Thursday, May 9, 2013

Motivating pronunciation practice: Where seldom is heard a discouraging (or encouraging) word* . . .

Clip art: Clker
Following up on a recent post on the value of self-affirmation, or affirmation in general in learning, a 2013 study, "You Can Do It: the Efficacy of Encouragement in Motivating the Weak Link to Exercise Longer During an Online Exercise Video Game," by Irwin of Kansas State University, reported in Science Daily It. looked at optimal workout partners in exercise persistence and effectiveness. What the study found was that " . . . individuals tend to work out longer when their partner was perceived to be more skilled and was one who kept verbal encouragement to a minimum." (Bold face, mine!)

That should be the hallmark of HICP, especially when using haptic video in instruction. (See sidebar on  AH-EPS.)

How well encouragement to practice, do independent work and homework is consistently "delivered" in a course is probably one of the best indicators of the general method, approach and competence of the instructor. The important distinction there is between "getting students going" and "keeping students going." The first can be accomplished in any number of ways, from highly verbal and meta-cognitive (involving detailed planning, etc.), with all kinds of explanation and exhortation--to "direct orders." The second, ongoing directive engagement in the process, is in many ways another matter entirely, much more indirect, noncognitive, emotional and nonverbal in nature.

How is your method in that regard, partner?

And, of course, what do you say to that?

*The song "Home on the range" was in one of the course books + audio cassettes I was assigned to use when I was just starting out in the field. My upper beginner-level students loved to sing it, even though the materials provided almost no explanation of the vocabulary and cultural context. The students understood something that many in the field today downplay: there is much more to songs than words and "situatedness."  (BTW, the Youtube audio, with Pete Seeger singing the song, is a classic.)

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