Sunday, July 8, 2012

Let's get clinical (pronunciation instruction)!

Clipart: Clker

Clipart: Clker
With apologies to the all time favorite aerobic dance anthem, having read over yet one more thread of comments, "a near-conversation" between clinical and experimental psychologists on a blog, the parallel to where we are in the field of pronunciation teaching today was too much to miss. In essence, the experimental types were saying "There is no real evidence for the validity of your clinical practice, especially the procedure that you are recommending." The clinicians, in response, were responding that "Your studies are pretty much irrelevant when it comes to dealing holistically with our real clients. Experience, especially as it is applied to "similar" treatment contexts--and people--is enough to go on, at least for the time being." Sound familiar? A recent research study summarized by Science Daily on the efficacy of online peer support groups, which does relate somewhat to recent posts on group learning theory, ends with the quintessential retort from researcher/clinician, Salazar of Temple University: "These groups likely provide some degree of comfort in sharing a similar experience . . . While we can't yet quantify the benefit with our measurements, it does appear that participants benefit in online contacts with one another . . . If anything, clinicians should become more familiar with online groups because of their prevalence . . . They should be discussing their use with clients, and talking about ways to safely navigate online resources to get the maximum benefit." Now, substitute in any pronunciation teaching technique that you find especially effective for the word "online or groups" in that quote. Does that work in the context of your integrated, "clinical" pronunciation practice? It should. If not, just consider this your online support group and tell us all about it . . . here or on the EHIEP teaching blog!

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