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* Two paths to academic language

Posted By: Stephen Krashen on September 15, 2006
Shanahan and Hynd-Shanahan recommend both increased reading of academic texts and direct instruction in the special language of these texts, suggesting both “subconscious acquisition” and “conscious learning” approaches. I have a brief comment on each.

Reading (acquisition)

Shanahan and Hynd-Shanahan recommend that “Schools need to make a serious effort to ensure that students are required to read demanding, disciplinary texts …”. What about interesting (better yet, compelling) and comprehensible texts, the way we got interested in academic areas, and developed competence in academic language?

Direct instruction (learning)

The special language of each subject is complex and in many cases descriptions of these special languages are incomplete. Moreover, there are severe limits on how much language can be learned consciously, and how much of this knowledge, even if learned, is available during actual performance. It is an empirical question how much of academic language can be taught, learned, and used.

Stephen Krashen
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 Two paths to academic language by Stephen Krashen on September 15, 2006  * 
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