Thursday, June 16, 2011

Getting in touch with your inner fuzzy for pronunciation work--with touch!

clip art: Clker
In working with haptic techniques, one frequent observation will often be that even students in the foulest of moods seem more amenable to engaging with the procedures than were they being asked to respond to visual or simple auditory prompts. This 2011 study by King, NUS Business School, Singapore, and Chris Janiszewski, University of Florida, Gainesville. may explain why that could be the case: those in less positive mood tend to prefer tactile sources of comfort (such as in the photo accompanying the article of a small girl hugging a teddy bear.), whereas the more positive tend to select visual stimulation for comfort or stimulation.

What is of interest there for us is that successful haptic work should be less dependent on getting students in optimal affective states before the lesson begins. In other words (to paraphrase Arthur Lessac): hug (the body) first, dazzle ( it) later. Going back to an earlier post on learning potency, comparing "drill" to the "thrill," it may be that the experience of a "thrilling" pronunciation learning event feels closer to a great massage than it does to awe at the sight of a great picture.

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