Short reply to Couper (2020) "A response to Messum and Young's argument for an Articulatory Approach”

Published in Speak Out! Issue 62

We are grateful to Graeme Couper for his critique of our article and of the Articulatory Approach in general. Apart from the value of the particular points he makes, the critique also reminds us of two things. Firstly, how difficult it is to get novel ideas across properly in words, because even with the private correspondence he mentions, his understanding of what we do is incorrect in some important ways. (We take our share of the responsibility for this.) Secondly, that a picture or an experience is truly worth a thousand words. We are sure that his misapprehensions would be cleared up if he was able to observe a class taught using the Articulatory Approach, or better still, was able to be a student in such a class.


In our main reply, we deal with the three key difficulties that he finds with our approach. Regarding the third, his call for empirical evidence, we discuss how teaching practice in classrooms might be improved. We are well disposed towards anyone trying to do so through academic educational research, but we explain why we are sceptical of their chances of success. We describe, instead, how we think improvement may actually be achieved.