Saturday, May 12, 2012

Getting students to buy haptic-integrated pronunciation teaching

Several posts have considered how to get instructors and learners new to HICP initially oriented to this kind of instruction. I have approached the problem from many perspectives, including citing research studies in related fields, demonstrating some of the techniques on video or in person, having those who have used the system give their "testimonies," presenting theoretical workshops and papers, etc., The only sure clincher, however, is having the person experience it, especially as described in this post following the 2012 TESOL Convention. This 2009 research study on the effect of touch or holding an object on customers considering buying the item at an auction may suggest one factor involved: touch enhances psychological attachment. (The same principle applies of course to haptic anchoring of sounds and words as well!) The underlying neurophysiological basis of that effect has also been studied from many perspectives. I was asked recently why it can be difficult for some instructors to accept the idea of waving their hands around like a "choral conductor" in class. (I have several theories about that, including considerations of personal cognitive preference, which have been addressed in earlier posts as well.)  For years I attempted to develop a strictly kinaesthetic system (movement only; no principled touch involved) with relatively limited success. The introduction of systematic touch in about 2006 has since greatly enhanced both effectiveness and "buy in." (Along with occasional echoing of the great Nike mantra: Just DO it!--and an interactive demonstration using a relatively low energy version of  one protocol, the Rhythmic Feet Fight Club sans gloves.) The difference is simple: "hands on" experience. 

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