Monday, October 24, 2011

The "Cognitive Phonological" map and Lessac's pedagogical territory

In the linked article by Fraser is something of the Cognitive Phonologists' manifesto: “Pronunciation is primarily a cognitive phenomenon rather than a physiological problem." The CP's approach to teaching and learning pronunciation is, not surprisingly, highly metacognitive, requiring insight, explanation, conscious frameworks, planning and, of course . . . understanding. The driver of change is seen as basically cognitive, not the felt sense of speaking and pedagogical drill and practice. Simply put: ontologically, once the mind is online, the body must follow.

Clip art: Clker
From a HICP perspective, that is to fall for the classic, map/territory illusion, in Korzybski's words, "the map is not the territory." Even if the map or characterization or origin of the problem is "primarily cognitive," that does not mean that the approach to the solution or treatment "on the ground," in the classroom must be. On the contrary, in many systems of Western (as opposed to Eastern) human behavior change, the effective therapy or training must be considerably more and more noncognitive today, at least at the outset, in effect side-stepping or creating an offsetting balance with the problematic "phenomenon." (See earlier post on "Changing the channel fallacy.")

Lessac's "territorial" manifesto, Train the body first, is admittedly no less directional in design, but it has one enormous advantage . . . it works.

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