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The Natural Order Hypothesis - Essay

In 1977, Tracy Terrell, a teacher of Spanish in California, specified "a proposal for a new philosophy of vocabulary coaching which [he] called the Natural Strategy" (Terrell 1977; 1982: 121). This was an attempt to develop a language coaching proposal that included the "naturalistic" ideas researchers had discovered in studies of second language acquisition. The Natural Strategy grew out of Terrell's experience instructing Spanish classes. Since that time Terrell yet others have experimented with applying the Natural Methodology in elementary- to advanced-level classes and with several other languages. At exactly the same time he has signed up with makes with Stephen Krashen, an applied linguist at the School of Southern California, in elaborating a theoretical rationale for the Natural Approach, drawing on Krashen's influential theory of second dialect acquisition. Krashen and Terrell's put together statement of the rules and techniques of the Natural Methodology appeared in their book, The Natural Strategy, printed in 1983. Krashen and Terrell's book contains theoretical portions made by Krashen that outline his views on second terms acquisition (Krashen 1981; 1982), and sections on implementation and classroom techniques, prepared largely by Terrell.

Krashen and Terrell have determined the Natural Methodology using what they call "traditional" methods to language teaching. Traditional techniques are thought as "predicated on the utilization of terminology in communicative situations without recourse to the local words" - and, perhaps, obviously, regardless of grammatical examination, grammatical drilling, or to a particular theory of grammar. Krashen and Terrell note that such "methods have been called natural, psychological, phonetic, new, reform, immediate, analytic, imitative etc" (Krashen and Terrell 1983: 9). The actual fact that the authors of the Natural Strategy relate their approach to the Natural Method has led some to expect that Natural Approach and Natural Method are synonymous terms. Although the tradition is a common one, there are important differences between your Natural Strategy and the older Natural Method, which it will be beneficial to consider at the outset.

The Natural Method is another term for what by the convert of the century possessed become known as the Direct Method. It really is described in a report on the express of the art in language coaching commissioned by the present day Language Association in 1901.

In its extreme form the method consisted of some monologues by the tutor interspersed with exchanges of question and answer between your instructor and the pupil - all in the spanish. . . Significant amounts of pantomime accompanied the talk. With the aid of this gesticulation, by attentive listening and by dint of much repetition the learner arrived to affiliate certain functions and objects with certain combinations of the looks and finally come to the point of reproducing the international words or phrases. . . Not until a considerable familiarity with the spoken word was achieved was the scholar permitted to see the foreign language in print. The study of grammar was reserved for a still later period. (Cole 1931: 58)

The term natural, used in mention of the Direct Method, merely emphasized that the key points underlying the technique were thought to conform to the rules of naturalistic terms learning in small children. Likewise, the Natural Methodology, as described by Krashen and Terrell, is thought to conform to the naturalistic ideas within successful second terminology acquisition. Unlike the Direct Method, however, it places less focus on teacher monologues, immediate repetition, and formal questions and answers, and less concentrate on accurate creation of target dialect sentences. Within the Natural Way there can be an emphasis on subjection, or input, rather than practice; optimizing mental preparedness for learning; an extended period of attention to what the language learners hear before they make an effort to produce terms; and a willingness to use written and other materials as a way to obtain comprehensible insight. The emphasis on the central role of understanding in the Natural Way web links it to other comprehension-based approaches in language coaching.


Theory of language

Krashen and Terrell see communication as the primary function of vocabulary, and since their methodology focuses on teaching communicative abilities, they refer to the Natural Procedure as an example of the communicative way. The Natural Approach "is comparable to other communicative methods being developed today" (Krashen and Terrell 1983: 17). They reject previous methods of words teaching, like the Audiolingual Method, which looked at grammar as the central element of language. Regarding to Krashen and Terrell, the major problem with these methods was that these were built not around "actual ideas of vocabulary acquisition, but theories of something else; for example, the structure of words" (1983: 1). Unlike proponents of Communicative Terminology Teaching (Chapter 5), however, Krashen and Terrell give little focus on a theory of vocabulary. Indeed, a recent critic of Krashen suggests he has no theory of words in any way (Gregg 1984). What Krashen and Terrell do describe about the nature of language stresses the primacy of interpretation. The need for the vocabulary is pressured, for example, suggesting the view a language is essentially its lexicon in support of inconsequently the grammar that decides how the lexicon is exploited to create messages. Terrell prices Dwight Bolinger to support this view:

The quantity of information in the lexicon very good outweighs that in virtually any other area of the language, and when there is anything to the idea of redundancy it ought to be easier to reconstruct a note formulated with just words than one containing just the syntactic relationships. The significant fact is the subordinate role of grammar. The most important thing is to get the words in. (Bolinger, in Terrell 1977: 333).

