THE NATURAL APPROACH 自然教學法 (NA)
歷史背景與淵源
NA是由一位在加州教授西班牙文的老師Tracy Terrell根據其教學經驗,在加上南加州大學語言學家Stephen Krashen 的理論共同提出。NA和之前所介紹的Direct Method (DM;又稱Natural Method)常常被認為是相同的教法,其實它們各有不同的特色:DM是依據幼兒自然而然習得母以的經驗所創立,教法中強調教師用L2和切合的場景直接上課、問答、重複重點,並要求學生要練習做到正確無誤的地步;NA的理論基礎卻是根據成功習得L2的一些自然共通原則,並強調上課之〝內容〞(而非課堂上的〝練習〞)、重視學生學習心理、以及學生充分瞭解(comprehension)L2後準備開始用口語表達前的預備 / 調適期
教學觀
Krashen和Terrell任為語言最主要的功能是〝溝通〞,而它也是傳遞訊息、意義的工具。因此,唯有瞭解L2所要傳達的意義後,學得L2的目標才算達成。以下,便將NA認為語言學習過程中幾個非常重要的概念列出:(1)先天習得—後天學習假設(acquisition—learning hypothesis)---先天習得是指幼兒在成長環境中因聽懂了母語,而能用母語做出有意義的溝通,進而自然而然習得母語的過程;後天學習是指藉由意識的控制來學習的過程;(2)語言監控設(monitor hypothesis)---先天習得的語言系統可以啟發引導人開口說話,但是後天學習的語言系統只能作為用來修正、檢查語言表達的監控系統;(3)學習的自然順序假設(natural order hypothesis)---幼兒學習母語中的字彙和文法有其一定的順序,而學習第二外國與時也有類似的進階程序;(4)語言輸入假設(input hypothesis)---所謂的〝輸入〞,指的就是教師傳授給學生的課程內容。NA認為要自然習得一個語言,學生所接收到的訊息內容中應該有一部份為學習者已知的成分,另外一小部分則為比學習者目前程度在 略高一級 的內容( 〝i + 1〞; i表示學生目前的程度,1表示比目前程度稍高的教學內容) ,這樣才能使學習者有所進步;(5)情緒門閥假設(the affective filter hypothesis)--- Krashen認為學習者的心情和態度是一個足以影響學習品質的重要因素。當情緒門閥(恐懼、害羞等負面情緒)的指數低時,學習效率就提升;反之,則降學習內容的品質。
教材教法
一、 教學目標

培養初學者有能力聽懂L2(即使必須多問些問題才能瞭解對方的含意),並用L2表達自己的意見(即使文法不一定完全正確,但是可以讓對方聽懂的程度)。

二、 課程安排

NA的課程以(1)能培養基礎的口語 / 書寫溝通能力;(2)能切合學生的興趣與需要,和(3)題材能降低情緒門閥,增進友好、輕鬆的上課氣氛等三大方針為設計重點,而不以文法為課程重心。以下為一教學實例:

步驟一 教師告訴學生今天藥學顏色。

步驟二 教師指著學生的衣服,一邊指一邊說:「Tony wears a BLUE shirt. Mary has a pair of ORANGE shoes, Jessica』s bag is RED. David ahs a PURPLE pencil case…」

步驟三 老師拿出一張畫,上有一道彩虹。老師依著顏色唸下來,一邊唸一邊指:」red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, purple」

步驟四 把顏色卡放入盒內,和學生玩猜卡片遊戲。老師拿起一張不讓學生看。老師說」red」,學生說」yes」 或」no」;如學生已學會,可讓學生直接說顏色。

三、教學活動與學習型態

NA的教學活動可說是集合各家教學法之大成,只要它們能符合〝i + 1〞的課程內容原則,並可活絡教學氣氛、降低情緒門閥指數者,都可以被收納在NA中。例如:TPR的祈使句活動、DM中用來引導學生問 / 答的手勢和肢體動作,以及CLT中學生互通訊息以完成任務的團體活動等。以下為一範例(Krashen and Terrell 1983:75-7):

1. Start with TPR [Total Physical Response ]commands. At first the commands are quite simple:」 Stand up. Turn around. Raise your right hand.」

2. Use TPR to teach names of body parts and to introduce numbers and sequence. 「Lay your right hand on your head, put both hands on your shoulder, first touch your nose, then stand up and turn to the right three times」 and so forth.

