Natural Approach

Natural Approach Stephen Krashen and Tracy Terrell developed this approach during the late 1970s.

After its formulation, they further developed the theoretical basis of this method. Terrell and Krashen published the results of their work in, The Natural Approach in 1983. It was mainly intended for learners at basic / beginers level.

Objective of Natural Approach :-

The main objective of the approach is to promote language acquisition in a classroom in a natural way. Therefore, it gives more importance to vocabulary, creating intrinsically motivating
situations, communication, exposure to English input, reducing learners’ anxiety than on
grammar-learning and error-correction of learners.

The learning environment is made
comfortable. The learner’s produce language as when they feel comfortable after receiving
sufficient comprehensible language input. This approach has been linked with Krashen’s monitor
model.

The approach uses activities which promote subconscious language acquisition. Some of them are

a. content activities:
b. affective-humanistic activities:
c. personalized language activities:
d. problem-solving activities.

Principles of Natural Approach :-

Terrell puts forth three principles:

The focus of teaching is on communication. The form is not given importance.
Speech develops slowly and it is never forced.
The early speech follows natural steps (yes/no response, one-word answers, list of words,
short phrases, complete sentences.)
playing language games.
these activities help learners to communicate with
each other while finding solutions to a problem.Speech emergence stage:
learners do activities, which need advanced English, such as role-plays, problem-solving activities, etc.

The natural approach is often regarded as a language teaching application of Krashen’s monitor model.

Krashen proposed five hypotheses in monitor model:

  1. Acquisition-learning hypothesis: there is a clear distinction between Learning (conscious) and acquisition (subconscious) of language. Only acquisition leads to fluency.
  2. Monitor hypothesis
  3. Input hypothesis: consciously learnt language is used only to monitor output.comprehensible input given should be one step higher than (+1) that of the learner’s present level of knowledge ( i ). Only then, language is acquired. It is known as comprehensible input, “i+1”.
  4. Natural order hypothesis:learners acquire grammar of English in set order, and it is unaffected by teaching.
  5. The affective filter hypothesis: learners acquire English, with little or no effort, when they are relaxed and open to learning.

Merits of Natural Approach :-

  1. It is simple to understand
  2. It coincides with the knowledge about the L2 acquisition.
  3. It could be tried along with the prevailing English classroom practices.

Demerits of Natural Approach :-

  1. It may take a lot of time before language emerges naturally; and
  2. In language acquisition, the grammar may not be picked up in the order of difficulty level.