"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, July 05, 2012

No Reason to Believe Rosetta Stone’s Claims

Sent to the Korea Times, July 5, 2012

There is good reason to believe that “Language Learning should be Natural,” (July 4), but there is no reason to believe that Rosetta Stone is an effective way to do it. The Times has provided free advertising for a method that has no published scientific evidence supporting its claims.

In contrast, there have been many studies published in professional scientific journals showing that other ways of making language acquisition natural work quite well, far better than traditional grammar-based approaches. These approaches include beginning methods such as TPRS (Teaching Proficiency Through Reading and Storytelling) and intermediate approaches such as extensive self-selected reading. They do not require expensive computers and software.

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California

Original article: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/special/2012/07/181_114465.html


  1. Hello Dr. Krashen,

    Agree and there is in every industry a lot of slick snake oil salesmen (often financially successful). They sell hope.

    I do think software "expensive" but wouldn't label a cellphone or computer "expensive" given the benefits it provides. I advocate public funding of access to computers for all citizens just like in libraries and books. Go to the library or city hall and borrow a computer.

    Wondering about what you think about SSW (self selected watching) - watching videos with English subtitles at your level? Same or different than text? Seems a natural approach now that we do watch so much video.


  2. This reflects what's happening in education a lot today: Distracting people with complicated 'solutions' so they don't have time to spend on what really matters.

    I learned English in China in the late 80's, with no technology around. But I read every English book I could lay my hands on. 'Extensive self-selected reading' definitely worked for me!