Saturday, November 17, 2012

Your pronunciation teaching going off in all directions? Good!

Clip art: Clker
At least a-parent-ly! As reported in previous blogposts, semiotically, almost any framework for personality, behaviour, groups or the nature of the visual field can be positioned on north-south, east-west axes. Here's another example. A study by led by Hunter at the University of Virginia, summarized by Science Daily, provides a categorization schema for describing four "family cultures" in contemporary US. Each category " . . . represents a complex configuration of moral beliefs, values and dispositions -- often implicit and rarely articulated in daily life -- largely independent of basic demographic factors, such as race, ethnicity and social class." Here they are, followed by my interpretation of their general "direcction" in parentheses:

 A. The (American, idealistic) dreamers (27%) " . . . defined by their optimism about their children's abilities and opportunities." (North = Externally oriented, more meta-cognitive, extrovert-ish)
B. The (less educated, pragmatic) detached (21%) "Let kids be kids and let the cards fall where they may." (South = Internally oriented, less-conscious, introvert-ish) 
C. The (liberal) engaged progressives (21%) " . . . guided . . . by their own personal experience or what "feels right" to them." (East = Change oriented, creative) 
D. The (conservative/traditional) faithful (20%) " . . . seek to defend and multiply the traditional social and moral order." (West = Stability and structure-oriented) 

The four stereotypes presented in the (necessarily) brief summary are wonderfully artificial--especially in how they covertly reintroduce race, ethnicity and social class, despite the disclaimer, in the form of parenting cultures. (It is worth reading just for the entertainment value. I assume the full research report is still also worth reading for a more complete, scholarly contextualization of the study.) What is relevant is the basic set of four "directions," based on "beliefs, values and dispositions."  The "finding" of the research appears to be that the culture is fracturing, with ominous consequences, of course. Substitute in "learners" for children/kids and "cognitive/behavioural" for progressive/conservative above. 

The same principle applies to any integrated system, including pronunciation teaching, especially how it is experienced by the learner. For an interesting exercise, identify your "coordinates." (In this model a "perfect program" might  even be at 0/0, in fact, although at times in the process it may veer off radically in one direction or another for various intermediate learning outcomes) I'd position EHIEP, by design overall, generally at about 10 degrees North latitude and 20 degrees East longitude. In other words, requiring somewhat more public risk taking/performance and also more ongoing experience of change, but still not too far off center, particularly in reference to language structure and private, "inner speak." 

No comments:

Post a Comment