Why Krashen has trouble….

Krashen writes in a post to moretprs:
“James Weiher is looking for ways to state the underlying
philosophy of CI-based methodology in a “brief, but eye-catching and
thought-provoking way.”
I haven’t had much success with this. The evidence of my
failure is the fact that CI is still a struggling approach after 35 years,
despite the overwhelming research evidence.  I hope others keep posting their suggestions. I do OK if I
have about 45 minutes to lecture at people and give a demo, but I certainly haven’t
had much success in brief conversations (or with journal papers and books,
judging by the reactions of my colleagues at the universities).
When my short explanations seem to work, people were already
in agreement because of their experiences, and I just gave them some vocabulary
and support.
Having said all this, here’s what I say to people in
“We don’t acquire language by studying grammar,
memorizing lists of vocabulary words, or saying things and getting corrected.
We acquire language, or gradually absorb it, when we understand what people
tell us and when we understand what we read. Our ability to speak comes
gradually, after we hear and read a lot.”
Again, this works fine when people already have a suspicion
that the classical/traditional method doesn’t work.  Maybe that’s the audience we should aim for.
I think this is a very worthy project, and there have been
some good suggestions so far. I agree that Terry Waltz’ golf analogy is a good
one as well as her post about the difficulty of using grammar rules.
Speaking of golf:  CI helps a little even here – those who have watched lots of golf will
pick it up faster than those who never have seen anybody play golf.  But CI is not enough when the activity
is not universal/innate. “

Now wouldn’t I like to respond to that on moretprs, the listserv it was sent to? I won’t b/c I’ve sworn off posting b/c I don’t see how you can discuss these issues without politics entering the discussion, whether it’s unions, basic worldview, attacks on education and teachers, or just how funds are allocated – that’s all politics. So I’ll respond here.
I think Krashen is on to something here when he says, “Again, this works fine when people already have a suspicion
that the classical/traditional method doesn’t work.  Maybe that’s the audience we should aim for.” 
Exactly, and here’s why. People do not hold to the notion that learning to talk by listening only leads to pidgin L2 without also believing a whole lot of other things about people and the human brain. It’s a package, and, as we know, picking up an item is much harder when it comes wrapped in a package. You first have to “unpack it”. Now, when the package owner is at the same time flailing at you with barbed wire, it’s esp hard to unwrap, unpack, explain, etc. The reason is that you are attacking their worldview. 
In this case, their worldview is that people are essentially stupid and lazy, their original condition, and only harsh, rigorous, even punitive methods will force them into the mold of “good students”. Just listening is not that; there’s no judgment involved, no points, no failures, no punishment. It can’t possibly work b/c the world runs on the basis of rewards and punishments. Nobody wants to learn, they have to be forced into it.
When you challenge that worldview, you will meet heavy resistance. CI or whatever you want to call it is the antithesis of the conservative model of learning and education. Lower the affective filter? Heresy! The whole point of studying Latin is to suffer and then brag about it to your friends. Acquisition? No pain, no gain. A natural order? No such thing; everything must be reduced to scientifically measurable steps, reproducible, and therefore teachable. Anyone not “getting it”, i.e. being able to produce L2 following rules, is just not fit for fl study. The input hypothesis? Nonsense. Learners, esp students, esp children, need RULES. All of life is about following rules. If you just use input, comprehensible or not, they might make a mistake, and another word for mistake is sin.
An exaggeration? You may take it that way and it is probably more acceptable that way, but when I think of our society and how it has developed over the last millenium, I don’t think my vision of how conservatives think is far-fetched at all. It’s all about the primacy of salvation; as one Christian told me, everything flows from whether you think man is born good or bad. Conservatives believe man is born bad and must be tightly regulated and corrected in order to obtain salvation. Anything that comes naturally, as described in in-put and acquisition theory, smells of earth, not heaven.
The monitor? Only if used at all times. We must be on the watch for mistakes at all times, lest we fall into perdition, such as using the perfect when the imperfect is “called for”. That is the conservative view. Notice also that many critics of Krashen declare that he is against any conscious use of rules, but he says that underuse of the monitor, the awareness and conscious use of rules, is as bad as overuse. Error correction falls into this domain b/c it assumes use of the monitor. Error correction lies at the heart of conservative thought and Krashen’s emphasis on natural acquisition threatens the dominance of the intellect which governs behavior and thus avoids error = sin.
Krashen says, “The evidence of my
failure is the fact that CI is still a struggling approach after 35 years ….”
The above explication is, IMHO, the reason.

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