A pile of bricks. That is what grammar teachers inflict on their students when they don’t present the whole building to their students from the beginning of their language study. What Susan Gross says about reading, therefore, is important [bracketed text mine]:
…acquisition occurs only when the learner is focused entirely on meaning [the house], not on structure [the bricks]. So, if the text is interesting enough to grab their attention, then students may enter the “flow” of reading. It is being in the “flow” that produces acquisition. If reading a novel in class, the students should simply translate aloud while the teacher maintains the pace and immediately supplies the translation of unfamiliar phrases. The “flow” of the story should not be interrupted….(http://www.susangrosstprs.com/articles/Reading_Essential.pdf – p. 4)
Susie is suggesting that we stop studying bricks laying around on the ground and start finding ways (comprehensible input) to make the bricks fit together in the finished product of the house. Only when we do this can the students’ minds be released to focus on meaning [the building] and not words [bricks].
The key to the building of the house lies in SLOW repeated input in the form of listening and reading, which provides the mortar for the process. Once the building is complete or nearly complete, the student can move in and begin to furnish the rooms and even have guests over. This we could call output in the form of writing and speaking.
The Problem with CI
Jeffrey Sachs was asked what the difference between people in Norway and in the U.S. was. He responded that people in Norway are happy and