Input, Output, Interaction, and Comprehension


Overview:

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This page provides definitions, classroom tips, and resources for Input, Output, Interaction, and Comprehension in Second Language Acquisition.

Input:

Definition:

Input is the information humans take in as they learn a new language. Gass (1997) suggests that there are four stages of input utilization. In stage 1, a learner recognizes that information needs to be learned and begins to build on prior knowledge (apperception). In stage 2, the learner begins to be able to convert the input into comprehensible output (spoken language). In stage 3, the learner processes input more quickly and matches it with prior grammar and linguistic knowledge. In stage 4, integration takes place and the learner is able to store information in their new language (Craig, 2011).

In the Classroom:

Be careful to always present information in a way that is comprehensible for students. If students cannot understand the input they receive, they cannot move through the stages of input utilization. Use gestures, images, and repetition to ensure students understand what you are trying to convey.

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Output:

Definition:

Output is the production of language. Gass (1997) suggests that output provides students with four opportunities for authentic language learning. 1) testing hypotheses: through use, learners may experiment and discover how to use language through trial; 2) Receiving feedback: learners verify hypotheses via feedback from others; 3) Developing automaticity: through use of the language and practice, learners become more automatic in their use; and 4) Shifting from meaning-based processing to syntactic mode: production of L2 enables the learner to focus on specific aspects of language for correctness and/or errors (Craig, 2011).

In the Classroom:

Provide opportunities for students to experiment with language without fear of penalty. Give corrective feedback as needed in meaningful ways. Students benefit from more scaffolded and spiraled practice opportunities. Increase expectations as students begin to develop automaticity.

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Role of Interaction:

Definition:

Interaction is the synthesis of learner input and output and is one of the most essential aspects of second language acquisition. During interaction, students are better able to determine what the gaps in their language knowledge/abilities are.

In the Classroom:

Teachers should provide opportunities for cooperative learning and discussion in the classroom. For best results, partner students with mixed abilities and/or host individual conferences with students.

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Comprehension:

Definition:

Comprehensible Input, Output, and Interaction are all required for successful L2 comprehension. Without comprehension, language acquisition will never occur. Therefore, each aspect of language learning should be given time to develop in the classroom and beyond.

In the Classroom:

Recognize that language acquisition occurs in stages and takes time. Provide ample opportunities for students to develop in each area: input, output, and interaction. Additionally, provide practice that incorporates each of these aspects of language acquisition. Monitor development with formative assessments.

Resources:


References:


Craig, D. V. (2011). Input, output, interaction, and communication. Retrieved from https://elearn.mtsu.edu/d2l/lms/content/viewer/view.d2l?tId=18292390&ou=1933713


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