SLA Theory


In September I was a guest lecturer at professor Nyssa Knarvik’s graduate class in teaching methods for world languages at Colorado State University. All of the students were teaching either college or high school classes. I talked about Krashen’s hypotheses and gave a demo of a TPRS-style story. I was invited back for another lecture in November. Here are the questions the students had about teaching with comprehensible input. Thanks to all who responded for sharing their ideas on how respond to these questions, especially Kristen Noelle Donoghue Wolf, Lance Piantaggini, Jen Schongalla, Christine Garrabrant Aguiar. Do you discuss these [...]

By |2019-11-11T13:38:39-07:00November 11th, 2019|Categories: Acquisition, SLA Theory|0 Comments

THE INPUT HYPOTHESIS (Krashen’s Hypotheses Series, #5 of 9)

(Previous post in this series: The Natural Order of Acquisition) The next post in this series, The Affective Filter Hypothesis (#6/9) is found here. Focus like a MANIAC I: The Input Hypothesis This is the big one "Comprehensible input is the cause of language acquisition."   This is the most influential of Krashen’s hypotheses—the one that has changed the way world languages are taught. It asserts that we develop language ability when we understand messages in the target language. Languages are not acquired by studying, by traditional practice, or by listening and repeating. Languages are acquired as we hear or [...]

By |2018-10-22T20:36:16-06:00May 10th, 2018|Categories: Administrators, Incomprehensible Input, Krashen, SLA Theory|0 Comments

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 [...]

ACQUISITION / LEARNING (Krashen’s Hypotheses Series, #3 of 9)

All of the posts about Stephen Krashen's Hypotheses are available here. (Previous post: The Monitor Hypothesis) The next post in this series (#4/9), The Natural Order of Acquisition, is found here. MANIAC A: The Acquisition/Learning Hypothesis Very important for teachers to get "Language acquisition and language learning are two different things." Language acquisition is an unconscious process. Acquisition happens when the student is hearing the language or reading in the language but is focused on something other than on the language itself as subject matter. Acquisition happens when the student is focused on the message. Language learning is conscious, focused and purposeful. [...]

By |2018-10-22T16:55:11-06:00April 29th, 2018|Categories: Acquisition vs. Learning, C.I. Skeptics, Krashen, SLA Theory|0 Comments


“The overwhelming majority of teachers ...are unable to name or describe a theory of learning that underlies what they do in the classroom.” —Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards, p. 10 This quote challenges me to evaluate why I am doing what I am doing as I plan and teach. Am I making it up as I go along or can I describe how each of my lessons relates to theories of learning? Certainly teaching is both art and science, but according to Kohn, far too often we fall short in the theory realm. There are tested theories of learning that [...]

By |2018-01-16T12:44:39-07:00March 24th, 2017|Categories: Growth & Change, Satire, SLA Theory, Uncategorized|0 Comments