Selasa, 13 Januari 2009

Learning Languages Like Children (By Dr. J. Marvin Brown)

In 1984, the American University Language Center in Bangkok started using a new approach to teach the Thai language. The method is called ‘The Listening Approach’. In more recent years it’s become known as ‘Automatic Language Growth’. The method says that any attempt to speak (or even think about language), before automatic speaking comes, will cause damage and limit final results! In other words, the method uses a  very long "silent period". During the "silent period", students focus only on listeningAfter 6 - 12 months of intensive listening, students begin to speak spontaneously and naturally-- without effort and without thinking!

Everyone knows that when people move to a new country the children will eventually speak the language natively and the adults won’t. The normal explanation is that children have a special ‘talent’ that they lose as they grow up. Teachers said that for adults, languages should be taught and studied instead of learned naturally. But are we any better with present language teaching? Why, for example, do adults in Central Africa do better when they move to a new language community than our modern students do? Could it be that early teachers were mistaken? Maybe adults can do what children do. Maybe it’s just adult behavior (not lack of talent) that prevents them from succeeding.

THE MISTAKE – Children can do something that adults cannot.

THE UNASKED QUESTION – What would happen if an adult were to just listen for a year without  speaking?

OUR ANSWER – Both adults and children can do it right, but only adults can do it wrong.Imagine a 4 year-old child and an adult reacting to somebody talking to them in a foreign language.The child most often just listens, while the adult usually tries to talk back. Now imagine that ‘not trying to speak’ was the child’s secret. It makes sense that listening to things that are always right would build the language right, while saying things that are always wrong would build it wrong. What would happen if adults were to do the same thing children do, (that is, just listen for a year without trying to say anything).
In 1984, the AUA language center in Bangkok started doing exactly this in its Thai classes. The  students just listened for as much as a year without speaking at all. We found that adults get almost the same results that children do. If adults understand natural talk, in real situations, without trying to say anything, for a whole year, then fluent speaking with clear pronunciation will come automatically.
It seems that the difference between adults and children is not that adults have lost the ability to do it  right-- but that children haven’t yet gained the ability to do it wrong (that is, to destroy it with forced  speaking).

Forced speaking damages adults. Consciously thinking of one’s sentences – with translations,  rules, substitutions, or any other kind of thinking prevents you from speaking like a native.  Natural speaking (speaking that comes automatically) won’t cause damage (not even when it’s  wrong). The damage doesn’t come from being wrong; it comes from thinking about the language.

What we’re suggesting is this. The reason that children always end up as native speakers is  because they learn to speak by listening. And the reason that adults don’t is because they learn  to speak by speaking.

Adults talk too much.
The formula is this: ‘Listen’, ‘Don’t speak’, and ‘Be patient’. And now it appears that this is not only the child’s secret. It’s everybody’s secret. And while children do it more faithfully, adults can  do it faster.

Most language teachers are constantly telling their students to try to speak as much as they can, and to think carefully before they say anything, so they’ll get it right. And now I’m saying that this  kind of speaking and thinking is the exact thing that prevents adults from learning languages well.

We look at children who have moved to a new country, and we see them ‘listen, laugh, and stare’.  The child’s secret; ears open, mouths shut, no tests. They become near-native within two years.  Then we look into language classrooms around the world, and we see just the opposite; ears  practically closed (the students use their eyes instead), mouths open, and a lot of tests. Very  few of these students become near-native.

Two things are needed for modern  students.

First, they need experiences in the language that are so interesting (fun, exciting, suspenseful,  etc.), that the students forget that a new language is being used.
And second, the students understanding must be high enough to learn - and this means 80-100%   from the very first day!  It takes a lot of work to train teachers to be both interesting and understandable. But it is the  secret to success! Interesting and understandable listening, and a long "silent period", is the key  to speaking like a native.

Free Email Course: 7 Rules for Excellent English
Effortless English Lessons
Automatic Language Growth (Dr. J. Marvin Brown)
Dr. Stephen Krashen: Language Learning Research

8 komentar:

  1. Ada apa ini ???? Tgl 11 Maret 2009 artikel ini banyak diburu orang... bayangkan, dalam 1 hari saja di-klik oleh 339 pengunjung. Saya gak ngerti ada apa sesungguhnya......
    Yah... apapun alasannya, saya ikut senang karena artikel tersebut berguna bagi orang lain... Thank you Dr. J. Marvin Brown....

  2. Rasa penasaran saya terjawab sudah... ternyata dlm diskusi yg terjadi di blog, alamat weblog ini di rujuk oleh untuk melihat article Dr. J. Marvin Brown selengkapnya.
    Terima kasih ... semoga dapat bermanfaat bagi yang membutuhkan...
    Thanks a lot.... best regards...

  3. This is such a cool article! This is the most logical explanation of how people learn a language. Studying grammar rules in order to be able to speak does not make any sense at all. I think the reason people do not trust the method of listening is because it takes a lot of time,and they (impatiently) want to start speaking NOW. I think you nailed it

    Great Job,

  4. the one thing i ll tell you is WE ARE IMPATINENT. why do we want things immidiately without forces.

  5. hi . thrat is very good thaks that is very imprtant

  6. You're welcome Hunar. Glad to see you.

  7. thats true. but unfortunately some people just dont care about it, because its just business for them. teachers in some school are just not interested in learning you english, they just want you to pay. thats all. i recommend everyone to make familiar with 7 rules of effortless english method which is also has been inspired by j marvin brown and this article.

    good luck ! with your english:)