Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Aping good pronunciation teachers

Clip art: Clker
Clip art: Clker
(I could also have titled the post "EHIEPing . . . !) Have often been asked about the impact of having learners mirror the pedagogical movement patterns (PMP) of instructors. For example, in doing a correction of the stressed vowel of a repaired word or the rhythm or intonation patterns of a phrase or clause, we generally ask the learner to do the PMP along with us as we both articulate the word, simultaneously. Although learners can learn the PMPs from the haptic videos, instructors can do the training themselves, which involves having learners "dance" along with them for periods of about 3 minutes at a time. (See earlier posts on the meaning of "3-minute" physical routines in learning, in general.) In psychotherapy, the importance of mirroring, both by client and therapist is well understood and practiced very systematically. What Yale psychologist, Santos, confirmed in the case of Capuchin monkeys was that "people warm up to us when we unconsciously mimic them." Apparently what that implies is that your students may not love you anymore if they are EHIEPing your PMPs but you will have no choice but to give them better grades. What a concept! It works in both directions. As Santos notes, the effective communicator mirrors the verbal and nonverbal communication of the other unconsciously anyway (as does his or her mirror neurons as well, of course!) So, EHIEP your students and they'll ape you in return. 

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