Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Silent Does Not Mean Passive
From Taeko Tomioka

It is often proposed by some teachers that listening comprehension is so important that it is useful to let students watch TV programs. This activity may be useful to motivate students to learn English, but is not enough by itself. Firstly, if the input is far above the students’ comprehension, it will be very painful, frustrating, and of little use for the students. Secondly, there is no active response on the part of the students. The language acquiring process is always an interaction of stimulus-response on both sides.

Children acquiring a language in natural settings are not passive at al. Even in a silent period there is no such thing as one-way communication. Children always respond to verbal stimuli in some way. Through such interactions children rapidly internalize a language. The most important points for teachers are to make the input comprehensible for their students and also to choose the optimum mode of non-verbal response according to the learning styles of the students.