Sunday, October 23, 2011

Incomprehensible output: Krashen @ 2011 KOTESOL

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To understand the current place of pronunciation instruction in English language teaching you should hear Professor Krashen's recent comments at KOTESOL. His "message" for the last 30 years or so has been that, in essence, quality input is the central driver of acquisition. On that most agree, of course, but his stance toward learner output, especially managed speaking and pronunciation has been equally consistent: it is potentially problematic and should not be a high priority--for any number of reasons. His position, methodologically, is still dominant. It is quite common sense-based and, in some respects, from the standpoint of the classroom instructor . . . less hassle.

Why worry too much about accuracy (or pronunciation in this case?) Theorists argue principally for the more achievable goal of intelligibility; learners (What do THEY know, anyway?) in almost every study "demand" assistance with accuracy of pronunciation and to be more "native speaker-like," especially if their job depends upon it. Obviously, there is an "information gap" here. Hear it straight from "Dr Gap," himself, in this typically engaging and revealing interview at KOTESOL.

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