Thursday, October 27, 2011

The "Harold Hill" approach to pronunciation change

In my graduate methodology class I have often poked fun at what I refer to as the "Harold Hill" method. In the musical, The Music Man, the con-man band instrument salesman is suddenly forced to actually teach some of his victims how to play the instruments he has sold them. Knowing nothing about music, he simply urges them to "Think, men, think!" And, miraculously, of course, they start playing . . . sort of. (In no time at all, they have turned into a 1,000 piece marching band w/baton twirlers, et al.)

Clip art:
The more I have explored haptic phenomena and learning, the more I realize that Hill was on to something. The strong, somatic "hedonic" focus (see recent post) of a hands-on experience can rapidly anchor desired behavior or movement, even if stumbled upon by accident with a trombone. And the reverse is true. Even visualizing yourself moving an object--or trying to do it "telekinetically", if you will, can focus the attention dramatically and sometimes create workable haptic-like anchors, as well--a "standard" technique in some types of hypnotherapy, virtual training systems and contemporary "haptic" performers (See earlier posts.)

Once PMPs, pedagogical movement patterns, are established in HICP/EHIEP, learners often report "feeling" the anchor, the touching of hands, even if using only one hand-- a good test of the "stickiness" of an anchor. So, if you are not yet "moved" to join us or get "in touch," at least imagine that you are. That will probably suffice.

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