The purpose of language instruction

02.25.2010

in Beyond the Basics, Spotlight

What is the purpose of language education, or instruction?

I read an interesting answer to that question yesterday. And it might surprise you. I found it in a paper, or article, called The Autonomous Language Acquirer. The purpose of language instruction, according to the paper, should not be “to develop fully proficient (skilled or expert) speakers of the foreign or second language.” So what should it be?

The paper describes two goals for language instruction. First, language instruction should help students understand how language is acquired, or picked up. Second, language instruction should help students learn where and how to get and use comprehensible input – understandable English to read and listen to – from the “outside world” when they leave the classroom.

The purpose of language education, according to the paper, should be to help students become autonomous – independent, self-directed – language acquirers.

If you have read ABOUT Successful English, you will already know that this is the purpose of Successful English. If you keep returning, you will learn more and more about acquiring English, and you will learn where to find and how to use interesting, comprehensible reading and listening to improve your English.

If you want to get started today, take a look at The Basics.

Warren Ediger
warren [at] successfulenglish [dot] com

Reference: Krashen, S. (2006). The autonomous language acquirer. In Skier, E. and Kohyama, M. (Eds.) More Autonomy You Ask! Tokyo: Japan Association for Language Teaching (Learner Development Special Interest Group).

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