Saturday, August 27, 2011

Why "haptic-integrated" pronunciation method? Really?

Clip art: Clker
I am frequently asked why I continue to insist on using the phrase “haptic-integrated pronunciation” as the focus of HICP/EHIEP. Much of what passes for pronunciation instruction today is still (at best) like a good Youtube video: (a) an explanation, followed by (b) classroom practice—some of it very well done, by the way, but generally conducted as decontextualized exercises, and then (c) . . . nothing . . . the learner is from that point on entrusted with the responsibility of either figuring out how to practice outside of class, or assumed to subconsciously integrate the new pronunciation without further attention or guidance.

The EHIEP model attempts to “supercharge” both the classroom and out-of-classroom experience by helping to integrate pronunciation teaching more effectively, in two senses. First, after initial brief training sessions (9 or 10, 30-minute modules, done by the instructor or video-based, spread out over the course of about 12 weeks) attention to pronunciation from then on occurs within the context of “regular” speaking and listening tasks, integrated in as the need or opportunity arises for increased intelligibility or accuracy. Second, learners experience in-class and out-of-class (in regular, prescribed homework), consistent, multi-sensory/modality learning of sounds and words that should greatly facilitate integrating those elements into their spontaneous speaking and listening. I had the basic idea back in 1984, but could never quite figure out how to get consistent integration and anchoring. About thirty years later, I was introduced to haptic research.

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