The comprehension approach is an umbrella term which refers to several methodologies of language learning that emphasise understanding of language rather than speaking. This is in contrast to the better-known communicative approach, under which learning is thought to emerge through language production, i.e. a focus on speech and writing.
The comprehension approach is most strongly associated with the linguists Harris Winitz, Stephen Krashen, Tracy D. Terrell and James J. Asher. The comprehension-based methodology mostly commonly found in classrooms is Asher's Total Physical Response approach; Krashen and Terrell's Natural Approach has not been widely applied. English as a Second Language Podcast is a more recent application of the comprehension approach grounded in Krashen's theories.
The comprehension approach is based on theories of linguistics, specifically Krashen's theories of second language acquisition, and is also inspired by research on second language acquisition in children, particularly the silent period phenomenon in which many young learners initially tend towards minimal speaking. In contrast, the communicative approach is largely a product of research in language education.
Winitz founded the International Linguistics Corporation in 1976 to supply comprehension-based materials known as The Learnables; several positive articles have been published testing these picturebooks with their accompanying audio recordings, mostly with Winitz as co-author.
Famous quotes containing the word approach:
“A lady with whom I was riding in the forest said to me that the woods always seemed to her to wait, as if the genii who inhabit them suspend their deeds until the wayfarer had passed onward; a thought which poetry has celebrated in the dance of the fairies, which breaks off on the approach of human feet.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)