Thursday, March 13, 2014

Deep learning: Giving (haptic) pronunciation teaching a hand!

A little applause, please! In a 2014 University of Chicago study by Novak and colleagues, reported in UChicago News by Ingmire (Sorry that I can't afford to pay the 6-vente-latte-equivalent to get the original article!), kids who hand-gesture more (of a certain kind) gain a " a deep understanding of the {math} problems they are taught . . . " That did not happen if they, instead, did some kind of "acting" or mime while trying to solve a math problem, however. Furthermore, “Abstract gesture was most effective in encouraging learners to generalize the knowledge they had gained during instruction (italics, mine), action least effective, and concrete gesture somewhere in between . . ."

The protocols of the study as described in the summary look like they were ripped off directly from our haptic-integrated pronunciation teaching pedagogical movement patterns: movements that had some symbolic meaning that connected to the problems at hand. (In HPT the connection is to sounds and sound patterns.)

One of the key issues in understanding how gesture works in supporting learning of any kind is unpacking in more "depth" just how/when the gesture is contributing or directing the process. In earlier posts I have looked at research in haptics that basically positions haptic as the "exploratory" sense. In this study we see how gesture itself--without explicit reference to whether touch--was involved: linking not just to abstract concepts but apparently facilitating later generalization from the event. Haptic anchoring--and I'm certain there was some of that involved--would further intensify the effect of the gestures.

As we get more field tests and research on the basics of haptic pronunciation teaching, we should also feel continually "freer" to generalize from research in several other fields as to the power and efficacy of haptic engagement.

Keep in touch!

No comments:

Post a Comment