A Study on the Interaction between 'Comprehensible Input' and Affective Variables
-In the 'Kore sore are' Teaching Method at the Elementary Level-
elementary level, 'kore sore are' teaching method, Input Hypothesis, affective variables, comprehensible input
1. Summary of Krashen's Theory Five Hypotheses
2. Outline of the Teaching Program for Japanese Language Education
3. Research in the Interaction between Comprehensible Input and Affective Variables in 'Kore sore are' Teaching Method
This paper analyzes the 'kore sore are'1 teaching records2 of the Teaching Program for Japanese Language Education performed by the graduate students of the Department of Japanese and Culture, Graduate School of Letters, Nagoya University. Through the analysis, using the framework given in the Input Hypothesis and the Affective Filter Hypothesis advocated by Krashen S., this paper aims at the interaction between 'comprehensible input' and affective variables. And two points will be analyzed through the Situation ItoVIIduring the 'kore sore are' lessons at the elementary level. What is 'comprehensible input' given by teachers that lets learners appropriately respond to questions ? And how do learners show affective variables when they get 'comprehensible input' ? Namely based on the analysis, the following issues are researched: 1) whether there is some interaction between 'comprehensible input' and affective variables: 2) whether teachers appropriately give learners 'comprehensible input' through the 'kore sore are' teaching method.
1. Summary of Krashen's Five Hypotheses3
Krashen has suggested a theory of second language acquisition that consists of five hypotheses. This paper will focus on the interaction between 'comprehensible input' and affective variables, using the framework given in the Input Hypothesis and the Affective Filter Hypothesis by Krashen S. Here, I will briefly summarize his five main hypotheses.
1.1 The Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis
The Acquisition-Learning distinction is the most fundamental of all the hypotheses in Krashen's theory of second language acquisition. According to Krashen there are two independent knowledge systems of second language performance: 'the acquired system' and 'the learned system'. 'Learning' is less important than 'acquisition'. The acquired system is the product of a subconscious process very similar to the process children undergo when they acquire their first language. By contrast, the learned system is the product of formal instruction and it comprises a conscious process which results in explicit knowledge, and the ability to verbalize this knowledge.
1.2 The Natural Order Hypothesis
The Natural Order Hypothesis suggests that the acquisition of certain grammatical structures follows a 'natural order' which is predictable. Research findings4 have shown that certain grammatical structures or morphemes seem to be acquired before others in first language acquisition of English, and a similar natural order is found in second language acquisition. This order is said to be independent of the learners' age, their mother tongue, their condition of exposure, and there are considered to be statistically significant similarities that have reinforced the existence of a Natural Order of language acquisition.
1.3 The Monitor Hypothesis
The Monitor Hypothesis is said to encapsulate the relation between acquisition and learning, and Krashen suggests that the acquisition system is the utterance initiator, while the learning system performs the role of the 'monitor'. The 'monitor' is considered to act in a planning, editing, and correcting function when three specific conditions are met: (1) the second language learner has sufficient time to choose and apply a learned rule, (2) the language user must be focused on correctness or on the form of the output, (3) and the language user must know the rules. According to Krashen, the 'monitor' is activated in order to alter an utterance 'produced' by the acquired system, and it appears that the role of conscious learning is somewhat limited in second language performance. Krashen also suggests that there are three kinds of learners: (1) those who use the 'monitor' all the time (over-user); (2) those who have not learned or who prefer not to use their conscious knowledge (under-user); (3) and those who use the 'monitor' appropriately (optimal users). Also an evaluation of the person's psychological profile is said to be helpful in order to determine to what group they belong.
1.4 The Input Hypothesis
Krashen claims that the Input Hypothesis is his explanation of how second language acquisition takes place, and it is only concerned with 'acquisition', not 'learning'. According to the Input Hypothesis, the learners improve and progress along the 'natural order' when they receive second language 'input' that is slightly beyond their current level of linguistic competence; if a learner is at certain level 'i', then acquisition takes place when he/she is exposed to 'comprehensible input' that belongs to level 'i+1'. Krashen suggests that since not all learners can be the same level of linguistic competence at the same time, each learner should receive some 'i+1' input that is appropriate for his/her current level of linguistic competence.
