Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mind-body Connections in Pronunciation Teaching

Clip art: Clker
For most, the systematic use of movement and gesture--or even haptic is now at least of interest (See, for example the work of ThornburyGilbert or Chan.) You really can't be very successful in this business without some somatic (body-based) technique to support or reinforce classroom instruction, even if that just means clapping hands occasionally to emphasize stress placement.

Show me an instructor who loves doing pronunciation work, however, and I'll almost always show you one who is at least an enthusiastic "gesticulator" but probably also a musician of some kind or avid exerciser! Every time I do that informal poll at a conference, the agreement is near 100% in the audience.

Still the best place to get a general understanding of the integration of mind and body in education and therapy is in psychotherapies such as Somatic Therapy: Somatic Therapy: Using the Mind–Body Connection to Get Results. (To access that 7-page primer, however, you'll have to sign on to; go to the "Free reports" tab and download a copy. No need; I've done that for you. I'll be reporting in later blogposts on some innovative and applicable techniques from that source.)

 It is instructive to read comments by clinicians who work in such holistic paradigms, especially to better understand why what we do works. In the piece, Wylie (p. 7) makes the following "prophetic"point--which applies to this field as well: " . . . somatic approaches may become sufficiently ordinary and acceptable that the line between “body psychotherapy” and “talk psychotherapy” may one day disappear entirely."

With emerging video and hapic methodology and technology, I'd only substitute "will" for "may"--and "very soon" for "one day!"

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