perception, production, and communication practice. While greater training was often associated with higher perceptions of usefulness and confidence, there were cases where respondents with the least training showed the highest confidence. These results suggest some key priorities for teacher training.
This accepted article is published as Nagle, C., Sachs, R., & Zárate-Sández, G. (2020). Spanish teachers’ beliefs on the usefulness of pronunciation knowledge, skills, and activities and their confidence in implementing them. Language Teaching Research. Advance online publication. Early View, (2020) doi:10.1177/1362168820957037. Posted with permission.