Thursday, August 11, 2011

Haptic leading and (pronunciation) practice: getting into the swing of things

Clip art: Clker
Inspired by the interaction between swing dance partners (where all leading is done haptically, without verbal commands or visual signals), a system where a robot acted as lead and a human as follower was developed to study the nature of haptic-only guidance. What was discovered was that, as long as the partners knew the basic swing dance moves, shared the same "vocabulary," haptic-only leading worked reasonably well. If not, the two could not coordinate their actions effectively.

What that seems to imply is that haptic anchoring is most useful or more potent in HICP work when applying a basic pedagogical movement  pattern (PMP) to new materials (sounds, words or phrases)--not as much in the early, initial phases of learning the PMPs, where being able to see locations in the visual field consistently is critical. In other words, for efficient practice of new material.

As noted in an earlier post, for some learners, anchoring new pronunciation(s) may be better accomplished with eyes closed, without the visual interference, in fact. That integrative process, of moving from patterns to improvisation haptically (Just go with the flow, so to speak.), parallels many kinds of learning, but especially the process of "repairing" incorrect or fossilized pronunciation. For those who have yet to get into the swing of haptic-integrated pronunciation work, the "un-HIP," just pick up a few of the basic steps off the videos, turn down your visual cortex, and follow our lead . . .

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