Tutorial Style

Tutorials can be one of the most valuable and interesting parts of your university experience. However, they can be challenging due to having to communicate difficult ideas to your tutor or lecturer.

You should try to focus on predicting the things you would like to talk about in your tutorial and making sure you have practised some suitable phrases to make your meaning clear to your tutor.

Task: Look at the following tutorial phrases. Identify any words you are not confident about pronouncing clearly.

  1. Hello, thanks for meeting with me today.
  2. I’d really like to discuss the feedback from my last assignment.
  3. I’m not quite sure about this comment, what does it mean?
  4. So, if I changed this part do you think it would improve my essay?
  5. How could I improve this part of my assignment?
  6. I’m really sorry but I’m not sure I agree with you.
  7. So, you’re saying I should rewrite this section?
  8. Ok, well thanks for all of the useful feedback!
  9. Would it be okay to email you if I think of any more questions?
  10. Thanks again, have a great day and see you next week!

When you are unsure of how to say a word, one of the best places to look is in your dictionary!

Task: Type any words you are unsure of into the Cambridge learner dictionary below. Click on the audio button to listen to an example.

Now focus on the phonetic transcription. e.g. /ˈkwestʃən/
Breaking the word down into individual phonemes can really help to improve your pronunciation of important words. e.g. /ˈkwes/ /tʃən/

You do not have to learn the phonemic chart, you can use the interactive version from the British Council below to click on the individual sounds and repeat them yourself.

Find the phonemic transcription in the dictionary and click on the sounds in the chart below and repeat them until you feel confident you are making the same sound. You must enable Flash Player in the settings of Google Chrome for this to work.

Okay, now you have identified difficult words, researched how they sound, broken them down into phonemes and practised the individual sounds. Let’s see if you can pronounce these phrases correctly.

To complete this activity you will need a microphone and you will have to click ‘allow’ when prompted. You must use Google Chrome for this activity.

Task: Test your pronunciation, can your tutor understand you?

Another great way to improve your pronunciation is by listening. You can use the site youglish.com to listen to authentic examples of how people use phrases and try to copy them.

You can record yourself saying the phrase and then compare your recording against the example. You can use your phone or the recorder below.

Let’s try it using the phrase “I’d like to discuss”

Task: Go back to the FutureLearn discussion forum and share any different language you have used to discuss your work with a tutor. Have you ever heard anything in a tutorial that confused you?