Friday, September 21, 2012

Sweeten your pronunciation work to get it moving again

Clip art: Clker
Clip art: Clker
Ever been tempted to try using M&Ms to motivate students in your pronunciation work? (I have used that treatment in other contexts quite successfully, in fact.) New research by DiFeliceantonio of the University of Michigan suggests that there is an interesting connection between desire to overindulge in eating sweets, for example, and the neostriatum, an area of the brain earlier associated primarily with movement. The Science Daily summary even notes a "moving" occasion: " . . . what happens in our brains when we pass by our favorite fast food restaurant and feel that sudden desire to stop."(Emphasis, mine.) As other research has demonstrated recently, there are often very direct connections between the metaphors we use and the physical sensations and event. (See earlier posts on textural metaphors, for example.) Maybe the more important effect of handing out a few M&Ms before class is just to get neostriatums in gear. In haptic-integrated work, readiness for performing and perceiving pedagogical movement patterns is essential. And at 3.4 calories per M&M, in a couple of minutes you can almost certainly burn off enough calories with a few PMPs to come out even. Sweet. 

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