WhatsApp with Audacity and Smartphones: A Pronunciation Enhancement Project
Juan Soto-Franco, Adjunct Lecturer, English, Hostos Community College
After teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in the Dominican Republic and English as a Second Language (ESL) in the United States for several years, this researcher put together his observations and steered this mini pronunciation project. For years, he has observed that most Dominican Republic natives’ English learners tend to make the same pronunciation mistakes. Consequently, he ran this cross-community and cross-country project on English pronunciation enhancement that took place amid the pandemic (Fall 2020). Intermediate English language learners living in the Dominican Republic and in the Bronx, New York, were part of this study. While they used their smartphone to record six purposefully constructed sentences and WhatsApp to share their audio files; the researcher utilized Audacity to edit their recordings and provide feedback. Upon asynchronous practice and resubmission, their new recordings showed significant improvement in their pronunciation. Through a survey, students shared their enthusiasm, engagement, and their perspectives about the project. Finally, this researcher recommends further research with a larger sample size and the inclusion of students from the five boroughs of New York and more provinces in the Dominican Republic.