Thursday, August 11, 2011

(With Child L2 pronunciation learning) Haptic or not too haptic?

Clip art: Clker
In this study by Gori et al (2008) we get a glimpse into why children up to the age of 8-10 are more haptic in some contexts. For example, in determining relative size they will tend to rely on relative touch and motion; in figuring out orientation in space, more visual. Beyond that age, modalities are gradually more and more integrated. In working with L2 pronunciation of children with the EHIEP protocols it is striking (but from this research not surprising) how quickly they are able to "get" and mirror accurately the pedagogical movement patterns across the visual field and beyond. And, at the same time, they learn the haptic anchoring of sounds and recall them without the teacher even mentioning what is going on.

Later, as we have seen, as adults the senses are capable of working together or in opposition, depending on a number factors. To the old canard, "learn like a child," we can here see why it can be so difficult to get into that state--and how we may be able to construct frameworks that do allow occasional access to more uni-modal, direct learning when necessary.

Seen from that perspective, haptic is not just for kids.

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