Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The "face" of HICP teaching

Clip art: Clker
Several earlier posts have looked at the question of the relative emotional loading of various points or quadrants in the visual field. (See the recent vowel color and intonation posts, for example.) This 1992 study of the effect of corresponding left or right brain lesions by Fedio of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke suggested another interesting perspective on why that might be: the right hemisphere area (connected to the left eye) is primarily responsible for determining and monitoring emotional state. The left hemisphere area, by contrast, is tasked with dealing with "the rest" of the incoming and outgoing data, so to speak.

That would explain, in part, why the right visual field (for most right handers) tends to be more emotionally reactive and visually "vivid." In effect, perception in the right visual field is less "filtered," according to the study. Consequently,  in your dominant eye you may typically "feel" a color or sound or image or experience  more intensely. (Observed Experiential Integration Therapy, which HICP owes much to, is based, to some extent on that notion of hemispheric specialization as well.)

In HICP, the model words and phrases used in the basic exercises (or protocols) and pedagogical movement patterns are designed to fit as much as possible within that general left/right specialization. Although I don't have a good icon that represents that perspective,  the drama mask with the black frowning face on the left and right the smiling face on the right is close. (Ideally the right face should be a lighter, bright colored; the left, a heavier, dark color.) Honest . . . that "two-faced" framework works . . . 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Affective haptics

Clip art: Clker
In the earlier post on the upcoming 2012 Haptics Symposium, I mentioned the Workshop on Affective Haptics. Here is the note from the summary of the workshop:

"Affective Haptics is the emerging area of research which focuses on the design of devices and systems that can elicit, enhance, or influence the emotional state of a human by means of sense of touch. Human emotions can be easily evoked by different cues, and the sense of touch is one of the most emotionally charged channels. Affective Haptics is a wide interdisciplinary area, strongly related to such fields as multi‐modal interfaces, affective computing, neuroscience, psychology, mediated communications, telepresence, robotics, etc."

HICP work draws from most of those areas, even the last. Note the EHIEP logo, which draws something of its character from the robot-like control of the upper body required for mosts protocols. Keep in touch. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Conducting "tense" intonation work

Clip art: Clker
Always nice to discover a piece of research that seems to confirm the validity of something you have been doing. The linked research explored the perceived vocal tension associated with certain gestures used by choral conductors, specifically,

(a) palm up
(b) palm down
(c) pointing gesture
(d) flat gliding motion to the side
(e) a clenched fist.

The pedagogical movement patterns of the hands across the visual field representing intonation contours include all those gestures except the last (which is used in one of the rhythm-oriented PMPs.)  In fact, most of what we now use for intonation PMPs (there are basically 5 or 6 of them) came from observations I did about 15 years ago on the gestures used by pronunciation teachers during intonation lessons. What was most striking in the 2004 Fuelberth study was that the relative tension generated by those conducting gestures seemed to correlate well with their functions in HICP as either focus conveying (a stressed syllable of varying intensity) or a lead up to (or follow off from) a stressed element.  We do, of course, also refer to "tense" and "lax" vowels in some phonetic systems.

It is a case where a little "tension" works well in anchoring the felt sense of both discourse prominence and expressiveness. All together now . . . 

2012 Haptics Symposium in Vancouver, March 4-7, 2012

I'll be submitting a proposal to do a demonstration (with a couple of you at least) at the 2012 Haptics Symposium. It looks like a great program, especially the workshop on Affective Haptics. I am also doing a talk at the University of Victoria on the evening of the 5th but hope to be there the rest of the time. Planning on some kind of initial get together in Vancouver to officially kick off the "Haptic-integrated Clinical Pronunciation Research" group,  as well. Join us!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Walkabout talk: The TalkaboutWalkabout

Clip art: Clker
While in Japan, while teaching speaking classes of 50+, I developed an effective (primarily kinaesthetic) technique called the "TalkaboutWalkabout," inspired by the movie, Crocodile Dundee. (It has been cited in several methods texts.) Basically, students prepared a couple of good 3-minute stories that they could tell to fellow students using an attending skills format (See earlier posts.) as homework. In the two-hour class the next day, after some initial warm up, students walked around the perimeter of the room continuously for the next 90 minutes or outside in a larger fixed loop around campus, telling their stories and listening to the story of another student--switching partners every 8 minutes (about 10 times). In effect, each student told each of two stories four times and heard eight others.

Back then I was not working with explicit haptic anchoring but it was remarkable how the pace of the walking came to regulate the rhythm of speaking, and how relaxed and fluent the conversations became. By the end, students were invariably struck by how "good" they felt about speaking English. The "felt sense" of the walkabout that they had "discovered" became our model or metaphor for how good discussions should "feel" as well.

There are, of course, any number of possible explanations for why that technique may work, several have been introduced here earlier, including jogging, but this quote from a holistic medicine website, connecting up to the function of the (somewhat mythical) Australian walkabout of Dundee,  presents an interesting perspective on some of what is involved: " . . . a journey of healing and rediscovering the link between mind, body, and spirit." The effect in your class might not be quite that heavy duty or "anchored," but I can guarantee that it will at least provide a great deal to "talk about!" 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Stressful pronunciation teaching ok? You must be dreaming . . .

Clip art: Clker
I have worked with several "fossilized" individuals over the years who experienced what they referred to as being "traumatized" by what might loosely be called "pronunciation instruction." Perhaps it was a teacher or fellow student or associate who ridiculed the student's accent, or something analogous. I have always been intrigued by the fact that such experiences affect some but not others. Likewise, some students are able to "take away" and integrate material presented under the most stressful of conditions.

2011 research by van der Helm, Yao, Dutt, Rao, Saletin, and Walker of University of California-Berkeley, summarized by Science Daily, which studied the function of dreams in diffusing the emotional loading of traumatic events, suggests something of why that may be the case. One of the findings was that "normal" REM sleep greatly facilitates that integration and diffusion. (In the case of certain PTSD victims, a blood pressure medication actually restored some REM enabling function.) Without it, things go very differently.

Not that learners be placed in dream states to change pronunciation (although I have tried a bit of that), but that integrating pronunciation effectively requires being able to create optimal REM-like, stress-resolving attention. That is the (achievable) dream of HICP work as well. 

