I began this blog, (Blog 1, September 26th), by stating: “the success of any communication can be judged on the result you get.” I said you could probably communicate most things through facial expression, body language and a few choice grunts! I went on to say the blog was going to focus on the stuff which went alongside the non-verbal and that ‘vocabulary’, although the largest part of any language, had to be held together with ‘grammar’. In fact, I quoted David Crystal, who says: “Without grammar, we are left with a jumble of words and word-parts and nothing makes sense.”
Thirty blogs down the line, we’ve covered a lot of ground together and lots of learners have passed through ETC International, Bournemouth, looking to improve their English. The question is, has their English improved because of language ‘teaching’, language ‘learning’ or language ‘acquisition’? Probably all three. Like I have been doing with you in this blog, here we encourage our learners to ‘think’. We also encourage them to relax, as we believe that a stress free environment is the best environment in which to study English. Consequently, we encourage our teachers to make lessons as enjoyable and stress-free as possible and include a variety of activities to appeal to learners who like learning in a variety of ways: visual, auditory, kinesthetic (touch and feel), olfactory (smell) and gustatory (taste).
Perhaps most importantly of all, we insist that our teachers are interesting and use language which is comprehensible.
We agree with the words of Stephen Krashen, the linguist from the USA who says: “We acquire language when we understand messages, when we understand what people tell us and when we understand what we read.”
To do this, the language ETC teachers use must be ‘comprehensible’. Understandably, in the English Language Teaching trade, this is called ‘Comprehensible Input’. I’ll leave you with two more quotes to think about before next week: “Comprehensible Input remains the foundation of all language acquisition.” — Lightbown and Spada, 2014. “All cases of successful first and second language acquisition are characterized by the availability of Comprehensible Input.” – Larsen-Freeman & Long, 1991.
Until next week, byee!