Sent to the China Daily, March 11
Re: "Language is better learned in casual study, scholars say" March 6
Prof. Van Damme's conclusion that language acquisition takes place in informal environments and through active communication is correct, but research supports a deeper generalization, one that gives hope to language education programs: Language is acquired when we understand what we hear and read, and happens best when the messages are of great interest to us.
This idea is supported by studies showing that language classrooms can be very effective when they are filled with "comprehensible input," as well as studies showing that reading for pleasure is a powerful means of increasing first and second language proficiency.
University of Southern California
Rossier School of Education, USC, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0031
310 924 2490 (USA)
Krashen, S. 2003. Explorations in Language Acquisition and Use: The Taipei Lectures. Heinemann Publishing Company.
Krashen, S. 2004. The Power of Reading (second edition). Heinemann and Libraries Unlimited.