A Problem-Solving Strategy

for Improving Pronunciation

by Craig Rusbult, Ph.D.

The ideas in this page will help you learn a new language, whether you are visiting the U.S. and are learning English by studying ESL, or you live here and are learning another language: Spanish, French, German, Chinese,...   If you are motivated to learn a new language — and speak it properly with a minimum “foreign accent” — this page will help you improve your pronunciation skills, using a strategy-for-learning that is efficient and effective.

Here is a wise proverb from China: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."  I agree with this principle, so I want to help you master an effective Problem-Solving Strategy for improving your pronunciation.   And you'll get a valuable extra benefit:  this Learning Strategy is an application of a Design Method (closely related to Scientific Method)* that is the method-of-thinking used by most people for solving most problems in life, so you can transfer the skills you develop in using this problem-solving strategy into other areas of life.   /   * One practical application is Developing Strategies for Thinking - and you can explore the full website - Using Design Process for Problem Solving & Education)

I.O.U. — This page was written in August 2011, with minor revisions in April 2014.  Two additional condensed-and-revised versions are available now, and maybe this page will be revised sometime during 2014 based on what I've learned while developing the new website linked-to above, especially in its page about "Design of Learning Strategies."  But the basic ideas & strategies will remain the same, and you can read them now:

A Problem-Solving Strategy for Learning 
A problem is an opportunity to make things better, in a situation where the way something is NOW does not match your GOAL for the way you want it to be.  During a process of problem solving you convert the actual NOW-situation into your desired GOAL-situation.
Problem Solving: Moving from the Now-State to your desired Goal-State
You can decrease your pronunciation problems and increase your pronunciation skills by using a 3-Step Strategy for Learning:

Improving your Pronunciation — An Overview
        This brief description has two purposes:   A) it summarizes the Learning Strategy, if you just want to learn the basic ideas quickly because you can invest only a little time in this page;   B) it gives you a “big picture” overview, to serve as a logical advance organizer that will help you learn more easily when you read the expanded description, which will help you understand the Learning Strategy more thoroughly and use it more effectively.
        Step 1a — Define your Goal-Sounds:  Observe the sounds of native speakers by listening carefully, so you can develop a clear-and-accurate memory for each sound when it's pronounced properly.  These are the Goal-Sounds you will try to imitate.
        Step 1b — Experiment, and Observe-Evaluate-Adjust:  Choose a sound you want to improve.  In an effort to produce your Goal-Sound for this sound, try a variety of Speaking Strategies by adjusting your Sound Factors (the way you use your mouth, lips, tongue, vocal chords,...);  maybe you can get technique principles, to guide your invention of Strategies, from a teacher, friend, web-page, or video.  Use a Strategy while speaking, and observe Your Sound, and Your Actions in using the Strategy.  Then evaluate the sound-results by comparing Your Sound and the Goal-Sound (asking “how closely do they match?”);  also evaluate your Strategy-Application by comparing Your Actions and the Goal-Actions (did you use the Speaking Strategy in the way you wanted?).  Then interpret the results – if Your Sound and the Goal-Sound did not match, any mismatch could be caused by an ineffective Strategy, or your ineffective Application of the Strategy, so try to determine the cause – and make adjustments (in the Strategy or Strategy-Application) that you think might be useful in producing the Goal-Sound, and do another experiment to continue the cycle of Adjust-Observe-Evaluate-Adjust...  Your objective is to determine the Speaking Strategy (the combination of Sound Factors) that lets you produce the best sound, which is your Goal-Sound.   /   Practice in private so you can relax and freely experiment with a variety of ways to speak.  After awhile, shift to other sounds so you can improve your overall pronunciation.
        Step 2 — Transfer your Sound Quality into Conversation:  After you learn how to pronounce sounds properly in Step 1b, practice using these sounds in speaking situations that become more complex and realistic.  Begin with isolated sounds and words, then move on to words in combination, in phrases or sentences.  And move from speaking externally generated ideas (by reading what you see, or repeating what you hear) to speaking internally generated ideas (that come from your own thinking).  At each stage, focus on quality so you will develop good habits of proper pronunciation.  The goal is to consistently say each word properly, when it's combined with other words in sentences during conversations.  You also should develop other conversational skills: say each sound clearly, speak slowly (but not too slow) and loudly (but not too loud), listen carefully, and more.
        Get External Feedback:  For Steps 1a-1b-2, try to find conversation partners who are native speakers, and are willing to help you learn.  Ask for feedback that is honest (so it's accurate and therefore is useful) in telling you what they hear and suggesting ways to improve your speaking, for pronunciation and in other ways.

