Friday, 16 October 2015

Comprehension approach


The following may have direct, and indirect relevance to the Universal Debating Project
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The comprehension approach is an umbrella term which refers to several methodologies of language learning that emphasise understanding of language rather than speaking.[1] This is in contrast to the better-known communicative approach, under which learning is thought to emerge through language production, i.e. a focus on speech and writing. It is known that the understanding of language often occurs before the children obtain the ability to express and speak.[2]
The comprehension approach is most strongly associated with the linguists Harris Winitz, Stephen Krashen,[3] Tracy D. Terrell and James J. Asher. The comprehension-based methodology mostly commonly found in classrooms is Asher's Total Physical Response approach;[4] Krashen and Terrell's Natural Approach[5] has not been widely applied. English as a Second Language Podcast is a more recent application of the comprehension approach grounded in Krashen's theories.
The comprehension approach is based on theories of linguistics, specifically Krashen's theories of second language acquisition,[6] and is also inspired by research on second language acquisition in children, particularly the silent period phenomenon in which many young learners initially tend towards minimal speaking.[7] In contrast, the communicative approach is largely a product of research in language education.[8]
Comprehension approach refers to a method of learning a new language through the process of understanding the meaning of words and expressions in the language as opposed to any other form of language learning. Other methods that may be used as part of the progression of language learning include the process of learning the letters, symbols and other representations of the language first before actually understanding the meaning of the words. The difference between the compression approach and the other more scientific approach to learning a new language lies in the fact that the comprehension approach is simply another dimension toward learning a new language. The comprehension approach usually involves a silent period when the learner tries to assimilate the various meanings of the words that make up the target language. How long the silent period lasts depends on the skills of the learner in terms of comprehension ability and general cognitive skills, as someone who is a quick study may be able to quickly grasp the basic concepts of a new language faster than others. During the silent period, the new language learner will try as much as possible to understand what the words mean and how to pronounce them. The disadvantage of this type of approach is that some people who are not very confident might decide to wait until they feel that they have totally grasped the concepts of the language, including the correct pronunciation, before attempting to speak that language. This may be due to a reluctance to mispronounce the words or to misapply the language while attempting to speak it.
An advantage of the comprehension approach of language learning is the fact that when the learner eventually understands the meaning and the correct application of the words, the language will sound more effortless when he or she speaks it in contrast to other forms of language learning, which may result in more stilted efforts. Since the comprehension approach requires a deliberate effort to understand the language first, it often leads to situations where the language learner might understand the general gist of the language, but lack the ability to speak it. This phenomenon may be attributed to the fact that the brain is a complex entity that allows for the resources to compartmentalize different cognitive skills, as is clearly evident in the ability to learn the meaning of a language first before speaking it.[9]
Winitz founded the International Linguistics Corporation in 1976 to supply comprehension-based materials known as The Learnables;[10] several positive articles have been published testing these picturebooks with their accompanying audio recordings, mostly with Winitz as co-author.[11]

Levels of Comprehension[edit]

  • Literal or text-explicit comprehension: Often described as “reading on the lines,” this level requires the reader to process information that is explicitly stated in the text, to understand what the author specifically reported. For example, the reader may be called on to recall or locate precisely stated main ideas, details, directions, or sequences of events. Literal comprehension requires a lower level of thinking skills than the other three levels because the reader must only recall from memory what the book said. Still it is the foundation for content-area courses and remains the most frequently tested comprehension category. It consumes the bulk of instructional time in the classroom and is the level that struggling readers and ELLs strive to attain.
  • Interpretive or text-implicit comprehension: Described frequently as “reading between the lines,” this level demands that the reader process ideas based on what was read but not explicitly stated in the text. It involves understanding what the author meant, and the reader must call on his or her intuition, personal experiences, and imagination as the foundation for making inferences. Children may be asked to predict outcomes, find main ideas, determine word meanings from context, draw conclusions, make generalizations, or infer cause-and-effect relationships. Behaviours commonly associated with critical thinking are involved in text-implicit comprehension, which is said to separate the active reader from the passive reader.
  • Critical or applied comprehension: Sometimes stated as “reading beyond the lines,” this level requires readers to integrate their own thinking with the facts from the text. Consequently, they evaluate and apply information and ideas from the printed page to their own experiences and judgment.
  • Creative comprehension: This most advanced level calls for readers to develop original ideas based on the pages read. They must use divergent thinking skills as they ponder new or alternative solutions to problems or crises presented by the writer.[12]

