Sunday, August 5, 2012

Ping Pong Pronunciation Practice

Clip art: Clker
Seeing the table tennis competition in the Olympics inspired me. On the "Inner game of table tennis" website is this characterization of "coaching questions": Coaching questions should compel an answer, focus attention more precisely and create feedback. Instruction does none of these. The coach, which I think is a very useful analogy sometimes to what goes on in clinical pronunciation work, has some other advice for perfecting your (haptic-integrated pronunciation) game:
  • Handle your racket like a pro. (Follow along with the model on the "haptic video" as closely as possible. Each of the techniques or protocols are first taught by a video model and then later used in class and homework practice.)
  • Perfect your reaction time. (Respond immediately when either repeating an utterance either out loud or to yourself, accompanied by the appropriate pedagogical movement patterns)
  • Increase your speed.(With the help of pedagogical movement patterns, speak faster, compressing words and space between syllables, but also providing more processing time at word-group boundaries.)
  • Engage your core. (Engage the whole body, including diaphragm and upper chest resonance)
  • Sharpen your serve. (All protocols promote upper torso fluidity and, confident, uncluttered delivery of speech.)
And, finally, this one from one of the NBC Olympic commentators quoting somebody's coach: "Confidence is that voice in your head (and that is coming out of you!) that tells you, You belong!" Could there be a better characterization of the felt sense of speaking an L2 well? 

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