Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pronunciation modelling on "cue?" You said it, MAM!

Clip art: Clker
Interesting 2010 study by Luypen at the University of Pennsylvania and colleagues on the relationship between verbal cues and visual processing. They investigated the potential impact of hearing a word before it or the object it represents appears on a screen in the visual field. In effect, hearing the name first significantly enhanced subsequent visual recognition. Somewhat surprisingly, however, they also found that, " . . . A visual preview did not make the invisible target visible. Getting a good look at the object before the experiment did nothing to help participants see it flashed." What this appears to "speak to" is how to best sequence haptic feedback with pedagogical movement patterns (PMP) in instruction. For example, when a learner produces an inaccurate pronunciation of a word, the instructor, in cueing a more appropriate model (MAM), has some options:

Clip art: Clker
(a) Verbally model the MAM.
(b) Do just the appropriate PMP, moving across the visual field.
(c) Verbalize the MAM while doing the PMP.
(d) Just provide the name of the PMP (in the case of vowels their numbers, such as "3y" or intonation contours, "Rise-fall" or rhythm grouping, "2-3"--indicating the number syllables appearing before after the prominent syllable).
(e) Ask the learner to do the PMP once and then try the MAM, speaking out loud.

And there are a few other possible combinations. The research seems to suggest that (d) might be the more efficient cue, first saying the name--which should evoke both the visual and haptic dimensions of the anchor before the instructor then provides feedback in the form of the PMP and MAM done simultaneously. Try it out with me in your classroom and report back either here on on the "data" blog! What's in a name? Possibly a great deal in this work. 

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