Stephen Krashen and Tracy Tarrell have given an interesting approach to learning new languages which they call Natural Approach. In this approach, they bring the naturalistic approach of language acquisition (i.e. how babies "acquire" language without "learning" grammar) to the classroom setting. Over decades of research, they have found this approach to be effective.

Stephen Krashen has further formulated a set of hypotheses to explain why and how this works: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Input_hypothesis

Among many things, these hypotheses primarily differentiate between "learning" and "acquisition". While the former is done deliberately through the conscious, the latter is subconscious. Krashen defines a term called "Comprehensible Input" which is input understandable by listeners even if they do not understand all of the words or grammar structures. They claim that learners can learn in a natural environment where they receive Comprehensible Input.

For more details on the theory, kindly refer to the linked Wikipedia pages.

My Question

Now, my question is this: Can the Natural Approach of learning be applied to other fields like Music and Mathematics? Music and Mathematics are also like learning a new language, and so can we learn them better if we don't focus too much on their "grammar" but rather try to "acquire" them in some manner?

  • $\begingroup$ I think your question "can this approach be applied to other fields" is too broad. I think it warrants an extended discussion about subjective personal experiences, a number of perceptual learning topics and also that it should be framed in context of a school of thought in developmental psychology. Please consider reading these guidelines for great subjective questions. $\endgroup$
    – Bart
    Jul 7, 2020 at 8:49
  • $\begingroup$ As an example of a perceptual study: Music Training Positively Influences the Preattentive Perception of Voice Onset Time in Children with Dyslexia: A Longitudinal Study. Voice onset timing, the ability to segment words, an increasing phonological comprehension, ... these are all perceptual topics that are tangent to your question, which cannot be easily answered in my opinion. $\endgroup$
    – Bart
    Jul 7, 2020 at 9:02
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you @Bart for the comments. Yes, my question is indeed subjective and broad. However, I am still looking for objective answers and asking if there has been any research in other fields similar to that in Linguistics which claims that "acquisition" works better than "learning" in that field. Perhaps, I will modify my question and make it less broad and more focused. $\endgroup$
    – shivams
    Jul 7, 2020 at 10:10


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