The Pronunciation & Communication course targets speaking and listening through pronunciation. The course has one general aim: Improving fluency and clarity.
Improving Fluency and Clarity
Speaking English well requires fluency and clarity. In other words, you need to be able to speak fluently and clearly to speak English well. There are three major problems for English learners who want to speak fluent and clear English and they are all interrelated:
Vocabulary is words. You need to know the words to say what you want to say. If you don’t know the words, you are stuck. When you are stuck, you stop talking. Solution? Build your vocabulary. How can you build your vocabulary? Mainly Listening and reading. Definitely both. But do we build our vocabulary through listening more and reading more? Since we humans spend more time listening than reading, it is safe to say that there is greater potential for expanding your vocabulary through listening. This leads us to the second problem For English learners! Listening.
Listening is called ‘listening’ because it involves understanding or comprehension. When you are trying to understand or comprehend what the other person is saying to you, you are listening. When you do not make an effort to understand what the other person is trying to communicate to you, you are just hearing sounds without meaning.
Hearing is a physical ability. Before listening comes hearing. You need to be able to hear first in order to start listening. English learners are usually not able to hear the sounds of English, which means, they can’t listen effectively either. To be more accurate, English learners are able to hear the sounds of English but they hear them wrong. They hear them as they hear their first language. Our brain is programmed to hear the sounds of our FIRST language. Trouble! Simply put, if you can’t hear or hear wrong, you can’t understand, and if you can’t understand, you can’t communicate, and if you can’t communicate, you can’t remember! And if you can’t remember, you can’t build up your vocabulary.
“To hell with listening, I’ll just read!”
You might say frustratingly. Unfortunately, reading fluently is a skill that also depends on sounds. Children only learn to read after they have learned to hear, listen and speak. That is the natural process of language acquisition. Research in early childhood learning show that phonemic and phonological awareness is the best predictor of reading success.
Just as hearing is a physical ability, speaking is also a physical skill that first relies on using the muscles to produce sounds, often, a stream of sounds. Every muscle performs an action. Repeating that action makes it a habit. Thus, in our native language, our mouth muscles perform a great range of action repeatedly forming many speaking habits. When something becomes a habit, it happens with no or very little effort. So when we speak in our first language, the muscles know what do because they have done it a trillion times in exactly the same way.
In other words, the muscles now have memory; they remember the action or movement without any help from the brain. However, when speaking English or any other foreign language, those habits or muscle memory become a big problem for the students to speak that language fluently and clearly. Unlike children who have no preexisting speaking habits, adult learners have to prevent their preexisting speaking habits from disrupting the new ones.
Why Sounds Matter
Humans normally read quicker than they speak. If you cannot speak fluently, the chances are you cannot read fluently either. Reading for many English learners is extremely time-consuming as they have to stop and go back several times to read and re-read the same sentence sometimes more than 3 times. Interestingly, when we read, aloud or silently, we can hear our own voice; we can hear sounds, and for English learners, this means hearing wrong sounds. Once again, sounds prove to be a critical factor in every aspect of language learning, whether it be speaking or listening, specifically for the purpose of building vocabulary as well as improving fluency, speed and clarity.
Patrick Hayeck’s BBR method
Those are the principles based on which the BBR method is founded. The method helps the students achieve fluency and clarity using 3 techniques:
- Block old speaking habits
- Build new ones
- Rewire the brain to hear and produce the sounds of the new language
The main focus of the course is reprogramming or rewiring the students’ brain to hear and produce the sounds correctly to enable fluent and clear communication in English. The course does that for the students while teaching new and useful vocabulary they need to use in every day situations.