Monday, August 20, 2012

Haptic (or near-haptic) pronunciation teaching techniques

Clip art: Clker
Clip art: Clker
I have often linked to pronunciation instructors, methodologists and websites where haptic or haptic-looking techniques are evident. In most cases, the procedures described are not exactly those we use, but they do, nonetheless, involve the use of movement and touch in sound system instruction of some kind. In pronunciation instruction there are many examples of non-systematic haptic anchoring. Early posts have referred to several of these. Most involve some condition or process that does not for some reason efficiently support haptic or multi-sensory learning or memory access. (Consequently, we do not use them in EHIEP work.) They are all still very helpful in "regular" instruction, however! In parentheses is the name of a relatively well-known somebody who uses, used or recommended that technique in some way:
  • Rubber bands (e.g., Judy Gilbert)
  • Procedures that involve holding an object and, for example, lifting it up on the stressed word of a phrase as a command is given or responded to.(e.g., James Asher) 
  • Various intensities of hand clapping on stressed syllables (e.g., Linda Grant)
  • Snapping fingers during jazz chants (e.g., Carolyn Graham)
  • Using a pencil to trace intonation contours as a sentence is articulated (e.g., Kenneth Pike)
  • Moving hand to touch or move across mouth area to anchor sound articulation (e.g., Joan Morley)
  • Dancing feet with steps on stressed syllables or words (e.g., Bertha Chela-Flores)
  • Action songs that involve touch and movement and often rhythm instruments, especially for kids (Every early elementary school teacher!)
Accidental but good haptic:
  • Singing with patterned gestures or juggling juggling balls while talking (e.g., Tim Murphey) 
  • General movement and touch in rhythm work -  (e.g., Marsha Chan)
  • Touching stressed vowels of words on chart w/baton (e.g., Caleb Gattegno)
Touch not coordinated explicitly with sound or movement but still very powerful in enabling anchoring and access of language material:
  • iPhone apps! (Several for pronunciation work now on the market)
  • Touch screen responses in CALL and CAI
The EHIEP system includes (among others) four types of haptic anchors. The key criteria is that the pedagogical movement pattern include an anchor or end point that involves touch-on-prominence or focus of some kind, especially touch that is consistently in the same general location in the visual field.
  • Hands touching on stressed elements, using four or five different types of touch or haptic textures
  • Hands touching upper body on stressed elements
  • Hand squeezing ball or similar object on stressed elements
  • Baton touching other hand or forearm on stressed elements

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