3 MORE EFL TERMS YOU SHOULD KNOW: COMPREHENSIBLE INPUT, IMMERSION AND ACQUISITION

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Comprehensible Input:

Language that is understandable to learners even though they do not know all of the individual components.

Comprehensible input is the optimal language input for language learning, according to Stephen Krashen. It is typically one level above the production level of a learner, so while they will not be able to produce this language themselves they will be able to understand it.

Consequently, learners should be given language in class that they struggle with slightly and that they need to work at to understand, using strategies like guessing meaning from context. This will encourage learning through the process of acquisition, rather than conscious learning.

Immersion:

A method of teaching and learning which simulates the process by which a person learns their first language.

Immersion involves teaching a learner using only the target language; in other words, EFL learners will learn English and other subjects through the use of English. In this way, the learners will learn the target language without resorting to translation.

Many people believe this method is basically throwing students in the deep end and that they will struggle, but research has shown this method to be extremely effective and so it is the method used in the majority of TEFL classrooms around the world.

This method solves the problem of the English teacher not being able to speak the students’ first language, which is often the case in a TEFL situation.

Acquisition:

The unconscious process of learning a language.

Acquisition of language is in contrast to learning a language. Acquisition is an unconscious process, such as when a person learns their first language. Learning a language is a conscious formal process, involving learning vocabulary and grammar rules.

Since acquisition generally results in a person learning to be fluent in a language while formal learning does not always guarantee this, acquisition is the preferred method of learning a language and teachers should try to mimic this process in the classroom.

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