Monitor Theory

Learning a second language as an adult – how do we do it? To be honest I don’t fully understand this book, and I think my designs would be better informed by the general rules of good teaching (different contexts, real world application etc) in any case. This book goes into things on a more philosophical level.

1. Monitor Theory hypothesizes that adults have two independent systems for developing ability in second languages, subconscious language acquisition and conscious language learning, and that these systems are interrelated in a definite way: subconscious acquisition appears to be far more important.”

Reading further, this seems to mean that acquisition based learning follows the way a child learns to speak; they don’t understand grammar or form, but are trying to get their message across. They are then constantly corrected by the adults around them and as such learn the proper grammatical structure over time. With this base knowledge they can gain a ‘feel’ for when a sentence is right or wrong. I could compare this to what I’ve researched previously and to my own experience, in that hearing Japanese words or phrases constantly repeated in anime, the words stick with me far more than those I routinely try to memorise. The difference here is that in anime I am hearing the words in context, often in different sentences, where just learning the words on their own leaves them as floating knowledge.

Basically, the book is about keeping a balance between knowledge and application of grammar rules and ‘feel’ for a language, so one can be proficient in both written and oral areas.



REF: Krashen, S. D. (1981). Second language acquisition and second language learning. Retrieved from


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