Monday, May 30, 2011

Is it "the drill" or "the thrill" in pronunciation learning?

Clip art: Clker
Apparently it is the latter--when it comes to efficient learning in young children. In a remarkable study by Medina, Trueswell, and Gleitman, of the University of Pennsylvania and Snedeker,of Harvard University, reviewed by Science Digest (a frequent source of good links for us), it appears that new words and concepts are best learned in insightful "hot" events (i.e., teachable moments), rather than through repeated, gradual associations building up over time. Asher, in the 1960s, came to a similar conclusion in studying the effect of learning a command on the first attempt, as opposed "getting it" gradually. He found that the faster learned; the more accurately recalled.

That is also the essential assumption of HICP work: haptic-anchoring of sounds, words and related processes (done correctly) should be consistently so vivid, engaging and attention grabbing--that what is learned is learned quicker and deeper. Turns out that the rap on  mechanical, mind-numbing drill in pronunciation teaching as not being the cost efficient way to learn is closer to the truth than we had realized. "Keep in touch" with this line of research; it is very likely just the beginning of a revolution in how we think about integrated, experiential learning.

No comments:

Post a Comment