I've seen Krashen mentioned a lot on this site and others, but I've gotten a somewhat mixed impression of him from all I've read. In the field of bilingual education for children, I've seen him get called a fraud. They mention that his advocacy of education where the kids would learn the subject in their native language and only switch to the language of the country they're in later on. They say it leads to kids never learning the language of the country and a disastrous system that Krashen continues to push for monetary reasons.
Should we listen to and take ideas from someone who may be fraudulent?
<Should we listen to and take ideas from someone who may be fraudulent? >
Have you read all or most of Krashen's works?
No, and right now I wouldn't, because I'm not wanting to get into big English language works. I'm not bringing this up to attack Krashen, as I don't know much about it. His ideas regarding language acquisition for adults seem good to me, but I hear a lot of controversy where his ideas regarding the same for children are concerned. In fact, his advocacy for bilingual education seems to contradict what little I know about his ideas on language acquisition and the monitor hypothesis. I believe he is routinely attacked in America with regards to Mexican immigrant children in classrooms who are said to be greatly delayed in their English language language because of the programs he advocates. They also accuse him of falsifying the data that come from those classrooms.
I don't know too much about him, and don't use this as a launch to attack me. Simply saying that it's not true without taking into account what I'm hearing from the other side will hurt your credibility in my eyes. I see this as a concern. Every time I see him mentioned on one of these websites, as much as I agree with him, this experience I have of reading about him being possibly fraudulent in bilingual education seems to hurt my impression of him and of the site that is referencing him.
It is not Stephen Krashen who is advocating this input hypothesis. There are many other language experts(Dr. James Asher, Dr. J. Marvin Brown, Dr. Ashley Hastings, Dr. Brenda Murphy, David Long and Blaine Ray) who are saying the same thing.
<I don't know too much about him, and don't use this as a launch to attack HIM.>
Staying away from Krashen's views on bilingual education or whole reading, and concentrating on his input hypothesis:
As the prior post said, Krashen did not invent the hypothesis. He freely admits this, and credits many (including an ex-teacher of mine, Leonard Newmark) who came before him. He DID present it in a coherent theory (the acquisition/learning hypothesis, the monitor hypothesis, the natural order hypothesis, the input hypothesis, and the affective filter hypothesis), and advocated it publicly in a strong manner starting over two decades ago.
My thoughts on Krashen (with whom I've corresponded in the past):
His basic theory, that of comprehensible input, is absolutely solid. The succesful founders of this website, and many of the successful polyglots mentioned here and elsewhere (Kato Lomb, Steve Kaufmann, Heinrich Schliemann, etc.) make that the central component of their language study.
His emphasis on enough input before attempting output (the "silent period") is also sensible, as anyone who was forced to speak from day one in class--and ended up with a poor accent, fixed mistakes, and/or fear of even trying--can attest to. (Marvin Brown takes the silent period to its extreme, and I've seen other posters on Antimoon doing the same.)
Other suggestions, like "narrow reading" (concentrating on one author or subject), and lowering the "affective filter" (i.e., reducing anxiety, increased motivation, attitude toward the language, etc.) are also solid, and are echoed by the Antimoon guys.
Krashen thinks that language just "emerges"--i.e., after enough input, speaking will emerge naturally--not correct at first, but easily, and without "monitoring." Output will eventually get more accurate with more input. Although I think that is possible--like the Mexican who learned Hebrew fluently working in a Los Angeles Israeli restaurant (http://www.sdkrashen.com/articles/what_does_it_take/all.html), I think that there are many, many counter-examples. I know too many people who understand another language PERFECTLY--but can hardly speak. Many of us are much better at understanding than reading or writing. I don't think that one's basic language knowledge gets better with output (the "comprehensible output" theory), but somewhere along the line most of us need to make an effort in using it. It might be just repeating a memorized dialogue, or reading along with a recording, or "echoing" someone else, or practicing by oneself--but we have to get the mouth muscles moving.
The other issue is concentrating on "form." Krashen (and Marvin Brown) think that is useless (or even detrimental) to concentrate on the form--he thinks we only learn when we're listening (or reading) for MEANING, and forget about the aspects of the language itself. Although I agree that one can skip learning "rules," and that there indeed people who can learn with meaning alone, many of the most successful learners pay close attention to the language they are reading or listening to. (Like the Antimoon authors' "pause and think" method.)
So I strongly support his central hypothesis, but question some of his conclusions. But for those who think that he is "fraudulent," I suggest you read the string of e-mail messages by Hasanbey Ellidokuzoglu, who answers the anti-Krashenites, and who has applied the method with spectacular results in Turkey:
(Make sure you click on "To the next Hasenbey e-mail message" at the bottom of each page, finishing with "Marvin Brown's Approach.")
Wow! Gold mine! I do have one question about this though:
<<The idea behind such a practice is that premature (forced) speaking practice causes irrecoverable damage for SLA by setting a ceiling above which you can never proceed. >>
This is interesting. Does that mean for the rest of their lives, no matter what they do, the damage will be irrecoverable? Or perhaps if they shut up for a while, detached themselves, and jumped back in they'll have _unlearned_ that damage?
Mm, this gets me thinking: How about unlearning old damaged forms? In fact, I wonder if what I would call
_Linguistic Iconoclasm, Or: Creative Destruction_
would actually help in the long run with learning the language. Imagine the old, fossilized form of language you have conceived in your head, as being a statue built from many parts, and then you knock it over and watch it shatter. After that, you begin building new conceptions again.
<No, and right now I wouldn't, because I'm not wanting to get into big English language works. >
So you are saying that you've heard a certain person is a fraud, but you are not willing to spend time finding out first-hand if that is true or not, right?