Pronunciation discrimination: Say it right now . . . hear it later (and vice versa)


Clip art: Clker
Clip art: Clker
There have been a few studies which suggest that pronunciation training improves aural discrimination and aural comprehension, including this one from 2001 by Ghorban and others. Most research in the last three decades in this area, for a number of reasons,  has focused on the opposite effect, that of comprehension on pronunciation or intelligibility.

One of the primary goals of HICP work is to prepare learners to be more effective "kinaesthetic" listeners who can continue improving their pronunciation beyond the classroom, essentially by being able to quickly capture the felt sense of models that they hear--and play it back haptically using the basic protocols--so that they can also either "record" it in memory or discard it.

That kinaesthetic monitoring and listening are generally seen as the final benchmarks of EHIEP training. At will, learners can "feel" phrases or sentences in their bodies, whether listening to themselves or someone else. Kinaesthetic monitoring generally does not interfere with conversation, allowing one to detect errors in performance and deal with them later, rather than right at that instant. Kinaesthetic listening works the same way, like an independent flash drive, that allows later recall and redo. Got a good feel for what we're saying here? If so, it'll sound even better later. 

Correcting pronunciation: from mime to meme

Clip art: Clker
One of the best analogies for the felt sense of using haptic techniques in correcting pronunciation is pantomime, or miming. Some of the best video examples on Youtube are those of "robot dance." Unfortunately, I have yet to find a good one that does not have X-rated comments appended to it . . . So we'll have to settle for the text-based document from the drama club at UA-Monticello. It describes several of the basic mime moves that are used in training. Three or four of them focus on "box" structures that actually quite close to both the felt sense and the pedagogical movement patterns of HICP. The "meme" side of the process, to quote Wikipedia, " . . . acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena."

Following on the earlier post, by both instructor and student having developed a good felt sense of the sounds represented through PMPs, the feedback is "transmitted" more efficiently. What exactly do you meme in class? Could it use some correction? Try starting with mime . . .  Better seen; better heard. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Doing is believing

Clip art: Clker
This study from Lee and Noppeney of the Max Planck Institute, summarized by Science Daily, demonstrated that if you can do something (in this case, play piano) you have a better chance of being able to see if it is done correctly or with correct timing.

And how does this apply to HICP work?  Relatively simple . . .  By practicing HICP pedagogical movement patterns (e.g., saying a vowel-sound, for example, one completes a movement across the visual field, ending in a touch of the other hand), the learner becomes better able to "uptake" guidance or visual corrective input from the instructor or other students in the form of PMPs as well. Most HICP error correction, as well as initial presentation, is done haptically, providing a clean, visual model and the requiring haptic "repetition" or mirroring of the the adjusted form. Or to paraphrase the old saw: Monkey do; monkey see-- and integrate it more efficiently into spontaneous speaking. 

Oral interpretation of literature for (haptic anchoring and) fluency

Clip art: Clker
In Lessac's 12-step system in The Use and Training of the Human Voice dramatic oral interpretation/ practice is a key benchmark, a critical bridge to fluency in everyday life or on stage. He uses passages from several genres (novels, drama, poetry, songs, etc.) As opposed to the generally lifeless, uninspiring dialogues found in student pronunciation textbooks, "real" literature expresses emotion--and life--in any number of "memorable" ways.

Likewise, by the time the learner is equipped to prepare a good piece of language using the EHIEP protocols in the order prescribed in the method (Prominence/stress, vowels, consonants, focus groups,  intonation, conversational rhythm, and fluency)--typically within about six weeks, the transition to and integration in spontaneous speech should be well underway. This article by Todd and Goodson summarizes how a similar process, based on the long tradition of "Readers Theatre," works with middle school students. It'll work with anybody . . . just requires a little dramatic, embodied extrapolation!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

(Haptic) instruction in "super-sized" speaking/pronunciation classes

Clip art: Clker
The EHIEP system is designed for use in classes of all sizes, but especially for large classes taught by relatively inexperienced instructors. It involves extensive oral performance/engagement. Spend some time reviewing the literature on how to teach in such contexts and what you find is (as in the English Club) a good description of the problems, practice strategies and activities. What is not there is guidance on how to initially present sounds and sound processes and how to provide feedback/correction.

This is analogous to what we see in pronunciation teaching research: (apparently) any method (assuming methods are allowed) in a storm (and big classes can be that!) is generally ok. In terms of oral production-focus (vs comprehension-based) techniques, the typical set of procedures suggested are (A) demonstration, (B) explanation  and (C) choral repetition. That's it, if that. (If you want to contribute some further recommendations, feel fee to add comments.)  Beginning with A, B and C is a start, to be sure, But if things are not going well by C, what's next? More of all three, especially C?

With HICP as a basis you can (literally) see what and  how every student in a class of 100 (or more) is doing. The principle is this: With good initial haptic-anchoring training (easily done in large groups), if a learner moves correctly, more appropriate pronunciation will almost inevitably follow. Likewise, corrections focus primarily on the pedagogical movement pattern, not how the sound "sounds." Teaching with (big) class?  To quote Lessac yet again . . . Train the body first!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The color and felt sense of English vowels

The "Color Vowel Chart," apparently based on Finger (1985), is a clever mnemonic framework for giving students a memorable key-word and color for vowel sounds. Those CVC color choices are based on the vowel in the color word, etc.

The matrix below, by contrast, shows the EHIEP color schema, based on a number of studies of vowel phonaesthetic qualities, or felt sense, and related neurophysiological properties of the visual field. (See several earlier posts.) In essence, front and higher vowels are lighter; lower and back vowels are darker. The EHIEP vowels are displayed as a mirror image of the standard IPA vowel chart (which the Color Vowel Chart represents in standard format.)

Notice some of the interesting correspondences/contrasts between the two systems:
(a) The colors green and black are in the same positions,
(b) The "central" vowels are very similar in character, although not similarly aligned, and
(c) The diphthongs have some parallels. In CVC, "oy" is turquoise; in EHIEP it is blue to white. In CVC, "aw" is brown; in EHIEP, brown to green. In CVC, "ay" is white; in EHIEP, brown to white.
(d) In both CVC and EHIEP high vowels are lighter than low vowels.
(e) The CVC vowel color for "e" (red) is close to the EHIEP color (mid-front) of orange.
(f) The CVC vowel in "silver" would be white in EHIEP.
(g) The CVC for "blue" would be green or green to purple in EHIEP.
Light
Green
Soft
Yellow
Bright Yellow
Dark Green
Gray
Orange

Dark
Blue
Purple
Red

For what it is, the CVC works well, but just imagine the impact were it to be a bit more neuro-physiologically tuned in and haptically anchored. Why . . . it'd be "off the charts!"


