Sunday, November 13, 2011

Doing the preliminary "heavy lifting" of HICP change

HICP/EHIEP teaching and learning come almost effortlessly to some, the naturally kinaesthetic, among others. With good design and sequenced, scaffolded practice,  however, the techniques work for students of any learning style preference. For that reason, the initial introduction to haptic-based learning and to the various pedagogical movement patterns (PMP) involved can be critical in establishing a framework or "felt sense" that both "makes sense" and is physically engaging to the the learner.

Perhaps the best "physical" analog I have found is a Simlog simulator-based training system for heavy equipment operator trainees. Why it is so striking to me is that it "develops muscle memory" (in the terms of the system) in a way that not only makes perfect sense to the trainee but is based on very concrete, measurable and achievable benchmarks, leading to the requisite skill set needed for the particular equipment. In the HICP-EHIEP system there are about 24 distinct PMPs that represent sounds or sound processes in English, all of which could be easily taught in a Simlog-like, virtual-reality system. I love the direct, common sense, explanation of the heavy equipment training language: "But after a while, the "seeing-thinking-doing" gradually becomes "seeing-doing" because your muscles seem to "know" and "remember" just what to do. What you're learning now is speed, i.e. how to perform the task carefully and quickly. That's muscle memory." 

Now, if I can just figure out which piece of heavy machinery is closest to English  pronunciation and persuade instructors and learners to get up to speed quickly before we begin HICP-EHIEP training in earnest! My favorite is the "hydraulic excavator" simulator. 10 minutes on that every morning before pronunciation work would be the perfect, motivating, haptic warm up, helping even the most kinaesthetically-challenged to learn to "dig it," too!

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