Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Targeting 1 and Targeting 2: working paper

I propose here that there are two kinds of targeting of grammar. My goal here is NOT to argue in favor of one or the other, but simply to state the two positions.

Targeting 1 (T1):
1.     The goal is full acquisition of a rule in a short time, so complete that the rule can be retrieved easily and used in production. Because we are talking about acquisition, this cannot be done by direct instruction, and requires comprehensible input.
2.     But if the goal is full acquisition, so complete that you can retrieve the rule after a short amount of time, there is pressure to provide concentrated comprehensible and interesting repititions until the item is fully acquired.
3.     The source of the rules to be targeted is external, from a syllabus made by others.  Our job is to find a story or interesting activity that will include lots of comprehensibe/interesting repetitions of these items. (This is why we get questions such as "do you know a story which I can use for teaching the conditional?"). Thus, Targeting 1 is a way of "contextualizing grammar," defined here as beginning with a target grammar rule and finding a context that will help make it comprehensible.
Note that the goal is not successful monitoring using a consciously learned rule, it is acquisition. Only acquired competence can result in smooth, fluent production.

Targeting 2 (T2):
1.     The goal is comprehension of a story or other CI activity.
2.     This will not require as many comprehensible/interesting reps as in Targeting 1: The goal is comprehension of the story or activity, not full acquisition of the rule in a short time.
3.     The source of the rules to be targeted is internal, from the story.
4.     This kind of targeting may result in full acquisition when used in one or just a few sessions, but it generally results in partial acquisition. Full acquisition comes when the item is used again, in another story or activity.
5.     The goal is understanding the story.
6.     Hypothesis: Grammatical rules targeted in this way are much more likely to be at the students' i+1 than items used for Targeting 1.
7. Hypothesis: At the end of the term (e.g. one academic year), Targeting 2 will result in the full acquisition of many of the rules imposed on us in Targeting 1. This hypothesis needs to be tested by research.

My previous arguments (Krashen, 2013) against targeting are arguments against Targeting 1, not Targeting 2.

Note that Targeting 1, taken to extreme, can lead to a return to the audio-lingual method: If there is major pressure to "master" a given rule so that it can be used in production, and when this cannot be accomplished in the amount of time/comprehensible reps provided, teachers may be tempted to force production, resulting in pseudo-acquisition: either highly monitored or memorized language, not genuinely acquired language.

Of course I fully understand that many teachers have no choice but to do Targeting 1.

Thanks to Karen Rowan, Jason Fritze, Linda Li and Contee Seely for comments on earlier drafts of this note.

Krashen, S. 2013 The Case for Non-Targeted, Comprehensible Input. Journal of Bilingual Education Research & Instruction 15(1): 102-110. Available at www.sdkrashen.com, "language acquisition" section.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Race to the Top for Tots: The Real Goal of Pre-K Education in the US

USNews reported on research concluding that "Early education is a disaster in the US" because of low teacher compensation and preparation.  The study misses the point. The goal of pre-K in the US is to provide the private sector with another area of opportunity for profit. This is working out very well for the greedy minority who make money selling useless products to the pre-K market.

We are told that pre-K must be more academic, with more assessments and more materials, often involving expensive technology, in order to prepare children for the hard work they will have to do in kindergarten (sometimes called "kindergrind").

The fact that some research indicates no long-term advantage for pre-K tough love doesn't matter. Vanderbilt researchers have concluded that pre-K training resulted in "poorer work stills" and more negative feelings about school in kindergarten, but this has not stopped the race to the top for tots.

Stephen Krashen


Vanderbilt research: Lipsey, M. W., Farran, D.C., & Hofer, K. G., (2015). A Randomized Control Trial of the Effects of a Statewide Voluntary Prekindergarten Program on Children’s Skills and Behaviors through Third Grade (Research Report). Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University, Peabody Research Institute.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Math teacher bashing on yahoo news

Response to an article on math teacher bashing, published at the Hechinger report and carried ON YAHOO NEWS!!  "We’d be better at math if the U.S. borrowed these four ideas for training teachers from Finland, Japan and China."