Language is viewed as a car for connecting meanings and text messages. Hence Krashen and Terrell state that "acquisition may take place only when people understand announcements in the target language (Krashen and Terrell 1983: 19). Yet despite their avowed communicative approach to language, they view terminology learning, as do audiolingualists, as mastery of buildings by phases. "The suggestions hypothesis states that for acquirers to progress to the next level in the acquisition of the prospective language, they need to understand input terms that includes a framework that is area of the next level" (Krashen and Terrell 1983: 32). Krashen refers to this with the formula "I + 1" (i. e. , suggestions that contains set ups marginally above the learner's present level). We suppose that Krashen means by set ups something at least in the traditions of what such linguists as Leonard Bloomfield and Charles Fries meant by buildings. The Natural Methodology thus assumes a linguistic hierarchy of structural complexity any particular one experts through encounters with "input" including constructions at the "1 + 1" level.

We are left then with a view of terminology that involves lexical items, structures, and messages. Naturally, there is no particular novelty in this view consequently, except that text messages are considered of principal importance in the Natural Strategy. The lexicon for both notion and production is known as critical in the engineering and interpretation of text messages. Lexical items in information arc necessarily grammatically structured, and more technical messages involve more complex grammatical framework. Although they acknowledge such grammatical structuring, Krashen and Terrell believe that grammatical structure will not require explicit analysis or attention by the language professor, by the terminology learner, or in language coaching materials.

Theory of learning

Krashen and Terrell make carrying on mention of the theoretical and research foundation claimed to underlie the Natural Methodology and to the actual fact that the method is exclusive in having such a base. "It is predicated on an empirically grounded theory of second language acquisition, which has been backed by a huge number of scientific studies in a wide variety of vocabulary acquisition and learning contexts" (Krashen and Terrell 1983: 1). The idea and research are grounded on Krashen's views of terms acquisition, which we will collectively make reference to as Krashen's terminology acquisition theory. Krashen's views have been offered and discussed extensively elsewhere (e. g. , Krashen 1982), so we will not try to present or critique Krashen's quarrels here. (For an in depth critical review, see Gregg 1984 and McLaughlin 1978). It's important, however, to present in format form the main tenets of the idea, since it is on these that the design and types of procedures in the Natural Strategy are based.


The Acquisition/Learning Hypothesis statements that there are two distinctive ways of expanding competence in a second or foreign language. Acquisition is the "natural" way, paralleling first words development in children. Acquisition identifies an unconscious process which involves the naturalistic development of terminology proficiency through understanding terminology and through using terminology for meaningful communication. Learning, by contrast, refers to a process in which mindful rules in regards to a words are developed. It results explicit knowledge about the varieties of a terminology and the ability to verbalize this knowledge. Formal teaching is essential for "learning" to occur, and correction of errors helps with the introduction of learned rules. Learning, in line with the theory, cannot lead to acquisition.


The attained linguistic system is said to initiate utterances whenever we communicate in another or foreign language. Mindful learning can function only as a screen or editor that checks and vehicle repairs the end result of the obtained system. The Keep an eye on Hypothesis claims that people may call after learned knowledge to improve ourselves when we communicate, hut that mindful learning (i. e. , the discovered system) has only this function. Three conditions limit the successful use of the monitor:

1. Time. There has to be sufficient time for a learner to choose and apply a discovered rule.

2. Concentrate on form. The language user must be focused on correctness or on the proper execution of the result.

3. Knowledge of rules. The performer must know the rules. The monitor does indeed best with guidelines that are simple in two ways. They need to be simple to describe and they must not require complex moves and rearrangements.


According to the Natural Order Hypothesis, the acquisition of grammatical constructions proceeds in a predictable order. Research is said to have shown that one grammatical constructions or morphemes are received before others in first dialect acquisition of British, and a similar natural order is situated in second language acquisition. Mistakes are symptoms of naturalistic developmental techniques, and during acquisition (but not during learning), similar developmental errors take place in learners whatever their mother tongue is.


The Insight Hypothesis boasts to explain the partnership between what the learner is exposed to of a language (the suggestions) and language acquisition. It consists of four main issues.

