Monday, November 5, 2012

Font of pronunciation work? A difference that makes a difference.

Clip art: Clker
Clip art: Clker
Research from several disciplines addresses the impact of font choice on everything from handwriting, to reading comprehension, to emotional reaction . . . to mediation of political perspective. Take a little tour through the pronunciation materials you have at hand. (If you are a "Phon-haptician," that has particular relevance, of course!) And then, read over the brief synopsis of font psychology as it relates to website design presented on TemplateMonsterBlog.

Most pronunciation change systems make explicit use of font design and manipulation, even if that only involves basic size, spacing, upper/lower case, super/sub-scripting, color, bold face, italics, underlining, etc. From a "haptic" perspective, the key is not just the impact of the visual display itself, but how that interacts with the rest of the multiple modality system. As many previous posts have explored, visual "clutter" can have a powerful, often neutralizing  effect on haptic anchoring of a word or sound.

Taking the TemplateMonster approach, the answer may be to figure out how to represent words graphically, probably in isolation for some procedures, with optimal emotional "sculpting." Hmmm. Pronunciation . . . Pronunciation . . . Pronunciation . . . Pronunciation . . . Pronunciation . . . Pronunciation . . . Which one you like? (Those are my only easy choices here!) Or do you prefer to create the graphic images in any of several styles of handwriting? With new computer interfaces that is a piece of cake now as well. As we design the EHIEP visual interfaces and student workbooks that issue is, understandably, very important.

From the research, your first assumption should be that your favorite font-age for use in anchoring work is very likely not the same as that of many of your students.  GIving them  at least some responsibility for and guidance in creating their own visual schemata for pronunciation change may be key. Our experience is that, for whatever reason, it does make a DIFFERENCE! 

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