Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Krashen on vocabulary quizzes

Developing vocabulary knowledge in the real world

Sent to Science news, Nov. 15

Researchers may have shown that taking practice quizzes on foreign language vocabulary do better than students who just read the words and their meanings ("Testing is an effective memory tool," November 6), but both kinds of "study" are inferior to absorbing words by encountering them in a real text that is of some interest to the reader. The results of a number of studies strongly suggest that picking up words by reading meaningful texts (and hearing interesting
stories) is more efficient, in terms of words acquired per hour, than any kind of deliberate study.

The practice-quiz method is fine for artificial school situations, but it is not the best way to develop vocabulary knowledge in the real world. Reading interesting books and hearing interesting stories is more efficient, and a lot more fun.

Stephen Krashen

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