Now you know the basic ideas of the 3-Step Method.  The expanded version below adds many important details;  after reading it you will understand the method more completely, and you'll be able to use it more effectively.

Improving your Pronunciation  (with important details)

1 — Listen to Sounds, and Define your Goal-Sound
        Defining Goals for Sounds:  When you learn a foreign language, one goal (*) is to pronounce each sound properly, the way most native speakers say it.  How can you know what this sound is?  You observe the sounds of native speakers by listening carefully — during presentations (lectures, radio or TV shows, movies) or discussions, or demonstrations of sounds (in a language class, or an online mp3 or video) — so you can develop clear-and-accurate memories for each type of sound when it is spoken with a proper pronunciation.  Each of these proper sounds is a Goal-Sound.
        A Variety of Sounds:  Different people say sounds in different ways, so a Goal-Sound is just an aiming point near the middle of a “range of proper sounds” that is easy for other people to understand, and is generally considered acceptable.  Also, most languages have many dialects that are geographical & cultural variations in sounds.  For example, with English the range of proper sounds is different in England, America, India, or Australia;  and the sounds of Spanish will differ in Spain and Mexico.  You will even hear variations of sound in different cultures within the same city.  How should you choose the sounds to use as your Goal-Sounds?  Probably you'll want to imitate some combination of local sounds — for example, if you live in the southeast U.S. you'll use some of the “southern drawl” used by people in that region — and mainstream styles such as the speaking you hear on national network TV.  But it's your choice.
        * Your overall Language Goals will include other skills in speaking & listening and probably also skills for reading & writing, in addition to the Pronunciation Goals that are the focus in this page.

        Prepare for Step 1b
        Choose to improve Some Types of Sounds:  Each language has many types of sounds, including vowels and consonants, combined into words in many different ways.  Where should you begin?  How can you choose a “problem sound” that you want to improve?  You can ask a teacher (if you're in a language class) or a conversation partner (as explained later) for advice about the main problem-sounds you should try to improve.  Or you can get a list of sounds,* and in the observe-and-compare process of Step 1b you will find that sometimes Your-Sound (the way you speak the sound) does not match the Goal-Sound you want, so you have discovered a problem-sound.   * For example, a list of 8 sounds in my class-handout (an early version of this web-page) was L (a common problem-sound for Asians) and R, TH and TH (two different sounds), plus 4 vowel-sounds;  and other sounds, both consonants and vowels, would be included in a list that is more complete.
        Improving Several Sounds:  Probably you will find several problem-sounds that you want to improve.  Instead of totally focusing on a single sound while ignoring the others, you can try to improve all of them.  Focus on one sound for awhile, then shift your attention to another, until all of the sounds have been improved. 