3. Introduce classroom terms and props into commands. 「Pick up a pencil and put it under the book, touch a wall, go to the door and knock three times.」 Any item which can be brought to the class can be incorporated. 「Pick up the record and place it in the tray. Take the green blanket to Larry. Pick up the soap and take it to the woman wearing the green blouse.」

4. Use names of physical characteristics and clothing to identify members of the class by name. The instructor uses context and the items themselves to make the meanings of the key words clear: hair, long, short, etc. Then a student is described. 「What is your name?」 (selecting a student). 「Class, Look at Barbara. She has long brown hair. Her hair is long and brown. Her hair is not short. It is long.」 (Using mime, pointing and context to ensure comprehension). 「What』s the name of the student with long brown hair? 「 (Barbara). Questions such as 「What is the name of the woman with the short blond hair?」 or 「What is the name of the student sitting next to the man with short brown hair and glasses?」 are very simple to understand by attending to key words, gestures, and context. And they require the students only to remember and produce the name of a fellow student. The same can be done with articles of clothing and colors. 「Who is wearing a yellow shirt? Who is wearing a brown dress?」

5. Use visuals, typically magazine pictures, to introduce new vocabulary and to continue with activities requiring only student names as response. The instructor introduces the pictures to the entire class one at a time focusing usually on one single item or activity in the picture. He may introduce one to five new words while talking about the picture. He then passes the picture to a particular student in the class. The students』 task is to remember the name of the student with a particular picture. For example, 「Tom has television」 and so forth. The instructor will ask questions like 「Tom has the picture of the sailboat. Does Susan or Tom have the picture of the people on the beach?」 Again the students need only produce a name in response.

6. Combine use of pictures with TPR. 「Jim, find the picture of the little girl with her dog and give it to the woman with the pink blouse.」

7. Combine observations about the pictures with commands and conditionals. 「If there is a woman in your picture, stand up. If there is something blue in your picture, touch your right shoulder.」

8. Using several pictures, ask students to point to the picture being described. Picture 1. 「There are several people in this picture. One appears to be a father, the other a daughter. What are they doing? Cooking. They are cooking a hamburger. 「 Picture 2. 「There are two men in this picture. They are young. They are boxing.」 Picture 3….

四、 教師與學生的角色

學生是課程內容的接收者,它們必須藉由背景知識、教學情境及老師的語氣語調等資訊來瞭解比它們程度略高一級的教學內容。他們在初學時不用急著跟老師對話,只要聽的懂L2並做出被要求的活動即可。等到心理方面調適準備好,再自行決定何時要開口練習的時機。教師則是〝i + 1〞教學內容的提供者,要負責創造優質學習環境,設計多樣的教學活動,並降低學生的情緒門閥。

結論與反思
NA在教法上雖沒有獨創一格之處,但它在課程內容上的要求(i + 1)確有其用心獨到之處。

台灣的英語教育如今正是進入國小校園,家長與社會人士在振奮之餘( 〝我的小孩終於不會輸在起跑點上了〞), 應該也要一起來關心、監督台灣英語教育的目標與教學內容。我們是要讓小學生提早面對背字母、背KK因標、被單字課文的壓力,還是讓孩子輕鬆快樂地將英語融入他們童年的記憶?我們是否要讓小學生趕快學得一口文法無懈可擊、用字淺詞可圈可點的英文,以便盡早躋身明星學校,還是讓小孩子學會用英文看卡通、點菜、 問路,成為可以在地球村優遊自處的小天使?民眾是接受教育的主角,所以大家都有權力提出自己的需求,而不要一昧讓所謂的〝專家〞牽著鼻子走。今天,專家已經開始去注意到學習者的需求、興趣、心情和學習效率,而不再只是專注在語言的微觀研究上。否則,怎麼會有NA等教學法應運而生呢?