Friday, October 19, 2012

Confident, successful pronunciation?

Clip art: Clker
Clip art: Clker
Yet another potential piece for your "Well . . . duh!" file. The term "self confidence" and "pronunciation" are commonly associated, getting over 1,000,000 hits on Google . . . For example, in this introduction to a short piece by Shelly Vernon, the website begins like this: "Do you avoid teaching pronunciation in your classroom? In this article, Shelley Vernon suggests going right back to the level of the phoneme to build learners' confidence." (Bold face, mine.) Now although implying it perhaps, Vernon never actually says that explicitly in the article. I do like that point of departure, nonetheless.

In a research report, entitled "Minority Report" about to be published (with apologies to the real Minority Report, one of my favorite movies), however, one of the findings may relate to the impact of confidence "on the job" --seemingly supporting Vernon's perspective. In a Science Daily summary, Hasmath and colleagues at the University of Melbourne report " . . . a strong correlation between confidence and occupational success." There are several other tidbits included such as one referring back to earlier studies suggesting height and attractiveness may also contribute to confidence or

 " . . . that workers who described themselves as 'extroverted', 'neurotic', 'open to experiences' or 'agreeable' (standard indicators of conscientiousness) were also found to be more motivated, and doing well professionally." And then the pies de resistance: "Interestingly, members of visible ethnic minorities reported lower rates of confidence, but similar levels of conscientiousness . . . This may partially explain why their wages and rates of advancement are consistently lower than members of a non-visible ethnic minority."

Where to begin . . . psychotherapy, obedience training, elevator shoes, cosmetics or phonemes? 

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