1.5 The Affective Filter Hypothesis
The Affective Filter Hypothesis is said to embody Krashen's view that a number of 'affective variables' play a facilitative, but non-causal, role in second language acquisition. These variables include motivation, self-confidence, and anxiety. According to Krashen, learners with high motivation, self-confidence, a good self-image, and a low level of anxiety are better equipped for success in second language acquisition. Low motivation, low self-esteem, and debilitating anxiety can combine to 'raise' the affective filter (e.g., fear or embarrassment) and form a 'mental block' that prevents 'comprehensible input' from being used for acquisition. Namely Krashen sees the learner's emotional state or attitudes as an adjustable filter that freely passes, or impedes input necessary to acquisition, so that student work is considered to center on meaningful communication rather than on form in order to lower the affective filter; input should be interesting and contribute to a relaxed classroom atmosphere.
These are the five main hypotheses, and this paper will research the cases how 'comprehensible input' influences affective variables focusing on the two issues that have been already stated in Introduction.
2. Outline of the Teaching Program for Japanese Language Education
The Teaching Program for Japanese Language Education for Assistant English Teacher (AET) is one of the training programs for AETs, which the Board of Education in Nagoya City operates to prepare AETs to teach English in Aich prefecture. This teaching program has been performed by the graduate students of the Department of Japanese and Culture, Graduate School of Letters, Nagoya University since 1989, and the graduate students in 1998 also planned Japanese Language Education for AETs in cooperation with the members of the Board of Education in Nagoya City for eight days from August 10 to August 21 (no classes were held during August 13 through 16). The course for AETs was carried out for sixteen hours5 (two hours per day; 10:00 am - 12:15 p.m., with a break for fifteen minutes). Eleven AETs6 came to Nagoya City in July, 1998. As preparation for the course, the graduate students met AETs on July 31, 1998, and asked AETs to fill in a questionnaire and interviewed them. AETs were divided into two groups: one was elementary A, consisting of 9 AETs ; the other was elementary B, consisting of 2 AETs who seemed to have slightly better knowledge of Japanese through checking the results of interview records and the questionnaire. After the first day of the course, however, two AETs in elementary A asked to move up to elementary B. From the second day, elementary A consisted of 7 AETs and elementary B, 4AETs. The profile of elementary A, 7 AETs is shown as follows:
Learner Nationality Sex Learning history Purpose of Learning Japanese a US F Self-education
Daily conversation, greetings, reading and writing
b Canada F N/A
Daily conversation, asking the ways
c US F N/A
Daily conversation, looking for apartment, grammar
d US F N/A
Daily conversation, greetings, reading and writing
e US M N/A
Daily conversation, looking for apartment
f US M N/A
Daily conversation, shopping, asking directions
g UK M N/A
As the main textbook for the course, Asagao -Useful Japanese-7 was used during class. Elementary A was conducted by three graduate students: Miwako Yamamoto, Noburiho Saito, and Maki Narita. As a rule, the dialogue of each lesson was introduced in the first period (one hour) of each day, and practice was performed in the second period (one hour) of each day.
3. Research in the Interaction between Comprehensible Input and Affective Variables in 'Kore sore are' Teaching Method
1) Is there some interaction between 'comprehensible input' and affective variables ?
2) Do teachers appropriately give learners 'comprehensible input' through the 'kore sore are' teaching method ?
(Situation I)[Saito shows one photo of a camera to learners]
Saito: Kore wa. (What is this ?) a: Kamera. (A camera.)
Saito: Kamera. Hai. Kore wa kamera desu.
(A camera. Yes. This is a camera.)
Itte kudasai. (Please repeat.) All: Kamera desu. (This is a camera.)
Saito: Kore wa kamera desu, Kore wa kamera desu. All: Kore wa kamera desu.
[Saito puts one photo of the camera in the middle of learners who sit forming a semicircle.]
Saito: Sore wa kamera desu. [Saito points to a-san.] a: Sore wa kamera desu.
(The item nearer to you is a camera.)
Saito: Hai, ii desu ne. Watashi ga iu toki wa sore wa kamera desu. (1)
Sore wa kamera desu.
