Morgan-Short, Steinhauer, Sanz and
Ullman (2012) recently reported that adults using an artifical second language
had different electrophysiological (ERP) responses depending on the way the
language was initially presented to them.
At higher stages of competence, those who were initially
"immersed" in the language
("implicit" training," consisting of "meaningful
examples" of the language) had "L1-like" ERP responses suggesting "L1-like brain
processing for syntax." This was not present for subjects whose initial
exposure to the language consisted of explicit presentation of rules with
This is a remarkable result: The
initial exposure to the language was only 13.5 minutes for each group, and was
followed by two rounds a few days apart of identical "practice
sessions" consistenting of
comprehension and production activities, with feedback /correction provided. The
sessions were continued until all subjects reached a predetermined level of
At the conclusion of the study, the
groups did not differ in their mastery of the artificial language. Morgan-Short et. al. state that in some
studies, implicit and explicit methods produced similar results, and also state
that they "are not aware of any clear empirical evidence suggesting an
advantage for implicit training," an astonishing statement in light of the
many studies done over the last 45 years showing an advantage for implicit
learning, usually termed "acquired" competence (as contrasted with consciously
learned competence) and hypothesized to be the result of receiving
Implicit learning has been shown to
be superior to explicit learning for studies contrasting comprehension-based
methods with traditional methods for beginning foreign language teaching and
intermediate foreign and second language teaching, as well as studies showing
the superiority of self-selected reading over traditional instruction for
intermediate second and foreign language students.
I present a list of these studies
below: all included comparison groups subjects and subjects were high school
age or older. In addition, there are a
multitude of studies that confirm these results using multivariate techniques
and case histories.
It thus appears to be the case that
comprehension-based methods are superior because they stimulate natural
language acquisition mechanisms.
BEGINNING FOREIGN LANGUAGE
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Asher, J. 1972. Children's first language as a model
for second language learning. Modern
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Asher, J., Kusudo, J. and De La Torre, R. 1974,
Learning a second language through commands: the second field test. Modern Language Journal 58: 24-32.
J. 2012. A comparison of TPRS and traditional instruction, both with SSR.
International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching 7(2): 4-6.
Hammond, R. 1989. Accuracy versus communicative
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Isik, A. 2000. The role of input in second language
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Kunihara A, S. and Asher, J. 1965. The strategy of the
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N. 1989. Experimenting with the new methods in Arabic. Dialog on Language
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Varguez, K. 2009. Traditional and TPR
Storytelling instruction in the Beginning High School Spanish Classroom.
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B. 2009. A comparison of TPRS and traditional foreign language instruction at
the high school level. International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching 5
Winitz, H. 1996. Grammaticality judgments
as a function explitict and implicit instruction in Spanish. Modern Language
Journal 80 (1): 32-46.
Wolfe, D. and Jones, G. 1982. Integrating total
physical response strategy in a level 1 Spanish class. Foreign Language Annals
Burger, S. 1989. Content-based ESL in a sheletered
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Edwards, H., Wesche, M., Krashen, S., Clement, R., and
Kruidenier, B. 1984. Second language acquisition through a subject-matter
learning: A study of sheltered psychology classes at the University of Ottawa.
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language acquisition through subject-matter teaching: a follow-up study at the
University of Ottawa. Language Learning 38: 433-71.
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INTERMEDIATE FOREIGN LANGUAGE: SUSTAINED SILENT READING
Bell, T. 2001. Extensive reading: Speed and comperhension.
The Reading Matrix, 1 (1)
Beglar, D., Hunt, A., and Kite, Y. 2012. The effect of
pleasure reading on Japanese university EFL learners’ reading rates. Language Learning, 62, 665–703.
Hafiz, F., and I. Tudor. 1990. Graded readers as an
input medium in L2 learning. System 18(1): 31-42.
C.Y. and Krashen, S. 2000. The impact of popular literature study on literacy
development in EFL: More evidence for the power of reading. System 28: 261-270.
Lee, S.Y. 2007. Revelations from three consecutive
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Lee, S. Y. and
Hsu, Y. Y. 2009. A three-year
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vocational college students. Indonesian Journal of English Language Teaching, 5(1):
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1999. A study of extensive reading with remedial reading students. In Y. M.
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Liu, C.K. 2007. A reading program that keeps winning. Selected
Papers from the Sixteenth International Symposium on English Teaching, English
Teachers’ Association – Republic of China. Taipei: Crane Publishing Company.
Mason, B. 2006. Free voluntary reading and autonomy in second
language acquisition: Improving TOEFL scores from reading alone. International
Journal of Foreign Language Teaching 2(1), 2-5.
Mason, B. and Krashen, S. 1997. Extensive reading in
English as a foreign language. System 25: 91-102.
T. N. & Susser, B. 1989. Extensive reading vs skills building in an EFL Context.
Reading in a Foreign Language, 5, 2, 239-51.
Rodrigo, V., Krashen, S., and Gribbons, B. 2004. The effectiveness
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intermediate level. System 32(1): 53-60.
Sheu, S. P-H. 2004. Extensive reading with EFL
learners at beginning level. TESL Reporter, 36(2), 8-26.
Sims, J. 1996. A new perspective: Extensive reading
for pleasure. The Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on English
Teaching, pp. 137-144. Taipei: Crane Publishing Company.
Smith, K. 2006. A comparison of “pure” extensive
reading with intensive reading and Extensive Reading with Supplementary
Activities. International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching (IJFLT), 2(2):
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Sixteenth International Symposium on English Teaching, English Teachers’
Association – Republic of China. Taipei: Crane Publishing Company.
Smith, K. 2011. Integrating one hour of in-school weekly SSR:
Effects on proficiency and spelling. International Journal of Foreign Language
Teaching, 7(1): 1-7.
Tudor, I., and Hafiz, F. 1989. Extensive reading as a
means of input to L2 learning. Journal of Research in Reading 12(2): 164-178.
Tsang, W-K., 1996. Comparing the effects of reading
and writing on writing performance. Applied Linguistics 17(2): 210-233.
Yuan, Y. P., and Nash, T. 1992. Reading subskills and
quantity reading. Selected papers from The Eighth Conference on English
Teaching and Learning in the Republic of China, pp. 291-304. Taipei: Crane.