Saturday, December 29, 2012

Spirituality the key to pronunciation teaching?

Clip art: Clker
Absolutely . . . were you a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doing English for medical purposes (EMP) pronunciation classes on the side, according to a study by Shi of Beijing Normal University and Zhang of Southwest Minzu University, as summarized by Science Daily. The holistic, mind-body-spirit approach of TCM is said to account for its effectiveness, so unfathomable to much of Western medicine.

In the West, in language teaching, we get the mind-body idea, at least in theory, but the whole notion that we might have to throw in a little spirituality as well does not sit well with most "Post-modern-post-methodology." There is currently a strong resurgence of interest in spirituality in higher education which will inevitably translate into and influence language teaching as well.

Of course, one of the earlier "affective" methods, Counseling/community language learning, was created by a Catholic priest, Charles Curran, with a very much Christian-centered spiritual growth model at its core. Likewise, for those of us who teach at faith-based institutions, something analogous to the holistic TCM perspective on spirituality is pretty much business as usual--or at least should be! What bringing spirituality into the mix does, in part, is to make the Cartesian mind-body distinction or separation even more irrelevant to effective instruction and learning, transcending both and requiring that the learner be the primary focus, not his or her language. Talk about embodiment (or incarnation)! Try it sometime . . . at least in spirit!

1 comment:

Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

Post a Comment