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The Natural Approach The Silent-Way Whole Language

Licda. Ninoska Contreras Maracaibo,2011

Created by Stephen D. Krashen (1983) and Tracy D. Terrell. It is based on Krashens second language learning hypotheses developed in 1982; his language acquisition theory and his requirements for optimal input. And It is designed to develop basic communication skills. The natural approach principles are: Acquisition is more important than learning. In order to acquire, two conditions are necessary: comprehensible input containing I+1, and a low affective filter to allow the input in . (Krashen, 1982)

The Natural Approach

In NA foreign language classes students are allowed to progress naturally from one stage to another. Krashen and Terrell described three developmental stages for beginners:

Stage I: Comprehension it is also called the silent-stage or : Comprehension, preproduction stage. It is where activities are designed to teach students to recognize the meaning of words used in communicative contexts and guess the meaning of utterances without knowing every word or structure.

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brought to class.

Use visual aids. Modify his speech to aid comprehension.

Supplying comprehensible input based on pictures.

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Do not force production. For literate adults, focus attention on key vocabulary by writing words on the board. Students should copy these words into a vocabulary notebook for subsequent review and reference.
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Student responses

An action.

The name of a fellow student.



Yes/no answers in the target language.


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Total physical response activity. Supplying comprehensible input based on items in the classroom or

Pointing to item or picture.

(Stage II to stage III) (Stage I to stage II)
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Yes /no questions Choice questions y Questions which y can be answered y with a single word General questions y which encourage lists of words y Open sentences with pause for student response

If possible, expand all student responses. Open dialogues Guided interviews Open-ended sentences Charts, tables, graphs Newspaper ads

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Yes /no answers One-word answers


List of words

Two-word strings and short phrases

Stage II: Early Speech, students begin producing words and grammatical forms. In affectively positive environments, most adults move voluntarily into this stage within 2 to 10 hours of instruction.

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matter, new information, reading ) Student Three words and word phrases Longer phrases Complete sentences where appropriate (native speech is not always made up of complete sentences)
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Preference ranking Games of all sorts Problem solving using charts, tables, graphs, maps

2. affective-humanistic (students y own ideas, opinions, experiences) 3. Games (focus on using language to participate in the game) 4. Problem solving (focus on using language to locate information, use information,
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Advertisements and signs Group discussion Skits Music, radio, television, filmstrips, slides

Dialogues Extended discourse (discussion)

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Writing exercises Acquisition activities:

so on).


1. Content (culture, subject

Stage III: Speech Emergence, students produce longer sentences, more complex, and they use a wider range of vocabulary. Finally the number of errors will slowly decrease. decrease.

The Students are evaluated in terms of their communicative proficiency vis--vis the goals which have been set for the course. The testing of the four skills on the topics or situations which form the syllabus for the course (general high school and college introductory courses); the testing of tools (vocabulary and grammar) is done with quizzes to check strong and weak areas. (Krashen and Terrell, 1983)


The Silent-Way
"The teacher works with the student; the student works on the language.
Method developed in U.S. by Caleb Gattegno, a mathematician, scientist, and educator (book Teaching Foreign Languages in Schools: The Silent Way in 1972). This method focuses first on the acquisition of control over pronunciation and structure. It takes its name from the relative silence of teachers who must use gestures, visual aids, picture books, tapes; videotapes, films, mime, charts (word charts, color-coded pronunciation charts -Fidel charts), a pointer, drawings, word sheets and wooden sticks or rods of different lengths and colors to help the students talk.

There are no textbooks for students but some books, worksheets for practicing reading and writing skills and optional materials for advanced classes may be used. Reading and writing are sometimes taught from the beginning; and students are given assignments to do outside the classroom at their own pace.

 Remains silent because silence supposed to give the students mind the maximum opportunity to

extract and process information from minimum oral input; using short-term memory processes with no interference from new auditory material (concentration, mental organization, alertness).
 Presents an item once, typically using nonverbal clues to get across meanings.  Tests immediately as silent a way as possible.  Silently monitors learners' interactions with each other and may even leave the room while

learners struggle with their new linguistic tools.

 Designs teaching sequences and creating individual lessons and lesson elements.  Defines learning goals that are clear and attainable.  Sequence and timing in Silent Way classes are more important than in many kinds of language

teaching classes, and the teachers' sensitivity and management of them is critical.
 The teacher's role is one of neutral observer, neither elated by correct performance nor discouraged

by error. Students
 Must do most of the talking from the beginning.  Must learn to work cooperatively.  At times each one is an independent individual, at other times a group member. Also is a teacher, a

student, part of a support system, a problem solver, and a self-evaluator.

