"Shirley is one of the most excellent teacher/speakers around. Always fun and entertaining, but mostly wonderfully comprehensive."
One of my favorite things about the chart is the way that it visually brings attention to the differences among the English vowels--differences that students may not be able to hear. I also like how the color vowel chart has allowed me to incorporate pronunciation into other aspects of my classes. While students are working together on any task, if I hear a major pronunciation problem I can say, "change your vowel from 'blue' to 'mustard' for that word," and the student is usually able to improve her pronunciation.
I've used the Color Vowel Chart extensively, from tutoring individuals privately to teaching classes of International Teaching Assistants. This vowel chart gets around the difficulty students have in hearing non-native vowel sounds (what good is it to distinguish, say, "bed" from "bead" when, to a student, both vowels sound the same?). The chart lets students see the sounds instead. So even though students might not be able to hear the difference between "bed" and "bead", they can certainly recognize the difference between the colors red and green. Using this language of colors allows me to convey sounds to students without their having to hear them. Students learn to produce the sounds of the colors before their ears actually recognize the differences in vowel sounds. In this way, the Color Vowel Chart scaffolds the process of acquiring non-native phonological features.
The color vowel chart allows my actor, broadcaster and executive clients to instantly see the color of the sound they are mispronouncing or mixing. The visual cuing speeds up the recognition time of the sounds! I think the Color Vowel chart is the most brilliant thing I have ever seen. It has really changed the way we work at the Speech and Accent Academy!
When I learned about it, I sensed that The Color Vowel Chart would be a great autonomous learning tool for students of English pronunciation, but I didn't realize that so many English teachers in Central America would agree with me. When I presented it at local TESOL Conferences, everyone pulled out their phones to take pictures of the chart and the activities we were doing in groups. There was even applause on one occasion when I told them that there are free activities they can download from the website.
This training was phenomenal. I learned an innovative but easy way to teach students about the many different sounds that vowels can make. The Color Vowel Chart is easy to learn and uses the different modalities of learning so reaches every type of learner.
Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous! I want you to come to [our school] and do Professional Development!
Very enlightening and thought provoking. Thank you!!
Interesting, fun, met people I look forward to keeping in touch with, so many "Ah ha!" moments. Loved it.
Wonderful session. Stellar presenters. Great activities. Best session I've been to. They were on fi-yur!
"Brilliant workshop! Thank you!"
"Excellent and worth the time and effort to attend. Thank you!"
"I don’t think I’ve ever been with a more skillful presenter."
"One of the best workshops I have attended. [Shirley and Karen] achieved an excellent balance between structure and achieving workshop objectives and staying flexible and incorporating participant contributions and concerns. They modeled good teaching/facilitating and helped participants feel comfortable immediately."
"I feel like I took a quantum leap in my quest to learn the English language after I attended your class today!"
Who doesn’t love card games? My middle school students find DUO extremely engaging and I find it a powerful tool to introduce and review complicated sounds and spellings in English. In fact, I used DUO to even introduce my students to the Color Vowel Chart before ever “teaching” them about it. I found it a very natural entry point into the chart. Since then, we have been exploring various games to play besides Uno such as Dominoes and Go Fish. A fantastic, fun, and very powerful resource!