Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Attention! Malleable L2 pronunciation? Just keep at it!

Clip art: Clker
Clip art: Clker
Malleable pronunciation. I like that term, especially in relation to error correction and so-called fossilized language. (Have another blogpost about ready on that topic, too.) How's this for an intriguing conclusion to a 2012 study by McClelland and colleagues at Oregon State University, reported by Science Dailey: " . . . the study gives compelling evidence that social and behavioral skills, such as paying attention, following directions and completing a task may be even more crucial than academic abilities . . . " Attention and persistence. Two of my favorite topics here on the blog. Now, of course, the research was looking at the correlation between subjects who could pay attention as preschoolers and their later success in graduating from college, but there is a relevant implication here. They then add: " . . . the good news for parents and educators, the researchers said, is that attention and persistence skills are malleable and can be taught." And how do you do that in your work? For adults, of course, it is not only that it should be part of instruction--and many students DO indeed need to learn how to be better at both--but it must be a constant feature, moment by moment, in the classroom. Multiple modality instruction and clear targeting and anchoring do much to achieve the former; systematic instruction and carefully planned homework and practice outside of class help achieve the latter. You paying attention? 

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