Dr. Stephen Krashen and the Natural Approach to Second Language Acquisition

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Dr. Stephen Krashen

Dr. Stephen Krashen is professor emeritus at the University of Southern California. He is a linguist and educational researcher. He is known for his theory of second language acquisition known as The Natural Approach, which he developed with Tracy Terrell. Dr. Krashen has published more than 350 papers and books in the fields of second language acquisition, bilingual education, and reading.("Stephen Krashen ")

thumbs-up.jpgThe Natural Approach

The Natural Approach is a theory of second language learning which focuses on both oral and written communication skills. It was developed on the premise of four principles:

ü Comprehension of language begins before language production.

ü Language production emerges in stages.

ü Language learning is done using communication and interaction in the target language.

ü Classroom tasks and activities are centered on students’ interests, and lower their affective filters. (Krashen & Terrell, 1998)

The goal of The Natural Approach is “the ability to communicate with native speakers of the target language.” (“Cook”, n.d.) There are five hypotheses that outline the Natural Approach theory. They are defined below.

five.jpgThe Five Hypotheses of The Natural Approach

ü The Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis--This hypothesis states that there are two different ways to develop language, through language acquisition and language learning. Language acquisition occurs naturally when language is used in communication and interaction. Language learning involves explicit instruction in language rules and grammar.

ü The Natural Order Hypothesis—This hypothesis states that the acquisition of grammatical structures happens in a predictable order. (Wilson, 2000) Certain structures are acquired first, followed by more difficult ones.

ü The Monitor Hypothesis—With this hypothesis, it is believed that language that has been consciously learned acts as an editor. In instances where the learner has time to process the language needed, this conscious editor is called the Monitor. (Wilson, 2000) The monitor is used to make corrections in L2 production, after language is acquired.

ü The Input Hypothesis—This hypothesis states that learners acquire language by receiving input that is slightly higher than their current level of language proficiency.

ü The Affective Filter Hypothesis—This hypothesis reflects the personal attitude of the learner as well as their attitude about their environment. The learner must feel comfortable in their situation, and be motivated to use the target language, in order to acquire more language to be used in communication.

computer_help.jpgTo learn more about Dr. Krashen and The Natural Apporach:
This link gives information about Krashen’s hypotheses and how to apply them in the classroom.
Krashen’s 6 Hypothesis by Olenka Bilashhttp://www2.education.ualberta.ca/staff/olenka.bilash/Best%20of%20Bilash/krashen.html

This link gives information about how to work with students who are still in the “Silent Period” of SLA.Understand the Silent Period with English Language Learnersby Andie Cunningham and Ruth Shagouryhttp://www.choiceliteracy.com/public/90.cfm


Stephen Krashen. Wikipedia. Retrieved May 25, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Krashen

Cook, V. (n.d.). Krashen. Retrieved from http://homepage.ntlworld.com/vivian.c/SLA/Krashen.htm

Krashen, S.D. & Terrell, T.D. (1998). The natural approach: Language acquisition in the classroom. New York, NY: Prentice Hall.

Wilson, R. (2000). A summary of stephen krashen's "principles and practice in second language acquisition". Retrieved from http://www.languageimpact.com/articles/rw/krashenbk.htm

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