O.K. Do you understand what I say ? When I tell you what it is,
I say 'sore wa kamera desu'.
Saito: Hai, itte kudasai. (O.K. please repeat.)
Sore wa kamera desu. All: Sore wa kamera desu.
(Situation II)[Saito goes next to a-san, leaving that photo of a camera on the blackboard.)
Saito: Hai, watashi ga iki masu. (2) (O.K., I go next to a-san.)
Hai, a-san, are wa kamera desu. a: Are wa kamera desu.
(Hi, a-san, the item that is at a distance from us is a camera.)
Saito: Hai, are wa kamera desu. Hai, itte kudasai. All: Are wa kamera desu.
Saito: Are wa kamera desu. All: Are wa kamera desu.
(Situation III)[Saito sticks 'figure 1' on the blackboard.]
Saito: Hai, hai. Kore, watashi ga speaker desu. Naka ni kamera ga arimasu. Kore. Kore wa kamera desu. (3)
(I am this speaker. In the space of this speaker, there is a camera. In this case, 'kore wa kamera desu'.)
Hai, Watashi ga speaker desu. Ee, a-san hearer desu. Watashi ga shaberi masu. 'Sore wa kamera desu'.
(I am this speaker. a-san is this hearer. I say 'sore wa kamera desu'.)
Sore wa kamera desu. a-san no space no naka ni kamera. Sore wa kamera desu.(4)Hai.
(Sore wa kamera desu'. In the space of a-san, there is a camera. We say 'sore wa kamera desu'. O.K.?)
Ee, Speaker to hearer ga imasu. Are wa kamera desu .(5) Are wa kamera desu.
(There are this speaker and this hearer. Indicating the item that is at a distance from both, we say 'are wa kamera desu'.) The item over there is a camera.
With (1) of Situation I, Saito introduces 'sore' putting one photo of the camera in the middle of learners who sit forming a semicircle. With (2) of Situation II, Saito goes next to a-san, and he explains 'are' indicating that camera. After that, in Situation IIIhe explains 'kore' with (3), 'sore' with (4), and 'are' with (5) pointing out 'figure 1', which shows the space of speaker and hearer. Then, checking how much learners understand, he shows several photos, and asks all learner 'kore wa nan desu ka ?', and most learners answer the questions saying 'sore wa .... desu. (it is .....)'
In view of these facts, at the beginning of the lesson, as most learners seem to have been the elementary level without knowing 'kore sore are' concept. But because the teacher introduces 'kore sore are' concept, most learners seem to have reached at the level 'i'8.
In Situation IVbelow, Saito introduces how to use a new pattern of 'kore'. The new pattern of 'kore' is that speaker and hearer are in the same space. For example, when the speaker asks 'kore wa nan desu ka' (what is this ?), the hearer responds 'kore wa ....desu.' (this is .....).
(Situation IV) [Saito goes next to g-san.]
Saito: Hai, g-san, kore wa nan desu ka ? g: Kore wa notedesu. (6)
(g-san, what is this?) (This is a notebook.)
Saito: Aa, min'na wakarimasu ne. (All understand this, don't you ?) [Saito goes to front pointing out 'figure 1']
Saito: Watashi, speaker desu. g-san hearer desu.
(I am this speaker, and g-san is this hearer.)
Onaji space ni imasu. (7)
(Both are in the same space now.)
Watashi wa 'kore wa nan desu ka' g: Sore wa ,(8)
(I say 'kore wa nan desu ka ?') (The item nearer to you is,)
Saito: Kore wa, g: Kore wa,
Saito: Hai, g-san to watashi, onaji space ni imasu. (9)
(O.K., g-san and I are in the same space now.) g: Kore wa, (10)
Saito: Hai, 'kore wa' o tsukai masu. (In Japanese we say 'kore wa,')
To analyze (8), there are two possibilities. One is that as thinking (8) is a wrong response, g-san misunderstands what 'kore' as '+1' explained by Saito is , and g-san responds (8), so that regarding (6) as just a copy of 'kore' from 'kore wa nan desu ka' uttered by Saito; the other is that as thinking (8) is proper response, g-san understands what 'kore' as '+1' is, and g-san responds (6). The latter possibility is considered here because the item on the blackboard is not in the space of g-san. G-san is actually at a distance from Saito in situation IVwhen Saito utters (7). Interpreting from the analysis of (8), it is difficult to say that Saito gives proper 'comprehensible input' as '+1' at once. But if 'hai, g-san to watashi,.....' of (9) is considered as another 'comprehensible input', Saito successfully gives 'comprehensible input' to g-san so that g-san can answer (10). This case indicates that the teachers should break 'comprehensible input' into two separate steps when it is uneasy for learners to answer the questions at once.
