Thursday, November 24, 2011

(Haptic) instruction in "super-sized" speaking/pronunciation classes

Clip art: Clker
The EHIEP system is designed for use in classes of all sizes, but especially for large classes taught by relatively inexperienced instructors. It involves extensive oral performance/engagement. Spend some time reviewing the literature on how to teach in such contexts and what you find is (as in the English Club) a good description of the problems, practice strategies and activities. What is not there is guidance on how to initially present sounds and sound processes and how to provide feedback/correction.

This is analogous to what we see in pronunciation teaching research: (apparently) any method (assuming methods are allowed) in a storm (and big classes can be that!) is generally ok. In terms of oral production-focus (vs comprehension-based) techniques, the typical set of procedures suggested are (A) demonstration, (B) explanation  and (C) choral repetition. That's it, if that. (If you want to contribute some further recommendations, feel fee to add comments.)  Beginning with A, B and C is a start, to be sure, But if things are not going well by C, what's next? More of all three, especially C?

With HICP as a basis you can (literally) see what and  how every student in a class of 100 (or more) is doing. The principle is this: With good initial haptic-anchoring training (easily done in large groups), if a learner moves correctly, more appropriate pronunciation will almost inevitably follow. Likewise, corrections focus primarily on the pedagogical movement pattern, not how the sound "sounds." Teaching with (big) class?  To quote Lessac yet again . . . Train the body first!

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