Well, I may hear that so and so person (some other person) has people suspicious of whether he is fraudulent. Do you expect me to drop all that I am doing to run out to investigate? Until I can see all the evidence, I'll keep an open mind that he is probably innocent, but until then, I can't really make any decisions with regards to this.
Thank you so much for clarifying what hypothesis I was talking about. It was indeed the whole language hypothesis that I was thinking of that was causing so much controversy in the U.S. Unfortunately, I do think his input hypothesis is good. Perhaps he should stay out of it where kids are concerned and stick with adults? ;)
Still waiting for a response on the _linguistic iconoclasm_ hypothesis.
Ultimately, I think that in the end, deficiencies in language learning are caused by not forgetting who you are. In other words, you are trying to bring your previous life into it--not allowing yourself to transform into something completely different. It's like my dad telling me with Japanese, to bring back lots of knowledge to him. Unfortunately, if I go in there just to impress the people from my own culture or bring knowledge or whatever, I am not forgetting who I am. In other words, the effort will end in failure, because you must allow yourself to become transformed. It's not that you will lose who you are, but you will develop a completely different sub-personality and the second language will be treated separately from your first. I think that is how a kid would learn the second language. Though the 2 would share the same brain region, they are quite separate in the child's mind and the child does not care a whit about translation or transferring knowledge from one to the other.
Lose yourself in the language, and don't be burdened by messages of, "Don't forget who you are."
To back this last statement, I quote:
"Another example: an Italian-German bilingual girl, Lisa, became upset and started to cry when an Italian friend spoke to her in German. On another occasion, Lisa's father said something to her in German, and she responded, No, tu non puoi! ("No, you can't!") _Keeping two largely unknown language systems separate is a tricky task_, and associating each with different people helps: Lisa can count on knowing that whatever Daddy says is Italian. If anyone in her life could use either language at any time, the learning task would become much harder."
It sounds odd. M56's writing skills look very similar to that of academic students. MollyB/Mitch/etc
>>His emphasis on enough input before attempting output (the "silent period") is also sensible, as anyone who was forced to speak from day one in class--and ended up with a poor accent, fixed mistakes, and/or fear of even trying--can attest to. (Marvin Brown takes the silent period to its extreme, and I've seen other posters on Antimoon doing the same.)
In fact, what does Krashen say? Does it mean that pronunciation and intonation, etc, and thus SPEAKING, are better activated a bit later after you can listen? While the learning scene for children could be very complicated, I guess it's more straightforward for adults (or even teenagers) - so, how is it?
(Children) "Poor accent", or the like, is which I have observed even in university language class, where everyone is encouraged and motivated to speak without much fear, unlike when "I" was forced to speak Mandarin without proper training, which made me hate that language for almost 10 years. How could things like such hinder the development of "idiolect" (as below)? I'm actually for those theories about comprehensible input. It may not be absolutely necessary to "produce" very early (I don't know why? Native language education never made me produce something very hard; I was unconsciously made to produce happily instead, as a monolingual).
(Adults) But on the other hand, I, too, find that speaking, on the basis of "correct" pronunciation, would be better dealt with not too late. While I find adult language class to be largely ineffective for speaking, for both pedagogical and psychological reasons you can name, as a beginner of language learning (for almost 1 year), I'm doubtful about delaying speaking "that" late, say a few months or so - given native listening materials, what would actually happen if I keep mute until I learn enough stuff to start small talks, like completing a standard Assimil "with ease" course (which I suppose to be quite comprehensive, except more subtle concepts, as every grammar would have; and that level, I guess, could match a 12-year-old native in terms of the general usage you should know to talk to adult natives (parents), though without their lovely child language).
>>The other issue is concentrating on "form." Krashen (and Marvin Brown) think that is useless (or even detrimental) to concentrate on the form--he thinks we only learn when we're listening (or reading) for MEANING, and forget about the aspects of the language itself. Although I agree that one can skip learning "rules," and that there indeed people who can learn with meaning alone, many of the most successful learners pay close attention to the language they are reading or listening to. (Like the Antimoon authors' "pause and think" method.)
(Children) From my experiences as a child (largely monolingual), the way I was taught until I turned 12 was without all such complicated theoretical framework. Before I was 6, I was taught to speak and and was able to write around 200 Hanzi; by the time I turned 10, I could speak a lot, a level which would "generally" (like when I now learn another foreign language) take 1 year or so for adults to attain, and I did learn lots of rules. What rules? Everything about modern Chinese grammar. Though I've forgotten most terminology I was told about the grammar (but I know a lot of terms for English...), I can subconsciously detect what sounds right or wrong (though not enough to know why, for example, both "although" and "but" must appear, unlike English). Because the Chinese education has not been based in Mandarin, and because many of us code-mix a lot, many of us tend to compromise our standards in both languages. What makes an educated, native speaker? That would be done through the last language courses at university. Though I could speak fluently as I turned 16 or so, my idiolect was NOT done until I turned 18, when I was trained fairly well to WRITE. Ever since leaving high school, I've been still struggling hard to boost my levels in both. Sometimes I would find my idiolect to be "incomplete", still making mistakes in my native language (and while not being well-versed enough in Mandarin, to my shame), especially owing to serious interference of English since I was 12, but sometimes I also question the "correctness" of the usage of Chinese in the Mainland and Taiwan (because Chinese is still evolving?).
How do children learn from inference? Now, normally, even a 12-year-old (when I was in junior high school) is still learning his/her native language. Before I know the construction "because (cause) --> ['so' would be present in Chinese] (effect)", how do I understand it intuitively and use it in daily speech as a kid if I don't learn rules consciously?