2 — Experiment to Explore Possibilities and Adjust-Observe-Evaluate-Adjust
      Adjust, Observe-and-Compare, Adjust:  Choose a type of sound (L, or R, TH,...) and do experiments by trying a variety of Speaking Strategies for producing its Goal-Sound;  for each strategy, adjust different Sound Factors — the shape of your mouth, relationships between your mouth & lips & tongue & teeth, and timings of changes in these relationships, plus your use of vocal chords and vocal resonators,... — and then try the resulting Strategy for Speaking so you can observe the sound-results, to see how your adjustments affect the sound.  For each experiment, compare Your-Sound with the Goal-Sound, and then adjust in any way you think might be useful.  Repeat the cycle (adjust-observe-compare-adjust...) and try to determine the combination of Sound Factors that lets you produce the best sound, which is the sound that most closely matches your Goal-Sound.
        Generating Strategies:  How can you find Speaking Strategies to use in your experiments?  Usually you just try something new — a modification (minor or major) of what you have been doing — to see what will happen.  These modifications can occur due to conscious thinking;  or the modifications can be unconscious, which is the goal with an Inner Game approach in which you have a mental image of your Goal-Sound and you observe Your-Sound, but you avoid a conscious control of your Sound Factors so you can intuitively move closer and closer to the Goal-Sound by “letting your body figure out how to do it.”  But for some sounds you may find that it's helpful to get “technique tips” from someone who can show you (by demonstrating it, and in explanations using words, pictures, and sounds) an effective strategy for using your Sound Factors to produce a particular Goal-Sound.  You can use this advice about techniques can guide your experimenting.  You can try to get useful advice from a teacher, friend, or book, or online in a web-page, mp3 or video.
        Strategy and Strategy-Application:  In each experiment, the results — Your Sound, which you produce while speaking — will depend on two factors: the Strategy you use, and Your Actions in Applying the Strategy.  Therefore, while you are speaking you should observe Your Sound and also Your Actions so you can evaluate the quality of each in a Quality Check, with quality defined by your Goal-Sound and Goal-Actions.  You compare Your Sound with the Goal-Sound you want, to see how closely they match.  And you compare Your Actions with the Goal-Actions you want, to see how closely they match.  It's important to observe both Sound and Action, because if Your Sound didn't totally match the Goal-Sound you wanted, any mismatch could be due to either of two causes: an ineffective Strategy, or your ineffective Application of the Strategy.  The two Quality Checks will help you decide whether you should adjust one or the other, or both, or neither.
        An Attitude for Experimenting Freely:  Try to practice in private so you're not self-conscious or even embarrassed, so you are more willing to try a variety of experiments for speaking.  Relax and let your mouth, lips, and tongue move freely, let the sound go out.  Practicing alone makes it easier to adopt the relaxed attitude in my first suggestion for Musical Improvisation"To creatively explore different ways of making your own music, experiment in low-risk situations — when nobody (not you or anyone else) cares about the quality or klunkers — and listen carefully for feedback, to discover what does and doesn't work well, to gain valuable experience.  Instead of worrying about the possibility of mistakes, just relax, listen, and learn."
        An Attitude for Welcoming Feedback:  If another person helps you by observing Your Sound, ask them to be totally honest in their feedback, when telling you what they observed, because honest feedback will help you the most, and welcome this feedback with a non-defensive attitude, without resenting the criticism.  This is discussed later.

3 — Transfer your Sound Quality into Conversational Speaking Quality 
        Moving from Sounds to Speaking:  After you learn how to pronounce sounds properly in Step 1b, practice using these sounds in speaking situations that become more complex and realistic.  Begin with isolated sounds and individual words, then move on to words in combination, in phrases or complete sentences.  You also can move from speaking externally generated ideas (when you read a sentence you see, or repeat what you hear) to speaking internally generated ideas (that come from “inside your mind” due to your own improvised thinking).
        Using External Feedback:  During most conversations you want to focus on WHAT you are saying with internally generated ideas, so it may be difficult to also observe HOW you're saying it.  Therefore, it can be useful for you to get critical feedback externally from a conversation partner, and to accept this criticism with a non-defensive attitude, as explained later.
        Consistent Quality:  At each stage, focus on quality by doing the Quality Checks of Step 1b, so you will develop good habits of proper pronunciation.  The long-term goal is to consistently say each sound properly, not just by itself (in a practice session) but also combined with other words in sentences during conversations.
        Goals for Sounds and for Speaking:  As an extension of your goals-for-sounds in Step 1a, if you like a person's overall style of speaking (their pronunciation, stressing of syllables and words, use of pacing, vocal quality,...) you can try to imitate this style, using it as an overall goal-for-speaking in Step 2.
        Transfer of Quality in Language and Music:  The language strategy in Steps 2-3, moving from Sound Quality (developed in Step 1b) to Speaking Quality (developed in Step 2), is analogous to moving from Tone Quality to Playing Quality in music, using Long-Tone Practice:  a musician makes a long-lasting tone, with a wind instrument or their voice, while they listen for quality and do whatever is required to produce a better quality of sound (as in Step 1b for pronunciation), and then (as in Step 2 for conversation) they try to retain this high quality when the tone-making is shifted into the context of playing musical songs.

