Sunday, October 6, 2019

Glutin' your way to better pronunciation!

This is the second of a series of posts introducing and exploring aspects of the new (RHYTHM-FIRST) v 5.0 haptic approach to pronunciation teaching. Most of the new system can be used with or without gesture and touch, in part because it begins with the feet! The technique described here is not part of the current system, but it may well be later, particularly in teacher training. It is certainly  . . . different. I "discovered" it very much by accident . . . literally!

Had to go to physio because of an overuse injury to my right glute caused by trying to run faster than my legs would allow in a 10k. One of the prescribed exercises was to stand up and alternatively tighten and relax each glute, while stepping to either side, about 18 inches. While doing it one afternoon I just happened to sync or dance along with a song on the iPhone, sort of glutin'
on the stressed words.

A few days later, working with an advanced ESL student with serious problems related to rhythm and stress placement in English, I had her try glutin' along with first a word list and then on the stressed words in a scripted dialogue, and then just before we finished, had her do some of the same as she was spontaneously describing to me an event that had occured the previous day.

The immediate impact on her speaking style was dramatic; the change over the next two weeks, at least in retelling stories and simple, informal conversation, was equally remarkable, transformational. Have since tried out glutin' with half a dozen other students with pretty consistent results. Have not worked on how to teach it to a full class of students, but I'm working on it.

The technique actually mirrors several other procedures we use that induce the body, especially the upper torso to sync to phrasal and clausal rhythm. I'd do a video of this, but there would, of course, be nothing to "see" without the right/tight, revealing camera angle on a well-gluted speaker wearing potentially distracting fashion tights . . .

In the interim, just for fun, try it out, yourself, then with some students and report back.