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Comprehensible Input and Krashen's theory

  • Robert Patrick

Extract

Over the last 20 years in the United States a curious and likely unpredictable movement has been evolving in the way that we teach Latin and ancient Greek. A set of pedagogical principles known as Comprehensible Input (hereafter CI) has become a vehicle of change affecting our classrooms, our professional organisations and our teacher training programs as well as our relationships with and our positions in world language organisations. These changes to the teaching of classical languages were unpredictable because at the outset CI represented a set of hypotheses and then principles that even their progenitor, Stephen Krashen, thought of as the way into acquiring modern languages while teachers of classical languages had constructed a fortified wall around themselves built on the notion that Latin and ancient Greek were uniquely different from modern languages and, therefore, required different approaches. In many iterations of this wall, only a select cadre of students was thought (and easily demonstrated to be) capable of or even interested in mastering classical languages. This article will examine very briefly what this wave of change has been like in the Latin classrooms and institutions of the US and examine in particular the principles of Comprehensible Input: what they propose, how they are being practised in Latin classrooms, and the obstacles they encounter as well as opportunities they afford Latin programs which intend to survive and thrive in the coming years.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

References

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Asher, J. (1988). Learning Another Language Through Actions. Los Gatos, CA, Sky Oaks Productions.
Krashen, S. (1982). Principles and Practices of Second Language Acquisition. Los Angeles, Pergamon.
Krashen, S. (1988). Teaching Grammar: Why Bother? Online essay previously published in California English (3) 3.8. Available online: http://www.sdkrashen.com/content/articles/teaching_grammar_why_bother.pdf
Krashen, S. (2013). The Compelling (and not just interesting) Hypothesis. Available online: http://www.sdkrashen.com/content/articles/the_compelling_input_hypothesis.pdf
Orberg, H. (2003). Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata. Skovvangen, Denmark, Domus Latina.
Ray and Seely. (1997). Fluency Through TPR Storytelling. Berkley, CA, Command Performance Language Institute.
Traupman, J. (1997). Conversational Latin for Oral Proficiency. Waucaunda, IL, Bolchazy-Carducci.
Truscott, J. (2007). The Effect of Error Correction on Learners Ability to Write Accurately. Journal of Second Language Writing.

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