Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Embodied, imaginative pronunciation practice

Clipart: Clker
Clipart: Clker
In workshops, I often begin with the question: What do you know about how your students work on their pronunciation outside of class? Do they? (To paraphrase a current country western song, "What happens in pronunciation class, all too often . . . stays in pronunciation class!") In a nice piece on learning a new piece for the flute--which is easily translated into our work, Lea Pearson offers the following:  "Embodied practicing is practicing in which you engage your whole self - body, mind, emotions and multisensory awareness - in all you do. It has three main aspects: Learning the music away from the flute, imaginary practicing and regular practicing." Note especially the bridge from cognitive, intellectual attention to the piece of music as communication, to "regular" whole-person, normal performance: imaginary practicing. By that she means ' . . . imagining everything you might be doing to make the music – finger movement, breathing, embouchure changes, dynamics, articulation, expression, etc – all with a multisensory awareness." What this framework contributes to our understanding of (haptic-) integrated practice is the role of expressiveness and creativity in anchoring changed pronunciation. As noted in earlier posts, expressiveness and enthusiasm do not always contribute positively to the process (both can also serve to undermine anchoring of specific targets as well) but carefully managed "embodied practice" as described by Pearson seems very promising. More on the specifics of how that "bridge" might work in EHIEP instruction later. Imagine that!

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