Research shows that students learn better when they are afforded the opportunity to practice the language that they are trying to learn. They also have to practice at the level that they are comfortable with. This is referred to as Comprehensible Output.
However, Comprehensible Input is much more complex. It has to do with how students hear and understand instructions that are above the level of language that they are learning.
Here is an example:
Someone who may be learning English as a second language could be told to “Pass the book to Emily,” and be able to understand quite alright.
If the teacher would change the sentence to reflect a slight variation such as “Open the book for Emily,” then this new information would be added to the student’s comprehension of the language.
The teacher would have to give the student the new material that will utilize any previous knowledge that the student had.
As long as the student understands the message, the teacher would have accomplished the task of equipping the student with what is needed to learn the new language.
Comprehensible Input, formerly known as the Input Hypothesis, was initiated by Stephen Krashen, who was a linguist and instructor. Krashen uses the equation i+1 to explain how people move from one point of understanding language to the next.
The “i” in the equation would refer to previous language competence and the additional knowledge of the language that we have that depends on situations and experiences. The “1” in the equation would be representative of newly acquired knowledge.
There are two levels of learning new language using the Comprehensible Input method. One is the beginning level and the other is the intermediate level.
In the beginning level, most of the time in class is used for verbal input that is comprehensible. Teachers have to make sure that their speech is modified so students can understand. Teachers should not force the student to speak at this level. Emphasis on grammar is only initiated for students who go to high school or are adults learning a new language.
In the intermediate level, it is more confined to mostly academic subjects for comprehensible input. More of the focus is on the meaning of the subject than the form of the subject.
Comprehensible input is a not based on the natural order of teacher, but students will be able to comprehend the natural order by receiving the input.