Two days ago I listened to Stephen Krashen's live presentations in Adobe Connect. Mr Krashen is an Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of California. He is best known for his theory of second language acquisition and as the co-inventor of the Natural Approach to foreign language teaching.
The first presentation, “The Comprehension Hypothesis vs. The Skill-Building Hypothesis: Why accept a delayed gratification when the gratification never comes?“, was very interesting.
The two ideas are quite opposite. According to the skill-building hypothesis, you learn about the language and practice grammar and vocabulary. Hard work and discipline pay off after some time.
Stephen Krashen claims that we acquire language when we understand it. His suggestion for learning a second language is: relax, listen to stories, read good books, the result of all the comprehensible input is learning the language. Learning is a pleasant experience.
He added some proof in the form of research results which show that in tests related to communication, comprehensive approach gives better results, in grammar tests, the results are equal or better. His papers can be found on his website: www.sdkrashen.com
Mr Krashen talked more about reading and his speech was music to my ears. Reading is the source of our reading and writing ability, vocabulary, spelling and grammar competence, he said. The most powerful form is free voluntary reading.
A lot of food for thought.