View Full Version : Interesting read on foreign language teaching.

August 6th, 2012, 16:00
The wrong and right way to learn a foreign language - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/the-wrong-and-right-way-to-learn-a-foreign-language/2012/06/16/gJQAK2xBhV_blog.html)

The wrong and right way to learn a foreign language
By Valerie Strauss
This was written by linguist Stephen Krashen, professor emeritus at the University of Southern California, is an educational researcher and activist. He has written hundreds of articles and books in the fields of second language acquisition, bilingual education, and reading.

By Stephen Krashen

In a recent issue of the Washington Post Express, Andrew Eil, a staffer who works at the U.S. State Department on international climate change, recommends that foreign language students start with “boot camp:” Study grammar very hard, drill vocabulary every day, and force yourself to talk. This regimen, he claims, put him in a position to develop high levels of competence in several languages; he now speaks Russian and French fluently and can converse in Mandarin and Kazakh.

Most of us who have taken foreign languages classes that emphasize heavy grammar instruction and memorizing vocabulary would disagree with his recommendations, and so does the research.

The results of studies done over the last few decades by a wide variety of researchers and published in scientific journals support this view: We do not master languages by hard study and memorization, or by producing it. Rather, we acquire language when we understand what people tell us and what we read, when we get “comprehensible input.” As we get comprehensible input through listening and reading, we acquire (or “absorb”) the grammar and vocabulary of the second language...................................................