Friday, March 2, 2012

Zone of Pronunciation Development (ZProD)

Clipart: Clker
With apologies to Vygotsky, have lately been reviewing student pronunciation texts and pronunciation methods books looking for evidence of scaffolding and what I would characterize as the "Zone of Pronunciation Development" where scaffolding should occur. In part because of the overriding theoretical perspective in the field, and education in general to a lesser extent, that instruction must be first designed to meet the needs of the individual, not the group, it can be very difficult for the textbook writer or curriculum designer to create and maintain effective scaffolding in pronunciation work. Scaffolding in the classic ZPD model appears to require assisting learners at a level consistent with one-on-one tutoring but not classroom instruction, where the type of support provided does seem "hyper-personalized." The spirit of ZPD scaffolding is to enable the learner to become as independent of the mentor as quickly as possible--but not too soon. What my research seems to suggest so far is that genuine scaffolding in pronunciation teaching has been missing for about the last 25 years or so, since the fading of the highly structured, Audiolingual method and related systems. Scaffolding is still consistently promoted by contemporary methodologists, but in practice it seems to extend only to the classroom door, if that far--and only rarely "out" to integration into spontaneous speech. (There are some exceptions, of course--such as HICP work!) How's your scaffolding? More on this in subsequent posts. (Truly efficient) pronunciation instruction is forever on the scaffold, it seems! 

No comments:

Post a Comment