Saturday, September 22, 2012

Washing your hands of pronunciation teaching

Clip art: Clker
Clip art: Clker
Your students think doing pronunciation work is wrong, find it threatening or just too messy? Have them wash their hands before class. Earlier posts have linked to research related to the benefits of attending to the state of the hands before haptic-integrated work, including my (regular) use of Mary Kay "Mint Bliss" on the hands before having learners work through instructional haptic videos. According to 2008 research by Schnail, reported in Science Daily, "When we exercise moral judgment, we believe we are making a conscious, rational decision, but this research shows that we are subconsciously influenced by how clean or ‘pure’ we feel." For example, "if the jury member had washes [sic] their hands prior to delivering their verdict, they may judge the crime less harshly." In the study reported, undergraduates responded in a similar fashion after washing their hands in a controlled game of "right and wrong." The same principle, as reported earlier as well, also applies in haptic research with various textures influencing unconscious perception and emotional response. Now will that work as well when done before an upcoming half hour of mind-numbing minimal pair drills or before student evaluations are handed out at the end of an especially bad course? Could be . . . Worst case, it'll just be a wash . . . 

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