        Flexibility in Steps 1a/1b-2
        In this Learning Strategy the three steps are logically arranged with 1a leading to 1b (in fact, they're part of a Cycle of Design in which you Plan-and-Monitor and maybe Adjust from one cycle to the next) which leads to 2.  But you should interpret "step" loosely because you have flexibility with freedom to improvise.  You can mix your speaking (in 1b) with listening (in 1a) that lets you continue developing your memories for Goal-Sounds.  And you'll move back & forth between 1b & 2 in a strategy for converting your isolated skills with sounds & words (being improved in 1b) into practical real-life skills with sentences & conversations (being improved in 2).

        Asking a Conversation Partner for External Feedback
        This useful section is the "later" that is linked-to above in Steps 1a, 1b, and 2.
        Asking for Help:  When you begin talking with someone, you can briefly explain your language situation:  “I want to speak so it's easy for you to understand, but I know my language skills need to be improved.  You can help with both of these, by telling me about any part of my speaking, in my pronunciation or in other ways, that is making it difficult for you to understand what I am saying.”  Your conversation partner will enjoy your humble honesty, and hopefully they will respond by giving you useful feedback about your speaking.  When they do tell you “what can be improved,” thank them;  and tell them that if they are totally honest, this accurate feedback will help you the most, so it will be appreciated.   /   Of course, you'll want to personally customize what you say, to fit the situation and your own personality.  But the basic principle is simple and logical:  another person is much more likely to provide critical feedback about your problem-sounds if you request it, because if they don't know that you want their critical feedback, they will think that criticizing your speaking is impolite, so they will stay silent, and there will be no improvement in your speaking skills or in the conversation.
        Talking with One Person, or More:  In most two-person conversations, asking for feedback is appropriate.  In a discussion with 3 or more people, making a quick request probably will be acceptable, but this depends on the situation and people. A quick-and-easy way to request feedback is to ask, after you have said something that you think is worth understanding, “did you understand what I said?”, which may lead to responses from others, and then you can say that you want feedback, and briefly explain why.  If the discussion group will include one of your discussion partners, you can ask them (before it) if they think a feedback-request will be appropriate, and ask for their advice.  Afterward, you can ask them “what did you think?” about your request(s) or absence of a request.
        How They Can Help:  If a conversation partner is a native speaker, they will be able to hear things that are more difficult for you to hear, because they are experts in the use of their own language.  They know all of the Goal-Sounds, plus many other language skills.   /   In Step 1a they can find your problem-sounds that you have not yet recognized, and they can speak Goal-Sounds for you to observe.   /   For Step 1b they can be an “extra set of ears” to supplement your own observations of Your Sound,* and they can help you do a Quality Check (by comparing Your-Sound with the Goal-Sound) because they know the Goal-Sound so well.  Maybe they can provide technique tips for producing a sound, by observing their own use of Sound Factors when they speak this sound, to help you develop a Speaking Strategy for the sound, and correctly Apply this Strategy.   {* As explained below, they can focus more of their attention on observing Your Sound. }
        Receiving External Feedback:  During a conversation there is an important difference between the contexts of your speaking and their listening.  When you speak, much of your attention is being used for the ideas you are internally generating by your thinking, so it's difficult for you to observe Your Sounds accurately and thoroughly.  But when they are listening, their main focus of attention is observing Your Sound because they want to understand, and if they have trouble understanding (at the level of a sound, word, phrase, sentence, or idea) they can tell you.  Their feedback can improve two types of quality, for the conversation (by converting their not-understanding into understanding) and for your pronunciation (which can be improved by your productive responses to their feedback).
        Accepting External Feedback:  When you ask for feedback, explain why honesty is important, because feedback that is honest-and-accurate will be more useful for helping you improve;  so if they want to help you more, they will be honest in accurately describing what they hear, and what they suggest that you do as a response.  You should accept their feedback with a non-defensive attitude, but this can be difficult because although some of their accurate feedback will be praising (“you're making excellent progress, and it's becoming easier to understand you”), some of it will be criticism.  All of us want to feel skilled-and-capable in everything we do, so when someone says “you didn't do that very well” our natural response is to resent the criticism.  To avoid this response, you may find it helpful to “categorize” by reminding yourself that you are skilled in many areas of life, but you are not claiming to be skilled in some aspects of learning this foreign language;  this distinction may make it easier for you to be humbly gracious in accepting the criticism.  A gracious response is much better than responding emotionally in a way that is unproductive for friendship, communication, and language improvement.  If instead your internal attitude is a genuine appreciation of their feedback — which is intended to help you, and is being provided because you asked for it — and if you externally express this inner attitude by telling them how much you appreciate their help, this will improve your relationship & communication with them, so they are more likely to continue talking with you and helping you improve your language skills. 

