Recording of talk here Language education these days is focused on the development of Academic Language Proficiency, the mastery of the vocabulary, grammar, and discourse style of academic, or professional language.
The usual approach is to teach these components directly, I argue here that this approach is not only incorrect, but presents students with an impossible task, and that there is a far better path: reading.
Nearly all of the conventions of academic language, its special vocabulary, grammar and discourse style are subconsciously absorbed, or acquired, from reading.
I propose three stages in the development of academic language: (1) hearing stories; (2) self-selected free voluntary reading that is of great interest to the reader; (3) self-selected academic reading, also in areas of great interest to the reader. So-called “light reading” (stage 2) is a bridge from conversational to academic reading, bringing the reader to the point where academic reading is comprehensible.
If this hypothesis is true, it means a profound reorientation of the field of English for Academic Purposes.
Stephen Krashen is Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Southern California. He is best known for developing the first comprehensive theory of second language acquisition, introducing the concept of sheltered subject matter teaching, and as the co-inventor of the Natural Approach to foreign language teaching.He has also contributed to theory and application in the area of bilingual education, and has done important work in the area of reading.He holds a PhD in Linguistics from UCLA, was the 1977 Incline Bench Press champion of Venice Beach and holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He is the author of The Power of Reading (Heinemann, 2004, second edition).
His recent papers can be found at www.sdkrashen.com.
Hans’ video introduction to YLTsigEVO 2014
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