Mr. Tucker needs to look at the research. When we control for the effects of poverty, American students do quite well on international tests of math. Our overall scores are unspectacular because there is so much child poverty in the US. Countries and areas with high math scores have much lower rates of poverty. Poverty means food deprivation, poor health care, and lack of access to books. The best teaching in the world has little effect with students are ill or hungry.
I will be happy to post the research citations if Mr.Tucker thinks he can understand the math.
Posted at: http://hechingerreport.org/wed-be-better-at-math-if-the-u-s-borrowed-these-four-ideas-for-training-teachers-from-finland-japan-and-china/

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Handout: Issues in SSR

Issues in SSR (Sustained Silent Reading)    Krashen

"They won't read." When students don't read during SSR
1.     The books are too hard.  (Relax, students will choose harder books as they progress)
2.     Fear of evaluation:  Marshall: her practice of having group discussions in which she asked students "informal questions about what they were reading, whether they liked their books, and whether they had recommendations for others" (p. 6) was counterproductive; the discussions "made them feel as if they were being 'tested'" (p. 8). (No accountability.)
3.     Too early in the school year.  (Don't expect reading right away: It takes time to find the right book.)
4.     Rigidity: e.g. desk must be clear, can't leave your desk.  (COMFORT & FLEXIBILITY.)
5.     Disruption, even from the teacher.  (Keep it quiet. F. Shin: A separate time to discuss. Books.)
6.     Must finish every book they start: "Abandoning a book that a reader doesn't enjoy (is) a smart move, not a character defect." Nanci Atwell. (Students are free to abandon a book.)
7.     Books not of interest. "There is no such thing as a kid who hates reading.  There are kids who love reading, and kids who are reading the wrong books."  James Patterson  (Wide selection; time to browse; try the Star Method)
8.     Restriction to books only (no magazines, graphic novels): (Not just books. Free voluntary surfing also ok.)
9.     Massed, not distributed sessions. (A few minutes a day, not all at once.)
10.  Students have to bring their own books.  (Have a good supply of reading material available close by!)
Standard objections to self-selected reading.
1."They read only easy books."
Not true:  Self-selected reading is as hard or harder than assigned (LaBrant, 1958; Southgate, Arnold and Johnson, 1981; Shin and Krashen, 2007, Scholastic: 7% choose below reading level).
2. "They read low-quality books."  But: Schoonover, 1938. – Over 70% on recommended reading lists.
3. "They will only read fiction."
Not true (La Brant, 1958), but even if it were ...
(1)   value of FVR studies based largely on fiction
(2)   Fiction contributes to an expanded "theory of mind" = understand others' states of mind, ways of thinking, compared to nonfiction. (Kidd & Castono, 2013)  
(3)   Fiction readers have more tolerance for vagueness, better able to deal with uncertaincy (Djikic,  Oatley, and Moldoveanu,  2013).
"They stick to the same authors and genres."
The advantage of narrow reading
1.     Good readers are narrow readers (Lamme, 1976)
2.     More comprehensible! (and compelling)
Encouraging reading
1.     Read alouds
2.     Access/Time/Place to read
3.     The star method
4.     The Book Whisperer approach
Home Run Book: One positive reading experience enough to create interest in reading: Trelease.

Handout: Fundamentals of Language Acquisition

Fundamentals of Language Acquisition
S Krashen:  sdkrashen.com, twitter = skrashen

The Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis:
ACQUISITION – subconscious = "picking up" a language
- While it is happening, we are not aware that it is happening.
- Once we have acquired something, we are not usually aware that anything has happened;
Everybody can acquire. The language acquisition device never shuts off.
Both oral and written language can be acquired.
Acquisition - What the brain does well.

LEARNING – conscious = "rules", "grammar": What we did in school.
Error correction helps learning. When we make a mistake and are corrected, we are supposed to change our conscious version of the rule.
Learning – What the brain does poorly.

The Natural Order Hypothesis
We acquire (not learn) aspects of language in a predictable order.
-       Not based on simplicity/complexity.
-       Cannot be changed.
-       NOT the syllabus.

The Monitor Hypothesis: Consciously learned language only available as Monitor, or editor. 
Conditions (severe) for Monitor use:  (1) Know the rule; (2)  Think about correctness (focus on form) (3) Time.

The Comprehension Hypothesis: The centerpiece of the theory: We acquire language when we understand messages.
AMAZING FACTS about language acquisition:
Effortless: no energy, no work.
Involuntary:  Given comprehensible input, you must acquire.

