The piece of reading we have been assigned to during week three became a highly useful part of our studies as educators as it gave a quite different insight into English phonetics on the whole and into certain parts of studying as well as teaching it. The most value of the reading I see for myself is that phonetics has been shown as a really valuable part of studies that should not be neglected. Phonetics really is significant part of each teacher’s competence equally to all other linguistic disciplines, because the whole system cannot function properly if one of its constituent parts is missing. Thus, phonetics has not been taught to English native speakers because they were awaited to perceive the language on the whole and grasp the phonetic knowledge alongside with other data.
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Such an approach was considered to be correct while separate lessons dedicated to phonetics were considered excessive. But it is true that with the recognition of too low reading quality observed with contemporary students phonetics was again embedded in the studying process, so teachers should possess the whole set of theoretic rules governing the discipline to be able to teach the subject to their students. Personally I, being an educator, believe that I cannot teach people anything I do not know well – I think it is quite logical, so in the scope of studying phonetics I also should be able to answer any question and any dilemma that students may have, so I attribute much attention to learning and enhancing my knowledge of phonetics.
Justice (2004) indicates from the very beginning that phonetics is often neglected while studying English because most of students who have English as the first language perceive it on the intuitive level – the same fact is admitted about phonotactics, the study of syllables. However, the author stresses the necessity of building a strong theoretical basis for the knowledge educators have, because during their lessons they cannot be guided only by intuition, but should have an ability to answer each question using credible sources and correct, structured theoretical knowledge that will be further on applied to practice.
What needs to be mentioned is the artistic introduction Justice (2004) makes into phonetics – he explains why teachers actually need phonetics for themselves, not for students, but for their credential and career. This is a wonderful way to increase educators’ motivation for more careful reading and studying the course of this week, as in the present situation teachers are students as well, and, as every student, they also need additional motivation to study well. Justice (2004) greatly copes with this task and includes all necessary information to make sure that the course will be taken seriously.
One more advantage of Justice’s book is a huge number of exercises that can be used by tutors at the lessons to make the studying material more interesting and remembered. It was really great for me to find out that Justice (2004) even offers some jokes as illustrations for the course he lays out in the book, and provides well-structured exercises that correspond to every piece of material included in the chapter. All supplementary materials may be used both by teachers for training and for students who they will teach in future – these exercises are absolutely relevant to the course and will make the studies less boring, as it often happens with phonetics, and much more diverse.
To sum my impressions up, I want to say that this week’s readings made me rediscover phonetics and have a look at it from another angle. I felt that I was a student who was excited to cover the substantially new material, and was happy to see how unusual and interesting the author managed to make it in his book.