Acquisition vs. Learning


In September I was a guest lecturer in Nyssa Knarvik’s Teaching Methodology for Foreign Language Instruction graduate course at Colorado State University. I talked about Krashen’s hypotheses and gave a demo of a TPRS-style story. I have been invited back in November. Here are some questions the students have about TPRS/CI. These are good questions by a sharp group of graduate students, all of whom are currently teaching. I have some answers in mind, but I am interested in finding out what members of the group are thinking. Please share what you would add or alter in the responses below. [...]


Engaging students at a personal level is the way to their hearts and minds. Aaron Mendelsohn, a high school teacher in Massachusetts, sent me this note the other day: I just want to share with you that I have gotten A LOT of mileage out of Persona Especial!  What a great activity.  Thank You! When I asked him to elaborate, he replied with this: Persona Especial has been a success for a number of reasons.  I'm gonna start off by sharing what was on my mind when I wrote to you a few days ago:  PE is almost a O [...]

COMPREHENSION CHECK & DISCUSSION QUESTIONS (Krashen’s Hypotheses Series, #9 of 9)

  Check Your Understanding of Krashen's Hypotheses: (See all 9 posts in this series, plus a satirical piece on Krashen's work here)    Check Your Understanding of Krashen's Hypotheses . 1.  _________________________ is the unconscious absorbing of language when exposed to comprehended messages. 2.  _________________________ is getting conscious, focused knowledge of certain elements of a language through grammatical explanations, drills and studying. 3.  _________________________ results in knowing about the language. 4.  _________________________ results in being able to understand and use the language spontaneously and unconsciously. 5.  The ________________________ hypothesis suggests that the grammatical elements of a language are acquired in a predictable sequence that cannot [...]

Seminar in Seattle

Did a seminar in Seattle this week (the 5th of 5 this month) for the Institute for Educational Development, a division of the Bureau of Education and Research (BER). 62 enthusiastic attendees. Fabulous group! Saw some old friends and made some new ones. Woven throughout every aspect of the day was the crucial need for relationships and empathy. Talked about what works in the world language classroom to make it a place where acquisition happens joyfully and enthusiastically: • How modern Second Language Acquisition (SLA) theory applies to best-practice teaching • The difference between acquisition and learning in world language teaching [...]