Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Scattergun2: Integrated vs haptic-integrated pronunciation instruction

I am really getting into this "scattergun" metaphor lately . . .
Clip art: Clker
Clip art: Clker
A recent blogpost, "Scattergun . . . " revisited the idea of what it means to be systematic in integrating pronunciation instruction. Here is a link to a solid, 2007 Independent Study by Bradly-Bennett, a Colorado consultant, apparently designed for those who have no background in pronunciation teaching. (There are even a few nice "visual/physical" recommendations included!) One of the "uses" of the course is defined as: "After reading the Introduction and Theory continue to Best Practices, where you will find descriptions of strategies and techniques you can use in your own classroom, using your own core curricula, to improve the oral production of your students." That is, from the standpoint of most methodologists today, an almost perfect "recipe" for integrating pronunciation instruction. The key notion there is beginning with the "core curriculum" and then inserting procedures wherever the content, activities or potential targets of opportunity allow. That is certainly a step in the right direction, of course, but what experience shows us that that approach tends to result in numerous "mini-presentations and exercises" with relatively little follow up, whether in homework or later, related "inter-dictions" by the instructor or learners (See Baker, 2011, for example.)  So what is the answer? Haptic-integrated systematic integration! (You saw that coming, eh!) The EHIEP approach is based on the idea of all students doing the same set of (8, 20-minute) scaffolded instructional videos, either in class or out of class, which take them through the set of principles and techniques that instructors MUST make use of in class on an ongoing basis in integrating and dealing with pronunciation issues at any moment in the instructional process. That is not to say that the EHIEP system is the only way to do that . . . just the best! What that does, however,  in a sense, is bring back the idea of the learner needing to have a good sense of how it all fits together and what to do about it, not all that different, in principle, from Gilbert's well-known "Pronunciation Pyramid." (Which I highly recommend, by the way!) Gilbert's approach is essentially the same as that of Bradley-Bennett (acknowledged clearly as a matter of fact.) Gilbert does the presentational/practice side of things well but does not, for very principled reasons, "dictate" a clear order of march or provide much corresponding direction on moment-by-moment "interdictions." We can do that; we must. Keep in touch. 

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