In this method teachers use a fully developed set of materials which act as associative mediators that produce better retention and facilitate students recall. One of the most important tools are the Cuisenaire rods rods; named after George Cuisenaire, a mathematics teacher from Belgium who invented them as a means of helping his students with the arithmetic. Gattegno recognized their power and educational value for language teaching, and use them to teach color, size, shapes, length, and comparison, preposition of place, sentence order, and word stress. Also for clarifying grammar through understandable situations, mastery of function words through precise usage, vocabulary expansion, and storytelling. Pint & Pint (2005)

There are typically twelve such charts containing 500 to 800 words in the native language and script. The content of word charts will vary from language to language, but the general content of the vocabulary charts (Gattegno 1972) is paraphrased below: Chart 1: the word rod, colors of the rods, plural markers, simple imperative verbs, personal pronouns, some adjectives and question words. Charts 2, 3: remaining pronouns, words for "here" and "there," of, for, and name. Chart 4: numbers. Charts 5, 6: words illustrating size, space, and temporal relationships, as well as some concepts difficult to illustrate with rods, such as order, causality, condition, similarity and difference.

Chart 7: words that qualify, such as adverbs. Charts 8, 9: verbs, with cultural references where possible. Chart 10: family relationships.

Charts 11, 12: words expressing time, calendar elements, seasons, days, week, month, Year, etc.

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 The lessons follow a sequence based on grammatical complexity. 

Each new item is presented at a time, and old structures are continuously reviewed and recycled.

 Vocabulary is crucial and related to the grammatical items of each lesson.

Functional vocabulary, consists of the most functional and versatile words of the language, many of

which may not have direct equivalents in the learner's native tongue. This provides a key, to comprehending the "spirit" of the language. By the "spirit" of the language Gattegno is referring to the way each language is composed of phonological and suprasegmental elements that combine to give the language its unique sound system and melody.

Semi-luxury vocabulary consists of expressions common in the daily life of the target language culture;
this refers to food, clothing, travel, family life, and so on.

Luxury vocabulary is used in communicating more specialized ideas, such as political or philosophical
 Expressions such as very good , or enthusiastic signs of approval or disapproval are not

permissible in feedback on performance. The students must develop their inner criteria. They are expected to interact with each other and suggest alternatives to each other, so must learn to work cooperatively. Students are expected to become an active and independent problem solver thus they have to play varying roles. And it is the student who is usually expected to decide on what role is most appropriate to a given situation. So, Learning consists of trial and error, deliberate experimentation, suspending judgment, and revising conclusions.




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Vocabulary wood, red, green, yellow, brown, pink, white, orange, black, color one, two,... ten take (pick up) give, object pronouns where, on, under, near, far, over, next to, here, there Question-forming rules. Yes. No. adjectives of comparison

2. Using the numbers 110 3. Wood color red two pieces. 4. Take (pick up) wood color red two pieces 5. Take wood color red two pieces hive him 6. Wood red where? Wood red on table. 7. Wood color red on table, is it? Yes, on. Not on. 8. Wood color red long. Wood color green longer. Wood color orange longest. 9. Wood color green taller. Wood color red is it? 10. Review. Students use structures taught in new situations, such as comparing the heights of students in the class.

(Joel Wiskin, personal communication)

Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I remember, Involve me and I learn. Benjamin Franklin

You can't teach people everything they need to know. The best you can do is position them where they can find what they need to know when they need to know it. Seymour Papert

The Whole language approach rests on the idea that all four modes of language usereading, listening, speaking and writing, involve active meaning making and active learning. There is an emphasis on contextualization, on collaboration, and on resistance to language differentiation. This approach is based on Kenneth Goodmans language principles: Goodman

Learning proceeds from whole to part. Learning involves social interactions. Learning is the active construction of knowledge by the student. Language is both personal and social. Language learning is learning how to mean. Lessons should have meaning and purposes for the students. Activities should be learner centered, drawing on students backgrounds and interests. In a second language, oral and written language can be acquired simultaneously. The potential of bilingual students is expanded through faith in them as learners (Goodman, 1986).

Whole language expects learners to grow in their competence as thinkers, speakers and listeners, readers and writers.

