Pronunciation Training – Fixed or Growth Mindset?

Spanish Pronunication Training

I have been using Gabe Wyner’s Pronunciation Trainer for three days now.  It is quite an impressive tool and is really stretching me.

At this stage there are two sets of cards.

One for minimal pairs where I have to distinguish between two very similar sets of sounds. When I get it right I press green so it gets put to a later date for review.   When I get it wrong I press red and it gets sent around the cycle again quite quickly.

The other set of cards is for pronunciation and spelling.

This is an important set of cards to help me understand what the written language sounds like when it is spoken.

On each question card I am asked to say what I think the sound should be for a word or letter combination. To find the answer, all I need to do is tap the screen.

The answer will give the phonetic pronunciation and a recording of the relevant word and sound.

It is all very useful stuff and I can feel myself warming to some sounds and spellings.  Alternatively, I am having complete difficulty with others.

For example the difference between Buh! And Boo! is currently causing me huge problems.

It is almost funny but in a frustrating sort of way.

But that is part of the process. It would be so easy to throw the toys out of the cot.  I could exclaim that I will never be able to learn what it sounds like.   OR I can just embrace the sensations and the feelings and go with them.

Of course the only choice is the latter.

Fixed and Growth Mindset

But here is an interesting thing that raises the issue of the difference between the fixed and the growth mindset.

If you read the books on this important topic, you will discover that those with a fixed mindset focus on getting something right.   Those with a growth mindset though are more focused on what they have learnt.

I like to think I have a growth mindset as someone who has been “into” learning for most of my professional life.

But I have spotted just how Fixed my mindset is when doing the pronunciation cards with the Anki trainer.

All I am doing is focusing on whether I have got it right or not.

I am quickly going through the cards just to get the right answer.

When doing the minimal pairs cards, after each answer is provided you also get the other word’s sound file for comparison.   I am scrolling through the cards so quickly that I don’t even let that happen. What is happening then is I am bypassing the actual learning for getting the fix of “being right”.

This is pure FIXED mindset.

It was an interesting observation for me.  I found myself wondering whether I was actually learning by just getting the right answer and moving swiftly on.

It was then that it clicked that the Fixed mindset had taken over again. Another humbling scenario to endure/enjoy?

You approach the task differently if you take a growth mindset approach, .

Because when you look at the cards there is so much that can be learnt:

– new vocabulary

  • – IPA phonetic spelling,
  • – actual spelling,
  • – correct pronunciation

But by flitting from “right answer” fix to “right answer” fix I have been avoiding all of that.

And so perhaps there is a lot of learning that is passing me by.

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