In view of these facts in Situation IV, the teacher gives learners 'comprehensible input' such as (9) through 'kore sore are' teaching method. But any interaction 'comprehensible input' and affective variables is not shown here.
Next Saito checks individually and lets learners practice 'kore-sore' pair work with several pictures.
Saito: b-san, e-san ni question shite kudasai. b: e-san, kore wa nan desu ka ?
(b-san, ask e any question.) (e-san, what is this ?)
e: Aa, sore wa, nan, nan, desu ? (11)
(Ah, what, what is it ?)
Saito: Hai, tokee, tokei. (12) e: To...., Sorry, I messed up. Pretty ...(13)
(Yes, clock, clock.) OK, sore, sore wa, clock desu ka ? (14)
(O. K., it, is it a clock ?)
a: Tokei. (Clock)
e: Aa, sore wa clock desu. (Ah, it is a clock.)
Saito: Clock desu. (It is a clock.) e: Clock desu. (It is a clock.)
Saito: Sore wa clock desu. (15) e: Sore wa clock desu.
(The item nearer to b-san is a clock.)
Saito: Hai, clock, tokei. (16) e: Tokei. (17)
Saito: Hai. (Yes) e: Sore wa tokei desu. (18)
Judging from (11) E-san is at the level 'i' (see note 8), however, e-san does not know how to say clock in Japanese. For e-san '+1' seems to consist of two facts: one is putting 'clock' in the natural word order in Japanese, and the other is the unknown word 'tokei'. (12) seems not to function as 'comprehensible input ' and (13) indicates that e-san raises his affective filter higher. At (14), e-san asks what clock is again, but it's not easy for him to pronounce 'tokei'. At this point, Saito divides '+1' into two facts, and lets e-san put 'clock' in the natural word order in Japanese to ensure it is 'comprehensible input' (15), and then has him pronounce 'tokei' to ensure it is also 'comprehensible input' (16). Finally, g-san can respond like (17) and (18) .
In view of these facts in Situation V, there is apparently the interaction between 'comprehensible input' such as the natural word order (e.g., 'sore wa ...desu'), and affective variables (e.g., embarrassment), and also there is the interaction between 'comprehensible input' such as the unknown words (e.g., 'tokei') and affective variables (e.g., high level of anxiety). The teacher should give learners 'comprehensible input' by breaking it into two separate steps.
In SituationVI, Narita checks what learners have understood from the 'kore sore are' lesson the day before.
(SituationVI) [Narita points to the Canadian flag stuck on the back wall of room. ]
Narita: Are (pause), are wa nan desu ka .
(That over there, what is that ?)
Narita: Are wa nan desu ka . (19) g: Ee, are wa Canada. (20)
(What is the item that is at a distance from us ?) (That is Canada....)
a: Sore wa, (21) (It is ....)
d: Sore, (22) (It....)
a: Sore wa Canada desu.(23) (It is Canada.)
b: Canada desu. (... is Canada....)
Narita: Kanada no. [Narita writes 'flag' on the blackboard.]
Flag. b: Flag.
Narita: Wa, [Narita writes 'kokki' on the blackboard. (24)] a: Kokki. (25)
is ? [Saying flag in Japanese]
Narita: Are wa kanada no kokki desu. (26) Mina-san. b: Are wa, (That is...)
(The item that is at a distance from us is the Canadian flag. All together.)
c: Kore wa, (This is .....)
Narita: Are wa kanada no kokki desu. (27) b: Are wa, (That is .....)