Factors that influence comprehension approach[edit]

There are several factors that influence comprehension approach. The first of these factors is purpose, which focuses the readers’ attention and helps them understand the text. While teachers routinely help students focus in the classroom, self-directed purpose is the better route to promote the feeling of competency that leads students to independent reading both in and out of school. In the classroom, children can make individual predictions about their reading (e.g., Do tsunamis occur in only one part of the world?), and those predictions then become purposes under the careful direction of their teacher. Outside of school, students may wish to assemble a toy for a younger sibling, and thus reading the directions for that task also has a clear purpose. In both instances, comprehension is stronger when the purpose is specific.
The second is being an active reader because active readers, according to Blachowitz and Ogle, think as they read. They use their prior knowledge (which stems from previous experiences) and their vocabulary as well as reading strategies to help them comprehend what they are reading presently.
The third factor that affects comprehension is the type of text being used. Children who have had experience with story texts may encounter difficulty with expository or informational materials. Therefore, they should be introduced to these materials early and review them often as they usually contain concepts, vocabulary, and format that are markedly different from those found in storybooks. Teachers must keep in mind that the less familiarity students have with expository texts, the harder it is for them to comprehend such books.
The fourth factor affecting comprehension is the quality of literacy instruction. They emphasize literature by reading aloud, maintaining a classroom library, and discussing books and author studies; they integrate the curriculum by making direct connections between reading/writing and the content areas. These instructors manage all aspects of classroom learning, including planning, scheduling, and student behavior, and they maintain an environment characterized by fair rules, high expectations, and a learning atmosphere. They offer supportive instructional context by monitoring student accomplishments and establishing realistic but challenging expectations. Finally, they promote self-monitored learning by teaching students how to organize their work habits and use their time productively.
The fifth factor influencing comprehension is interest. When children are curious about a subject, sometimes to the point of absorption, they will read to seek information and discover answers. Some students can even be described as hyperlexic—their interest in reading is strong enough to qualify them as avid readers.
The last and final factor is independent practice preceded by adequate instruction. Life-long readers evolve from students who are allowed to choose their own books, read them independently in class daily, and have the opportunity to discuss and share them with classmates.[13]


  1. Jump up ^ Winitz (1981); Gary & Gary (1981a and 1981b).
  2. Jump up ^ "Language Acquisition Methods". LTG. 15 January 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  3. Jump up ^ See for some of Krashen's books and articles, available on-line.
  4. Jump up ^ Asher (1969; 1981). Further information is available at TPR-World (Sky Oaks Productions, Inc.).
  5. Jump up ^ Krashen & Terrell (1983).
  6. Jump up ^ Krashen (1982).
  7. Jump up ^ Winitz et al. (1995); cf. Gibbons (1985), whose own interpretation of the 'silent period' is that children's silence reflects lack of linguistic knowledge or bewilderment within their new language environment.
  8. Jump up ^ Acar (2005: 4).
  9. Jump up ^ "The Comprehension Approach" 54 (8 (May, 1959), pp. 344-345). May 1959. 
  10. Jump up ^ e.g. Winitz (2003); see also the International Linguistics Corporation's Learnables materials on-line.
  11. Jump up ^ e.g. McCandless & Winitz (1986).
  12. Jump up ^ "Learning from text, levels of comprehension, or: Why anyone would read a story anyway". Poetics 9 (1–3, June 1980, Pages 87–98): Pages 87–98. June 1980. 
  13. Jump up ^ "Listening techniques for a Comprehension Approach" (PDF). victoria. 


  • Acar, A (2005) 'The "communicative competence" controversy.' Asian EFL Journal 7(3). Retrieved 20 January 2007.
  • Asher JJ (1969) 'The total physical response approach to second language learning.' The Modern Language Journal 53: 3-17.
  • Asher JJ (1981) The total physical response: theory and practice. In H. Winitz (ed.) Native Language and Foreign Language Acquisition. New York: New York Academy of Sciences. pp. 324–331.
  • Gary JO. & Gary N (1981a) Comprehension-based language instruction: practice. In H. Winitz (ed.) Native Language and Foreign Language Acquisition. New York: New York Academy of Sciences. pp. 343–357.
  • Gary JO. & Gary N (1981b) Comprehension-based language instruction: theory. In H. Winitz (ed.) Native Language and Foreign Language Acquisition. New York: New York Academy of Sciences. pp. 332–342.
  • Gibbons J (1985) 'The silent period: an examination.' Language Learning 35: 255-267.
  • Krashen SD (1982) Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Pergamon.
  • Krashen SD & TD Terrell (1983) The Natural Approach. New York: Pergamon.
  • McCandless P & Winitz H (1986) 'Test of pronunciation following one year of comprehension instruction in college German.' The Modern Language Journal 70: 355-362.
  • Winitz H (ed.) (1981) The Comprehension Approach to Foreign Language Instruction. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
  • Winitz H (2003) The Learnables, Book 1. Kansas City, MO: International Linguistics Corporation. 6th edition.
  • Winitz H, Gillespie B & Starcev J (1995). 'The development of English speech patterns of a 7-year-old Polish-speaking child.' Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 24: 117-143.

