Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The inner game of pronunciation teaching

Clip art:
How's this for a great 2-line promo: "The inner game of tennis is based on optimizing the human mind to play better tennis. Through a proper mental tennis game, learning and playing tennis can be very easy!" Note it says that both learning and playing can be very easy. That got my attention. Easy? So how? Here are the three (simple) principles:

(1)  Trust your body, 
(2) Silence your mind! and 
(3) Don’t be judgmental!

Actually, that is not a bad analogy for EHIEP work either. Haptic pronunciation work begins with body awareness and training. The multiple modality framework does not "silence" the mind exactly, but it certainly channels attention well. The third is the more interesting. Haptic anchoring, by its very nature, focuses on the felt sense of the target sound, not (simply, again) on incoming "sounds" through the ears. (In some exercises we ask the learner to stand up close to a mirror to get more auditory "backwash;" other times, not.) It is not uncommon for learners to be able to produce a changed vowel quality reasonably well, for example, even before they can "hear" or recognize it.

Believe it! Just try it! Trust me . . . (in reverse order, of course!)

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