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U.S. scholar stresses natural, easy way of English learning

Susan Notes:

Prominent scholar and activist Stephen Krashen takes his positive message to parents in Korea.

By Lee Woo-young

A prominent U.S. scholar in second-language education has proposed a method of learning English which emphasizes reading, running counter of traditional way based on grammar.

âThere has been a lot of suffering in English class when you were learning a foreign language, and it was unnecessary,â said Stephen Krashen, emeritus professor of education at the University of Southern California.

He remarked at a lecture to Korean parents on optimal English education in Seoul on Monday that easy language-learning is made possible through interesting study materials, such as books, being used in an environment where students feel more relaxed, free from the pressure of tests.
Stephen Krashen, emeritus professor of education at the University of Southern California, talks about optimal English education with Korean parents on Monday in Seoul. (Yonhap News)

For some Koreans, learning English is a lifelong struggle, but Krashen stressed reading can be the easiest and the most effective tool in learning English.

âThe book is the best tool for language acquisition,â Krashen noted.

âI see too much time and money spent in the wrong way, and if Korea invests money in the current English education into building more libraries with good English books, I think that will help their kids develop high English competence,â said Krashen.

Krashen said students are taking too many unnecessary tests that disrupt natural language learning. He criticized test-taking as failing to improve their English proficiency and preparing them just for exams.

âInstead, if you invest time and money spent on tests to quality books and building libraries, students will naturally score tops on English tests as they get to read many good books in English and develop language competency naturally through reading,â Krashen said.

âWe acquire a language in one way â when we understand it.â

— Lee Woo-young
The Korea Herald



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