Open your OERs: I’m All Ears by Jorge González Casanova

Submitted by Casey Colvin on
Screenshot of I'm All Ears

During fall quarter of last year, I took a sabbatical, and my project was the creation of an Open Educational Resource (OER).  OERs are freely accessible, openly licensed text, media, and other digital assets that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing as well as for research purposes.  Materials and resources contained in an OER are publicly accessible.  My OER is called I’m All Ears and it is a course on Spanish pronunciation for speakers of American English.  Two of my passions are music and language and this project represents the coming together of those passions: the production of sounds by humans in order to create language.  Another motivator was my concern that pronunciation is an area of language teaching that does not generally receive adequate attention in the classroom. 

The course contains all the necessary theoretical and practical tools to learn Spanish pronunciation.  It uses Contrastive Analysis, a method that helps students compare the phonological features of English and Spanish.  As a result, they are conscious of the similarities and differences between the two sound systems, and of the fact that some difficult sounds in Spanish exist in English, but they are represented graphically in a different fashion.  For example, in American English the “tt” as in “Betty” corresponds exactly to the Spanish “r,” which is a very challenging sound for many English speakers to produce.

This book offers flexibility since it can be used by instructors in the classroom and by students as a self-teaching tool.  The course is divided by categories of sounds like vowels and different groups of consonants, for example, and it uses a multimodal approach.  In each chapter, students study theory, take a short quiz, listen to recordings, repeat words, study fixed and animated articulation diagrams, and record themselves.  After all sounds are studied, students listen critically to three recordings of English native speakers at three different levels of proficiency.  The last section of the book is about suprasegmentals or sounds at the word and phrase levels.  Included is a review of important aspects of pronunciation and fluency like rhythm, tone, stress, and word juncture.

I’m All Ears is freely accessible to everyone.  If you would like to browse the book, please visit

By Jorge González Casanova