Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Connecting sound and gesture in pronunciation teaching


Clipart: Clker
Clipart: Clker
Explaining how gesture can facilitate learning of sound and how sound, in turn, can be associated with gesture is not easy. For some, just "explaining" it experientially by leading them through a few basic protocols is sufficient. In doing workshops (like the most recent one) there will always be a group of relatively experienced instructors who for any number of reasons seem to "get it" it quickly. (Students, in general, get it immediately, regardless!) For those with no background in pronunciation teaching, who are just by nature more highly "pre-frontal" (requiring a great deal of explicit, systematic rationale before buying a new technique) or who are just not very "gesticular," more is required. Have been looking for a relatively recent research summary article or two that I can point to that makes the case  persuasively. Found a couple. This one, from 2008 by Kelly, Manning and Rodak, and this one, from 2005 by Empkin, Cramer and Reikinsmeyer will serve for the time being. The former, although not from a refereed journal, provides a very nice overview of research (and some application) on the relationship between gesture and language. The latter, a report on a research project looking at the effect of haptic guidance on learning of movement, demonstrates clearly what touch contributes to the process. (There are several other similar studies reported here on the blog in the past year.) Until we get some controlled, empirical studies of the efficacy of the EHIEP protocols, inferential evidence such as this and anecdotal reports from classroom trials--along with experiential, participatory demonstrations--will have to suffice. Beginning soon, I am going to begin posting reports from colleagues, "Hapticians" who use EHIEP protocols in their classrooms, along with a bit of theoretical commentary. (Or I may start another blog for that purpose, as noted earlier.) Keep in touch. 

1 comment:

Bill Acton said...

Hat tip to Munassir Alhamani, a grad of our program now doing his doctorate at the University of Hawaii, for pointing me in the direction of the article by Kelly et al.

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