Friday, April 13, 2012

Overcoming resistance to sticky, classroom-based pronunciation

Clip art: Clker
The (Stick-y!) EHIEP approach is based on the concept of providing accessible group-based and classroom-based essential pronunciation instruction for relatively untrained teachers. The 8, 30-minute training sessions (either "live" or on video) and follow ups  are designed to, in effect, "outsource" the initial training in the procedures so that they can be subsequently used by both teacher and students. The content is almost entirely "conversational language" focused. Since the basic instruction is constructed to be done by the class as a whole, for most part using choral "whole body" repetition or mirroring, it is critical that everybody in the room is on the same "somatic wave length." In the linked rather straightforward (working paper-like) research study on overcoming resistance to change in organizations, Pardo del Val and Martínez provide an interesting summary in Table 2 of the preliminary results of their (undated) study, ranking the sources of resistance. (The significance of the relative rankings is also not reported at this stage of the study.) Their list at least provides a fascinating look at the range of sources of resistance to organizational change in the study and in the literature. Even the rough ranking is revealing. Consider that list (or potential rubric) from the perspective of getting the right degree of "buy in" to your classroom pronunciation work, especially as we attempt to teach to and with the group initially, not just the individual. That list works for attempts to change any organization, of course, but I have found it very helpful in figuring out how and what to emphasize in orienting students and teacher trainees to the system:

  • Deep-rooted values (2.70) That one, especially in relation to cultural attitudes toward body engagement and experiential learning just about says it all. 
  • Capabilities gap (2.42) That we can fix.
  • Departmental politics (2.42) That may not be reparable . . . 
  • Low motivation due to cannibalization costs and cross subsidy comforts (2.31) That is about the only one that does not translate rather easily or analogically, but I love the image!
  • Incommensurable beliefs (2.31) Ideas don't die . . . people do. 
  • Different interests among employees and management (2.27) Ideas don't die, people do . . . 
  • Communication barriers (2.23)
  • Organizational silence (2.20) That can be a positive as well! 
  • Low motivation due to direct costs of change (2.15) Especially the social or psychological costs involved. 
  • Myopia, denial, perpetuation of ideas, implicit assumptions (2.11) A good methods course should be a corrective in that regard. 
  • Lack of a creative response due to fast and complex environmental changes (2.05) That one we can manage. 
  • Lack of a creative response due to inadequate strategic vision (2.04) That one is crucial and seems to be a key variable predicting success of EHIEP work. 
  • Change values opposite to organizational values (2.04) Or the contemporary methodological perspectives on the role of the body in learning, in general. 
  • Forgetfulness of the social dimension of changes due to obsession of promoter (2.01)
  • Lack of a creative response due to resignation (1.96) You have to use a different sense of "resignation" there to make that one work, of course. 
  • Leadership inaction, embedded routines, collective action problems (1.94)
  • Cynicism (1.84) Good to see this one so far "down" the list!
  • Forgetfulness of the social dimension of changes due to forgetting supervisors (1.67)
  • Low motivation due to past failures (1.65) This one ought to be further up the list, I'd think, too. 

                                                             Sorry about the longish post there. It was also LONG overdue!

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