Action plan


The following may have direct, and indirect relevance to the Universal Debating Project.
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An action plan is a detailed plan outlining actions needed to reach one or more goals.

Advantages of using action plans[edit]

Producing an action plan can be beneficial not only for individual basis but also for businesses. For example, it allows project managers or any member of a group to monitor their progress and take each task step-by-step, therefore allowing them to handle the project efficiently. The advantage of doing this is, it allows you to execute a structured plan for the end goal you intend to achieve. Furthermore, it provides the team with appropriate foundations, therefore prioritising the amount of time you spend on each task. This will then prevent any sidetracking that may occur. Lastly, it creates a bond within a team, as each member is aware of their individual role, as well as providing necessary information to ensure success of the project.[1][2][3]

Issues faced with action planning[edit]

When using action plans limitations will need to be considered. Firstly, each member of the team will need to be allocated individual roles and tasks which will require completion by a set date. This can be demanding for some, due to coping with the stress and distractions that may occur. Another issue is not being guided thoroughly and effectively, leading to the lack of effort and passion a member has for the project. In addition to this, if the communication throughout the team is non-existent, key information will not reach members of the group, causing lack of confidence. Lastly failing to obtain the goal you set to reach can lead to frustration and in turn the planning would have been a waste of time. There can be more addition to this article.[4][5]

Reasons for creating an action plan[edit]

An action plan is a tool in social planning. It is an organizational strategy to identify necessary steps towards a goal. It considers details, may help limit setting for an organization, and is efficient in that it is saving resources over trial and error. A written action plan also serves as a token for an organization's accountability.[6]

Guided steps to creating an action plan[edit]

When creating action plans there are guided steps that need to be followed to ensure success, however the structure can be altered in the process. Firstly, you will need to outline what you want to achieve from the project, by doing this you set yourself targets. After this the specific roles will need to be allocated ensuring sufficient amount of training, resources and issues have been considered to ensure solving any problems that may occur. The next stage allows members of the group to analyse the progress by outlining milestones, solving any issues and making any necessary changes. Lastly once the project has come to an end the final stage can be examined to ensure future success.[7]

Setting goals through action planning[edit]

A goal is the primary objective of an action plan. Setting goals gives the possibility of your dreams and prospects being brought to life. It creates motivation and provides you with a certainty that the final outcome will be worthwhile, preventing any wasted time and effort. This is achieved by being fully dedicated to the process and using the structured guide to accomplishing it. Although hard work may be produced, without a successful end goal the ideal result you set to achieve, will not prevail.[8][9][10]

Action plans - Risk Management[edit]

To benefit from risk management action plans, you need to examine certain possibilities that could affect the process, such as observing any threats and correcting them. For example, key aspects of risk management are to ensure you allocate members specific roles and monitor the risks throughout, to ensure tasks are completed with efficiency. This being a major factor, as evaluating what happens during and after the project, will allow finding the positive and negative elements of each stage in the planning, providing you the ability to develop on the risks further.[11][12]

Executing an action plan[edit]

Mike Desjardins has suggested the following[13]
  • Ownership: one person must be responsible and accountable for tracing the progress, keeping team informed, ensuring timely action steps are occurring and adjusting the actions.
  • Action steps should be clear and actionable versus vague ideas or thoughts.
  • Responsibility: each action step needs to have one person responsible.
  • Support: For each action step, determine who will support the person responsible. This can be multiple people. The key is that they’re not responsible for the action or outcome.
  • Informed: keeping the right people in the communication loop for each action is critically important. Key people might need to understand the state of progress around your actions to see how they affect other actions and objectives.
  • Metrics and budget: each action step must have a metric that tells us that the action is complete. For example, if you needed to survey your customers and don’t have the internal resources to run the survey or want to protect anonymity, using an outside resource will require money that might not be included in your current operating budget.
  • Milestone date: date the action step needs to begin
  • Completion date

Examples in the EU[edit]

Some European Union directives describe action plans in order to reach a defined target in air quality or noise reduction. If the target cannot be reached by a member state, the member needs to write a report. Sometimes action plans contain deadlines by which the plan must be ready to start the action(s) and the targets are to be reached.


