Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Haptic error detection and correction: I see what you are saying . . .

Clipart: Ciker
Socrates, in the Republic, (linked above in a great essay by the philosopher, Schopenhauer) was said to have said to a young disciple, "Speak, so that I may see you." He was, of course, alluding to the power of both the first impression and the scope of meanings and educated guesses that can be made when face to face about the intelligence, character and life history. Not that those are entirely reliable or that our ability to "intuit" such information does not vary from many perspectives. In the "haptic-integrated" pronunciation lesson, nonetheless, that principle, where any number of the dimensions of the sound system and expressiveness are embodied and "visible," applies quite directly. Once the body is trained to "conduct" the tongue, vocal apparatus and intensity of resonance, even in a class of 100, from the front as instructor you can get a pretty good idea of how something is being articulated in the back row--just from observing the pedagogical movement patterns of students during speaking exercises. (And error correction is accomplished by reversing the process!)  In fact, that same "information" is available in all classes at all times at a very subtle level, although not many of us are that tuned in--or could use it productively even if we focus on it consistently. But it does affect us unconsciously, nonetheless--especially when our L2 students' bodies are moving in all the "wrong" directions. So, how do you conduct your class? Or vice versa? 

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