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How to teach elocution

Elocution is the ability to speak and read formally with proper grammar, pronunciation and diction. If you are skilled at teaching elocution, you can help your student become an effective public speaker and overcome any performance anxiety he might have. Start with the basics when teaching elocution. Even if your student is a native English speaker, he will likely make mistakes in his pronunciation and grammar when speaking publicly. Once you help your student with the essentials, you can move on to more advanced elocution techniques.

Review basic grammar. Many of us use incorrect grammar without ever thinking about it, and proper grammar is one of the most important elements of good elocution. Several websites, such as Englishclub.com, Ucalgary.ca and Commnet.edu, have comprehensive grammar sections that can help you review the basics with your student. Tell your student to avoid using slang or colloquial English when it is not appropriate.

Practice pronunciation. People often mispronounce words, which results in poor elocution. Review the basic English sounds, and look up difficult words in a free online dictionaries. You may also find it useful to record your student reading a passage and then play it back so she can hear common mistakes she is making. Compare the recording with one of your own or with someone who has excellent pronunciation skills.

Try tongue twisters to improve diction. Many people are sloppy speakers, but good elocution demands that speakers pronounce words clearly and distinctly. Tongue twisters are a great way to test and improve diction. Start off slowly, and gradually have your student increase his speed. Websites such as Uebersetzung.com have a number of tongue twisters available for free.

Monitor your student's body language. Good elocution is about effective public speaking. Many people pay too much attention to the speaking component and not enough attention to their actions. Effective gestures and confident body language all contribute to elocution. Use a camcorder to record your student's movement, and play it back for her to watch.

Enrol your student in a debate or elocution club. These clubs hold meetings where members argue about an important issue or simply speak on a subject of their choosing. Once your student is confident in his abilities, he needs to practice them. These clubs are good, low-pressure forums where people can work on their elocution.

Tip

Good elocution will take time and practice. Provide encouragement to your student so that she doesn't give up. Give her specific examples of how she is improving so that she can see progress.

Things You'll Need

  • Audio recorder
  • Camcorder
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About the Author

James Stuart began his professional writing career in 2010. He traveled through Asia, Europe, and North America, and has recently returned from Japan, where he worked as a freelance editor for several English language publications. He looks forward to using his travel experience in his writing. Stuart holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and philosophy from the University of Toronto.