Monday, January 14, 2013

Effective (pronunciation) learning techniques

You may have seen a media report on this new research monograph, Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques: Promising Directions From Cognitive and Educational Psychology by Dunlosky, Rawson, Marsh, Nathan and Willingham (published online by Psychological Science in the public interest). If you have the time, it is worth reading through. Here's why. The research focused on 10 learning strategies used by students, mostly in high school and college. By "learning strategies" the authors mean, for the most part, what students do on their own, outside of the "curriculum," in studying (for tests!) and homework.

Credit: AMPISys, Inc.
Among the the "winners" of the 10 are "distributed practice" strategies such as taking practice tests and spreading out study sessions. The bottom three were: underlining, rereading and using "mnemonic devices." The monograph itself is a great piece of work (although at times a bit overly optimistic on what "Cognitive and Educational Psychology" is up to or worth). What was fascinating was the general conclusion that "educators" (not specifically defined) do not do enough with this area. At least some of the blame goes to teacher education where, in the review of current TT textbooks, little or no mention is made of research into learning strategies/techniques and what students do "on their own" and how they learn to do what they do.

EHIEP is based on the idea of providing instructors and students with a range of strategies for anchoring pronunciation work and (by extension) using those outside of class. Although the basic curriculum is designed to be carried out successfully in a classroom setting-without depending on students practicing outside of class in any systematic manner, the optional Student Workbook and accompanying haptic video and audio packet are strongly recommended whenever possible. (The complete system will be available at the 2013 TESOL conference in Dallas for the first time. Some of the new demonstration videos will be linked here off the blog next month.) Keep in touch. 

1 comment:

Bill Acton said...

One of the unspoken assumptions of the monograph is that the efficacy of the strategies was also closely related to the REASON or what generally motivates students to study or do homework: assessment. And since there is such strong "anti-testing" sentiment in many quarters, there may be a very good reason as well as to why teachers are not all that inclined to assist students in developing those types of strategies or techniques. Teach to the test? Never!

Post a Comment