Tuesday, January 4, 2011

After Krashen, Reboot

the following appeared on the CESL weblogs at http://www.siu.edu/~cesl/teachers/pd/krashenburn.html from 2007-2010 but was removed in 2010 and placed here in 2011. Most of its links are dead now, but the work can be found at https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1O0TA0wqOuebzVvZmwkA-EBRwgAehvYs3Q4lHW5XKj0o.

A series of essays on Krashen and language learning, not published formally yet, but working toward that general goal.
Introduction (below)
Communicative theory rocks the late 20th century(2-08)
Grammar Wars (2-08) What's with the picture? (10-07)

More on language and language theory

Language as a self-organizing system

More on Krashen and his theories:

Leverett, T. (2008, Feb.). Communicative theory rocks the late 20th century. Unpublished manuscript. Available:

Leverett, T. (2003). Review of Explorations in Language Acquisition and Use: The Taipei Lectures, by Stephen Krashen,
TESL-EJ, vol. 7, no. 2, Sept.

On language learning in general:

Leverett, T. (2007). Volume theory. Unpublished manuscript. http://www.siu.edu/~cesl/teachers/pd/vt.html.

Leverett, T. (2004). Translation Plateau. Unpublished document. http://www.siu.edu/~cesl/teachers/pd/pw.html.

Blog posts:

Learning theory, 6-2-07
It 's all relative, 6-8-07
Acquisition of present perfect, 6-14-07
Principle wanted, again, 3-8-07

After Krashen, call the insurance

After twenty years of teaching, 9/11 put a scare into me: it looked like I'd lose my profession, just because students would soon be unwilling or unable to come to the US to study. That hasn't turned out to be true; on the contrary the country has been flooded with different kinds of learners, but, the scare motivated me to write down what I'd been working on, latently, anyway. And, circumstances have come to support that writing. The different kinds of learners have given me a laboratory to test ideas. High-volume high-level writing classes have shown me what students do when they try to learn under pressured situations, given guidance and told that they need to be fluent in a given time. My environment is, after all, a kind of laboratory; students for the most part can study full-time, free of the pressures of making a living; they are expected to succeed, but they are usually not told how this is to happen. Often they rely on us, the teachers, more than we'd like; they assume that whatever we give them, it must be the right thing, and if they are not fluent, it is somehow our fault.

Why do I mention this? Because I'd like to get to the bottom of what to tell them. I can tell them, easily enough, that we can't give them everything. That they'll have to do most of the work themselves. That exposure, using the language, is going to be very important to them. I can tell them, in a constructivist kind of way, that what they do to build and create the language is what is going to be most important. But I'd like to know more. I've come to have certain ideas about this process, and have wanted to put them down on paper, to collect resources, and begin to explain the process of learning a language. My experience, the students in my classes, have served as subjects in this grand experiment. Well-intentioned, diverse, capable, they struggled with making their view of a language, in this case English, conform to ours.

This project is a starting point. I publish it here because it needs a place to be; I am not ready to print it in the form of a book. I am still working on it, modifying it. I will keep you posted on its changes in the weblog, which is here; in the meantime, you may see this and the pages that are part of this project updated and changed regularly. Or, as in the case of some of my other projects, you may see it forced into static remission for entire busy terms. I set it down as a way partly of collecting thoughts, so that, if it does falter, or I get hit by a train, my work and my thaoughts will at least be collected in a single site. To that train, and to all those students who have given generously of their time and money, I dedicate this work. -TL

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