This study attempts to assess the efficacy of unlimited access to on-line pronunciation tutoring programs for ESL learners in foundation English language classes at the university level to perceive and produce the correct stress patterns. On-line learning is to be seen as an autonomous process, to be regulated by the learners' expectations, goals, existing schemata and intentions. By using search engines and clicking on hyperlinks, learners can obtain immediate access to the information they are interested in. In this study, ten students were given five on-line programs as a supplement to a 30-hour English course, and were requested to practice on their home computers. The self-access record sheet and reflection sheet were provided. Their development in spoken English was compared with a control group of ten students who did not use these five on-line resources. The five programs are evaluated according to Chapelle's (2001) six criteria for CALL assessment. The students were pre- and post-tested by two experienced raters of pronunciation. Results indicate that online pronunciation tutoring is effective in improving the ESL learners' ability to produce and perceive correctly different stress patterns in words, phrases, and sentences, and that students also have a positive attitude toward on-line pronunciation instruction and activities. The findings also reveal that practice with the programs was beneficial to those students who began the course with a strong foreign accent but was of limited value for students who began the course with better pronunciation.
|Publication status||Published - 2009|