top of page

PCI Workshop C

AMTESOL 2025 logo_hi res.png

Thursday,  January 16, 2025

1:00 - 4:00pm

Montgomery, Alabama

Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center

Solving the English Pronunciation Puzzle: Do You Hear What I Hear?

Have you ever wondered why multilingual learners are challenged with hearing and saying the sounds of English? This session will help you understand the physical and emotional aspects of learning to pronounce a new language. We will explore how the brain of a language learner perceives new sounds and how this learner then attempts to produce these sounds, such as perhaps not differentiating the vowels in "ship" and "sheep." We will also examine how a learner's first language affects their ability to perceive and produce the vowel and consonant phonemes (sounds) of North American English, and similarly how the stress patterns of a first language can affect a learner's fluency in speaking and reading English.

Based on these insights from phonology and second language acquisition, we will explore how to support the development of a language learner's phonemic and phonological awareness through the lens of the science of reading. Attendees will align their new  knowledge about phonology with popular classroom resources such as the vowel valley and the consonant wall. By making this alignment, attendees can expand their repertoire  of techniques for helping multilingual learners perceive and produce the sounds of English.

Join us to learn simple techniques such as having learners touch their cheeks to feel differences in muscle tenseness between the vowels in "beat" and "bit." By tangibly feeling this difference with their hands, English learners suddenly realize that these sounds are indeed different. Empowered with this new awareness, they are able to pronounce "beach" with greater accuracy. After attending our session and learning to use this and other techniques, you will be able to help your learners achieve greater comprehensibility when speaking and reading English.


Mary Earley, presenter at the AMTESOL 2025 Pre-Conference Institute in Montgomery, Alabama

Mary Earley, Ed.S.

Mary Earley is an educational consultant with the Earley Learning Zone. She recently retired from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) where she served as an Educational Specialist in the English Learner Education program for 7 years. Prior to embarking on a career in higher education, Mary enjoyed a rewarding 27-year career in public education where she taught English, Spanish, and ESL. She currently serves as an adjunct instructor and an internship supervisor with UAB. Mary also works with the Literacy Council of Central Alabama as a volunteer ESOL tutor. Her professional interests include designing professional development to equip educators to serve multilingual learners and creating online learning experiences that provide participants with engaging interaction with the content and, also with each other.

Patricia Merritt, presenter at AMTESOL 2025 Pre-Conference Institute, smiling with glasses on

Patricia Merritt, Ed.S.

Patricia Merritt is a bilingual ESL teacher at an elementary school in Jefferson County, Alabama. She has taught Spanish and English as a Second Language throughout her 17-year career in public education. She volunteers as an ESOL tutor for the Literacy Council of Central Alabama and has taught as an adjunct instructor for UAB's ESL teacher education program. Patricia is a doctoral student at UAB, pursuing the Educational Studies in Diverse Populations Ph.D. with a pedagogical studies concentration in TESOL. Her professional interests include supporting bilingual students in the classroom and ensuring their families have access to resources in the community through building a concerted network of support with local organizations.

bottom of page