Friday, June 22, 2012

Focus on "Phon" (in integrated pronunciation instruction): Post hoc FOP

Clipart: Clker
Clipart: Clker
"Focus on form" has become a basic construct of contemporary language teaching. (Wikipedia has a nice, concise definition, based on Long 1991.) Although there are several variants on this theme today, Long's key assumption was " . . . the learner must be aware of the meaning and use of the language features before the form is brought to their attention." [Italics, mine.] In other words, that would appear to exclude doing a little mini-lesson just before learners are to encounter a problematic form. (That is actually a bit extreme, but let's go with that for now.) Go a step further and focus on those situations where the learner (not just the instructor) is also aware of the "problem," perhaps based on a breakdown in communication or a very evident pronunciation or articulation difficulty--even if the task was not entirely compromised at the time. In other words, an obvious, easily recognized mis-pronunciation happens which deserves "treatment." We'll call this one "Post Hoc FOP." There are at least three other logical possibilities (my terms here): "Pre-Hoc FOP," and "Mid-Hoc FOP" and "Sub-Hoc FOP" which will be dealt with later. Those are, in a very real sense, relatively spontaneous clinical interventions based in real-time communication. So, what do you do? Here are a few to get the ball rolling (One of these, some combination of these or something else.) Instructor . . .

  • Ignores it.
  • Notes covertly and consults with student privately later. 
  • Requests target be repeated out loud, by learner or class as a whole
  • Leads learner to correct approximation of the sound.
  • Models correct pronunciation once or twice without further attention.
  • Passes to learner written note on "error."
  • Does a quick, impromptu (probably canned) insightful explanation
  • Instructs learner to "notice" something . . .
  • Uses gesture signalling pronunciation issue (may be very differentiated to indicate part of speech, etc.)
  • Points to Gattegno-like wall chart . . . 
  • Instructs learner to put the target sound or word on personal practice list or in pronunciation diary or "log." 
  • Has peer point out error. 
  • Has peer makes notes to be shared later.
  • (Haptic-integrated) does word or phrase with learner using appropriate pedagogical movement pattern a couple of times. 
  • (Haptic-integrated) instructs learner to do word or phrase as homework. (See also earlier posts on EHIEP-based homework frameworks.) 

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