Dr Elaine Higgleton-Workshop

Dr. Elaine Higgleton, International Publisher, co author of the Collins Dictionary, conducted a workshop on ‘Phonetics, phonemes and dictionary usage’ for about 60 teachers from schools in and around Dehradun on February 21, 2015 in the LRC.


Dr. Higgleton began her workshop by first explaining the meaning of Phonics and its importance in improving listening and speaking skills. She believes that accents reflect our identities, and no one way of speaking is inherently better than another. However, she emphasized on the flexibility of the English language. Dr Higgelton made the audience breathe, yawn, exercise with their tongue, do an Elvis lip and blurt out trills, to name a few – all part of muscular exercises important in teaching pronunciation. As she progressed through the workshop, she pointed out that in different accents such as British and Canadian the same word can be said differently.

The importance of the IPA and how to use a dictionary and phonemes to pronounce a word correctly was emphasized.

The workshop was woven very thoughtfully as each topic was discussed with the help of activities designed keeping in mind the need of the young learners and the problems faced by the teachers. She insisted on how the sound of each letter should be taught so that the spelling errors are minimized.


How many syllables are there in feel or file? Do you think that flour and flower sound alike? How about cot and caught. The workshop helped us become more aware of the way we actually speak, as opposed to what we think we are saying.

These concepts were drilled with the ‘Noughts and crosses’ games (using different phonetic sounds) played by the teachers of English. In all, workshop was both, informative and energizing professionally and mentally. The teachers went away better equipped to teach spoken English in their classrooms.

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