Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pronunciation teaching as visual and performing "art"

Clip art: Clker
Clip art: Clker
Happy with your pronunciation work? There may be a reason, according to a report in ScienceShot entitled, "Starving but happy!", summarizing research done in Germany by Steiner and Schneider (which has no abstract on the publisher's website and which you can't access without buying the article), entitled: "The happy artist: an empirical application of the work-preference model." (Quoting ScienceShot) "On a scale of 1 to 10, artists—those whose principal occupation involves performance or visual art—ranked their job satisfaction at 7.32 to 7.67 on average, while nonartists averaged 7.06." I can't find a comparable study on pronunciation instructors in general, but no doubt the result would be similar. The 1892 book, The art of teaching and studying foreign languages, by Francois Gouin, made the case for teaching language as art, long before we discovered that we could deconstruct it all down into manageable--and meaningless pieces. The parallel between visual and performing arts and embodied pronunciation teaching is striking, especially as it relates to exploitation of the visual field and pedagogical movement patterns. And that pronunciation instructors who actually do spend most of their time "in the clinic," that is actively engaged with integrated speaking work, seem to be a pretty upbeat bunch and generally pretty "happy-tic" about it as well--makes perfect, too!

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