Author: British Council | Uploaded on 1 July 2022

 

Grouping activities can help learners notice and produce the word stress patterns in groups of words. 

Learners often have problems with word stress. You can help learners notice stress by drawing simple circles above the words on the board, tapping on the desk and asking learners to group words with similar patterns.   

Listen

Listen to the pronunciation of these countries: 

Ghana

Kenya

Mali 

Niger

Congo

Guinea

Cape Verde

Sudan 

Gabon

Uganda

Comoros

Lybia

Cameroon

Senegal

Mozambique

Côte d'Ivoire

Tanzania

Madagascar

Eritrea

Notice how many syllables each word has and which syllable is stressed. 

Introduce

Copy the table without the countries onto the board. 

Write ‘Ghana’ in the first column. Model the pronunciation two or three times. You could also tap the table at the same time (hard, soft) to show there are two syllables and that the first one is stronger.

Repeat with ‘Sudan’, ‘Uganda’, ‘Zambia’, ‘South Africa’, ‘Cameroon’ and ‘Tanzania’. 

Drill the countries: point, say, learners repeat. Make sure learners stress the correct syllable.

Ask learners to copy the table in their books. List the other countries on the board in random order. (You could list just some of the countries. Then at the end, ask learners if they can add any other countries to the table.)

Categorise 

Put learners in groups of three or four. Say: “Work together. Say the countries and write them in the correct column.”

Monitor and support. Do feedback on the board. 

Note: You can reuse this type of activity with any other group of new words that your learners are studying: animals, furniture, sports, emotions and feelings, and so on.   

Glossary

Feedback: Information about how or how well a learner has done something.

Random order: Where a sequence is mixed or jumbled and does not have a regular pattern.

Stress: Emphasis given to certain syllables in words. In English, stress is produced with a longer, louder and higher pitched sound than unstressed sounds.

Syllable: A single unit of speech which contains a vowel sound (e.g. 'how' has one syllable; 'clever' has two syllables; 'photograph' has three syllables).