Well, that's the Problem-Solving Strategy for Improving Pronunciation.   The rest of this page is “bonus ideas” that I think you'll find interesting and useful.  It begins with a Table of Contents that briefly summarizes the ideas in each section to give you a quick overview of the section and help you decide if you want to click the link and learn more.

  Table of Contents for the Bonus Ideas:
  • Conversational Skills – Pronunciation and Much More — Another page (described and linked-to) is an overview-summary of other conversational skills for listening and speaking.
  • Motivations for Using a Problem-Solving Approach — If you want to improve your language skills, you must be motivated to invest the time & effort this requires.
  • A Strategy for Learning (how to Improve any skill) — How did my friend become an expert welder?  Can you use his learning strategy to improve your skill in other areas?
  • Transfer Your Problem-Solving Skills from Language into Life by using Design Method — As explained in the introduction, "this Learning Strategy [for Improving Pronunciation] is an application of a Design Method... used by most people for solving most problems in life, so you can transfer your skills with this Learning Strategy into other areas of life."  We'll look at principles for improving a transfer of learning, and I will use Design Method to re-explain Steps 1a-1b-2 in a different way, using a Cycle of Design.

Skills for Conversation — Speaking (pronunciation,...) and Listening and More
      Conversational Skills include Speaking Skills (pronunciation & more) and Speaking Skills.  My summary of Conversation Skills covers many principles of speaking  —  speak slowly enough (but not too slow) so you can say each sound clearly-and-distinctly, and because slowing down, along with speaking loudly enough (but not too loud), will help listeners understand you;  stress the correct syllable(s) within a word, and place emphasis on appropriate words within a sentence;  and much more  —  plus skills for listening and interactive conversation.    Also, ESL Resources for Learning English which include my class-handout with sounds, words, and technique tips (demonstrated “live” during the class) for Pronunciation Practice.

Motivations for Using a Problem-Solving Approach
        This page describes a Problem-Solving Strategy for Learning.  It's a do-it-yourself process of learning, so improvement requires an investment of your own time and effort.  You must decide that the improvement is worth the time it will require.  Are you willing to make this investment?
        My friend learned to become an expert welder, using the Strategy for Learning described below, because he was motivated to improve a skill that would improve the quality of his life, now and in the future.  Ask yourself an important question:  “If I invest the time and effort required to improve my language skills significantly, will this improve the quality of my life (now and in the future) in a significant way?”  If you are a casual tourist the honest answer might be either “yes, because I'll enjoy my travels more,” or “no, it really won't make much difference.”  But if you're a scholar who is visiting a country for one year or more, the answer should be an enthusiastic “yes!” that will motivate you to invest the time-and-effort required to improve your skills.
        Or, to think about this question in a different way, do you want to be an intelligent-and-educated person who has lived in an English-speaking country for 1 year (or 2 years, or 5 years) and still hasn't made significant progress toward mastering our language, is still speaking like you just arrived last week, is unable to participate in high-quality discussions with colleagues in your field by understanding their ideas and clearly expressing your own ideas?

