Take your TEFL course in Madrid

Special one year "Road2Spain" package for non-EU citizens


  • Four week TEFL course awarding TESOL and TEFL certification
  • One year Cervantes Institute accredited Spanish course with student visa
  • Accommodation options
Find out more

Krashen the ESL classroom, effective English language teaching

Can we use Krashen in the ESL classroom? What is language learning all about?

This article is based on Stephen Krashen’s work. Stephen Krashen is not associated with EBC.

Who or what is Krashen?

Stephen Krashen presented a mold-breaking concept about how we learn a language. I remember seeing him give a televised lecture when I was a teenager. He inspired me so much that we include a Krashen style lesson in our TEFL course to demonstrate the power of his ideas.

Stephen Krashen is professor emeritus at the University of Southern California and works in the School of Education. He is a prominent linguist and educational researcher.

His thoughts and ideas seem to indicate that we learn a new language the same way as we learned our mother tongue when we were babies. We are born and then, after immersion in an environment of sights, sounds and smells, we say our first word. Our parents are delighted and then the torrent of words begins.

There is no logical reason a baby learns a language. It just happens. There are no lessons and no teacher, just an organised and sometimes random environment. Some babies learn faster than others. Some babies have great difficulty in learning.

For people without learning difficulties, Krashen believes this process can be applied to the ESL classroom. He demonstrates this in this excellent video where he explains a lot about his ideas.

Part of the video is a short class where he speaks only in German and he reinforces the spoken language with visuals. He believes that speaking should not be forced. He believes that speaking will occur naturally the same way as it does for a baby. Exposure and input will give birth to speaking.

The idea is good but is it applicable to teaching English to people who already speak a language other than English?

  • People who already speak a language have preconceptions but a baby does not.
  • People who already speak a language probably live in a country where English is not the main language but babies live in an environment surrounded by their country’s language.

Krashen’s ideas support the “English only” classroom idea. The prohibition of any language other than English in the classroom is fundamental to making his ideas work.

Krashen’s ideas conflict with many other learning theories, especially those who want to teach English in a technical way by analysing grammar, syntax, construction, etc. Krashen’s foundation is that we all acquire a language the same way through messages.

He states that understanding messages is key and he defines the process as comprehensible input.

A new language is noise or strange looking words and characters. It has no meaning on its own. When I first came to Spain, I could only speak a few words of Spanish. I have no special gift for language learning. I never did well in French at school. I spent my first month in Spain listening to people, listening to the radio and watching TV. It took a little while but I eventually could figure out where one word stopped and the next one started. I also had Spanish lessons that helped give structure. Initially, I found it very difficult to speak. I learned Krashen style by watching, listening and eventually speaking in situations I could understand and relate to. My Spanish teachers adopted the same attitude. One even told me, “I can speak English, but for the next 90 minutes I will only speak to you in Spanish.” It took me about 6 months to achieve what I considered to be a level where I could have a proper conversation.

Language learning is difficult

Language comes to life when used in a way that, although we do not comprehend the words, we can relate to and understand. The same way that cans of paint are inherently uninteresting on their own, their content comes to life when placed in the hands of a great artist. Language is the paint and you are the artist.

Applying Krashen’s ideas in the classroom

Krashen’s ideas are easily applied in the classroom. Some of his basic techniques are shown in the video. He speaks in German and draws pictures to which we can relate. You will not learn German from his video but you will be able to understand what he is saying. Repeating the process reinforces learning and eventually you will be able to speak.

You must try to instil Krashen’s ideas in your students. I was lucky because I learned Spanish in Spain so the environment, like a baby’s, was monolingual.

Students learning English once a week, for example in Thailand, will speak English in class for an hour. Assuming 8 hours sleep each day, they will probably spend the remaining 111 hours a week speaking Thai. That is 0.9% speaking English and 99.1% speaking Thai.

Spending less than 1% of your time trying to learn something is less than ideal. Use Krashen’s ideas about comprehensible input. Between classes, ask your students to watch something, listen to something or read something that they can relate to and comprehend.

Krashen’s ideas when combined with others that provide form and structure will enable learning. Krashen’s foundation is that language is structured communication. He also argues that a technical study of a language (grammar, syntax and structure) is not learning a language. Sort of like being the best car mechanic in the world but not knowing how to drive.

Krashen’s final word of warning is about something called the affective filter. He explains that the part of the brain that process and learns a new language (Chomsky’s language acquisition device) is susceptible to blocking by a few factors.

This block is called the affective filter and is created due to:

  • lack of motivation,
  • low self-esteem
  • and anxiety.

The final word goes to Mr. Krashen.

We acquire language through comprehensible input in a low anxiety environment.

If you would like to learn more about Stephen Krashen’s ideas, read “Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition, Stephen D Krashen, University of Southern California

