Sunday, October 16, 2011

Asher's (TPR) hypothesis: pointing to a solution for "r" and "l" pronunciation

Here is a nice review/critique of a 2002 article by McClelland done in 2007 by James Asher ("Godfather" of the Total Physical Response Teaching Approach.) Asher's work was among the most influential in forming my understanding of the role of the body and brain in instruction. What he proposes, using basic TPR methodology (If you are not up to speed on that, check here.), is that a series of commands be used to have learners point to objects or pictures of objects in the visual field that have the r/l distinction as critical to understanding--after the command is given. For example, locket, rocket, rhyme, lime, liver, river, etc.

Clip art: Clker
Clip art: Clker
He is challenging readers to try that experiment. I assume his idea has been taken up and tried but I can find no published research as to the outcomes. The HICP/EHIEP version of that idea might be to first follow Asher's protocol and then "finish" with haptic-integrated anchoring of the word, probably using the pedagogical movement pattern (PMP) for 'r' or 'l' (See earlier posts for a description of how that is performed.) Asher is (as always) clearly pointing in the right direction!

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