Monday, April 30, 2012

Metalogues and "Hapticalogues" in pronunciation teaching

Clip art: Clker
One of my favorite meta-communicative terms, "metalogue," defined as " . . . a conversation about some problematic subject. This conversation should be such that not only do the participants discuss the problem but the structure of the conversation as a whole is also relevant to the same subject. . . "--from one of the formative books early in my career, Bateson's "Steps to an ecology of mind," may be worth incorporating in the general PEPI framework. For example, that would suggest that the vocal and conceptual models that we use in the classroom should be as consistent as possible with the models that your students are working toward. In teacher training that idea is easier to apply, i.e., that you teach like you want them to teach. (For an example of a metalogue that goes someplace else, see this one by Peter Rose.)

In focusing on pronunciation, consciously conducting classroom discourse or conversation about what needs to be done and how--in such a way that targeted sounds and processes are not only present but even foregrounded at times--is an intriguing problem in itself. For the native speaker, the speech model, itself, should make a natural, valuable contribution to the process, but what about the nonnative instructor? Haptic anchoring of sounds, vocabulary and sound processes by the instructor should provide a clear visual representation of the "correct" or approximate structure involved, even if the actual pronunciation of the instructor is not quite on target.

The EHIEP instructor, of course, has "at hand" at least six different pedagogical movement patterns that can be used to visually reinforce a targeted sound or emphasize a word or phrase. The effect is something like simultaneous signing and speaking, using symbolic, haptic-based gestures which the students should be able to read comfortably without appreciably interfering with the flow of the discourse or topic being discussed. Later, I'll link to a video of my using "hapticalogue" bits with students in talking about strategies they can use outside of class. In the meantime, try haptically anchoring some of your current targets . . . just as a gesture of good Wii.  


Angelina Van Dyke said...

Looking forward to the hapticalogue bits! Wa!

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