Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Pain of Pronunciation Teaching

Clip art: Clker
How often do you hear it said that teaching pronunciation is such a pain? We obviously don't feel that pain--at least not all that intensely most of the time,  but . . . there is something important that we can learn from research and therapeutic approaches to dealing with pain: how to modulate intensity of anchoring. Whether it is the resonance in the learner's skull, the sensation of the vocal cords vibration, the turbulence of the air across the lips, the pressure of the tongue pushing on something, the amount of energy involved in one hand tapping or scratching or sliding past the other hand, any sensory input is scale-able.

The earlier posts on the use of the concept of "felt sense" explored how conscious assessment and modulation of somatic intensity is used in many disciplines. Learners can be easily trained to report on a scale of 1-5 just how intense the feeling is. Once that process is established, it can be used to monitor and adjust the intensity up or down, depending on the situation. For example, in early phases of accent reduction work, arriving at a scalar framework for communicating about the intensity and location of resonance centers in the upper body is essential. (The same general process is the basis of much stress reduction work as well.)

So . . . should you currently find yourself on the low end of "haptic-o-phile" scale (those who love haptic-integrated pronunciation teaching), it is probably time for you to get moving--or at least get in touch! If you are not already a solid 4, post a comment as to why and we'll see what we can do to ease your pain in future posts!

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