ESL students urged to attend pronunciation workshops

More than 2,000 students study English as a second language each year at OCCC. All of them want to speak the language like an American — or at least so Americans can understand them.

That’s harder than you might think, which is why the well-known English Speech Language Pathologist Paul Gruber has been scheduled to teach workshops on campus May 5 and 6, said Anthony Patrick Tyrrell, ESL coordinator.

Gruber will offer a total of four free English pronunciation workshops, two on Tuesday, May 5, and two on Wednesday, May 6. The morning workshops will run from 9 a.m. until noon and the evening workshops will run from 6 to 9 p.m.

Each session can accommodate about 250 participants in OCCC Union Rooms 1, 2, and 3.

Most ESL students, teachers and professors know about Gruber through his video workshop series, Tyrrell said.

He said about 20 ESL classes use Gruber’s video programs for teaching, but he has never met Gruber in person.

“As a teacher, Gruber taught me a lot about how to present pronunciation to my students,” Tyrrell said. “This live event is not only for students, but is also for educators, administrators, and people working in academia and other professionals.

“People need to communicate effectively in the workplace, and speaking clearly is essential when it comes to communication,” Tyrrell said. “As you know, when people speak, they want to be understood.”

Each ESL student has a different situation,Tyrrell said. Some have limited education in their country, others have PhDs or have had great success in business in their native lands, he said.

“Often the major barrier to success for them is English,” Tyrrell said. “Sometimes their writing and grammar are good, but they have heavy accents.”

ESL instructors are asking their students to attend.

“My teacher introduced this event to all students in class,” said Thao Cao, a Vietnamese student, who has studied in ESL class for three months. She said she would attend Tuesday morning.

Another ESL student, Kathy Boholy, said she plans to attend.

“My teacher registered for me and other students in class,”  Boholy said.

Gruber is the founder and CEO of a company called Pronunciation Workshop, and he is the author of a series of 15 videos where he goes through all the major sounds that students need to make, like consonant and vowel sounds, and intonation.

Tyrrell said Gruber has worked with thousands of people, such as physicians, corporate presidents, CEOs, international executives, embassy employees, UN ambassadors, university students and professors, and he has also provided services to many international corporations and governmental agencies.

“Gruber has a unique teaching style, and he uses a musical approach to pronunciation,” Tyrrell said. “Gruber is an appropriate expert for this live event.”

The structure of each section will be the following:

For the first 45 minutes Gruber will be teaching the key elements of American pronunciation. After that he will be providing direct coaching to individual students while being observed by the wider audience.

College union rooms 1, 2 and 3 will be opened as one big room for the event, Tyrrell said. “It’s capacity is from 200 to 250 people in each live session,” Tyrrell said.

Registration is required for these free seminars, because seating is limited, Tyrrell said. All participants are asked to arrive 30 minutes before each session for check-in.

If you want more information about the program, contact Anthony Tyrrell by 405- 682-1611 extension 7401 or email

To learn more about Paul Gruber or his video series, look on the website

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