How do you teach English pronunciation? One area often problematic for learners is stress timing. Watch Rachael below, using chants and rounds to help her learners.

Do you have any ideas to add? Leave a comment below!

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Submitted by shethdharmendra on Thu, 01/06/2011 - 03:56


Very interesting indeed. I'll surely try the activity in my class.

Thank you.



What a nice teacher!

That reminds me of a technique for stress, which is like this: we use the sound LA for the stressed syllable, and li for the others. Therefore:

PREFER would be li LA , REMEMBER would be li LA li, and so on.

It's important that it sound like a chant. Students find it very nice and learn the stress of words more easily.



Your technique is wonderful. In Romania teachers repeat the words many times. The stress in our mother tongue resembles the stress in English, so for the Romanian students it is not so very difficult to memorize a correct pronunciation.

Best regards,




Submitted by besherry on Thu, 01/06/2011 - 17:26


This is a fun classroom, you can see all the pupils want to perticipate, the rhymes also makes the words memorable! 

Submitted by KENNETH JONES on Wed, 01/12/2011 - 10:40


You wrapped up the commentary with a phrase that hit home: "...especially in China..." you said. Nail on the head! I've been working with some senior middle school students for the last few months on  just this point and it doesn't seem to get into their skulls like I want it to. Forcing this rhyme might just be the key to understanding -- the rhyming structure fails without the proper stress, while regular speech can be spoken just as they've learned it once they leave class, even if they have actually understood my points. So, it's black socks for me, starting tomorrow. Looks like this kind of exercise will find a place in my toolkit for next term as well -- school holiday begins in two weeks!


Thanks loads for the effort to show this to us!

Submitted by aliyasir on Wed, 01/26/2011 - 20:29


I appreciate your efforts  at first encourage me to train my self and my students.While Iwas doing so I lost my keys in the bus latter I found them!

Thank you very much

Warm regards


Submitted by Lavdie Veli on Sat, 04/30/2011 - 19:23


I usually use these activities and I think they are effective.




Submitted by korila on Sun, 05/01/2011 - 22:41


It's absolutely very interesting. I enjoy it a lot.Thanks and Congratulation

Submitted by zifeiskurti on Fri, 05/06/2011 - 18:09


I really enjoy this activity very much.

Pupils will have fun and also learn to pronounce the new words easily.

Thank you.

Submitted by Jessica Toala on Fri, 05/13/2011 - 00:44


This methodology that Rachael is using is great. Students like to sing a lot , I never thought that using chants a teacher could help students with their pronunciation. I´m going to use this frequently. Thanks a lot.

Best regards,


Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Submitted by korila on Sun, 05/15/2011 - 19:26


I think it's a very interesting activity. And I think it's so funny using it. Congratulations!

Submitted by millee sensarma on Fri, 05/20/2011 - 11:33


It's a great way of teaching syllable stress, especially to ESOL speakers.

Submitted by redperil on Sat, 08/27/2011 - 19:26


Can't wait to try the 'black socks' chant on Monday. I teach in Taiwan and some of my students have real difficulty with stress (timing and mental- they study very hard here!).


I like this method so much this is my bunch of flowers for you .my student eventyally complied my request . thank y

Submitted by cstobart73 on Thu, 06/27/2013 - 23:38


It's stuck in my head now! What level are these children at?

Submitted by Sally Trowbridge (not verified) on Mon, 07/01/2013 - 10:19

In reply to by cstobart73


Hi cstobart73,
Yes - it's the sort of song that you remember, isn't it? That makes it great for using in class like this. I think you could use this activity with a variety of levels. Has anyone tried it with a class?

Submitted by mohanned said on Tue, 07/02/2013 - 16:37


Using chants, songs and rounds is one of the most stimulating ideas to be employed in the class.

Submitted by brenbrennan on Wed, 07/03/2013 - 11:13


Nice to see someone on video that is so passionate and creative about teaching 

I tried to outline a class activity that I use for stress timing/contrasting intonation in this video below. There are 2 sentences in the video which are said with 11 different contrasting meanings according to which word within the sentence is being stressed. 

The exercise helps students to understand the importance of stress timing and intonation in English which may not be a characterisitic of their L1.

The other teachers in my school have also used it to great success. Hope you find it useful, too.

Submitted by editor_rachael on Sat, 08/18/2018 - 10:39

In reply to by vero


Hi Vero, Sorry about that! We're looking into and hopefully it'll be back up soon. Rachael TeachingEnglish team

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