Saturday, September 8, 2012

Perfect form in pronunciation teaching

(Note: Stress is on the 2nd syllable of the first word in the title of this post!) Probably the best way to "grasp" (to use our favorite haptic metaphor) the place of form in both learning and memory is to use your favorite sport or musical performance "instrument," the one you have some extended experience with, the one you learned or seriously worked at from scratch. Mine, as you may have guessed, is running. This 2004 article from Runners World on perfect running form, with a "touch" of analogical extension could apply equally to any physical art (See recent post on pronunciation work as art form.) The categories of attention management are:
Photo credit: Runners World
  • "Head Tilt . . . ahead naturally . . . scan the horizon . . . Don't allow your chin to jut out."
  • "Shoulders . . . should be low and loose . . . remain level "
  • "Arms (and hands) . . . When you feel your fists clenching or your forearms tensing, drop your arms to your sides and shake them out for a few seconds . . ."
  • "Torso . . . If you start to slouch . . . take a deep breath and feel yourself naturally straighten . . . "
  • "Hips are your center of gravity, . . . think of your pelvis as a bowl filled with marbles, then try not to spill the marbles by tilting the bowl." (Losing your "marbles" lately?)
  • "Legs/Stride . . . your feet should land directly underneath your body . . . your knee should be slightly flexed. . . " 
  • "Ankles/Feet . . . Keep your ankle flexed . . . roll onto your toes . . . feet should not slap loudly . . . springy and quiet." (I love those last two descriptors!!!) 
clip art: Clker
One of the "challenges" for us haptic-integrating instructors, of course, is presenting a"visual speaking" model such that our body rhythm and posture present an appropriate model for students, not just in anchoring but in all classroom engagement and discourse. No need to be perfect, of course, but we should always be working on perfecting it, along with our students. Check with your mirror or your latest moving video of yourself in the classroom. 

1 comment:

Angelina Van Dyke said...

I love these tips - had I known them before I sprained my ankle on a tree root, I may have been better off!

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