An attempt to teach elementary school students to “feel” English syllables
全国英語教育学会紀要 ARELE 第25号, 331-346.
Eight fourth graders were taught English for a total of 13 hours over 4 successive days. Instruction focused on guiding the children to learn to correctly pronounce and write a range of materials that included common everyday words, songs, and rhymes. All through the activities, the children were encouraged to pay attention to the number of “chunks,” or technically syllables, each word consisted of. This was done by inviting them to mimic the instructor when he, while pronouncing a word, bent his fingers, stamped his feet, or swayed his body, expressing its syllable nuclei. At the beginning of Day 1 and also near the end of Day 4, the same test was given in which students were presented with the recorded pronunciation of 9 words, without any orthographic information but with photographs that clearly conveyed their meanings, and were required to answer in a multiple-choice format how many “chunks” they felt constituted each word. The words tested were not among those practiced in the learning phase sandwiched between the two testing phases. Wilcoxon signed rank tests indicated that the percentage of words correctly syllable-counted were significantly higher in the post-test than in the pre-test; the effect size turned out to be large.