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Posts Tagged ‘methods’

Language Learning Methods - Two-Way

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

The developmental program of Two-way language is also known as the bilingual immersion programs as well as dual language program. These programs are intense and full time and use two languages for instruction and learning.

Most of these programs consist of students that speak a native language such as Spanish and are attempting to learn a new language such as English. In both elementary and high schools, these programs are prevalent and very active. Half of the class of students consists of some Spanish students and some English students who are native speakers of their language.

The student learns the language through their native language as well as through the second language that they are trying to learn. The student uses this two way method of learning to be more astute and proficient in both languages, but it helps them to develop their skills in the second language.

The two-way language program is more geared towards bilingual education than it is for students who are limited in their proficiency in English. It is an enrichment program that gives student a better understanding between two languages. Students who are not as proficient in English will feel like they are equally educated to their peers and it helps them to excel in their education.

The Two-Way language development program is more effective if it:

1.    Allows for participation in both languages
2.    Focuses on subjects that are academic
3.    Incorporate the curriculum for both languages
4.    Allows student to use the language learned in their home
5.    Empowerment of students with active learning
6.    Use the minority language sufficiently
7.    CALP development

The Two-Way Language acquisition program has two primary goals and that is:

1.    That Minority Students will learn things in their own languages as well as in the second language.
2.    Those Majority students will increase their level of language proficiency in the second language while progressively developing in the native language.

Students in both groups of language learning will have an academic performance at the grade level that they are at ad develop attitudes that are confident and positive towards learning the two languages.

It is important that the two-way language program last for up to six years to ensure proficiency in essentially the second language.

Language Acquistion - Natural Approach (Terrell and Krashen)

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Tracy Terrell and Stephen Krashen corporately developed the natural approach to language acquisition in 1977. They made an impact on the global community as this approach had an influence on many classrooms.

The goal of the natural approach is allow the beginner who is learning a new language to become an intermediate learner. It relies on the needs that the learner has.

Learning a new language using the natural approach is based on certain specifics, which include:

  • The Acquisition hypothesis – this is where language acquisition is more important than language learning. Language acquisition develops more competence in the students and not so much the rules of the language as language learning do.
  • Monitor hypothesis – this is the checks and balances of learning consciously.
  • Natural order hypothesis – this is the grammatical structure that is usually expected and will do the student no good to learn them in another way.
  • Input hypothesis – this is when students who are learning a new language are better able to comprehend it at a slightly higher level of competence.
  • Affective filter hypothesis – this is when the student uses their emotions to block the input that is needed for language acquisition.

Some of the techniques that teachers can use to enhance the language acquisition using the natural approach is to allow students to speak when they are ready to do so, put students in group to foster more communication and use comprehensible input in student’s native language with gestures and other forms of articulation.

Students that use the natural approach are able to use the new language to indulge in meaningful conversations and activities.


It does seem from the approaches implemented by Krashen and the methods used by Terrell that students would learn to apply what they have learned more outside of the classroom and more by communicating with their peers.

This constitutes why students will learn language in a natural way when they can identify with others. The natural approach indicates that the more exposure to the new language that a student has then the more successful they will be.

Language Learning - Comprehensible Input 2 of 2

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

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.

Language Learning - Comprehensible Input 1 of 2

Monday, July 6th, 2009

For a student who is trying to develop a second language, whether there are learning difficulties or not, Comprehensible Input is the solution. The way that this method will work is that the student has to understand what is being taught and be able to comprehend it.

The teacher does not have to only use words for the student to be able to understand. Sometimes, the student will know the words and yet the instructions cannot be comprehended. It is best that the teacher give the student the appropriate input.

The teacher can use visual aids, putting words into context, and clarifications to communicate to the student and make it more understandable. Giving some background knowledge of the content is reasonable enough for the student to learn the language better. The teacher should use different concepts with a little variation of the terms.

Comprehensible input has more to do with context than it is with the content of the curriculum and language development. There is an emphasis on context because the teachers can indulge the experiences of the students that have learning difficulties.

Although, culture is important to actively involving the student, the teacher does not have to know everything about the student’s culture.  However, it is important that the teacher understand the importance of culture and experience as it relates to learning a new language.

Other techniques

There are other tactics that teachers can use to get through to the students. Some of these include using language consistently and allowing students to be more expressive of their own ideas.

Some people learn better with visual aids, so teachers can incorporate this into the classroom to make learning a second language more comprehensible. To make the instructions more coherent and understandable, teachers can use objects for presentations and gestures to improve learning.

Openly Communicate

The teacher should openly engage the students by asking a lot of questions and encouraging the student to be more involved by expressing their own thoughts in the second language.

One way that the teacher can foster motivation in students to be eager to learn the language is to have them share their own experiences verbally in the new language. This will increase their language skills and give them a way to identify with the language.


Comprehensible input is a model to learn a new language, but it is also a real way that students can learn a second language well. It is certainly achievable.