(The item over there is the Canadian flag.) g: Kore wa kanada no kokki desu.
(This is the Canadian flag.)
Narita: Are wa kanada no kokki desu. (28) All: Are wa kanada no kokki desu. (29)
(The item over there is the Canadian flag.) (The item over there is the Canadian flag.)
In order to check whether learners kept their level 'i' (see note 8), Narita asks (19). The learners' criteria of level 'i' is not the complete sentence but saying 'are wa kanada no ... desu' because 'kokki' is an unknown word for learners at the beginning of the class. G-san's (20) stands at criteria, but to analyze (21), (22) and (23), there are two possibilities. One is that learners do not keep their level 'i' ; the other is that learners raise their affective filter higher by the influence of the unknown word 'kokki'. Although judging from (25), which is a response to (24) as cue, learners seem to understand that 'flag' is 'kokki' in Japanese, they can not copy sentences (26) and (27). Narita emphasizes 'are' saying (28), and finally learners answer (29).
Analyzing several responses to (19) ,(26) and (27), there seem to be two problems among learners. One is that analyzing (21) and (22), learners do not remember how to pronounce a few nations in Japanese, which had been introduced in lesson one. The other is that judging from their response to (26) and (27), they do not remember the grammatical structure such as 'N no N' in Japanese which had also been introduced in lesson one.
At this point, in order to let learners successfully practice, '+1' should be considered as two facts. One reconfirms the grammatical structure 'N no N' by putting 'Canadian flag' in the natural word order in Japanese; the other introduces the unknown word 'kokki'. Without taking two separate steps, the teacher fails to give learners 'comprehensible input' through the method, so that learners seem to be confused how to organize the Japanese sentence and what to say at first. In view of these facts in Situation VI, there is the interaction between 'comprehensible input' such as the natural word order in Japanese (e.g., 'N no N') and affective variables (e.g., high level of anxiety), and also there is another interaction between 'comprehensible input' such as the unknown words (e.g., 'kanada' and 'kokki') and affective variables (e.g., uneasiness or embarrassment).
In Situation VIIshows partner practice performed by b-san and Narita.
(Situation VII)[Narita points to the English flag stuck above the blackboard, and asks b-san.]
Narita: b-san, kore wa nan desu ka ? (30) b: Are wa, (31) aa,
(b-san, what is this ?) (The item over there is..... ahh,)
Narita: U, [Narita shakes her head.]
Kore wa nan desu ka ? (32) (What is this ?)
[Narita points to 'figure 1' on the blackboard.] b: Are wa, (33) (The item over there is..)
a: which one ? (34)
c: we, hearers, （35）sore、
b: Sore wa, no, kokki desu. (36) (It is ....flag.)
a: Igirisu. (England)
b: Sore wa igirisu, (37) Huu... (It is ....English....)
Narita: Kore wa nan desu ka ? (38) b: Are wa, (39) (The item over there is...)
(What is this ?) g: Igirisu. (English)
b: Igirisu. (English)
Narita: Sore wa, sore wa, (40) b: Sore wa, is it 'are wa' ?（41)
(The item nearer to me is.....) a: Sore wa. (42) (The item nearer to speaker...?)
c: This is next to her. (43)
b: Oh, O.K..（44)
Narita: Kore, (45) [Pointing to English flag and 'figure 1'] b: Ah, O.K.. Sore wa iirisu.....
(The item nearer to speaker is English.......)
Igirisu no kokki desu. (46) (...is English flag.)
Narita: Hai, kore wa igirisu no kokki desu.
(Yes, this is English flag.)
