Many of feverish tadoku articles have already prevailed all over English learning magazine in Japan, some magazine seem to given up on tadoku as its bait, and now new bait looks like to take its place: shadowing method, to be exact. It's not nothing new but long used method among professional/want-to-be professional interpreters I think.
I myself do some kind of shadowing/mumbling sometimes while I take a walk when I really feel like doing it, and it's super effective to make yourself comfortable to spake English. I think it works for the muscle around your mouth and enables you to move your mouth appropriately to speak English with ease. Speaking English requires to move your tongue or mouth more actively than speaking Japanese, so some kind of training habit, it doesn't necessarily be tough tough, is crucial to make your English sound natural.
However, when I encounter those teachers who emphasize the importance of mastering English pronunciation from shadowing or other methods, I can't help wondering what English they're talking about to master. Is there any standard English pronunciation somewhere in the world? What kind of materials are they going to use, British English like Harry Potter or New York English like White Collar??
For many learners of English, studying English itself is a tremendously daunting job and we have to spare large part of our life for that purpose only. Once you reach to a certain level, it won't be such a bother to study since we can enjoy lots of things while learning English, from watching movies to reading books, but we have to keep learning forever to be a fluent and good user of English.
Then isn't it to much burden for adult learners to master beautiful pronunciation? If the learner don't feel comfortable after certain amount of pronunciation practice, then isn't it practical to take different tactics and encourage them to nurture their own style of English speaking? For me, imitating certain kind of English pronunciation and trying to fit in the frame of its English excessively means nothing but 魂を売る。It might sound overreacting, but I wonder if you think I'm talking absurd and nonsense, after reading the article below. You may not get upset if you agree with the idea that over weighted people shouldn't be allowed to go up a carrier ladder because being over weighted is a sign of their lack of managing their physical health. But if you don't agree with this, then you might as well see similar problematic issues about learning English pronunciation.
"Subtle bias can lead to substantial economic impact. In particular, having an accent can lead to perceptions of poor communication skills or lack of leadership ability, reducing the chance for advancement. The end result, as multiple studies have shown, is that even fully fluent individuals for whom English is a second language may experience decreased earnings of up to 12% over the course of their careers." from
The Wall Street Journal http://on.wsj.com/uTEMfe
BTW, below is also a quote from the article and I'd love to present this to all the Japanese English teachers in Japan.
"Learning English isn’t the same as knowing English, and knowing English isn’t the same as being able to speak good, or even intelligible English."