First, the hypothesis relates to acquisition, rather than to learning.

Second, people acquire vocabulary best by understanding type that is just a little beyond their current degree of competence:

An acquirer can "move" from a stage I (where I is the acquirer's degree of competence) to a level I +1 (where I + 1 is the level rigtht after I along some natural order) by understanding vocabulary filled with I + 1. (Krashen and Terrell 1983: 32)

Clues predicated on the situation and the framework, extra linguistic information, and knowledge of the earth make understanding possible.

Third, the ability to speak fluently can't be taught directly; alternatively, it "emerges" independently in time, after the acquirer has generated up linguistic competence by understanding source.

Fourth, if there is a sufficient level of comprehensible source, I + 1 will usually be provided automatically. Comprehensible source refers to utterances that the learner comprehends predicated on the context in which they are used as well as the terminology in which they are phrased. Whenever a speaker uses dialect so that the acquirer recognizes the message, the speaker "casts a online" of structure surrounding the acquirer's current level of competence, and this includes many cases of I + 1. Thus, source do not need to be finely tuned to a learner's current degree of linguistic competence, and in truth can't be so finely tuned in a words course, where learners will be at various degrees of competence.

Just as child acquirers of an initial language are provided with examples of "caretaker conversation, " rough-tuned to their present level of understanding, so mature acquirers of a second language are provided with simple rules that accomplish second language comprehension. One such code is "foreigner discussion, " which identifies the speech local speakers use to simplify communication with foreigners. Foreigner converse is seen as a a slower rate of conversation, repetition, restating, use of Yes/No rather than Who- questions, and other changes that make emails more comprehensible to persons of limited terms proficiency.


Krashen sees the learner's mental state or behaviour as an changeable filter that easily passes, impedes, or blocks type necessary to acquisition. A low affective filter is desired, since it impedes or blocks less of this necessary suggestions. The hypothesis is made on research in second words acquisition, which includes identified three kinds of affective or attitudinal factors related to second terms acquisition.

1. Determination. Learners with high motivation generally do better.

2. Self-confidence. Learners with self-confidence and a good self-image tend to be successful.

3. Anxiety. Low personal anxiety and low school room anxiety are more conducive to second terminology acquisition.

The Affective Filtration system Hypothesis states that acquirers with a minimal affective filter seek and acquire more input, interact with confidence, and tend to be receptive to the input they receive. Stressed acquirers have a high affective filtration system, which inhibits acquisition from occurring. It is thought that the affective filtration (e. g. , dread or embarrassment) goes up in early adolescence, and this may account for children's evident superiority to aged acquirers of another language.

These five hypotheses have obvious implications for vocabulary teaching. In total, these are:

1. As much comprehensible input as you possibly can must be offered.

2. Whatever helps comprehension is important. Visible aids are of help, as is exposure to a variety of vocabulary rather than review of syntactic composition.

3. The emphasis in the class should be on tuning in and reading; speaking should be allowed to "emerge. "

4. To be able to lower the affective filtration, college student work should focus on meaningful communication somewhat than on form; input should be interesting therefore donate to a relaxed class room atmosphere.

Cognitive Theories

Psychologists and psycholinguists seen second words learning as the acquisition of a complex cognitive skill. Some of the sub-skills involved in the language learning process are making use of grammatical guidelines, choosing the correct vocabulary, following a pragmatic conventions governing the utilization of a particular terms (McLaughlin, 1987:134). These sub-skills become computerized with practice (Posner & Snyder, 1975). During this process of automatisation, the learner organizes and restructures new information that is acquired. Through this technique of restructuring the learner links new information to old information and achieves increasing degrees of mastery in the next terminology (McLaughlin, 1987, 1990a). This steady mastering may follow a U-shaped curve sometimes (Lightbown, Spada, & Wallace, 1980) indicating a drop in performance as "more technical inside representations replace less complex ones" followed by a rise again as skill becomes knowledge (McLaughlin, 1990b).

From the cognitivist's viewpoint language acquisition is dependent "in both content and developmental sequencing on previous cognitive abilities" and language can be regarded as a function of "more general nonlinguistic abilities" (Berman, 1987:4).

Evidence against the cognitivist theory is provided by Felix (1981) who represents the general cognitive skills as "useless" for vocabulary development (Felix, 1981). The sole areas that cognitive development relates to language development is vocabulary and interpretation, since lexical items and meaning relations are most quickly related to a conceptual basic (Felix, 1981).