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Breaking Dawn I and vampire haptic "collisions!"

In case you haven't seen it yet, the first few minutes of BDI have a virtual plethora of gestures ending in touch tied to stressed words in phrases or sentences. I had a hard time following the fascinating, emotionally riveting dialogue, while taking notes! (Understandably, eh!)

Following up on the comments to the previous post, those are NOT examples of what HICP refers to as "haptic anchoring" or how the term "haptic" is used in various fields today. They do involve all the essential elements (movement, stressed syllables, touch, discourse focus, etc.) except one critical, technical feature: fixed, designed points in the visual field where the haptic "collision" occurs.

In an informal sense, the haptic event does certainly help to emphasize or fix in memory the meaning of at point in the narrative, but as noted earlier, the experience is being encoded into memory with all sorts of other visual and emotional information that may or may not be helpful in trying to recall how it was pronounced later. (For an interesting, concise business-like summary of nonverbal communication/body language, see this piece by Alan Chapman.) So if you find yourself getting thoroughly carried away during BDI, it is technically not the haptic anchoring . . .

Monday, November 21, 2011

Choral repetition + haptic anchoring: Doing more with less!

Clip art: Clker
I have described the work of Olle Kjellin previously. Reports on his "extreme" choral repetition-based pronunciation teaching method by Kjellin and his followers are persuasive in demonstrating that getting students to repeat a phrase up to 100 times " . . . generate[s] a kind of statistical "feel" for the phonological, syntactical, semantic, and pragmatic aspects of the phrase, i.e. to really "learn" it."

 I don't doubt for a minute that that anchors the "feel" or felt sense described--assuming that you can get learners to stay with you in the process. The question is, however, if our target is "just" pronunciation change, with well-executed haptic anchoring can we cut back some on the number of reps? (For some examples of HICP-type "haptic anchoring," see the first comment below.) Although Kjellin has not published hard evidence on the long term effects of "mega-rep" work--other than alluding to having witnesses consistent results throughout his 30 years in the field,

I'll accept his claims on similar grounds to those made here for the efficacy of HICP work: the extensive research on haptic-based learning in several fields, and our experience with EHIEP protocols over the last decade or so (and, of course, my 30+ years in the field, as well!) So, about how many "haptic-choral-repetitions" are necessary? If learners are in "full-body-attention mode," as described in earlier posts, only a few in class and a few more in homework practice sessions should be sufficient to enable some integration into spontaneous speech. Trust me. I've seen it work repeatedly, "hundreds" of times, in fact.

Teaching (haptically) the English mid-back-central-stressed vowel and friend

Here is a video that shows how to get a near-perfect stressed, mid-back-central vowel in English, a sharp blow to the solar plexus--a version of a technique I have used for years. Instead of a karate kick from a colleague, tighten your abs, relax your face and substitute your right, clenched fist--and just let what vowel comes out, come out! The solar plexus and its chakra has a lot going for it. (The chakra has two alternative colors, black and yellow; we use a dark green.)

In basic EHIEP we do not focus on schwa (or unstressed vowels, in general), but only on the stressed form, although the basic sound is considered the "same" from the learner's perspective. Like in the previous post on haptic linking, with good balance between rhythm and stress intensity, unstressed elements are not as problematic and often gravitate over time to a more appropriate sound form anyway. (If you MUST know, there is a haptic technique for schwa, too, of course, but words can't do it justice . . . and it is classified for the time being! ) Try that. Never fails to be a "hit."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The rhythm of (haptic) English linking (training)

Clip art: Clker
Here is a 9-minute video of the "standard" approach to teaching English linking by McIntyre--done very well--from the 2003 Clearly Speaking project, headed by Burns and Claire.

Opinion in the field is split as to just how much time should be spent between working on comprehension of linking, as opposed to active training in producing linked speech. On fixed phrases such as "black'n white," etc., teaching production makes sense. Requiring students to practice linking on sentences such as: "They_ate_every_orange_in_Norman's _bucket!"--a common practice in "elocution" training--as a model for them of what good speaking should resemble, is recommended by few that I am aware of. (The 1982 student book still used in some programs, Whaddayasay?, does suggest that, in fact.)

The EHIEP approach, on the contrary, assumes that students have at least been introduced to linking in listening comprehension work, much as done by McIntyre. The effective haptic anchoring of rhythm and rhythm groups in practice and conversation should do three things: (1) encourage the natural phonological process of linking when rhythm and stress are appropriately balanced, (2) create a strong contrast between stress and unstressed elements that de-emphasizes backgrounded material, and (3) promote overall intelligibility so that "missing" linking is not as noticeable. "Whadayagonnadoweh?"

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pronunciation homework--in a flash (card system)!

EHIEP homework, ideally done at least three times between module presentations (either in class or by video), typically involves five components: (a) Warm up, (b) Review of previous protocols, (c) Learning of new protocol/technique, (d) Practice of new protocol with model conversation, and (e) Practice with word list. For the last component, word list practice, there are a few online flashcard systems that work satisfactorily. The Flashcard Exchange (cost: "free" or $12.99 for lifetime full-feature license) for use with laptop or desktop, is a popular application which connects up well to the iPhone apps,  including one I like (cost: "free" or $3.99 for full features), Flashcards Deluxe--although there are others that are adequate as well. That one, as do most of the online systems and some of the laptop versions--most importantly--integrates both video and audio effectively, and provides various scoring, storage and importing options. In both cases, the flash cards are easy to create and manage for either instructor or learner. The "answer" side of the flash card will typically contain: (a) Indication of stress syllable, (b) vowel numbers--in lieu of phonetic transcription, (c) audio of pronunciation, (d) high value phrase or sentence using the word, and (e) optional note on the pedagogical movement pattern used, if necessary. Try a flashcard system: successful learners consistently "flip" over it . . .

Friday, November 18, 2011

HICP/EHIEP PMP rubric

Clip art: Clker
Here is an (11 parameter) rubric for use in assessment of both student and instructor HICP work. The categories reflect a reasonably complete set of the skills and and features of pedagogical movement patterns (PMP) involved in basic EHIEP instruction. Typically, the rubric would be applied at the end of a session either by an observer or instructor, or for self-assessment of instructors in training. (To use the rubric in the eForm requires joining the Rcampus website--a good source of ready made iRubrics' e-rubrics and tools to make your own with, in fact.)