More resources for effective teaching

English teaching tips

Teaching skills

Contact one of our Student Advisers

Call Us Toll Free

Call us TOLL FREE from the USA, CANADA and UK. If we are closed, leave a message.  We'll call you back. CHECK YOUR TIME ZONE! EBC IS OPEN  FROM 9:30 TO 5:30, MONDAY TO FRIDAY. OUR TIME ZONE IS, 6 HOURS AHEAD OF US EAST COAST TIME.
  • USA and Canada call FREE: 1 888 393 4015
All other countries, call (+34) 915 553 975 (not toll free)
Highly Recommended! Everyone is helpful and the course itself was very helpful, especially for people who have no teaching background and would like to change careers.
Cheyenne Albon
08:00 10 Oct 18
I had a good time doing my TEFL here in Madrid with EBC. The classes always started on time with a very realistic approach used to teach. I would recommend people to do TEFL from EBC to learn good ways to teach English and make it fun for students.
gaurav swamy
12:52 05 Oct 18
i learned a lot of strategies in teaching.I took the intensive 1 month course and it was really hard work but it was well worth it. Thanks a lot to our amazing teacher. I was so happy to receive my Certificate.Thanks alot EBC for everything.
lhiz Velasco Cabales
08:27 05 Sep 18
EBC is a wonderful academy. I attended an intensive course to gain my TEFL/TESOL qualification. The teaching was in-depth, covering skills, general and business English, as well as how to teach children and adults. All of this was imparted by our professional guide, John. Thank you to all the staff who went out of their way to be encouraging and helpful. It has been a memorable experience!
Michelle Fernández
18:00 02 Sep 18
Great course with an awesome staff. All aspects of teaching, grammar, finding work and even living in Spain are covered in great detail. Would recommend highly to anyone looking to do their TEFL.
Joe Kemp
12:53 31 Aug 18
Excellent and very comprehensive programme. Our instructor taught us everything we need to know about teaching English. The practice teaching sessions we did are great experience for the real world and I now feel confident that I can teach professionally. Thank you John for your commitment and dedication.
Susi Santorelli
12:03 31 Aug 18
Totally recommend EBC. A thorough course, well worth the money and with highly qualified instructors. I had never taught before taking this course, but the 8 hours teaching practice makes you feel so prepared. They answered every single one of my questions and made me feel confident to make this investment. Don't hesitate taking this course!
Kathryn Royal
11:59 31 Aug 18
Great course! You'll work very hard (it's very intensive) but definitely worth it. I totally recommend it.
Sol Montaser
09:00 27 Jul 18
The class was very good. The instructor John is friendly and very thorough with his classes. William, in the front office, is a joy and is very helpful with all of my course needs. Tita, is very nice and was helpful in explaining different options for working and staying in Madrid.
Jaime Tully
08:59 27 Jul 18
John is a good teacher and he puts efforts inorder to understand your requirements. He teaches you in the right ways, like how to present the language in a simple way, how to keep the motivation on, etc.It´s a intensive course but it´s really worth !!Willam is a good administrator. Thanks for all the help and support. 🙂
Tanya Bhagat
11:41 18 May 18
The course is very intensive but IT IS REALY WORTH! If you are looking for a course that teaches you how to become an English teacher, well this is the best one. You really get the better skills for teaching English at all levels with a clear knowledge about what you are doing. The staff of the course is really nice and helpful. He is a really nice person who helps you whatever you need.Teachers here at really good and they really know how to train you as a English teacher very well.
Dro !
11:24 18 May 18
I am very pleased with my experience at EBC Madrid. Professor John was an amazing mentor that really prepared my classmates and I to teach English. I feel confident going into the job market and finding a teaching job.
Elizabeth Wohlford
15:28 08 Mar 18
EBC Madrid had equipped me with the necessary knowledge and skills I need to be better in teaching. William is so nice and is very accommodating to us students. And, John is the best teacher who can simplify and make the students understand even the most complicated grammatical concept. Kudos!
Anne Marnelli
14:42 08 Mar 18
The course is very intensive but it helps a lot to bring out the best in me. John is an amazing teacher and he is very professional. I'm very thankful for all the guidance and help that I received from EBC. I highly recommend it.
Roxanne A.
14:42 08 Mar 18
The course is really useful. It makes you equipped with the right knowledge, training and attitude. Things you need to have that confidence to go out and face the world as an English teacher. Highly recommended!
Pedi Dela Cruz
14:25 08 Mar 18
This is a great place to get your TEFL certification. The staff is kind, organized and very helpful. It was such a comfortable learning environment that I enjoyed very much. I liked the personalized attention and I got a lot more confidence and experience to be an English teacher. Thanks for everything!
Victoria Metz
10:35 02 Feb 18
I found the instruction throughout the course to be very effective and I finished the course feeling excited and prepared to begin teaching. There is nothing fancy about the EBC facility, however this doesn't in any way reduce the overall quality of the course. John, the instructor, has extensive experience (both as an TEFL teacher and a TEFL course trainer), which is evident in the thoughtful organization of the course. My class had only five students, which created lots of time for personal attention and advice. Make sure you come prepared to work hard!
Adam Schreiber
12:06 14 Dec 17
It was a great and intensive course! I learned and enjoyed this whole learning how to teach experience. Thank you very much for your time and knowledge. I feel well-prepared now. EBC Madrid, 2017.
Michele Buitron
11:57 14 Dec 17
I've just finished my EBC TEFL course. It was a great experience. I definitely recommend this course. John is an amazing teacher and he is very professional. It was just a pleasure. Thank you so much and good luck!
Natalia Egorova
15:04 10 Nov 17
The course has been really useful and the teacher, John, made the classes so much fun and very interesting. It is has been a great experience and has helped me realise how much I really enjoy teaching. It has also been a bit intense at times but I would recommend this course to anyone who would like to become an English teacher.
Natasha Jimenez
20:17 05 Oct 17
Class of August 2017.It's been a busy stressful 4 weeks but I am happy the group and I have all made it and we have TEFL certificates to show for all our hard-work and sleepless nights. Much thanks to our trainer John for his patience and ability to find solutions and guidance to help you find your way and energy throughout the course. EBC international is the best place to learn and share your knowledge of teaching. And for people like me who has no idea how to teach things like grammar and also to learn the grammar...this is the place to be!
Ashley Kabanda
11:14 31 Aug 17

Share this page


WhatsApp chat Click to WhatsApp us