When Narita asks (30), she wants b-san to utter 'sore wa...'. Because (31) shows that b-san seems to be confused about 'sore' and 'are', Narita points to figure 1 and repeats (32) in order to confirm the concept of the space of a speaker and a hearer. When b-san responds (33), a-san asks b-san what b-san is, whether a speaker or a hearer in figure 1. Following that, c-san explains to b-san that when Narita is a speaker, they are hearers, and 'sore' should be used to indicate the item. Responding to that explanation, b-san says (36) with a sigh, which shows that it is not easy for b-san to pronounce 'igirisu' in Japanese even though she seems to understand the concept. After a pause, b-san responds (39) to Narita's (38) 9. B-san answers (41) which indicates that b-san has thought 'are wa ' to (38) instead of 'sore wa'. To her utterance (41), a-san says (42) and c-san says (43). Although Narita fails to give b-san 'comprehensible input' and lets her raise her affective filter higher, c-san appropriately gives (43) as 'comprehensible input' to b-san, and helps lower b-san's affective filter. So b-san becomes ready to utter the Japanese sentence. Observing these three exchanges, Narita thinks b-san understands the concept of 'kore sore are' and also figure 1 , then asks b-san (45) pointing out both the English flag and figure 1. Responding to (45), b-san finally says (46).
In order to let b-san successfully respond to (38), '+1' should be considered as three facts. First is going back to the level 'i' (see note 8) in order to verify b-san's comprehension of 'kore sore are' using the figure 1; second is reconfirming the grammatical structure, 'N no N' by putting the 'English flag' in the natural word order in Japanese; third is repeating the pronunciation of the words, 'igirisu' and 'kokki'. These three steps should be taken during partner practice. In view of these facts in Situation VII, there is the interaction between 'comprehensible input' such as the grammatical structure (e.g., 'sore wa ... desu.), the natural word order (e.g., N no N), or the unknown words (e.g., 'igirisu' and 'kokki'), and affective variables (e.g., high level of anxiety or embarrassment)
In this paper the interaction between 'comprehensible input' and affective variables has been discussed from the analysis of the 'kore sore are' teaching method performed by graduate students. First through the examination of Krashen's theoretical framework, the significance of 'i+1' supported by the Input Hypothesis has been stated. In section 3, through the application of '+1' as 'comprehensible input' to the practical analysis of the 'kore sore are' teaching method, the quality of '+1' and the level of '+1' in the cases of affective variables have been examined. Through the analysis of these cases in Situation V,VIand VII, this study has concluded that '+1' should be divided into several steps in order to make it comprehensible depending on the 'i' level, the comprehension speed, and affective variables of individual learners.
Because this analysis does not deal with several cases of affective variables influenced by a wide range of 'comprehensible input', there must be found some other problems concerning affective variables. The interaction between a wide range of 'comprehensible input' and a number of affective variables should be re-examined in further study.
Krashen, Stephen D. Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. New York: Prentice Hall Macmillan, 1995.
Richards, Jack C. and Rodgers, Theodore S. Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986.
1 'Kore' refers to items nearer to the speaker, 'sore' refers to items nearer to the hearer (or listener), and 'are' refers to items that are at a distance from both speaker and hearer.
2 The records of the Teaching Program for Japanese Language Education show the teaching style of an elementary class A consisting of seven learners. Graduate students used cassette tape recorders and dictated tapes for this analysis.
3 Cited from Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching, and http://www.english.sk.com.br/sk-krash.html.
4 Dulay & Burt, 1974; Fathman, 1975; Makino, 1980 cited in Krashen, 1987.
5 Actual hours performed by the graduate students were fourteen hours and forty-five minutes because professor Ohso gave a lecture on Hiragana for forty-eight minutes on the first day , and the lecture hour was subtracted from the total (sixteen hours).
6 English is their mother tongue.
7 Asagao -Useful Japanese- was edited by seven graduate students who participated in the Teaching Program for Japanese Language Education in 1998. Each lesson has one situation consisting of dialogue, grammatical notes, vocabulary, useful phrases, reference, and relative words and phrases. The textbook aims for second language education for short terms and is helpful for learners who have a specific purpose for learning.
8 The necessary condition of the level 'I' in Situation III,V,VI, &VII: (1) a learner who can respond 'sore wa .....desu.' when he/she is asked 'kore wa nan desu ka.' : (2) and those who can respond 'are wa .....desu.' as when he/she is asked 'are wa nan desu ka.'
9Narita hesitates to ask (38) to b-san again because she supposes that the sigh after (36) can be taken as a sign showing that b-san has raised her affective filter. While learners become overwhelmed with too much repetition, teachers' persistence can be constructive for highly motivated students.