Saturday, August 11, 2012

The "feel good" factor in pronunciation teaching: Multiple-modality uni-tasking vs multi-media multi-tasking

Clip art: Clker
Pronunciation instruction is not generally something one associates with good "vibrations,"or a felt sense that it is (almost) rewarding to even practice L2 target sounds--but it should be, of course! Had a student not long ago tell me that she felt like she was able to do pronunciation practice best--while working on her laptop with the TV on showing English-language (British) dramas, including Pride and Prejudice. I was naturally a bit skeptical at the time . . . however . . . Research Wang at Ohio State University, summarized by Science Daily, ends with this observation: "This is worrisome because students begin to feel like they need to have the TV on or they need to continually check their text messages or computer while they do their homework. It's not helping them, but they get an emotional reward that keeps them doing it. It is critical that we carefully examine the long-term influence of media multitasking on how we perform on cognitive tasks." The same principle applies to haptic-integrated pronunciation instruction: multiple-modality engagement does much to manage attention effectively, whereas multi-media multitasking, along with the typical, fragmented cognitive, affective and kinesthetic delivery of  instruction in the contemporary classroom, where the student's mind and attention can wander almost at will, probably does not. Most research on pronunciation effectiveness relies upon a major piece that is something like student satisfaction or how students "feltl" about the class and their achievement. (Pronunciation) "customers" may not always be right, no matter how emotionally or intellectually satisfying the lesson was. Even if it keeps them coming back for less.

No comments:

Post a Comment