Haptic technology for pronunciation teaching "on hand!"

Hat tip to Matt McLean for pointing me to these two URLs on the development of Omnitouch/
Kinect technology. As you can see in this YouTube video, embodying some of the EHIEP techniques is technically feasible now. In fact, even without the computer interface, the basic embodiment strategy of touching a spot on the other hand or arm or wherever is, from a HICP perspective, probably as effective in anchoring as the visual interface used there itself.

Actually, even if you just project the image on the wall or the desk and use that target as the visual field, it would still create a potentially workable, basic haptic anchoring template. It would not be as effective or portable or engaging as what we have already--using just the visual field of the learner and bilateral haptic anchoring--but it would certainly be a touch better than anything else available today!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The David Alan Stern system: A step up! (and a step down!)

I have been meaning to acknowledge the work of David Alan Stern for some time now. For several years, beginning about 25 years ago, I used aspects of his system in accent reduction work quite successfully. Were I still doing that kind of work, I'd probably still be using some of his more recent dialect materials. His novel kinaesthetic/somatic approach involves many of the same principles as HICP--without the haptic emphasis. On his FAQ page are two fascinating questions which are linked to audio recordings of his answers:
"Why muscularity and resonance before pronunciation?"
"Why melody and rhythm changes before pronunciation work?"

Muscularity (range of movement and flexibility), resonance (throughout the vocal apparatus), melody (intonation) and rhythm before pronunciation? What he means by "pronunciation" is basically sounds practiced in context, once the essential preliminaries have been taught. In EHIEP we essentially work on those four "up front" also (haptically, rather than just kinaesthetically) in almost the same order,  just reversing rhythm and intonation.  Stern's signature technique, "step up and/or down" (literally) in learning intonation contours and some expressive elements, consistently produced excellent results. Although Stern's method is not as generally "adaptable" (or as efficient in anchoring) as EHIEP it is still very good stuff--a STEP UP from most!

A place for EHIEP in Pronunciation Utopia!

Photo credit: Japan Sumo
Association
For an excellent glimpse of the future of (at least Canadian) pronunciation teaching, by one of its leading theorists, see this paper, Utopian Goals for Pronunciation Teaching, from the 2009 Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching Conference at Iowa State University, by Derwing. I'd agree with most all of the projections and recommendations, but would note one obvious omission (big as Asanowaka, pictured at the left, from our perspective.)

Recall the earlier post which quoted another important 2005 paper by Derwing and Munro, " . . . we would ask whether the aspects of a learner’s speech that cause problems for intelligibility are the focus of instruction, regardless of the teaching methods employed." "Utopia," is also "method-neutral."

EHIEP (Essential, haptic-integrated English pronunciation), by contrast, is an ordered, HICP method that is applicable to a wide range of learner populations--that, in essence, begins where Derwing leaves off--in the classroom. It comes with a basic curriculum and requires little formal training for the instructor, although the basic pedagogical movement patterns and anchoring protocols can be easily adapted for use with learners of any proficiency in any skill area syllabus or classroom. It focuses on teaching and anchoring productive use of what has been identified as essential, first for all learners (basic prominence, vowels, stress, conversational rhythm and intonation) and then goes on to attend to selected learner-specific consonants and other processes, as necessary. (See earlier posts on specifics.) When you are ready to "do" pronunciation, this side of Utopia, get in touch!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The "mouth" that roars!

Credit: Edward J. Walsh,
Boys Town National Research Hospital
Linked is a 2011 Science Daily summary of a study by Klemuk, Riede, Walsh, and Titze of the vocal cords of lions--and why they can roar so magnificently. (You are wondering already . . . how does that connect to HICP/EHIEP?) Simple. One key finding was that the fundamental frequency of the sound comes from the unique structure of the vocal cords, not via a signal from the brain. In other words, the big cat just "lets it go" and doesn't rip up things at the same time.

Humans can "roar" as well, with a little training. And every HICP instructor should be able to do it. In the Lessac system, the key benchmark, the "watershed" of the training, is achieved when the student can perform "the call," such as with the phrase, "Ahoy there!" It is done with complete abandon, no vocal stress and loud enough to be heard for (literally) a couple hundred meters, at least--even coming out of the most petite of bodies. It is a often a life-changing experience, one understood well by opera singers and (before the age of electronic amplification) most successful politicians.

Stressing your voice? Need a little more authority in your classroom? Have trouble getting students' attention? Try "calling" on the Lessac system, either from a licensed practitioner or get the book and do it yourself (recommended--takes about 3 months.)

Monday, November 14, 2011

"Let the motive for action be in the action itself and not in the event." (NC Wyeth)

Photo credit:
Wikipedia
The quote above, by N.C. Wyeth, father of the great American painter, Andrew Wyeth, although made in the context of describing the life of the artist, is also perhaps a most elegant and insightful description of what we mean by the "felt sense" of a sound or the experience of performing a near perfect haptic anchor of a word. The "motive" or rationale for the act of anchoring, with complete attention given to what is happening throughout the body as the word is articulated, needs to be an entirely, intensely personal and "intra-personal" experience, not a social, relational or interpersonal event. In that sense, it is artistic in creation but not in performance as a public event.

That is a crucial distinction in what we do. Drama, music, dance and other "arts" have much to contribute and teach us about the process of learning the sounds of language, but I am more and more convinced that the often excessively "dramatic events" in the pronunciation lesson (and pronunciation instructors tend to be irrepressible performers, themselves) can ultimately be counterproductive, just as Wyeth observed: the event overpowers and undermines the "art" and impact of the action.

Our work should be as thoroughly moving and touching . . . as it is uneventful!

Merton's law of unintended consequences and why there is more and more demand for pronunciation teaching . . .

Clip art:
Clker
Tried to get into a (potentially credible) pronunciation session at a conference lately? If you have, you know that attendance continues to increase. But why? In this our "post-communicative, post-method" era, isn't the goal "intelligibility," not pronunciation accuracy? Surveys of graduate and post-graduate certificate programs reveal that there is still relatively little formal training available. It is perhaps easy to understand why the prevailing methodological paradigm does not involve much commitment to pronunciation: there are other priorities, including communicative, task- and problem-based classroom activities--and, of course, reading, writing and listening comprehension.

