Chris Roberts Thesis 4


Limitations of this study.

Although this study adds to the growing body of research that supports comprehensible input-based methods, there are limitations to this study.  First, this study consisted of rather small sample sizes, only two comparison groups, one with 29 students and one with 30 students.  This small sample size may not be representative enough of the general population.  The homogeneity within the sample is a limitation.  This study only compared middle school students in a suburban school district in northeast Ohio.  Second, this study did not measure student performance in terms of oral output.  Although previous studies (Dziedzic, 2012;  Spangler, 2009; Watson, 2009) provide evidence that students in a TPRS classroom outperform students in traditional classrooms on measures of output, this study did not examine this.  While this study provides evidence that students in a TPRS classroom outperform their peers on assessments of vocabulary, grammar and reading and listening comprehension; it does not provide any evidence on measures of output.

Implications for future research

As stated prior, the small sample size in this study is a limitation.  While this study may help some teachers with making a decision about what type of teaching methodology to use in their classroom, there may be teachers in different types of school districts who would be skeptical.  It would be interesting to conduct a similar study using larger sample sizes.  The National Spanish Exam is a reliable, standardized assessment.  If a study were to be done that included more students from various school settings, and preferably with multiple teachers, it could provide more insights on the topic of comparing teaching methods.

This study also had a limited number of students with disabilities.  We need carefully designed research studies that would examine the effects of comprehensible input-based teaching methods on the performance of students with disabilities.   Conclusion

The purpose of this study was to examine the differences in student performance when comparing comprehensible input-based methods with more traditional, output-based methods on a nationally standardized exam.  Results of the study align with previous studies that show that comprehensible input-based teaching methods are more effective in the second language classroom.  The results of the study showed statistically significant differences in the performance of the two groups on the National Spanish Exam.  As Krashen (2004) states, grammatical competence and vocabulary knowledge are the result of listening and reading.  This study supports this statement by showing that the group that focused on comprehensible input performed significantly better on assessments of vocabulary and grammar.  As more research is conducted, comparing various teaching methods, we will get closer to finding the most effective ways to facilitate second language acquisition.

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Adams, S. (2010, December 15). Can’t learn a foreign language? not true, say scientists. The Telegraph. Retrieved from

Annenberg. (n.d.). Teaching foreign languages k-12 glossary. In Annenberg Learner. Retrieved from

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Castro, M. (1997). The future of spanish in the united states. Language policy website & emporium, Retrieved from   Davidheiser, J. (2002). Classroom approaches to communication: Teaching German with TPRS. Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German, 35(1), 25-35.

Davies, M. (2006). A frequency dictionary of Spanish: Core vocabulary for learners. New York and London: Routledge.

Dziedzic, J.  (2012).  A comparison of TPRS and traditional instruction, both with SSR.  International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 7(2),  4-7.

Gaab, C. (2011). Esperanza. Chandler, AZ: TPRS Publishing

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4 thoughts on “Chris Roberts Thesis 4”

  1. Chris, I mentioned your study on the moretprs forum and Stephen Krashen would like to know more about it. Are you planning on sending him a copy? He said, “Please tell me and Karen Lichtman about this and other studies, so we can tell the world!”

  2. Chris,
    I finally carved out time to sit and read this without rushing. Thank you so much for putting all of these pieces together in a way that begins to show the power of what we are doing so that folks who are unfamiliar or ambivalent might have a path into this power. While we cannot change others’ minds, we sure can share what we experience. We do this well, I think, within our group. It feels like this thesis is a bridge that will connect more people to the power of CI. You are an inspiration!

  3. Chris,

    I again mentioned your research on the moretprs list, without naming names, and Karen Rowan would like to see it . (I didn’t intend to give the impression that it wasn’t academic, I guess I wasn’t explicite enough.) Obviously they would be interested in publishing it. Have you sent it to them? Karen said:


    That sounds like the Joseph Diedzic study we published last year. Same set up. Ask him to send it in and we’ll look at it?

    If it doesn’t make the standard for academic research, we sometimes publish anecdotal evidence in the teacher to teacher section as just a good teaching idea.

    It sounds interesting and replicable.

    Karen Rowan
    Director, Fluency Fast Language Classes /
    Founded in 2004
    Karen Rowan Workshops, Inc /
    Founded in 1996
    Editor, The International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching
    Founded in 2004
    1-866-WWW-FLUENCY / 719-633-6000

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