I’m sure many of you have read about the ambitious but fascinating proposal of building a Hyperloop transportation system between LA and SF (see http://tinyurl.com/myaxjrp). How often have I wished I could put my second language (L2) learners on a Hyperloop to help them with instant improvement, especially in regards to pronunciation and intelligibility. Do you feel the same? Pronunciation work is often perceived as being extremely challenging, tedious and even boring for students as well as teachers (Baker, 2013). It can take weeks, sometimes months, for any sign of improvement to occur. No wonder many teachers are hesitant or event reluctant to teach pronunciation (Macdonald, 2002)! So, is there a Hyperloop for us L2 teachers when it comes to pronunciation instruction? Haptic pronunciation teaching (i.e. a systematic combination of movement and touch) might be the answer (Acton, 2013), but besides some anecdotal evidence (Acton, Baker, Burri & Teaman, in press) little empirical evidence is currently available to support this claim. That’s what a colleague and I have been exploring in a classroom-based study in the past few weeks (see blog post below) and I’m quite positive that the research project will yield some answers and interesting insights into the effectiveness of pronunciation instruction. Stay tuned! More to come soon.......
Acton, W. (2013). Haptic-integrated clinical pronunciation research. Retrieved August 22, 2013, from http://hipoeces.blogspot.com.au/
Acton, W., Baker, A. A., Burri, M., & Teaman, B. (in press). Preliminaries to haptic-integrated pronunciation instruction. In J. Levis & K. LeVelle (Eds.), PSLLT Conference Proceedings. Vancouver, BC.
Baker, A. A. (2013). Exploring teachers' knowledge of L2 pronunciation techniques: Teacher cognitions, observed classroom practices and student perceptions. TESOL Quarterly, Advance online publication. doi:10.1002/tesq.99
Macdonald, S. (2002). Pronunciation – views and practices of reluctant teachers. Prospect, 17(3), 3-18
I am a Lecturer in TESOL at the University of Wollongong in Australia. This blog is a reflection of my journey as a researcher, L2 teacher educator, and language teacher.