The Natural Approach and the Input Hypothesis emphasize unconscious acquisition by receiving comprehensible input.
The Natural Approach is the method focusing on providing understandable spoken language known as comprehensible input and classroom atmosphere without anxiety. Learners listen to the teacher’s use of the target language and try to understand it while remaining silent. If this comprehensible input is provided adequately, language acquisition progresses “naturally” (Larsen-Freeman). Also, because learners are not forced to speak until speech “emerges,” suitable classroom environment can be provided (Brown).
The Input Hypothesis claims that language acquisition automatically occurs when learners understand language that incorporates structure “beyond their current level” with extra-linguistic information (Krashen). In this way, learners’ progress follows the natural order, moving from the current stage i to i+1 (Ellis). When comprehensible input (i+1) is well understood, speaking “emerges” (Brown).
Likewise, the Natural Approach and the Input Hypothesis are very similar and somewhat overlapping. The Natural Approach seems to be a pedagogical application of the Input Hypothesis. The Natural Approach is based on ideological foundations of Krashen’s Monitor Theory, which includes the Input Hypothesis as one of the five hypotheses (Markee). Based on the claims mentioned in the Input Hypothesis, the Natural Approach allows curriculum design. For instance, the teacher can prepare various comprehensive inputs depending on learners’ proficiency. The teacher can also be patiently waiting learners’ production and not overly correcting their errors in order to reduce anxiety.
Consequently, the Input Hypothesis provides foundations for the Natural Approach which subsequently serves as a practical way of application.
Brown, H. D. (2000). Principles of Language Teaching and Learning. (4th Ed.). New York: Long man. Krashen, S.D. (1982)....
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