Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sub-par, gesture-enabled (pronunciation) teaching?

FORE! Never quite gotten into the "swing" of using movement and gesture in pronunciation, vocabulary, speaking or general instruction? Being an occasional golfer, myself, this promo for Hank Hanley's stuff immediately resonated. I think it will with you as well. Here's what the great golf swing (as taught by Tiger Woods' former swing coach) teaches us about the effective application of gesture (or movement) to teaching, especially pronunciation teaching. (Hanley's 4 principles)

  • Find your "swing plane". (Use gestures that are visually and physically consistent, that is track through the visual field on the same path--every time.)
  • Tighten your turn. (Carefully manage all other extraneous body movement or random thought during execution of the pedagogical movement pattern.)
  • Finish your bunker swing. (Follow through after using a gesture to anchor a sound or sound pattern by instructing learners as to how to uptake the key feature of that "teachable movement" whether by quickly replaying it right then, writing a quick note or practicing it as homework.)
  • Don't fight the putter. (Putting is about touch. Touch is the centre of haptic anchoring, using touch to focus attention on the stressed syllable of a word or the multi-sensory experience.)

It should be required for continuing certification, that every professional language instructor practice and continue to improve their "swing," whatever form that takes, whether dance, singing, musical instrument, painting, calligraphy or sport. Doing haptic pronunciation teaching well requires--or fosters--continual refining of the "swing," our physical-pedagogical presence in the classroom.

As we say, "See you in the movies!" (or: Keep in touch!)

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