Friday, September 28, 2012

Paying attention to pronunciation - II (the FBI approach)

Clip art: Clker

Clip art: Clker
Following up on the previous post, it appears that a little non-attention is perfectly normal--in fact, essential. In a study by Constantino, Pinggera, Paranamana, Kashino, and Chait of the UCL Ear Institute, summarized by Science Daily, "Detection of appearing and disappearing objects in complex acoustic scenes," it is demonstrated how the brain prefers to attend to novel sounds and may often not even notice the absence of sounds in the background. That explains, in part, why an experienced instructor can often hear one "deviant" sound segment being produced by one student in a class of 30. The question is, why should we occasionally bother to stop and briefly do a choral (full-body) interdiction (FBI) for just one "problem?" By "FBI" I mean having students do the pedagogical movement pattern (PMP), which generally includes articulating the sound along a upper body movement/gesture of some kind. For the 29 who have an acceptable version of the sound already, the PMP serves to momentarily reestablish (for the required 3 seconds!) what we might call "somatic speech awareness," where sound production can generally be monitored in speaking without seriously interfering with things like . . . thinking, while at the same time, for some, defusing anxiety and promoting relaxation. And the beauty of that is, of course, you probably won't hear the that one "error" again either! 

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