CI is the language that learners hear or see in a communicative context intended for native or 2nd language learners AND can be understood, even if they miss some details.
Our brains are wired to learn languages through input. Think of a grocery scanner and bar code. If you take a can of soup, you can try to scan the Campbell's, the picture, the ingredients...but nothing happens until you scan the bar code. Our brains are like that. You can try to feed it conjugation charts and grammar rules, but it will only process when you provide it with input.
“Rules” are not rules. They all have exceptions: If you think that there is one TRUE grammar, answer this: which is correct, I ain’t got none or I ain’t have any.
The kids are not learning rules in input, they are just understanding and, as they hear more language, it evolves in the learner’s mind.
Communication is the expression, interpretation and sometimes negotiation of meaning with purpose in a given context. I think it's important here to point out that, at the novice level, communication can be a gesture or one word, as long as it is furthering the conversation.
Thus, in a communicative learning classroom, meaning is CENTRAL, and teachers and students are engaged in the expression and interpretation of language.
The three purposes of communication:
- Psycho-social: niceties (how are you today?)
- Cognitive-informational: used to learn something
- Entertainment: to have fun (stories, jokes, movies, etc)
We shouldn't try to intellectualize language learning because that is the job for linguists.
Bill's website is inputandmore.com and his podcast (with Angelika and Walter) is Tea with BVP.
I am so glad that Dr. Krashen and BVP have chosen to spend their time supporting teachers in the classroom by breaking down the science and research to help us make acquisition happen in our classrooms.
My colleague, Julie Begnaud, is working her way through the podcast and made the following helpful synthesis of BVP's 6 Principles of language learning.