Saturday, November 29, 2014

Seeing before believing: key to (haptic) pronunciation teaching

We call it "haptic pronunciation teaching." That is actually shorthand for something like:
simultaneous haptic-integration of visual-auditory-kinesthetic-tactile modalities in anchoring pronunciation

Almost every functional system for teaching pronunciation includes graphics or videos of some kind, even if it just a black and while line drawing of the mouth. Some substitute extensive written or verbal explanation for visual models. Our basic approach has been to use touch to link the senses, but often without too much concern for the precise order in which learner attention is directed through the various sources of information on the sound.

A fascinating new study on sensory sequencing in dance instruction by Blitz from Bielefeld University reported in Science Daily (see complete reference below) suggests that our real time sequencing in training in the use of pedagogical movement patterns (gesture, plus touch) is probably much more critical than we have assumed. That is especially relevant to how we (hapticians) maintain attention in the process. In other words, in the classroom, in what order do we introduce and train learners to the parameters of sounds and sound processes? That is, of course, equally relevant to all teaching!

NOTE: Please accept for the moment the parallel between dance instruction and our haptic work, that is training learners to experience, through gesture/touch and placement in the visual field, L2 or L1 sounds associated with targeted words. Also, allow me to side step the question of whether dancers are, by nature probably a bit "hyper-kinesthetic!"  

The study discovered that first viewing a dance sequence without verbal explanation or instruction--and then hearing or reading instructions after that was significantly more effective than the converse in long term memory for the sequence. Both visual and "cognitive" sources were present but the order was the critical variable. The subjects were apparently free to repeat both the visual and verbal inputs a limited number of times, but not to "mix" the ordering of them.

In other words, insight into what had been experienced was far more effective than was verbal cognitive schema in setting up and productively exploiting the visual experience or model to come. For us, the pedagogical implications are relatively clear, something like: (1) Observation (video clip) then (2) brief verbal explanation, then (3) experiential training in doing the gestural pattern, then (4) practice, along with (5) focused explanation of the context of the targeted sound.

How might that perspective impact your (pronunciation) teaching?

AMPISys, Inc.

See what I mean?

Full reference: Bielefeld University. "Best sensory experience for learning a dance sequence." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 November 2014. .

No comments:

Post a Comment