TEAM (Technology Enhanced Accent Modification) is a computer-assisted tutorial program which is designed to help international Teaching Assistants improve their pronunciation. TEAM lessons focus on features of American English pronunciation that are instrumental to effective classroom communication, such as intonation, consonants and vowels, word stress, phrasing, and others. The sessions are one hour long and take place twice a week. They are taught on a one-on-one basis by trained undergraduate linguistics or speech science students. The TEAM lessons are aided by the TEAM software, which allows the students to listen to model utterances, record their own pronunciation, as well as analyze and assess their progress. The tutors customize each session the meet the individual student’s needs. They also provide feedback and instruction that goes far beyond the software itself. The sessions are highly interactive, stress-free and fun!

The tutors are supervised by an experienced staff coordinator who develops the curriculum, provides necessary training and advice, and makes sure TEAM is a great learning experience. Undergraduate tutors can also choose to participate in a range of other activities with the Teaching Assistant Program. Above all, TEAM tutoring is available to MSU international TAs for free. TEAM is located off of The Graduate Student Lounge in Chittenden Hall.

TEAM Resources

TEAM Calendar

TEAM starts a week after ENG 097 starts and lasts for eight to nine weeks.

The Sessions

TEAM sessions are taught on a one-to-one basis. The curriculum is based on a customized lesson plan which addresses each student's individual needs. For example, if a TA is having particular difficulty with front vowels, a fair amount of time and attention is paid to these particular segments. The lesson is aided by TEAM software, which includes listening activities, vowel plots, intonation contour graphs, helpful articulation hints, as well as the ability to record the student's performance and compare it to the model. TEAM uses a continuous assessment system, which helps make sure that the TAs are given fair and informative feedback on their progress on a daily basis.

TAs meet with their tutors twice a week, and they also are encouraged to work at home. Each student receives a thorough course pack, which contains all covered material and extra exercises.

The Software

Technology Enhanced Accent Modification, Version 2.0 by Arthur H. Schwartz, Cleveland State University.

Speech-language pathologists and others working with foreign-born professionals recognize how difficult it can be for their clients to learn the prosodic features of American English. TEAM (Technology Enhanced Accent Modification) is an instructional approach to accent modification that uses computerized displays and feedback to enable non-native speakers of English to see as well as hear the features of their accent that make their English speech difficult to understand. They can see features such as monotone, excessive rate, inappropriate syllable stress, deletion of sounds or syllables, and misarticulation of certain sounds. By comparing displays of their utterances with displays of model utterances containing the appropriate features, they can see the discrepancies and practice until their version matches the model. TEAM has six components:

  • software for the retrieval, display, and playback of model utterances,
  • a computer-based Accent Survey that assists in identifying accent features that need modification,
  • a curriculum addressing the 15 features of speech that make accents most difficult to understand,
  • an instructional methodology for accent monitoring and modification that can be used by clients on their own or with tutors,
  • a database of 3600 (1800 male, 1800 female) model utterances, and
  • a reference manual describing the program and its use.
  • Extensive online assistance is provided to assist with questions about program operation and instructional techniques.
  • TEAM operates on a personal computer using Windows 3.1/95/98 with the following (minimum) configuration: * 50 or 66 MHz processor * 8 megabytes RAM * SoundBlaster 16 or SoundBlaster AWE32 sound card * CD-ROM player * SVGA color monitor * high-quality microphone with amplifier * high quality audio speakers * mouse or other pointing device.

Screen Shots

Vowel Plot This shows a student's sound in relation to the ideal pronunciation of a particular vowel.

Model and Student Waveforms Students compare displays of their utterances with those of model pronunciation.

Activities The topics and activities dialog box enables you to select the specific topic and activity you wish to use for a particular lesson.