Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Motivating pronunciation change; keeping it going

John Rohn, the great motivational speaker, also is a great one-liner. A couple of his famous quips:

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” and “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”

Discipline and habit are two terms or concepts that, for any number of reasons, have fallen out of fashion, at least in the contemporary, popular culture and educational philosophy of the West. In the East that hasn't happened yet, but there are signs that it is happening there was well--as media and technology flourish by promoting the need for neither. Motivation, discipline and habits that work. In pronunciation work we appreciate the need for all three but so often the program or instructor provide plenty of the former but precious little of the latter two. The problem is that we have "evolved" (or devolved) to a place where only highly individualized goals and practice are seen as theoretically acceptable or pedagogically permitted.

Assisting learners in fashioning their own development and practice regimen, even one-to-one can be at best very time consuming. It is far too easy (or the only realistic choice in classroom instruction) to just lay out a few options for learners and let them figure out how to work with them--if they have the discipline and are in the habit managing the rest of their lives effectively. There must be a better way at hand, where students as a group are trained in the relevant disciplines and habits together . . . where in about 4 hours of haptic-video-guided practice and 8 hours of haptic-video-guided homework, most any student can develop the self-directed tools required--and the instructor has the means at hand to deal with the important pronunciation issues in class. There is . . . 

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