Monday, October 22, 2012

Mimic movement and pronunciation? Not always your cup of coffee!


Clip art: Clker
Clip art: Clker
That's right. Observed a great example of that recently at a conference. According to research by Ondobaka, de Lange, Wiemers, and Bekkering of University of Nijmegen, and Newman-Norlund of the University of South Carolina, summarized by Science Daily, it only works if your students have the same goals that you do: "If you and I both want to drink coffee, it would be good for me to synchronize my movement with yours  . . . but if you're going for a walk and I need coffee, it wouldn't make sense to be coupled on this movement level." Hmm. I can see where not being "coupled" might not facilitate a walk, but how about the impact of the same effect in pronunciation instruction, especially kinaesthetic or haptic-integrated work?

Previous blogposts have looked at a range of factors that may affect effectiveness of mirroring of pedagogical movement patterns, from personality, cognitive preferences and clutter in the visual field, to lack of achievable objectives. Orienting learners (and instructors) to why they should consistently "dance along with" the EHIEP  model on the video--or even the usual practice of mirroring videotaped conversations for fluency, is critical.

As one participant at our workshop commented, "This stuff is paradigm shifting!" (A common response, of course!)  Another participant, however, one who came in late and missed hearing the theory and "goals" of the workshop and left early, had a very different take. Later he told me apologetically--in part by his clearly unambiguous, uncoupled paralanguage over coffee--that it made "absolutely no sense, whatsoever" to him without "getting it all," up front. Q.E.D. (quod erat (non) demonstrandum), so to speak!

1 comment:

Bill Acton said...

I'll post a new set of "Classroom talking points" for introducing the system tomorrow, and a blogpost listing EHIEP-oriented goals for instruction.

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