Saturday, November 5, 2011

Getting (better) in touch with pronunciation change

Photo credit: Mr Bill
Having an adequate sense of touch, at least in the hands, is obviously a plus in HICP work! Individuals vary greatly in tactile sensitivity, some to the point of being almost unable to effect haptic anchoring without some preliminary touch-activation training. Sometimes that involves nothing more than rubbing the hands together, scrubbing lightly with a lofa brush or applying sensitizing lotion, etc. Research has shown, for example, that the superior tactile ability of the blind is due primarily to just having had more practice with using touch for various functions.

And for most students, that seems to be the case: they catch on to  effective anchoring eventually-which entails about half a dozen different types of hand-to-hand contact or "combat." Now researchers at Georgia Tech have come up with "vibrating gloves" that dramatically improve touch sensitivity and performance on certain motor tasks.  I've got to get some of those! Not enough time "on your hands" to develop good haptic technique?  Those could at least put a little more tingle in your teaching!

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