        Attitudes toward learning involve more than just motivation, more than simply adopting a problem-solving approach to personal education by deciding that you want to convert your current state of knowledge (ideas-and-skills) into a more desirable future goal-state with improved ideas-and-skills.
        Another aspect of attitude, Self-Efficacy, is also relevant: "Students need accurate self-perception, but with optimism about their potential for growth & improvement, and a healthy attitude of self-efficacy that is a belief in their ability to succeed in a particular situation.  A person's self-efficacy attitude depends on the type of situation and its details, so self-efficacy varies from one situation to another."  Because self-efficacy varies with the situation, and intelligent scholar can feel confident about their personal ideas-and-skills in their scholarly field, but not for improving their pronunciation.  If you decide to feel more confident about your ability to improve the quality of your speaking, you will set higher goals for yourself and you will not be satisfied if you are not "making significant progress toward mastering our language."  Instead, you will be motivated to set higher standards for your speaking quality, and invest time & effort to achieve these goals.

A Strategy for Learning — how to improve any skill
        A Problem-Solving Strategy for Improving Pronunciation is similar to this Strategy for Learning:
        When I lived in Seattle, a friend became such a good welder that employers tolerated his unusual way to work and play:  he would request an audition (to show them how good he was) and they hired him, he quickly made lots of money, and then he took a vacation to play for awhile until his money supply got low, when he would “audition” for another job.  How did he become such a good welder?  What was his strategy for learning?  He had learned how to learn by following the wise advice of his teacher: “Every time you do a welding job, do it better than the time before.”  This is a good way to improve the quality of everything you do.  For example, re-read this paragraph but replace “welding” by “speaking” and think about how you can continually "do it better than the time before."
        This strategy-for-learning is examined in more detail — which includes a suggestion to "concentrate in the present and be alertly aware so you can accurately-and-thoroughly observe what you are doing and how your thinking-and-action is affecting the quality of your work" and to recognize that your strategies will depend on whether your main objective is performance or learning — is in a section about Using Metacognition for Thinking-and-Learning.

Transfer Your Problem-Solving Skills from Language into Life by using Design Method
        As explained in the introduction, a Problem-Solving Strategy for Improving Pronunciation is one application of a general Design Method.  A transfer of learning, from one situation to another, is increased when knowledge (ideas and/or skills) is used in multiple areas, and when knowledge is understood in a generalized form that has been applied in these areas and also could be used in new areas.  Design Method supports both of these principles — it can be used in all areas of life, and it explains ideas-and-skills in a generalized form — so it should help increase the transfer of ideas-and-skills from one area to another.  Thus, the problem-solving strategies you learn for improving pronunciation can be used in other areas of life.   /   MORE - Principles of Transfer and Metacognition
        I.O.U. — The rest of this section was written in 2011.  Since then my model of Design Process has been revised.  Therefore, sometime later (I'm writing this update in April 2014) I may revise what you see below.  But... now you can read a revised-and-improved version of Using Design Process to Develop Cognitive-and-Metacognitive Strategies for Improving Thinking Skills and Physical Skills in my main website for education.
        We'll look at connections between the 3-Step Method for Improving Pronunciation and Design Method (and Scientific Method) in three stages.

