Event announcement: IATEFL PronSIG/GISIG event


Next month (14 October 2017), Laura will be giving a workshop at the joint IATEFL Pronunciation SIG/Global Issues SIG event in London, UK, about developing learners’ ability to understand different accents of English.

Here are the full details:

How to help learners understand the world’s accents

The use of English as an international lingua franca means learners need to understand a wide variety of accents, both native and non-native. How can teachers prepare them for such diversity? In this practical workshop we’ll demo a 5-step lesson plan, informed by the latest research into ELF and pronunciation.

Click here to register to attend. Online booking closes on 1 October 2017.

Hope to see you there!



Event announcement: IATEFL webinar


This Saturday (9 September 2017), Laura will be giving a free 1-hour webinar for IATEFL about teaching pronunciation for English as a Lingua Franca. Click here to register to attend.

In the webinar, we’ll explore how ELF differs from EFL, what features of pronunciation are high and low priority for international intelligibility, and what classroom tasks and techniques we might use to help our students develop their pronunciation and listening skills in a world with such a diverse range of English accents. All the advice and information will be based on the latest research into ELF and pronunciation teaching.

Here’s the abstract:

What do learners of English need to sound like? Who do they speak to? Who needs to understand them? Who do they need to understand? In 2017, the answer to all these questions is probably not “native English speakers”. Linguists estimate that non-native speakers of English now outnumber its native speakers by at least 3 to 1 (Crystal, 2008), and approximately 80% of interaction in English worldwide takes place with no native speakers present (Beneke, 1991). What does this mean for our classrooms? This webinar will consider new pronunciation priorities and challenges for learners and teachers of English, including practical tips and activities.

The webinar will take place at 15:00 BST (British Summer Time). Click here to check the time in your location.

Hope to see you there!


English UK plenary: ELF and the multilingual classroom


Thanks to all those who attended Laura’s presentation at the English UK Teachers’ Conference in London on Saturday 12 November 2016.

You can download the slides from Laura’s plenary by clicking here and, if you missed it, you can watch the video here. (Apologies for the sound and picture quality! The video also stopped recording for several minutes in the middle of the presentation, so we have re-recorded and inserted the missing section as a screencast.)

Thank you, Fortaleza!


Thanks to everybody who attended Laura’s plenary at the 11th ABCI conference in Fortaleza on 21 July 2016.

Here’s the full description of her talk from the conference website:

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 17.07.55

You can watch a video of the presentation here, or by copying and pasting the following link [https://youtu.be/xeqfDkQbt6w] into your browser:

You can download her slides by clicking the link below:

ABCI conference plenary slides – Laura Patsko 21 July 2016

And here are direct links to the things she mentioned in the presentation which are described in more detail on this website:

If you’ve got questions or comments, feel free to leave them below, or to contact Laura through the “meet and contact us” link in the navigation menu on this page.


BELTA webinar: Teaching pronunciation and listening for ELF


Thanks to everyone who attended Laura’s webinar for BELTA today. You can download her slides and accompanying notes by clicking here.

If you couldn’t make it, you can still find all the relevant information on this blog, including:

We hope to see you at a future event!

ELFpron webinar this weekend!


Just a quick post to invite you to join us this Sunday at 16:00 CET for a webinar presented by Laura and hosted by BELTA, the Belgian English Language Teachers’ Association.

Click here to find out what time the webinar will happen in your time zone.

The topic is – unsurprisingly! – “Teaching pronunciation and listening for English as a lingua franca”. Here’s a short abstract:

The ELT industry has traditionally assumed that English learners need to talk to and sound like native English speakers. But nowadays, the majority of interaction in English actually takes place between non-native speakers. In other words, English is often used as a lingua franca (ELF). This session will outline the needs of English users in this context and make some practical suggestions for the classroom, focusing on pronunciation and listening skills. Teachers will come away with an appreciation of the need to understand and be understood among an ever-widening range of English speakers, and how to help learners achieve this.

We hope to see you there!


Webinar recording: Helping learners listen to different accents


Last week, ELFpron blogger Laura Patsko gave a webinar for Cambridge English Teacher entitled “The ear of the beholder: helping learners listen to different accents”. She covered 3 main areas:

  1. Understanding a particular accent is predominantly a question of familiarity with speakers who have that accent. No single accent is inherently more or less intelligible than another.*
  2. Learners are very likely to encounter a range of accents of English in the world, because it is used widely as a lingua franca between speakers who choose English as their language of communication, often because they have no other option. This means it is unrealistic and unhelpful to focus on using or understanding only one or two (native) accents of English in the classroom.
  3. Learners’ familiarity with a range of accents can be developed through a simple 5-step lesson structure, which was demonstrated in this webinar.

There is more detail about this 5-step lesson plan in another blog post which Laura recently wrote on this topic.

You can now watch the recording of this webinar on YouTube, and it is also embedded below (visible on some devices):

*If you’re interested in reading research which investigates the relationships between ‘strength’ of accent, intelligibility and comprehensibility, check out the work of Tracey Derwing and Murray Munro. Their 2009 article “Putting accent in its place” [open access link] is a good one to start with.