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Biplob Prodhan
  • 2 months ago
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What do you know about the Monitor model theory of Stephen Krashen? Why is it important in SLA?

The Monitor Model is a theory of second language acquisition (SLA) developed by linguist Stephen Krashen in the 1970s. The model proposes that language acquisition occurs in two ways: through language learning, which is a conscious, rule-based process, and through language acquisition, which is an unconscious, intuitive process. According to the model, language learning plays a minor role in developing fluency in a second language, while language acquisition is the main mechanism through which language proficiency is acquired.


The model is based on five key hypotheses, which are:


  1. The acquisition-learning distinction:Krashen suggests that there is a fundamental difference between the process of language acquisition and the process of language learning. Language acquisition is an unconscious process that involves the natural acquisition of language through exposure to comprehensible input, while language learning is a conscious, rule-based process that involves explicit instruction.


  1. The input hypothesis:The model posits that language acquisition occurs when learners are exposed to input that is just beyond their current level of comprehension, or “i+1”. This input should be comprehensible, but also contain enough novel information to challenge the learner to expand their linguistic knowledge.


3.The monitor hypothesis: Krashen proposes that the role of language learning is to act as a “monitor” for the language acquired through natural exposure to language. The monitor is a conscious, analytical tool that learners use to edit and correct their language output based on the rules they have learned through explicit instruction.


  1. The natural order hypothesis:This hypothesis suggests that learners acquire language structures in a predictable sequence that is independent of instruction. This means that certain linguistic structures will be acquired before others, regardless of the order in which they are taught.


  1. The affective filter hypothesis:The final hypothesis of the model suggests that affective factors such as anxiety, motivation, and self-confidence can impact the acquisition process by creating a “filter” that inhibits language acquisition.


The Monitor Model has been influential in shaping our understanding of SLA and has had important implications for language teaching. One key implication of the model is the importance of providing learners with comprehensible input that is just beyond their current level of understanding. This means that language teachers need to create a supportive environment that encourages learners to take risks and engage with language input in a meaningful way.


Another important implication of the model is the role of corrective feedback in language learning. According to the model, the monitor is an important tool for learners to self-correct and improve their language output. However, the model also suggests that explicit correction and instruction may not be the most effective way to promote language acquisition. Instead, teachers should focus on providing learners with input that is rich in language structures and allow them to develop their own language rules through trial and error.


The Monitor Model has been subject to some criticism, particularly in regards to its emphasis on natural language acquisition and its neglect of the role of explicit instruction in promoting language learning. Some linguists argue that explicit instruction can play an important role in facilitating language acquisition, particularly in the early stages of language learning when learners may not have access to comprehensible input. Additionally, some scholars argue that the affective filter hypothesis oversimplifies the complex factors that impact language acquisition.


Despite these criticisms, the Monitor Model remains an important theory in the field of SLA and has had a significant impact on language teaching methodology. By emphasizing the importance of natural language acquisition and providing learners with rich, comprehensible input, the model has contributed to the development of communicative language teaching approaches that focus on real-life communication and student-centered learning.


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About The Author
Biplob Prodhan
Founder of EDNOUB & Ednoub Private Program


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