Corollary: Talking is not Practicing.
1) we acquire language by input, not output.
2) ability to speak: the RESULT of language acquisition
3) correction? (real cure: More comprehensible input – accuracy EMERGES

The Affective Filter Hypothesis:
Affective variables: motivation, anxiety, self-esteem
The FILTER (block) prevents input from reaching the Language Acquisition Device.
COMPELLING comprehensible input
   Compelling: so interesting you are not aware of the language, sense of time diminishes, sense of self diminishes = Flow (Csíkszentmihályi)
   Compelling input destroys the affective filter (temporarily), eliminates need for "motivation"
   Case histories: language acquisition never the goal, but a by-product. It was the story.
1.    Jack, a Mandarin heritage language speaker: The Stories of A Fanti led to improvement, but only when stories were available (Lao & Krashen, IJFLT, 2008).
2.    Paul: Cantonese and English speaker, acquired Mandarin from cartoons and lots of TV shows and movies, with no particular motivation to acquire Mandarin.


Role of the class:  Class is ideal for beginners!  Goal: Intermediate level

Beginning level:
TPR: Total Physical Response (Asher): Website: http://www.tpr-world.com/
Natural Approach (Terrell)
TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling; Blaine Ray)

Underlying principles      class: filled with comprehensible input
organized, but not around points of grammar: but around activities that students will find comprehensible and interesting (compelling)
speech not forced but encouraged (indirect contribution)
grammar: not for children, as linguistics, for editing
compelling input > stories, personalzization

Research: CI wins in method comparisons
Isik (2000: ITL: Rev of Applied Linguistics) High school EFL, Turkey, intermediates; 29 hours per week, 36 weeks:
CI = Communication-based, minimal correction, graded readers, 75% CI, 25% grammar.
Grammar = 24 hrs/week form-based, 20% CI, 80% grammar

comprehensible input
Oxford grammar test
67.6 (5.0)
45.6 (9.6)
22.25 (1.07)
14.5 (4.26)
Listening compr.
24.9 (2.29)
17.5 (3.3)
19.4 (2.6)
7.5 (3.3)

The rise of TPRS (Blaine Ray) -  stories, personalization, graded readers
Varguez (2009: IJFLT.com)  Beginning Spanish in high school in US
TPRS significantly better than comparisons (t = 10.56, p < .0001).
Low SES TPRS class = comparisons. (Had TPRS teacher for part of year)
mean (sd)
32 (4.7)
22.3 (38.2)
23.45 (21.2)
Measure: combination of listening and reading

Intermediate methods: 
Sheltered subject matter teaching: based on comprehensible input/immersion methods
Characteristics: (1) intermediates only; (2) focus on subject-matter, not language
Research: When compared to intermediate foreign language classes:
(1) as much or more language development (2) subject matter knowledge at the same time (3) academic language

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Polikoff Proposal: use growth scores for all sudents.

Comment of using growth scores for all students to measure school performance. Posted at npr.org.

Prof. Morgan Polikoff suggests that we no longer use “percentage of students rated as proficient” to hold schools accountable.

Polikoff's proposal is to use growth of all students as a measure of achievement.
This plan still relies on standardized test scores to define achievement, which encourages gaming the test via test preparation. This is like claiming you have raised the temperature of the room but all you have done is light a match under the thermometer.

Also, relying on growth is a big problem. You can't just compare end of year test scores, because of the powerful influence of summer: We have known since 1975 that middle class children improve during the summer because they have more access to books.  This means we would need to test in the fall and again in the spring, which doubles the amount of testing, increasing the already unacceptable amount of testing students endure.

Heyns, Barbara. 1975.  Summer Learning and the Effect of School. New York: Academic Press.

Original article and comments: http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/07/18/486196906/here-s-an-idea-ask-experts-how-to-rate-schools
Polikoff letter to US Dept of Education: https://morganpolikoff.com/2016/07/12/a-letter-to-the-u-s-department-of-education/

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Forget fancy evaluation schemes

Sent to the Los Angeles Times, July 14.

The WestEd "California Model" for rating public schools ("Get to green," July 14) was designed by people who have no idea what is important in education. 
Common sense and a great deal of research tell us that high poverty is the major cause of low performance in many of the categories in the California Model: low test scores, low graduation rates, high absenteeism,  and high suspension rates are all related to student poverty.
Children living in high poverty have poor diets, inadequate medical care, and little access to books; the best teaching in the world has little impact when children are hungry, ill and have nothing to read. 
If we substantially reduce poverty or at least protect children from the effects of poverty, performance on the WestEd evaluation model will be high all students.  Any evaluation system will give similar results. 
Forget fancy evaluation schemes. Work on the cause, not the effect: feed the animal, don't waste time and money designing fancier ways of weighing it.

