Saturday, October 13, 2012

Making scents of haptic-integrated pronunciation teaching

Image: Mary Kay Cosmetics

Clip art: Clker
As noted in an earlier blogpost, I have discovered that having students rub in a little "Mary Kay - Mint Bliss" into their hands before we start seems to jump start things well. Now we have some evidence as to why that may work. In research summarized by Science Daily, Yeshurun, Lapid, Dudai, and Sobel, of the Weizmann Institute of Science, in Rehovot, Israel, report on the impact of associating a scent with a visual schema of some kind. What they discovered was that one's "first encounter" with a scent in that context persists strongly, even when other scents are later experienced in the same context. As learners tell me, the "message" of Mint Bliss is something like: stimulating, relaxing and energizing--not far off from what it says on the tube, in fact! (Yesterday, in fact, in the bag of free "goodies" at the TESL Canada conference was a little bottle of Aveda's " Botanical Kinetics" hand lotion.) Specifically, the impact of creating that kind of initial impression of what haptic-integrating is about can be striking and memorable, one that does seem to persist as the new research suggests. Does that make scents--something that you should consider when you "rub your hands together" in anticipation of pronunciation work? 

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