General premises

1. The goal is 'the ability to communicate with native
speakers of the target language'
2. Comprehension precedes production – the Silent
3. Production 'emerges'
4. Acquisition activities are central, though some
Monitoring may be useful for some people sometimes
5. Lower the Affective Filter: they won't learn if their
affective barrier is too high
6. Speech emerges in stages. (Terrell et al 1997)
7. Group work encourages speech. (Terrell et al 1997)
8. Speech emergence is characterized by grammatical
errors. (Terrell et al 1997)
Techniques (all acquisition activities)
a) Affective-Humanistic activities
dialogues – short and useful - 'open' dialogues
interviews – pairwork on personal information
personal charts and tables
preference ranking – opinion polls on favourite
activities etc
revealing information about yourself – e.g. what I
had for breakfast
activating the imagination – e.g. give Napoleon
advice about his Russian campaign
b) Problem-solving activities
task and series – e.g. components of an activity
such as washing the car
charts, graphs, maps – e.g. bus fares, finding the
developing speech for particular occasions – e.g.
What do you say if …
c) Games, e.g. What is strange about … a bird
d) Content activities, e.g. academic subject
matter such as maths
The Natural
Order Hypothesis
According to Krashen, learners acquire parts of
language in a predictable order. For any given
language, certain grammatical structures are
acquired early while others are acquired later in
the process. This hypothesis suggests that this
natural order of acquisition occurs independently
of deliberate teaching and therefore teachers
cannot change the order of a grammatical
teaching sequence.
According to this hypothesis, teachers
should be aware that certain structures of a
language are easier to acquire than others
and therefore language structures should
be taught in an order that is conducive to
learning. Teachers should start by
introducing language concepts that are
relatively easy for learners to acquire and
then use scaffolding to introduce more
difficult concepts.
What does scaffolding mean when used
with lesson planning?
Scaffolding is support the teacher gives the
student in any number of ways, ranging
from hints or feedback to doing the task for
the student as a demonstration. Most often,
it will involve designing practice with a
particular subject at the skill level
accessible to the student. The value of
scaffolding is that the student learns to
master the task, strategy or skill using
easier material, and then moves toward
mastery of higher level content with more
confidence and actual understanding
Six Scaffolding
Strategies to Use with
Your Students
1. Show and Tell
How many of us say that we learn best by seeing something rather
than hearing about it? Modeling for students is a cornerstone of
scaffolding in my experience. Have you ever interrupted someone
with "just show me!" while they were in the middle of explaining to
you how to do something? Every chance you have, show or
demonstrate to students exactly what they are expected to do
2. Tap into Prior Knowledge
Ask students to share their own experiences, hunches, and ideas
about the content or concept of study and have them relate and
connect it to their own lives. Sometimes you may have to offer
hints and suggestions, leading them to the connections a bit, but
once they get there, they will grasp it as their own.
3. Give Time to Talk
All learners need time to process new ideas and
information. They also need time to verbally make sense
of and articulate their learning with the community of
learners who are also engaged in the same experience
and journey. As we all know, structured discussions
really work best with children regardless of their level of
maturation. If you aren't weaving in think-pair-share,
turn-and-talk, triad teams or some other structured
talking time throughout the lesson, you should begin
including this crucial strategy on a regular basis.
4. Pre-Teach Vocabulary
Sometimes referred to as frontloading vocabulary, this is a strategy
that we teachers don't use enough. Many of us, myself included,
are guilty of sending students all alone down the bumpy, muddy
path known as Challenging Text - a road booby trapped with
difficult vocabulary. We send them ill prepared and then we are
often shocked when they: a) lose interest b) create a ruckus c) fall
5. Use Visual Aids
Graphic organizers, pictures, and charts can all serve
as scaffolding tools. Graphic organizers are very
specific in that they help kids visually represent their
ideas, organize information, and grasp concepts such
as sequencing and cause and effect.
6. Pause, Ask Questions, Pause, Review
This is a wonderful way to check for understanding while
students read a chunk of difficult text or learn a new concept or
content. Here's how this strategy works: a new idea from
discussion or the reading is shared, then pause (providing think
time), then ask a strategic question, pausing again. By strategic,
you need to design them ahead of time, make sure they are
specific, guiding and open-ended questions. (Great questions
fail without giving think time for responses so hold out during
that Uncomfortable Silence.) Keep kids engaged as active
listeners by calling on someone to "give the gist" of what was
just discussed / discovered / questioned. If the class seems
stuck by the questions, provide an opportunity for students to
discuss it with a neighbor
The Natural Order Hypothesis
•It predicts that features of L1 (first language) grammar are learned by
children in a sequence predetermined by innate universal processes of
•The possibility that a natural order influences second language
acquisition has received considerable interest.
•The distinction hypothesized between L2 learning (conscious learning)
and acquisition (subconscious learning) has received rather wide
•If the Natural Order Hypothesis is assumed valid for a second
language, and the learning/acquisition distinction taken as a dichotomy
where learning does not contribute to acquisition, then the sum total of
these two positions can militate against planned, formal classroom
practice where the order of L2 material is not determined by a
postulated universally natural order and where initial learning is typically
•It has been suggested that formal instruction is detrimental to, or
somehow interferes with, acquisition of a new language.
Critique of Krashen
The Natural Order
We have seen that Krashen's first hypothesis - that there
is a distinction between conscious learning, on the one
hand, and unconscious acquisition on the other, and that
the latter is far more effective in enabling people to use
an L2 - can be criticized :
•1. It oversimplifies the cognitive processes of learning,
and draws too rigid a distinction between acquisition and
•2. It is based mainly on the observation of learners
acquiring an L2 that is generally used in the surrounding
environment - that is immigrants to the US learning
English. In other situations one may expect classroom
learning, of the conscious kind, to be important.

In looking at cognitive processing, we have considered the work of
Anderson, who distinguishes three phases in the learning process
•1. the Cognitive Stage - learner receives instruction, or watches
an expert, or studies the question on his own.
•2. The Associative Stage - two things occur :
•a) errors in the declarative statements are detected and
•b) connections between the different elements of the skill are
•3. The Autonomous Stage - skill becomes virtually automatic
and errors disappear. The skill can now be executed without
attention - driving a car and having a conversation at the same
time. With a complex skill, this stage takes a long time to reach.