The primary reason for the resurgence of interest in pronunciation is at least in part an unintended consequence of the continuing complications evident from our "communicative language teaching" binge of the 80s and 90s: genuinely communicative classroom activities. We see it throughout the academic curriculum, not just in English instruction; oral, group-interaction-based instruction has become nearly the norm in contemporary Western education--for any number of reasons. In other words, to the degree that nonnative's are now forced to talk in class, pronunciation and accent tend to  become more problematic. (No matter how much one may try to coerce "natives" into accepting less-than-intelligible pronunciation.)

So, to paraphrase the great line from the comic strip, Pogo: We have met the enemy (of those who want to dismiss pronunciation instruction) and he is "us" (communicative, task-based classroom pedagogy!)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Doing the preliminary "heavy lifting" of HICP change

HICP/EHIEP teaching and learning come almost effortlessly to some, the naturally kinaesthetic, among others. With good design and sequenced, scaffolded practice,  however, the techniques work for students of any learning style preference. For that reason, the initial introduction to haptic-based learning and to the various pedagogical movement patterns (PMP) involved can be critical in establishing a framework or "felt sense" that both "makes sense" and is physically engaging to the the learner.

Perhaps the best "physical" analog I have found is a Simlog simulator-based training system for heavy equipment operator trainees. Why it is so striking to me is that it "develops muscle memory" (in the terms of the system) in a way that not only makes perfect sense to the trainee but is based on very concrete, measurable and achievable benchmarks, leading to the requisite skill set needed for the particular equipment. In the HICP-EHIEP system there are about 24 distinct PMPs that represent sounds or sound processes in English, all of which could be easily taught in a Simlog-like, virtual-reality system. I love the direct, common sense, explanation of the heavy equipment training language: "But after a while, the "seeing-thinking-doing" gradually becomes "seeing-doing" because your muscles seem to "know" and "remember" just what to do. What you're learning now is speed, i.e. how to perform the task carefully and quickly. That's muscle memory." 

Now, if I can just figure out which piece of heavy machinery is closest to English  pronunciation and persuade instructors and learners to get up to speed quickly before we begin HICP-EHIEP training in earnest! My favorite is the "hydraulic excavator" simulator. 10 minutes on that every morning before pronunciation work would be the perfect, motivating, haptic warm up, helping even the most kinaesthetically-challenged to learn to "dig it," too!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

HICP/Essential Haptic-integrated English Pronunciation (Hiccuping Ape!) system availability!

Have had many inquiries as to when the HICP-EHIEP ("Hiccuping Ape!") system (videos, I-manual, S-workbook and "webcamsultations") will be available, in what form--and what it will cost! The short answer is: as soon as possible, but by March, 2013, in time for the TESOL convention in Dallas. I will post updates here as to specifics as we get the pieces ready to roll out. The "stuff" included and approximate pricing will be as follows:

A. EHIEP Haptic Video System (EHVS)
      *9 basic, 30-minute modules, each containing 4 video teaching clips (demonstration, training, practice and classroom protocol version) along with a video scaffolding/review of the practice versions of all previous protocols. A module takes about one week to complete.
      *15, 5-10-minute consonant repair modules (th/th, s/sh/z/zh, r/l, w/y, f/v, word-final voiced consonants, etc.) These modules are used as needed.

B. Instructors' manual - Program overview and detailed instructions for introducing the system and using it in the classroom.

C. Student workbook (Probably available through Functionall Books) - Graphic illustrations of the pedagogical movement patterns of each protocol, reference charts, word lists, self-assessment checklist and worksheets for homework assignments for the protocols. (There are a minimum of 3 homework assignments for each protocol, done every-other-day, along with audio recordings for additional practice.)

D. Webcamsultations (Typically, one for each protocol, but more are available, depending on the technology of the school or institution, including,"Teach this protocol to the class for me today - LIVE!")

Current price estimates:
Streamed HICP-EHIEP videos and/or DVD set with Instructors' Manual ~$800 (CAD) 
Student workbooks ~$15 (available online)
Student practice videos and audios ~ $40
Webcamsultations: from ~$50 per half-hour
*Participants in the Pre-conference Haptic Pronunciation Institute at TESOL 2013 receive DVD of EVHS

Is there a proven, better pronunciation teaching method than HICP?

Not, yet! There has been virtually no empirical research comparing pronunciation teaching methods in the last couple of decades. Linked is a widely quoted article by Derwing and Munro from the 2005 TESOL Quarterly special issue on pronunciation (p.387) that in part explains why:

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Clker
"It is somewhat surprising that so few studies have evaluated the efficacy of pronunciation teaching . . . It is all the more remarkable because a popular current paradigm in applied linguistics is the assessment of various approaches designed to have an impact on learners’ productions in other areas of language development . . .We are not suggesting a return to a comparison of methods of the type carried out in the 1960s and 1970s. Rather, we are concerned with matching instructional content to ESL speakers’ needs. That is, we would ask whether the aspects of a learner’s speech that cause problems for intelligibility are the focus of instruction, regardless of the teaching methods employed.

Do you get that? In other words, from that perspective, and I think that represents the general approach of the field, method in the current "Post-method" era, is (nearly) irrelevant--or there are so many ways that are seemingly equally effective that it probably makes no difference how, as long as you have the right what. The HICP/EHIEP perspective, on the contrary, is that the what is the relatively easy part; good advice on what should be taught for any given population is now readily available. The most pressing question today is how to best assist learners in getting and integrating new and "improved" sounds.

It is comforting to know that we don't have to prove the efficacy or superior effectiveness of HICP methods but we can and we will, nonetheless. Research in a wide range of related fields and several years of experience using it with many different populations suggest that it works exceedingly well. But for the time being, please do take Derwing and Munro's word for it--it's at least as good as any other method out there. Actually . . . there's no comparison!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Not aware of an effective HICP technique? Good!


Clip art:
Clker
Clip art:
Clker
We often use the terms "attention" and "awareness" interchangeably in informal conversation or in describing what is going on at any moment in the instructional process. I have used the acronym, AFAPAI (Attention-Focus-Anchoring-Practice-Awareness-Integration), pronounced: "half-a-pie," for some time. (See earlier posts on the HICP learning model.) That "half" models the process of sound change; the other half is that being learned: sounds, words, processes and patterns.

