Recovering from recent surgery here at home, and especially recalling the wonderful way that I was treated and prepared prior to the operation by the nurse in pre-op, this study, "Inpatient satisfaction improved by five-minute intervention," summarized by Augusta Free Press, published originally in Family Medicine by Pace, Somerville, Enyioha, Allen, J, Lemon and C. Allen of the University of Virginia really hit home, both as an interpersonal framework for dealing with problems in general and (naturally) pronunciation teaching!
The research looked at the effectiveness of a training system for preparing doctors better for talking with patients, bedside manner. In summary, patient satisfaction went up substantially, and time spent per patient generally went down. The acronym for the protocol is BATHE. Below is my paraphrase of what constitutes each phase of the process:
B - Start with getting concise background information with patients
A - Help them talk about how they are feeling (affect)
T - Together, review the problem (trouble)
H - Discuss how the problem is being handled.
E - Confirm your understanding of the situation and how the patient is feeling (empathy).
That is a deceptively elegant protocol. Next time you have a student (or colleague) or friend approach you with a difficult problem, keep that in mind. That also translates beautifully into pronunciation work, especially where there is appropriate attention to the body (like in haptic work, of course!) Here is how the acronym plays out in our work:
B - Start with providing a concise explanation of the target, also eliciting from students what their understanding is of what you'll be working on.
A - Anchor the target sound in a way that learners get a good "felt sense" of it, i.e., awareness and control of the sensations in the vocal track and upper body
T - Together, talk through the "cash value" and functional load of the target and practice the target sound(s) in isolation and context.
H - Discuss how the student may be handling the problem already, or could, and what you'll do together going forward, including homework and follow up in the classroom in the future.
E - Finally, go back to brief, active, "physical" review and anchoring of the sound, also providing some realistic guidance as to the process of integrating the sound or word into their active speaking, especially the role of consistent, systematic practice.
One remarkable feature of that system, other then the operationalized empathy, of course, is the way it creates a framework for staying focused on the problem and solution. How does that map on to your own "BATHE-side manner?"