Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Eye dominance and HICP: the "shotgun" approach

For a small percentage of learners and instructors, eye dominance can be problematic. If one is strongly left-eye dominant, some of the  EHIEP protocols and activities can be either ineffective or slightly dis-orienting. EHIEP is based on the concept that discourse prominence, that is phrasal and sentence stress (but not word stress) must be anchored in the right visual field. The reason for that is that, for the right eye dominant, the right visual field and hand are more sensitive and responsive. For an instructor, facing a class, that means that some pedagogical movement patterns have to be done mirror image to what the students will be either doing or observing. Some report they cannot do that effectively.

Up to this point, we have been insisting that the poor, struggling left-eye dominant conform to the majority--most actions terminating in the right visual field. We are now beginning to explore the possibility, perhaps a bit inspired by the Shotgunworld blog, of having the strongly left-eye dominant learner who struggles with the system, instead work to the left, much as does the EHIEP instructor. The advice to the novice "shotgunner" is often to just switch to shooting left-handed. It is not as if  we have been "holding a gun to the head" of some learners . ..  but there are some interesting parallels. It is probably time that we bit the bullet and gave it a shot.

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