Monday, August 15, 2011

Mirror Neurons, Dance Movement Therapy and Haptic Mirroring

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This 2006 article by Berol looks at the underlying neurophysological basis of mirroring in dance-movement therapy. Of particular interest to our work is both the full-body engagement with the model and the strong emotional, empathetic grounding involved. As noted in earlier posts, carefully managed mirroring offers an extraordinary level of attention to aspects of communication generally thought to be outside of the domain of the classroom, to be learned inductively. It can be, however, very difficult to incorporate into instruction consistently and in a way that is psychologically "safe."

Dance therapy protocols do an extraordinary job of setting the stage for engaging the client/learner in the "moving" experience. The language used and therapeutic process of DMT offer valuable insights into effective task staging of the pedagogical process for pronunciation instruction. HIPoeces employs haptic mirroring (mirrored movement with a range of touch intensities and configurations), using a number of DMT strategies,including teaching from a mirror-image perspective at times. A good first step is to set your mirror neurons down in front of a video of yourself teaching intonation for a couple of hours . . .

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