Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hippopotomonstrosesquipronunciaphobia: liberating pronunciation

Gattegno, in his 1975 book, On being freer (linked above), makes the point that our goal as teachers is not just to "liberate" our students, as many today argue, but rather to continually enable them to become "freer," as they learn language or any area of study or personal development. The irony in our work is that whereas learning the pronunciation of a language should be enormously liberating, often the experience is precisely the opposite: fear of the process and the classroom dominate. There is probably no better measure of a method than that, especially one dealing with integrated speech production in public. From Gattegno's perspective, the felt sense of true learning is being continually "freer" to understand and do more. That beautifully describes the look of students who have successfully passed beyond the simple "intelligibility" threshold into where their L2 "spirit" or "language ego" or "L2 identity" is beginning to emerge as a, freer, autonomous persona. HICP should not only be a freer . . . but liberating as well.  It is easy to assist learners in expecting and perceiving incremental progress from that perspective. In other words, the "freer," the better. 


Angelina Van Dyke said...

So are we to understand that L2 language ego develops primarily through haptic training?

Bill Acton said...

Not primarily. But body-based or "embodied" work is recognized in many disciplines today, especially in Gender studies, as being at least a strong complement to . . . words alone in developing a strong, confident personal center or identity . . . I'll have much more to say about the genius of Alexander Guiora and others, back in the 70's in using that concept of "language ego," as opposed to a more Jungian or Freudian general notion of ego, in L2 research and pedagogy. Back to the future, yet again . .. said...

From Lessac to Gattegno - thanks for the Lessac infusion and the link to Gattegno. I love the metered poetic prose of Kahlil Gibran who also speaks on such things...'Speak to us of love, and he looked upon the people and he answered...'

I think the more consciously free we are, the more autonomous we become and the more autodidactic we learn. 'Know thyself'.

Thomas Edison once said something like this when he was asked how he patented so many inventions...each are dressed in overalls, many experimental failures, and an unwillingness to give up.

Each individual must have the INNER DESIRE to explore, experiment, and educate themselves. And as Charlie Brown so aptly put it,'NEVER,NEVER, EVER GIVE UP!'

Thanks again for the opportunity to explore Lessac and Gattegno.

Bill Acton said...

Lessac and Gattegno's frameworks on freedom and "freer-ing" do form an intriguing synthesis, doesn't it? Your observation that " the more consciously free we are" is certainly Gattegno in spirit. Lessac might reply that we are still "freer" when noticing is either unnecessary or impossible.

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