        First, the top diagram below — with Steps 1 and 2a-2b-2c, which are Steps 1 and 2 in the 3-Step Method — is a verbal-and-visual representation of Design Method.  Here is an explanation of the steps:
  • 1 — DEFINE A GOAL by choosing an objective (to improve a particular sound), and then you OBSERVING (listening) so you can DEFINE a Goal-Sound, in Step 1a.
  • 2 — Here, Step 1b is split into three parts, in which you PLAN a strategy, use this strategy for an EXPERIMENT to produce observations that you EVALUATE, which helps you PLAN again to begin the next round of a 3-part Cycle of Design.
      • PLAN by developing a Strategy for Action — for using your body (your mouth, lips, tongue, vocal chords,...) in a specific way — that you think will help you produce the Goal-Sound (defined in Step 1a) when you speak.
      • EXPERIMENT by using the Strategy (from PLAN) while you speak, and OBSERVE Your Sound by listening carefully;  you also OBSERVE Your Actions (what did you do with your mouth, lips,...) while speaking.
      • EVALUATE the Strategy by comparing Your Sound (your actual pronunciation) with your Goal-Sound (the ideal pronunciation you wanted), and EVALUATE your Strategy-Application by comparing Your Actions (what you actually did while speaking) with the Goal-Actions (what you wanted to do, in an ideal application of the Strategy).  For each comparison you can ask “In what ways was there a satisfactory matching, or a mismatch, between what I observed and what I wanted?”
      • PLAN again, based on your interpretation of EVALUATIONS, by adjusting your Strategy and/or your Strategy-Application, if you think that adjusting either or both will help you produce the Goal-Sound you want.
      CYCLES — You PLAN for another speaking-EXPERIMENT that you EVALUATE and interpret, so you can PLAN again ... in continuing cycles of observing-and-improving until you have achieved your Goal-Sound, or you say “it's close enough for now” and you move on to other objectives for pronunciation, or to other areas of language or life.
3-Part Cycle: Plan, Experiment, Evaluate
        Second, the 3-part Cycle in the specialized diagram above (customized to describe a specific Method for Learning Pronunciation) is functionally identical to the general diagram below, which has the same color coding (blue for strategy and red for strategy-application) and is used for a generalized Method for Learning that is an application of Design Method.
3-Part Cycle: Plan, Experiment, Evaluate
        Third, the diagram below shows that in Step 1bc your two evaluations (made by comparing OBSERVATIONS with GOALS) are Physical Quality Checks for the Strategy and Strategy-Application, with quality defined by your GOALS.
Diagram for Integrated Design Method, showing relationships between Design and Science
And what about the other parts of this diagram for Design Method?  In Step 1a, after you choose an OBJECTIVE (for a type of Sound), you define GOALS (for a Goal-Sound).  In Step 1ba you select a THEORY (a Strategy learned from your teacher, or a web-page or video,...) or you invent a THEORY (a Strategy made by adjusting your previous use of Sound Factors) and you make PREDICTIONS (with Mental Experiments) that you use in Mental Quality Checks (by comparing your PREDICTIONS and your GOALS) and you decide that this Strategy may help you produce the Goal-Sound, so you choose it as a Strategy to use for Step 1bb in a Physical Experiment that lets you make OBSERVATIONS to use in Step 1bc.  If you decide that a Strategy has helped you produce your Goal-Sound, a Reality Check has confirmed an agreement between your PREDICTIONS (that this THEORY-Strategy will help) and your OBSERVATIONS (that it does help).

        The 3-Step Method, Design Method, and Scientific Method:  As you can see in the diagram, Quality Checks (Mental or Physical) are used for Design, and Reality Checks are used for Science.  The 3-Step Method for Improving Pronunciation is mainly Design — because its main focus is Quality Checks (for your Strategy and Strategy-Application) in Step 1bc — so it's an application of Design Method.  This is why I claim, in the page-introduction, that it's “an application of a Design Method (closely related to Scientific Method).”  How is Design Method closely related to Scientific Method?  Science is a special type of Design in which the objectives are to design (to select, invent, or improve) accurate theories and useful experiments, so Scientific Method is a subset of Design Method, and is contained within Design Method, as explained in An Introduction to Design and Building Bridges from Life to Design to Science to Life.

Copyright © 2009-2011 by Craig Rusbult