Thursday, May 31, 2012

How to reach (pronunciation) goals

Clip art: Clker
Based on Halverson's book on accomplishing goals, an anonymous website which I occasionally consult for health and fitness ideas, came up with this pretty much standard list for achieving fitness: (a) Imagine! (b) Dream Big! (c) Stuff is rarely enough! (d) Be realistic! (e) Be specific! (f) Assess! and (f) Zip it! That is also a very interesting template for highlighting some key aspects of pronunciation instruction (particularly EHIEP!). For example:
Clip art: Clker
A. Imagine - Especially using visual models of what the learner should move and sound like and can be used for mirroring occasionally.
B. Dream Big! - This one is quite controversial today. Should the model be the native speaker of some dialect or a near-peer model. I still favor the native speaker--with the proviso of "D" below.
C. Stuff is rarely enough - This one, too, is very much in the spotlight in the field today. The range of technology coming online is amazing. It is going to revolutionize pronunciation instruction. But not just yet. The EHIEP system is designed to be compatible with virtual reality instructions but also somatically-grounded (body-based). My view is that full body engagement with technology will be key.
D. Be realistic! - The problem here is that it just takes time to work with the individual to create both goals and a path to get there--not necessarily the "ideal" probably impractical model. The demands on the instructor to frame this well require both experience and time. (See C, above!)
E. Be specific! - Here, too, getting to specific can simply be expensive, especially (ironically) if the instructional program is excessively, individualized too soon in the process. (See earlier posts on this topic and how it is done well!)
F. Assess! - There is great promise here for technology, both in terms of measuring progress and providing remediation and practice. The EHIEP perspective is that changing sounds and sound-processes requires working from haptic anchoring (the felt sense of sounds, not what is "coming in" through the ears!) and also monitoring change, at least in part, somatically.
G. Zip it! - In earlier posts on "hypermentalizing" the research was reviewed that demonstrates that talking too much about goals is actually counterproductive, in effect creating the "felt sense" that more is being accomplished than what actually is.
                                                                                                                  So, how fit is your method? 

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