"Unaware" of the research linked above, I had apparently gotten close to one theory of how those two concepts, awareness and attention are related. In essence, what the study by Watanabe, Cheng,  Murayama, Ueno, Asamizuya, Tanaka, and Logothetis. summarized by Science Daily, demonstrated was that, in principle (neurophysiologically, at least), it is possible to pay attention without being aware, and vice versa. So what does that mean for classroom instruction? Simply this: If learners are just "aware" of what is being presented, nothing may "stick" later; focused/undivided attention is required, which, in effect, limits general awareness, especially of the visual field but, apparently of all modalities as well. In other words, complete, at least momentary attention is required for maximal impact.

In the six-step HICP process (AFAPAI), note where awareness comes into play: after regular practice, generally in conversation, as both "old" and "repaired or new" forms are brought to awareness in a manner that seems almost accidental or incidental, but not purposefully attended to. (See also posts on post-hypnotic suggestion and related strategies.) That, in turn, should help to further along the integration process. If you have been paying attention, that should be exciting stuff. If not, you are at least now aware of the research. After all, even AFAPAI is better than (just) noting!

Giving online pronunciation teaching a good "promo!"

Have been trying to figure out how to promote HICP work lately. Recently checked out the "competition" online. Here are a few of my favorites:

Clip art: Clker
C. Have never succeeded in totally extinguishing an accent, but apparently some do regularly: "Enhance your chances of success in the working world as well as in social situations by reducing your accent or getting rid of your accent completely."

E. Wish we had done enough research to be able to make this claim! "ABC is the powerful, proven system that will help you lose your foreign accent in weeks — not months or years. Practice 30 minutes a day for 4 weeks and greatly improve your pronunciation."

F. When you read stuff like this, you realize just how little you have accomplished in 40 years of work in this field: "DEF offers the most comprehensive accent reduction programs on the market today! Based on results from an in-depth speech assessment and your goals, we will develop a customized program that meets your specific needs and goals. Learn everything you need to be a confident, effective speaker!"

Apparently no need to stick too close to data or the body of research and practice in the field, but we clearly have some work to do in getting out the word on HICP teaching.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Aesthetics of embodied pronunciation teaching

In an attempt to "smoke out" some of the more cognitive/aesthetic features of HICP work--recalling Ecco's "Everything is related to everything" principle--I came upon this set of parameters of quality and excellence that, like the previous "felt feelings" post, seem to be equally applicable here {The bracketed comments are mine.}:
Photo credit: People Mag.
  • Consistency is the key factor {especially as regards execution of homework}
  • Content must be consistently processed {especially in terms of felt sense anchoring}
  • It should be neither under or over-filled {(Timing, mood and pace is critical.) or over-embodied--as depicted there at the right . . . }
  • It should "burn" all the way down . . . {Attention and intensity must be managed effectively.}
  • It should have a good mouth feel {of the L2}
  • It should look good {or at least learners should be at ease with the most "gesticular" pedagogical movement patterns.}
  • It should have a good aesthetic quality {be seen as close to expressive or interpretative dance}
  • It should taste good {We do use "breath wafers" and aromatic hand creams at times!}
  • "Subjectivity of taste is one of life's fascinations!" {Personal, felt-sense is the "heart" of HICP work.}
  • Anything less is but a weak imitation . . . perhaps close, but no cigar!

Some "felt features" of HICP/EHIEP methods

Found a website with a product that seems to feel very much like HICP/EHIEP:
  • Innovative!
  • An extension of you!
  • Feels completely comfortable in your hands!
  • It's 2x as fast!
  • Responds instantly to touch!
  • So natural, you'll wonder why you didn't get one earlier!
  • Touch and go: access data quickly!
  • Let's you do everything, just by touching!
  • [Methodology] so advanced that you'll forget it's there!
  • The most fun a face can have!
I? Pad the list? Never!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Post HICP-tic teaching suggestion


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Clker
We have all seen examples of "post-hypnotic suggestion" either on stage or in more clinical settings. Here is an article I wrote some time ago entitled, "Seven suggestions of highly successful pronunciation teaching." Were I to re-write that piece today, I'd add an eight, something analogous to this example of provided by a hypnotherapist where he is basically setting up his clients to experience signs of change or progress in the everyday experience in the week ahead. In HICP work some of what we should suggest to learners is that, as long as they do their assigned homework religiously, (a) they will begin to at least recognize when they are still using a "defective" form of some kind, and then (b) they will begin to recognize when they are using the "improved" or "corrected" form instead. They should also begin to discover other words where an "incorrect" vowel or consonant is hiding out when reading or occasionally when speaking.

You will,  of course, this coming week think of other "suggestions" that you can offer in passing which will help reinforce and integrate what is being learned and re-learned . . . or,  following Dr House's pithy prescription, perhaps "these aren't the druids you are looking for . . . "

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Body (and pronunciation) ownership and the rubber hand technique

Clip art: Clker
A recent study using the "rubber hand illusion, " demonstrated that schizophrenics have a relatively low sense of "body ownership," that is the subjects with the condition had significantly more difficulty in distinguishing between their own hand and that of a rubber "decoy" in their  carefully partitioned visual field during the experiments. One of the conclusions of the study is worth noting: "These findings suggest that focused physical exercise which involves precise body control, such as yoga and dancing, could be a beneficial form of treatment for this disorder."

The concept of body ownership (or optimal body awareness) comes up in several forms in other disciplines as well, from sport  to drama to stress management. The brain of the classic "type A" personality, one prone to be driven and "stressed" easily, is often characterized as having little connection to the rest of the body. (Re-establishing that connection is often the key to stress management, etc.) In my earlier work with moderating the effects of fossilized pronunciation, I was often struck by how many of my clients appeared to have little body awareness. Biofeedback techniques were consistently helpful in establishing workable "felt sense" of both body and pronunciation from which to begin the process of change.

Failing that, I might first send a student to a stress therapist for a few sessions, just to get things loosened up.  I like the parallel of "focused, precise physical exercise" being instrumental in establishing enhanced body ownership. If you are "of two minds" about haptic-integrated clinical pronunciation work, just do a set of HICP or similar exercises consistently and it will soon enough own you--and your body!

