Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Perfect pronunciation teaching or just a quick tune up? (How to perfect it!)

Clipart: Clker

Clipart: Clker
"To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often." (Winston Churchill) Books, workshops, seminars and consultants to help you change are easy enough to find . . . "Change theory" alone gets over 340,000 hits. I have always liked Lewin's model of "Unfreeze, change and refreeze." Doing it is not all that complicated either; it is the very heart of good professional development. (I am writing this post in response to a student who feigned horror at the discovery of all the changes in procedures and name that have taken place in the development of the EHIEP system over the last 8 years.) One of my favorite models is in the enormously popular book, The Goal: A process of ongoing improvement, a novel by Goldratt. The one aspect of the framework that has always fascinated me is the principle that change at the "technique level" (in language teaching terms) is method-neutral, that is almost any technique can be incorporated into any method. And furthermore, just that ongoing process of bringing in new techniques, which initially may not appear (or be!) compatible with the current system "from above," itself, creates an atmosphere and systemic, dynamic approach that enables constructive change. In essence, what happens is that the new procedure causes a subtle but very important level of adjustment in the overall system that serves to keep it flexible and responsive. How that works is not simple, of course, but the evidence of it is. What was the last new widget that you let sneak into and impact your method? How are things working "[wI-jIt]?"

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