Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Couch potato" pronunciation learning

Clip art: Clker
Clip art: Clker
So what if some students, for whatever reason, cannot or decide not to participate in your choral drills or (from a haptic perspective) "move" along with the model on the video or mirror your movements as you try to correct a mispronunciation? According to Science writer, Paul, that may not be as much of a problem as you might think. Apparently, your more passive learners, "couch potatoes" are capable of getting it, too--with a few conditions attached. Research cited by Paul suggests that it is helpful if they have previously been at least exposed to the movement pattern, even better if they have actually been through it physically in some manner. In addition, if they know what to expect or know what is coming, they may pick up more as well. (In one experiment just lying still during an fMRI, so their brain activity could be monitored, as they thought about a coming test on what they were to about to watch, showed both increased activity in related motor areas and enhanced retention of movement patterns later.) But then this final challenge to the more "unmoved":

"Lastly, Grafton of UC-Santa Barbara notes that as valuable as watching others can be, multiple studies have shown that “the benefit from learning by observing is never as strong as advantages derived from physical practice.' With apologies to the couch potatoes out there, sometimes you just need to get up and dance."

Of course, the irony here is that EHIEP uses video clips (the virtual breeding ground of couch potatoes) as the basis of instruction. Turns out that, if done right, the "medium" can indeed still be experienced as the  "massage," (and not just the message) as well!

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