Saturday, June 11, 2011

May I have your "undivided" attention? (For pronunciation instruction)

Clip art: Clker
In this interesting 2003 MA thesis by Hamblin, the effect of divided attention on simultaneous speaking and movement fluency were studied from a number of perspectives. One relevant finding was that (for right handers) left hand movement tasks were significantly more disruptive to speaking fluency and language generation than were right-hand tasks. One explanation was that such multitasking (simply) demands more attention on the part of the non-dominant hand's related neural hardware--which normally does not exert as much control over ongoing speech and language production.

In HICP work, that effect is exploited to advantage by systematically using the movement of both hands, but especially the left hand, in part to demand and maintain as near total concentration of the learner on the target sound, word or phrase. (See earlier post on the potential effects of left-handedness on HICP teaching and learning: minimal, at best.) Because the EHIEP protocols (techniques) do not at least initially demand generation of new language, but only require repetition of provided targets, it is relatively easy to progressively keep learners (near) fully engaged and on task.

Adding conscious attention to the felt sense of both the movement and the essential touch of each pedagogical movement pattern (PMP) does much to keep the contemporary, multi-tasking-prone, visual- media-addicted learner's brain and attention as "undivided" as haptically possible.

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