Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cognitive pronunciation work and mastication-induced arousal

Photo credit: UPI Photo/Ezio Petersen
Ah . . . at last we may have discovered a way to make excessive conscious, cognitive and metacognitive talk about pronunciation in the classroom less distracting and pointless: chew gum. In a much-hyped summary in the media, it is reported that St. Lawrence University researcher, Onyper, had discovered that such masticatory action before a test (chewing gum), " . . . gave the subjects multiple advantages, but only when chewed for five minutes before testing, not for the duration of the test. Benefits persisted for the first 15 to 20 minutes of testing only." Mastication-induced arousal was "credited" with the boost. The summary goes on to note that, "Many studies have shown that any type of physical activity can produce a performance boost . . . "

So there you have it, friends--although 15 or 20 minutes of talk ABOUT pronunciation still sounds deadly to me--getting students' cognitive and masticatory processes up and running in that manner before class may not "gum up the works" at all--on the contrary. (One of the HICP consonant protocols does, after all, involve some biting of the sides of the tongue with back mandibulars!) Just a little something there for you to chew on . . .

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