Saturday, February 4, 2012

Why pronunciation teaching techniques often don't work for long--or at all!

Probably the most "brilliant" paper I ever wrote (at least in my estimation at the time), one only published in an obscure vanity press in Japan, was titled, "Technique entropy in language teaching." (If you must have a copy, I'll send you one!) The point was that a technique, unless thoroughly integrated within a coherent system, was subject to rapid entropy: it's half life was only a couple of iterations,  best case.

The same principle applies to any system, including pronunciation instruction. Systematicity is the great equalizer. A good technique in a bad or unsystematic system is quickly an ineffective technique.  The EHIEP haptic-video package is a very tight system. All students go through virtually the same 8, 30-minute modules--ideally, with 3, 20-minute homework video assignments done, per module, as well. (That can be adjusted if the instructor is EHIEP-certified.) Each of the protocols trains students and teacher in techniques that are to be used in all classroom instruction from that point forward. There are, in fact, more than three dozen commonly recognized techniques in the method, any one of which cannot possibly work in some context. Is your method systematic?

If you are not sure, take a look at the 1993 linked piece above on systems theory by Walonick, then sit down and see if you can adequately describe how yours all fits together, what each piece contributes and how. If not, no need to be too concerned. It is not that difficult to change it for a more ca-EHIEP-able one!

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