Babies acquire language through actually using it, not through practicing its separate parts (until some later date when the parts are assembled and the totality is finally used). The major assumption is that the model of acquisition, through real use, is the best model for thinking about and helping with the learning of reading and writing. Language acquisition (both oral and written) is seen as natural in the sense that when language is an integral part of functioning of a community and is used around and with neophytes, it is learned "incidentally"...(as an aspect of doing something else). Whole language relies on literature, on other print used for appropriate purposes (e.g. cake-mix directions used for really making a cake, rather than for finding short vowels), and on writing for varied purposes. (Artwergen et al, 1987).

Whol l hasi s holisti and onstr ti ist approaches to the creation of nowledge, st dents interpretations of oral and written texts, and free expression of ideas. he reading and writing processes should e learned experience rather than anal sis. eading is considered a psycholinguistic guessing game where the focus is not on grammar, spelling, punctuation or other specific skills ecause they do not directly develop meaning. Whole language ack in the 19 0s and 70s was called the psycholinguistic approach to reading. oodman thought that there are four "cueing systems" for reading, four things that readers have to guess what word comes next: graphophonemic: the shapes of the letters, and the sounds that they evoke (printed visual array); syntactic: what part of speech or word would make sense ased on the grammar of the language (conventions and consistencies of the languages structure); emantic: what word you would expect to occur ased on the meaning of the sentence so far (meaning or comprehension, including ackground information and personal previous experiences). [graphic organi ers, anguage xperience Approach (L. .A.) and irected eading- hinking Activity (DRTA), writing ooks and stories] Pragmatic: what the function of the text is.

The goal of providing social context helps the development of language based on functional needs.

Cognitive and linguistic development is interrelated: language is presented as a whole, and then particular or specific aspects are studied (from whole to parts).

Reading is the starting point to work and develop all four modes of the target language.

The semantic Reading is an interactive process:

The reader uses his or her prior knowledge to make sense of the authors words (DRTA, reading, reflection, and listening guides). Reading materials must be authentic, real life, meaning-centered(Core books, varied reading materials, including magazines, plays, and functional materials). And it involves a variety of reader strategies, such as predicting meaning and using metacognitive skills and these strategies should be taught beginning when a child enters school and continuing throughout school life, acquiring more advanced skills as a child progresses through the grades (Textual organization, reciprocal teaching, being aware when one doesnt understand and using fix-up strategies).

Writing is equally important. (Journal writing, word processing on a computer) Therefore, written language is best learned "incidentally".

interpretive teaching, making sense of how students engage in language learning. provides substantial and consistent structure (offering experiences that support learners experiments) in order to enable their students to take increased responsibility for their own learning. promotes collaboration: among students, between teacher and students, and between home and school, because language learning requires negotiating meaning and taking in feedback from partners. encourages error is inherent in the language learning process. by reading meaning into learners speech or writing attempts, and by hearing and seeing through errors and spelling inventions. and With the support of their teachers, the learners spoken and written experiments help them locate and learn the conventional language usage.

ince this approach promotes re-humani ation of the learning process, evaluation is basically informal (Goodman, 1989). ften, whole language teachers maintain for each student a portfolio containing samples of the student's writing, reading, and other work; systematic and anecdotal observations; notes on conferences and interviews; questionnaires and inventories; and excerpts from dialogue journals and learning logs. Periodically, both teacher and student review the student's work and consider ways in which the student might change. Thus, evaluation is an ongoing and integral part of whole language learning and teaching. It is contextuali ed in that it is based upon what the students are doing and learning daily and in the tandards for evaluation in whole language classrooms, that require considerations of purpose and context (a good set of notes for oneself may have different hand writing than notes to be used by another).

Lesson Plan #: AELP-WLG0003.

Let's Go Shopping

Author: Gary Miller; Whitford (Int.) Beaverton, OR Date: May 1994 Grade Level(s): 7, 8, 9 Subject(s):

Language Arts/Whole Language It may be presented as a language arts activity but could easily be presented as a cultural awareness or human relations activity.

Overview: This lesson involves observation, role playing, writing in character, and presentation to the class. Students will visualize themselves as an observer of humanity in a given situation. They will be stepping out of their own character and into the character of someone else (what an opportunity to teach Reach!). They will react to a situation as they imagine someone else might and then write about it. Your classroom may need to be reorganized to simulate a shopping mall, but you need no special equipment or materials. Purpose: As this lesson unfolds, students will begin to understand how they observe, identify, and sometimes judge others by behavior and appearance. Objective(s): This lesson will help kids become better observers, demonstrate point of view as a literary and human function, and teach them an important lesson about how to understand differing perspectives in the same situation. Resources/Materials: The only materials required for this activity are a flexible room, imagination, and a very heavy book. (A microphone can be improvised) Activities and Procedures: Ask students to list the different "types" of people they might see at a large shopping mall on a Saturday afternoon (families, kids, security and custodial people, clerks, retired people, "mall walkers", people canvassing, etc. List as many as possible on the board. Have the students choose one character and visualize what that character might be doing at the mall. Then adjust your classroom to accommodate movement and have the kids actually simulate their characters by turning the room into the shopping mall! Encourage the kids to really get into their roles.