Base in cognitive theory is also stated by the interactivist method of second terminology learning (Clahsen, 1987). The dialect processing model proposed by the interactivist strategy "assumes an autonomous linguistic degree of processing" possesses an over-all problem solver mechanism (Gps device) that allows "direct mappings between underlying composition and surface varieties, thus short-circuiting the grammatical processor chip" (Clahsen, 1987:105).

The language acquisition theories based on a cognitive view of terminology development regard vocabulary acquisition as the progressive automitization of skills through periods of restructuring and linking new information to old knowledge. However, the dissimilarities between the various cognitive models makes it impossible to construct a comprehensive cognitive theory of second terminology acquisition and furthermore, as Schimdt (1992) observes:

"there is certainly little theoretical support from mindset on the normal belief that the introduction of fluency in a second language is nearly exclusively a subject of the more and more skillful request of guidelines" (Schmidt, 1992:377).

The previous two theories handled in this paper, the Multidimensional Model and the Acculturation/Pidginization Theory, send mainly to the acquisition of another language by people in naturalistic environments.

In second/international language tutor education, humanistic theory causes considerable innovation, with greater emphasis on co-operative development (Edge, 1992).

The basis for this change is the new respect for the teacher's personal autonomy. The tutor educator's role is one of supporter and facilitator, with the adoption of counselling models of intervention. Yet another important factor is the popularity of the mental aspect to learning.

Within this framework, human relationships between supervisors and university student educators are emphasised in pre-service education programs. In in-service programmes, counselling models are adapted with syllabi including not only subject matter knowledge, but also skills for self-directed development. Additionally, self-assessment and group-work are motivated where feelings, interactions and learning can be inexorably associated. Examples of second/foreign language educator education practices followed over a basis of humanistic principles include work by Freeman and Richards (1996), Gebhard (1999) and Woodward (1991).

Constructivist Approach

Constructivism sets an focus on the ways in which individuals bring personal interpretation with their world. Early analysts such as Piaget focused on the individual structure of knowledge. Bruner on the other hands, placed a better emphasis on the connection of the learner with curriculum materials, the educator, and other significant factors. Similarly, Vygotsky and Feuerstein criticised Piaget's view concerning the individual view of knowledge and recommended that, living even as do in a communal world, learning occurs through connections with other people (Williams and Burden, 1997). The author examines constructivism in relation to instructor education, from both individual and cultural aspect as follows:

Social Constructivist Approach

Based on the work completed by Vygotsky, Bruner and Feurstein, cultural interactionism sees the average person as delivered into a social world, and so learning occurs through public interactions with other people (Dmitri, 1986). That is in contrast with the views of the average person constructivist approach portrayed by Piaget and others. A claim is manufactured our mental representations aren't only inner but also reliant on the mental representations of others and rules and restrictions that culture imposes on the assignments an individual can adopt (McMahon, 1997).

Therefore, understanding how to teach is not an internally produced process with a set of techniques plus some specialist knowledge but rather a interpersonal process, relating to the adoption of any interpersonal role. For teachers, this means that they selectively acquire the values and attitudes, hobbies, skills and understanding of their professional group. Therefore a need for teachers to examine "the relationship between their work and wider public conditions" (Roberts, 1998, p. 44).

Thus, the instructors' context is not perceived as a constraint but rather as an effort within which appropriate methodologies need to be evaluated.

Evidently, the application of social constructivism in the field of second/foreign language tutor education reveals that sociable constructivism focuses on the value of knowledge produced within and by making use of the group. This is supplemented with educators writing and contrasting ideas, agreeing and disagreeing, etc. The group of teachers in question can also be widened by becoming a member of pushes with other members in the training system, by means of a wider learning community (Gredler, 1997).

The identification of dialogue as central to educator learning is not new. The experiential learning routine and the humanistic perspectives also recognise the importance of have a discussion in learning. However, corresponding to Roberts (1998, p. 45), in a social constructivist platform, dialogue is seen as especially valuable, in that it is collaborative, task-focused and will be offering teachers the opportunity to clarify their own private theories and communal relationships. Activities that assist promote social relationship and building include awareness increasing duties, e. g. problem-solving, which involves past experience, current values and knowledge, immediate personal experience by means of microteaching and coaching practice with opportunities for representation in and on these activities through set up observations, journal writing, etc. Within this process, as within the other person-centred methods, there is seemingly a shift in emphasis from that of training compared to that of development.

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