Talking about touching sound: haptic rhetoric

Photo credit:
Lessacinstitute.com
In HICP work we often ask "touching" questions: What does that sound feel like? or What is the "felt sense" of that sound? In the arts (in this piece by Wiest, for example), especially those created for the blind or deafblind, the metalanguage and structure of the interaction (its rhetoric, in some sense) seem to be well established--although not very interpretable to those "haptically challenged" of us who do not live in those mediums.

From earlier posts it is evident that the haptic arts and haptic applications are becoming more widely engaged as the technology evolves for it. One of my first encounters with "haptic rhetoric" of a kind was Lessac's use of musical instruments to refer to different vowel qualities and character.

It is only recently that I have come to fully appreciate the genius of Lessac and his ability to "conduct" the voices and bodies of his students--with words that deftly modulate a wide spectrum of intensity, color, movement and emotional content. The language we need to do the same is there, available for us in several disciplines. We just have to "orchestrate" our work in similar ways . . . get on the "band wagon," so to speak!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Haptic TH (vs. THe THousands of sooTHing meTHods for smooTH front teeTH)

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Clker
There must be at least that many videos out there that try to teach pronunciation of TH. Here is one of the more popular (and pretty good 11-minute) ones that does most everything that can be done with that media--except show the inside of the mouth. (Here is one that nearly does that in 31 seconds!) Just for entertainment value, wander around through some of the Youtube TH videos. What "virtually" all of them miss is some way to control tongue position or extension during articulation of TH. The model in the second video on a couple of instances sticks his tongue out "excessively" on some examples.

The model in the first video makes a point of telling the audience to just enjoy the act; not to worry about looking strange! Any experienced pronunciation instructor will tell you that "tongue exposure" for many learners from many cultures is very bad form, to put it mildly. Some advise sticking the tongue way out and then drawing it in as the TH is spoken, scraping off the tongue and teeth. Others recommend just "putting the tongue on the upper teeth," etc. As in working with vowels or rhythm or intonation contours, precise haptic anchoring is the key to most efficient consonant repair as well.

The TH haptic protocol includes one unique element: (a) Sensitize the tip of the tongue--See earlier post on the "Starbucks" technique for that. (b) Place a coffee stirrer stick up against the lips, with the narrow side (.25 cm) touching both lips lightly. (c) When the TH is articulated the tongue should push forward and only lightly touch the stick but go out no further. (d) if the TH is voiced, the forefinger of the other hand also touches the vocal cords, as in the s/z/sh/zh protocol described in an earlier post. This is one case where you can, indeed, "beat that (the problematic TH sound)--with a stick!"

"Embodiment and Cognitive Science"

Here is a fascinating, extended review of Gibbs (2006) by philosopher, R. Rupert of Colorado University at Boulder. If you are philosophically and "embodimentally" inclined, you will appreciate it. For those who may not be quite there yet, here is a pull-quote from the conclusion of the piece [italics are mine]:

 "In the end, I think research done under the heading of the embodied approach has much to offer more traditional theorists; it pushes cognitive scientists toward considerations that will enhance the traditional program, encouraging its practitioners to build more realistic models (albeit using the standard tools of representation and computation). Time-scales will be smaller. Representations might be sparser in visual processing but more numerous in our conceptual representations (in order to account for the context-dependence of some behavior). Realizations of cognitive states might appear somewhere other than in the brain, or they might appear in different parts of the brain than some theorists would have expected. The pursuit of such a program might yield a clearer picture of how the physical states realizing mental representations come to have that status."

The same could of course be said for the field of pronunciation teaching today. So . . . take your local cognitive phonologist out to lunch! (Unless, of course, he or she is already "there" . . . )

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dangerous English pronunciation teaching and haptic circumcisions

A former Japanese student sent me the link to "Dangerous English". (Caveat Emptor: This is an example that is commonly used by the taste-challenged instructor in Japan, nonetheless.) The s/sh and z/zh distinction is, indeed, difficult for some learners. A survey of youtube videos reveals a few typical teaching strategies:

(1) Smile on 's'.
(2) Round lips or pucker on 'sh'.
(3) Hiss like a snake on 's'.
(4) Remember how your parents told you to be quiet on 'sh,' etc.
A few take a shot at talking about (5) tongue "grooving" or
(6) "elevating at the back."
Most involve just (7) listen and repeat or listen and repeat s-l-o-w-l-y--
(8) along with practice saying the sounds in different word position and contexts.

My "favorite" example of the latter is this one. She is at least pleasurable to watch . . . She does a list of words that includes a few that I'm not even sure SHE knows the meaning and collocation of. One of them (which I assume that she DOES know, however) is "circumcision," a word that includes that potentially "dangerous" s/sh alternation.

Here is a EHIEP  haptic protocol for s/sh/z/zh:

(1) For 's'  or 'z' the lips should just be relaxed.
(2) For 'sh' or 'zh'  the lips should just be slightly rounded (not the exaggerated smile and pucker of the "Dangerous English" instructor!)
(3) For 's' or 'z' begin by placing right forefinger horizontally in front of the mouth so that you can feel the air coming out on your middle knuckle as you do the sound. (Imagine the forefinger is a sharp knife?)
(4) As the sound is being produced, with both eyes staying focused on the right forefinger, slowly move the right hand up to about hair-line level.
(5) For 'sh/zh' begin in the same position and then slowly lower right hand down to just below the chin.
(6) In the case of 'z' or 'zh,' also place left forefinger on the vocal cords as the sound is produced.
What that does, among other things, is direct the air stream through the upper teeth on 's/z' and through the lower teeth on 'sh/zh.'

So for the word, "circumcisions:"

(1) Go up slowly twice (on "cir" and "ci"),
(2) Go down with left forefinger on the vocal cords (on "si'), and then
(3) Go back up on final "s" (with finger still on vocal cords.)

Can you get the "felt sense" of that technique? It does have its "ups and downs," of course, but it almost always "sits" well with learners!

Haptic squirrel pronunciation

Clip art: Clker
You may have seen some of the Youtube "X can't pronounce Y" videos or "British." A couple others: German and Farsi. There are more, all (mostly) funny and homemade. Here, in brief, is a haptic protocol for "squirrel:"

a. Go to Starbucks. Get a coffee and then walk off with some coffee stirs. (Enough for your class.)
b. Have learners break one in half.
c. With the jagged end, scrape the sides of the tongue, as far back in the mouth as possible.
d. Jab the outsides of both cheeks at about the same place as the back of the tongue.
e. Scrape the tip of the tongue (or to be precise the tip of the blade of the tongue, on the "end" exactly!)
f. Scrape the place just behind the gap between the upper front middle teeth. (frontal alveolar ridge)
Now . . .
g. Say "s" and keep it going . .
h. Bite back of tongue on spots scraped in "c" as you say "kuir" (kwer)
i. Touch tip of tongue (e) with area behind teeth (f) as you say 'l'
j. Say that sequence quickly a few times, throwing a tennis ball on "kuir" across the room as you do.

