Keep My Word


Stephen Krashen's Theory of Second Language Acquisition

How Krashen would define 'a quality lesson'

Language schools and online-English schools often emphasize that they provide 'a quality lesson'. (Our school is one of them too.) What does it really mean? Maybe, you can imagine by reading the theory 'i + 1' by the famous linguist, Krashen (cited from


Stephen Krashen's Theory of Second Language Acquisition

According to this hypothesis, the learner improves and progresses along the 'natural order' when he/she receives second language 'input' that is one step beyond his/her current stage of linguistic competence. For example, if a learner is at a stage 'i', then acquisition takes place when he/she is exposed to 'Comprehensible Input' that belongs to level 'i + 1'.

In other words, if the current level of his/her second language is labeled as 'i', it will be improved by inputting the information 'i+1', a little higher than his/her current level.

This video is a good example. If you teach German to beginners by speaking complicated phrases in the language, they won't improve it. But if you teach in a tangible way, by giving Comprehensible Input, they start to distinguish several words in German.

The problem is how to choose suitable materials for learners at Intermediate level or higher. It is easy to prepare materials for leaners below that level because they would be something basic and fundamental.

It's also difficult to tell what the '+1' will be for the learners in higher level because their Comprehensible Input varies and we have to consider their interests too.

I think that this is the difficult part since it would lead to either a successful English (or other language) learning experience or a failure. Whether the learners will reach the level of 800 in TOEIC score or B2 in the CEFR level depends on how we provide lessons with Comprehensible Input and interesting materials that can also mean something challenging. Additionally, this level is considered necessary to communicate with foreigners.

In the Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis, Krashen also said that 'acquisition' is the key to improving language skills and 'learning' is a secondary element.

'Acquisition' is 'the product of a subconscious process very similar to the process children undergo when they acquire their first language', whereas 'learning' is the conscious process to study a language mainly by understanding the rules such as grammars.

By reading them, I imagine that the most effective lesson is based on communications that give a student a eureka moment and make him/her realize or find something; a teacher should be also creative enough to prepare situations useful for the student's daily life. It comes from my experiences though, we will not forget words and sentences learnt in such lessons and we will be able to use them naturally.

This is the One's Word's quality lesson.

It’s originally posted in Japanese on the 14th March 2013.