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California

original article: http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-california-essa-school-ratings-colors-20160713-snap-story.html

For much more detail about the evaluation proposal, and penetrating comments by Anthony Cody, please see: http://www.livingindialogue.com/californias-new-accountability-system-multiple-measures/

Monday, July 11, 2016

Wrong about bilingual education

Sent to the Boston Herald, July 11, 2016

Rosalie Porter ("A poor LOOK at language ed," July 10) claims that bilingual education "has failed our English learners for decades." That's not what the research says.  Studies done over several decades have shown that bilingual education works: students in bilingual programs outperform students with similar backgrounds in all-English programs on tests of English reading. 
The data and research supporting bilingual education is stronger than ever. In a recent publication, Grace and David McField reviewed all previous studies comparing bilingual education and English immersion. Their conclusion: when both program quality and research quality are considered, the superiority of bilingual education for promoting English literacy is substantial, considerably larger than previously reported.

Porter argues that the requirement that children “be taught English as rapidly and effectively as possible" should not removed from state law. I agree.   Well-designed bilingual education makes sure that English is taught as rapidly and effectively as possible.

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California

original article: http://www.bostonherald.com/opinion/op_ed/2016/07/porter_a_poor_look_at_language_ed

source: McField, G. and McField, D. 2014.  "The consistent outcome of bilingual education programs: A meta-analysis of meta-analyses." In Grace McField (Ed.) The Miseducation of English Learners. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing. pp. 267-299.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Over-Encouraging STEM

Published in the Malibu Times, July 1, 2016

Response to: http://www.malibutimes.com/news/article_e21375ea-3983-11e6-8d54-d3448d17338b.html
Those who argue that Malibu High School should keep a super-advanced math class (multivariate analysis and linear algebra) argue that dropping the class shows "a lack of commitment  to provide an excellent STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education."

I think it shows a lack of interest in overdoing and over-encouraging STEM.  MHS has a very strong math program without multivariate analysis, and it is not clear that even even basic calculus is a good idea for most students.

Contrary to popular opinion, there is no shortage of qualified STEM experts in the US; in fact, there is a surplus. Rutgers University professor Hal Salzman has concluded that there are approximately three qualified graduates annually for each science or technology opening. Recent studies have also shown the United States is producing more Ph.D.s in science than the market can absorb.

About 1/3 of college-bound high-school students in the US take calculus, and only about 5% of jobs require this much math.

Pushing math (and science) only because it looks good on a college application means less of a chance for students not aiming at a STEM career to pursue their own interests and develop expertise in areas of their choice.

For those who think calculus “trains the mind,” research shows that expertise in a field requires years of hard work in that field, not in a totally different one.

This argument does not come from someone who hates math: I was in the first high school AP class taught in the US in 1958 (scoring 5 on the AP test) and I studied math in college through advanced calculus, differential equations and abstract algebra. I use sophisticated statistical procedures in my work, and I admire winners of the Fields Medal far more than I admire winners of the academy awards.

Stephen Krashen

Stephen Krashen is Emeritus Professor of Education, University of Southern California. Some of his best friends are mathematicians,

California districts backing the wrong horse for English learners

Summary of article:
Two California school districts have launched a pilot program aimed at improving instruction for English-language learners. The program, "Leading with Learning," focuses on critical thinking and language development.
Sent to Ed Source:
The ELL program described in "New teaching strategies..."  makes no mention of the massive amount of research done in the last 40 years showing the powerful impact of "comprehensible input"; this research supports the idea that we acquire language by understanding what is heard and read, not by producing language.  Rather, the ability to produce language is the result of language acquisition via comprehensible input.
"Collaborative conversations" are clearly of some use, but cannot be the main source of academic language development: they are too infrequent and do not supply enough input.
In particular, research strongly supports reading as a important path to mastery of academic language, extensive self-selected reading for pleasure and reading in academic areas of one's own interest.  Studies show that reading is the major sources of our reading ability, ability to write in an acceptable style, vocabulary knowledge, and our ability to handle complex rules of grammar. It is also a major source of our knowledge of the world and academic knowledge.
Neither "New teaching strategies" nor the documents linked to the article indicate any awareness of this research and theory. Educators are free to disagree with the studies and conclusions, but are not free to ignore them.
Stephen Krashen