Affective Filter Hypothesis

June 17, 2010 / by Kimberly Cortes

In his most recent post, Learning By the Book(mark)s, one of our Mango employees, Joe Garofalo, talks about his personal experience and feelings about using online software to learn a foreign language. In Joe’s words, “There is only so much that can be absorbed during a few hours a week of instruction, but being able to, at my leisure, interact with what I’m learning gives me that much more motivation to do it.” Well, Stephen Krashen would back Joe up on this one. Krashen actually proposed what he termed the Affective Filter Hypothesis (Krashen, 1982).

Affective factors in language learning are things such as language attitudes (the feelings a learner may have toward the target language (TL), its speakers and the learning context), motivation, language anxiety, and willingness to communicate. The Affective Filter Hypothesis tries to account for how a L2’s (language leaner’s) attitudes and emotions (affective variables) impact learning effectiveness. According to Krashen we all have this affective filter which either lets comprehensible input (i + 1) in, or blocks it. So, the affective filter functions to determine how receptive a learner will be to TL input.

So Joe’s assumption that, “We all know a more motivated learner is also much more receptive to what he/she is learning,” is not unfounded. And, I agree that that it could only help the student, possibly by lowering the affective filter, to create a comfortable learning environment that will contribute to TL retention. Mango Languages makes the learning experience as comfortable as possible. Students progress at their own pace in the comfort of their own home (or anywhere in the world as long as they have internet connection). Mango also helps to drastically reduce any feelings of language anxiety or nervousness about communicating in the TL by allowing the student to hear and compare their production of “real” conversations to that of a native speaker before ever speaking to a live person.

So, what could be more comfortable than learning where you want when you want?

Topics: Language Learning and Culture

Kimberly Cortes

Written by Kimberly Cortes

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