The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

English: Teaching English as a Second Language: M.A.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

James Robinson

Second Advisor

Isolde Mueller

Third Advisor

Shawn Jarvis

Keywords and Subject Headings

Thesis, shadowing, phonemic awareness, pronunciation


Although there are numerous reasons to improve pronunciation instruction, the teaching of phonologic structures in English has become less popular among k-12 classrooms. This study proposes that the use of a relatively new technique may positively improve ESL students' pronunciation of American Standard English. This technique is known as shadowing. The data obtained was analyzed and evaluated in terms of phonological structures. The motivation to do this particular study came from previous research concerning word boundaries and phonological structures of consonants, in addition to my previous experience as an ESL tutor and instructor at SCSU. Students were making too many phonemic errors. This study will provide evidence for specific effects on phonemic awareness and also in regards to fluency and accuracy. To accomplish this, a shadowing methodology was used. The participants performed three types of audio-recorded speech samples both before and after their weekly tutorial sessions. Each would serve as a pre-test/post-test. First, spontaneous speech samples were used. Second, rehearsed speech samples were used. Third, read aloud activities were conducted to produce recorded speech samples. The recordings of speech samples were provided by four native speakers of English, two Caucasian males and two Caucasian females. This generated the authentic speech samples necessary for data analysis. The activities stemmed from a modified activity from the St. Cloud State ESL Department's Tutorial packet. The samples were assessed by native speakers of English (speech sample raters) who listened to samples and scored each one based on a speech rubric provided by the researcher. The results of the data collected (scores from raters) were calculated and presented in the form of paired TTests. Common problems associated with pronunciation and whether the use of shadowing leads to an increased level of phonemic awareness were the target objectives for the elicited data. The students were divided into two groups. Student Group, A used a written transcript while making the shadowing attempts and Student Group B did not. The results indicated that most of the comparisons did not yield statistically significant results (gender and language yielded no significance). However, even though two of the mean scores for groups A and B ( comparing pre and post-test) yielded a difference, none of them were statistically significant as neither were equal or greater than the Alpha value of 0.05.


I would like to thank the students, teachers, and speech sample evaluators who helped me to produce the findings. I am sincerely grateful to all who participated. Most importantly, I would like to thank my family and my fiancée Leah Haugen for their continued love and support.



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