After the students have been role playing for about two minutes (just make sure they are completely absorbed in what they are doing), slam the heaviest book in the room down on the floor. Explain that a huge explosion has just occurred. Instruct the students to return to their desks and write what just happened from the point of view of the character they are pretending to be. Allow five to ten minutes for writing and then ask students to meet in small groups to read their writing to each other. Each group should choose the best" or most effective writing from their group. Select a TV interviewer from the class and stage a Man on the Street interview with all of the selected authors. ( I usually choose one of my least successful writers as the interviewer) Discussion may follow concerning point of view writing. Tying It All Together: In addition to being an active, fun, and creative way to teach a literary element, this activity helps students to see how they look at others, and how different people might have differing perspectives on the same experience. While some what slanted culturally (in that it assumes most kids have access to and would go to a shopping mall), the format allows for modification and adjustment to create an environment where students might enjoy the privilege of "walking a mile in someone else's moccasins" and learning a new point of view.




This hypothesis claims that there are two separate and distinc ways of developping competence in second language and both occur simultaneously in the adult learner and in the classroom:

Language acquisition refers to the natural,

informal, largery random way of internalizing language through listening and using it in meaningful situations.

Language learning refers to the more formal

aspects of institutionalized learning with emphasis on the conscious learning of the forms of language and language rules.

The Acquisition/Learning Distinction Acquisition/

This hypothesis claims that the acquisition of gramatical structures procedes in a predictible order. The order of acquisition for second languages is not the same as the order of acquisition for the first language, but there are some similarities. Average Order of Acquisition of Grammatical Morphemes for English as a Second Language (Children and Adults) y ING (progressive) y PLURAL y COPULA (to be) y IRREGULAR PAST y AUXILIARY (progressive) y ARTICLE (a, the) y REGULAR PAST y IlI SINGULAR (-s) y POSSESSIVE (-s) (NOTES: (from Krashen & Terrell) y This order is derived from an analysis of empirical studies of second language acquisition in a 1981 study by Krashen. Most studies show significant correlations with the average order. y Many of the relationships posited here also hold for child first language. In general the bound morphemes have the same relative order for first and second language acquisition (-ing, plural, Ir. Past, Reg. Past, III Singular, and Possessive) while Copula and Auxiliary tend to be acquired relatively later in first language acquisition than in second language acquisition.)

The Natural Order Hypothesis

Acquisition is responsible for the initiation of utterances in a second language and is also responsible for fluency. Learning acts as a monitor or editor to make changes in the form of the utterance based on the knowledge of rules. The Monitor Hypothesis states three conditions for conscious use of rules:
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Sufficient time to think about the rule and use it; Focus on form rather than on what we are saying, Knowledge of the rule.

The Monitor Hypothesis

In this hypothesis there are also three basic types of performers:


Monitor over-users, who attempt to monitor all the time and perform without any real fluency. Monitor under-users, who have not learned or prefer not to use their conscious knowledge, rely more on acquired grammar. Optimal monitor users, who use the monitor when it is appropriate, and when it does not interfere with communication

The input hypothesis includes four parts:

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This hypothesis relates to acquisition, not learning. We acquire by understanding language that contains structure a bit beyond our current level of competence (I+1). If the acquirer understands the input, and there is enough of it, I+1 will be provided automatically. The ability to speak fluently cannot be taught directly. It emerges as a result of being exposed to enough quantity of roughly-tuned input that is comprehensible to the student.

The Input Hypothesis

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It must be comprehensible. It has to be interesting and/or relevant to the students needs. It must not be grammatically sequenced. It must be provided in sufficient quantity. It must maintain a low affective filter level. It has to provide tools for conversational management.

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Optimal input requirements

This hypothesis explains how affective variables such as motivation, self-confidence, and anxiety relate to success in second language acquisition processes. It posits that a high affective filter will block the input from reaching that part of the brain responsible for language acquisition. But less anxious students with low affective filters will seek and obtain more input and will be more open to it. So, the effective language teacher must be capable of providing input and making it comprehensible in a low anxiety situation.

The Affective Filter Hypothesis