Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pay attention to pronunciation!

As reported in earlier posts, no matter how terrific our attempt at pronunciation teaching is, if a learner isn't paying attention or is distracted, chances are not much uptake will happen--especially when haptic anchoring is involved. No surprise there. A new study by Lavie and colleagues of UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, focusing on "inattentional blindness" entitled,"How Memory Load Leaves Us 'Blind' to New Visual Information," just reported at Science Daily, sheds new "light" on exactly how visual attention serves learning.

In essence, when subjects were required to momentarily attend to an event or object in the visual field and remember it, their ability to respond to new events or distractions occurring immediately afterward was curtailed significantly. (The basic stuff of hypnosis, stage magicians and texting while driving, of course!)

What is of particular interest here is that, whereas the visual image that one is attempting to focus on can strongly exclude other competing distractions, that effect works precisely the other way around in haptic-integrated pronunciation instruction. It helps explain the potential effectiveness of pedagogical movement patterns of EHIEP and AH-EPS:

  • Carefully designed gestures across the visual field 
  • Performed while saying a word, sound or phrase 
  • With highly resonate voice, and
  • Terminating in some kind of touch on a stressed vowel, what we term "haptic anchoring." 
It also explains why insightful and potentially priceless comments from instructors coming in too close proximity to vivid and striking pronunciation-related "visual events" . . . may not stick or get "uptaken!" 

See what we mean? 

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