Sunday, March 28, 2010

2010 TESOL Convention Report

We had two "haptic" pronunciation presentations at the TESOL Convention in Boston last week. A workshop that I did, "Full-bodied, Systematic, Multiple-modality Pronunciation Instruction," and a demonstration by Mike Burri (of British Columbia Institute of Technology) and Karen Rauser (of Okanagon College in British Columbia) entitled, "Developing Conversational Rhythm." Both were very well received. (No surprise!)Probably the first and most useful observation from both presentations concerns how well most of the participants were able to "get" the idea of "training the body first (Lessac)" or at least starting off by attending systematically to what the body will be doing during pronunciation work. Over the past five years we have learned that for some set of instructors and learners just establishing awareness of what their bodies are doing--let alone consciously manipulating or coordinating that action--is a challenge. We are getting better at making the methodology accessible to a broader spectrum of cognitive styles and "intelligences," but there still remain a relatively small percentage, maybe 5% for whom our system in its entirety is still not as accessible as it must be. Of the 10 or 12 protocols, or basic procedures, at least half, however, can be learned and used in the classroom by anybody.

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