Saturday, September 29, 2012

Screening learners in pronunciation instruction

Clip art: Clker

Clip art: Clker
In a couple of earlier posts, the question of the potential impact of field dependence on haptic-integration work was considered. The same concept as been researched extensively in several field: understanding individual variability in attention management, being more or less affected by environmental distractions, whether visual, auditory or some other potential sensory "background interference or clutter." Kwallek of the University of Texas, in describing the same personality style as it plays out in interior design, makes an interesting observation on the effect of red-coloured walls in working spaces:

"Studies have found that some individuals are more easily distracted by irrelevant stimuli, leading to decrement in performance. Other individuals actually improved their performance on task when irrelevant stimuli were introduced. These differences may be associated with an inability to automatically screen out less important stimulation. Individuals who are most adept at screening out the less relevant stimuli of their environments are referred to as high screeners, while individuals who typically cannot screen out incoming stimuli are referred to as low screeners."

Multiple modality engagement (See recent posts referring to FBIs--full-body interdictions!) should work to the benefit of both high and low "screeners." For low screeners, background interference is immediately curtailed; for high screeners, who may at first be stimulated to better performance by "red" walls, have also probably some advantage initially in haptic work, it heightens attention to the resonance of sound and inherent body movement involved in producing speech, both of which enable change and anchoring. (The backside of the screening style, however, is that low screeners also tend to be more at ease in interpersonal engagement.) Try wearing a red dress or red T-shirt next time you do an FBI and report back . . .

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