Armost nevel fairs . . .
Practice that yourself a few times so that it "sticks" and then squirrel it away, eh!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Getting (better) in touch with pronunciation change

Photo credit: Mr Bill
Having an adequate sense of touch, at least in the hands, is obviously a plus in HICP work! Individuals vary greatly in tactile sensitivity, some to the point of being almost unable to effect haptic anchoring without some preliminary touch-activation training. Sometimes that involves nothing more than rubbing the hands together, scrubbing lightly with a lofa brush or applying sensitizing lotion, etc. Research has shown, for example, that the superior tactile ability of the blind is due primarily to just having had more practice with using touch for various functions.

And for most students, that seems to be the case: they catch on to  effective anchoring eventually-which entails about half a dozen different types of hand-to-hand contact or "combat." Now researchers at Georgia Tech have come up with "vibrating gloves" that dramatically improve touch sensitivity and performance on certain motor tasks.  I've got to get some of those! Not enough time "on your hands" to develop good haptic technique?  Those could at least put a little more tingle in your teaching!

Listening (for pronunciation improvement) with your hands

Clip art: Clker
In this Science Daily summary, the research of Dodds, Mohler, and Bülthoff demonstrates the impact of both speaker and listener gesture in a virtual reality setting. As the two avatars (represented by humans in VR suits) "conversed," gestures of the listener contributed substantially to the effectiveness of the communication, apparently providing feedback and  showing need for further elaboration or clarification.

The same goes for HICP work (which will one day also be done solely in VR). Learners both mirror the (pedagogical movement patterns) PMPs of instructors at times and the instructors are able to "monitor" learner individual pronunciation or  group haptic practice visually--and then signal back appropriately. As strange as this may sound, providing feedback by means of haptically anchored PMPs generally seems more efficient (for several reasons) than is "correcting" or adjusting the production of the sound, itself, by "simply" eliciting a repetition, etc. (See earlier posts on how that is done.)

That, of course, is an empirically verifiable claim which we will test further in the near future.  So listen carefully and haptically--and give your local avatar's pronunciation a hand.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Checked your "Chakras" lately?

Clip art:
Clker

Clip art:
Clker
This is a commercial site but it has nice, free, 3-minute test that actually isn't bad in helping to  understand the Western worldview adaptation of one widely practiced "Indian" sense of "felt sense." There are several of the HICP protocols that involve "Chakra-like" moves and directed attention. Ready for a little "Chak(ra) treatment?"

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Embodied exercise: dancing your way to better pronunciation, health, L2 identity and expressiveness!

Clip art:
Clker
Several previous posts have alluded to "embodiment theory" as it is developed in different disciplines. One of the more relevant applications is in dance, especially ballet. This one, Klemola 1991, makes an interesting observation as to the functions and purposes of general physical exercise:

(a) To "win," be the best,  
(b) Maintain optimal strength and health, 
(c) Expand expressive capability, and 
(d) Explore and articulate self identity. 

Embodied (HICP/EHIEP) pronunciation work involves all four functions, even (b)--see earlier "breathing" and posture-related posts. Expressiveness (c) and identity (d) have also been addressed earlier but a brief elaboration might be helpful here. One of the most powerful effects of haptic anchoring is enhanced ability to manage range of expressiveness, particularly intonation. (In fact, for a time I was using the term "expressive pronunciation" for the entire system.) In the L2 identity literature the focus is principally on the psychological or psycho-social dimension. The HICP perspective on L2 identity adaptation is more Lessac-based, seeing no useful mind/body distinction and beginning formative work "from the body, outward."

Feeling a bit disembodied lately? Not yourself? Can't dance?  Out of shape? It may be your pronunciation teaching.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The inner game of pronunciation teaching

Clip art:
Clker
How's this for a great 2-line promo: "The inner game of tennis is based on optimizing the human mind to play better tennis. Through a proper mental tennis game, learning and playing tennis can be very easy!" Note it says that both learning and playing can be very easy. That got my attention. Easy? So how? Here are the three (simple) principles:

(1)  Trust your body, 
(2) Silence your mind! and 
(3) Don’t be judgmental!

Actually, that is not a bad analogy for EHIEP work either. Haptic pronunciation work begins with body awareness and training. The multiple modality framework does not "silence" the mind exactly, but it certainly channels attention well. The third is the more interesting. Haptic anchoring, by its very nature, focuses on the felt sense of the target sound, not (simply, again) on incoming "sounds" through the ears. (In some exercises we ask the learner to stand up close to a mirror to get more auditory "backwash;" other times, not.) It is not uncommon for learners to be able to produce a changed vowel quality reasonably well, for example, even before they can "hear" or recognize it.

Believe it! Just try it! Trust me . . . (in reverse order, of course!)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Excellent audio-aural-only pronunciation learning? Really?

Yes. Have been meaning to do this post for some time now. Perhaps the best known of the audio-media based programs is the Pimsleur Method, which is basically audio recordings that learners hear, repeat after and respond to. (There is more involved, of course, but the essential learning mechanism is straight, non-visual, (non-haptic!) engagement.)

So, given what this blog is about, how could that be possible? Simple. There are some learners for whom that is perfect, and, as in the Pimsleur approach, it (oral/aural competence) can be done exceedingly well, scaffolding in material and delivered in voices that--for many reasons--seem to "stick" in the brain of the learner. Pimsleur, like Asher (TPR), was first focused on the mechanisms of memory: optimal content, timing and voice delivery parameters.

What is of particular interest in HICP is the latter, the impact of the felt sense of the voice, both the learner's and the instructor's in anchoring in memory. One of my favorite models in that regard has always been that in the book, My voice will go with you, a compilation of the therapeutic/teaching stories of the great hypnotherapist, Milton Erickson. As in any memorable song, speech, sermon, comment or conversation, a great voice with perfect timing can deliver a message that you (almost) never forget. Just takes a little more lesson planning . . . Hear what I'm saying?