  1. Jump up ^ "diffundo" (PDF). Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  2. Jump up ^ Smriti Chand. "What are the Advantages and Potential Disadvantages of Planning under Management?". Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  3. Jump up ^ Brenda Horton. "5 Reasons Why Your Business Idea Needs An Action Plan". hware. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  4. Jump up ^ Leigh Ann Morgan. "Advantages and Disadvantages of Goal Setting". Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  5. Jump up ^ "The Action Plan". ITS. Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  6. Jump up ^ "Chapter 8. Developing a Strategic Plan". Community Toolbox. University of Kansas. 2013. 
  7. Jump up ^ "Guidance to making an action plan". Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  8. Jump up ^ "Personal Goal Setting". Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  9. Jump up ^ Susan B. Wilson; Michael S. Pmp Dobson (12 March 2008). Goal Setting: How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Goals (Second ed.). pp. 3–21. 
  10. Jump up ^ "1.4 Creating an action plan and setting achievable goals". Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  11. Jump up ^ Jean Scheid; Marlene Gundlach. "Why You Need a Risk Management Action Plan". Bright Hub PM. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  12. Jump up ^ Rationality in Action. pp. 11–26. ISBN 0-521-38598-9. 
  13. Jump up ^ Mike Desjardins (13 December 2011). "How to execute corporate action plans effectively". Business In Vancouver. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 



The following shows ways in which data can be presented visually. It should have some relevance to the Universal Debating Project.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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For the British band, see Diagrams (band).
Further information: Chart

Sample flowchart representing the decision process to add a new article to Wikipedia.
A diagram is a symbolic representation of information according to some visualization technique. Diagrams have been used since ancient times, but became more prevalent during the Enlightenment.[1] Sometimes, the technique uses a three-dimensional visualization which is then projected onto a two-dimensional surface. The word graph is sometimes used as a synonym for diagram.


The term diagram in its commonly used sense can have a general or specific meaning:
  • visual information device : Like the term "illustration" the diagram is used as a collective term standing for the whole class of technical genres, including graphs, technical drawings and tables.[2]
  • specific kind of visual display : This is the genre that shows qualitative data with shapes that are connected by lines, arrows, or other visual links.
In science the term is used in both ways. For example Anderson (1997) stated more generally: "diagrams are pictorial, yet abstract, representations of information, and maps, line graphs, bar charts, engineering blueprints, and architects' sketches are all examples of diagrams, whereas photographs and video are not".[3] On the other hand Lowe (1993) defined diagrams as specifically "abstract graphic portrayals of the subject matter they represent".[4]
In the specific sense diagrams and charts contrast with computer graphics, technical illustrations, infographics, maps, and technical drawings, by showing "abstract rather than literal representations of information".[2] The essence of a diagram can be seen as:[2]
  • a form of visual formatting devices
  • a display that does not show quantitative data (numerical data), but rather relationships and abstract information
  • with building blocks such as geometrical shapes connected by lines, arrows, or other visual links.
Or in Hall's (1996) words "diagrams are simplified figures, caricatures in a way, intended to convey essential meaning".[5] These simplified figures are often based on a set of rules. The basic shape according to White (1984) can be characterized in terms of "elegance, clarity, ease, pattern, simplicity, and validity".[2] Elegance is basically determined by whether or not the diagram is "the simplest and most fitting solution to a problem".[6]

Main diagram types[edit]

There are at least the following types of diagrams:
  • Chart-like diagrams, which take a collection of items and relationships between them, and express them by giving each item a 2D position, while the relationships are expressed as connections between the items or overlaps between the items; examples of such techniques:
  • Graph-based diagrams; theses display a relationship between two variables that take either discrete or a continuous ranges of values; examples:
Schematics and other types of diagrams, e.g.,
Many of these types of diagrams are commonly generated using diagramming software. Thousands of diagram techniques exist. Some more examples follow.

Specific diagram types[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. Jump up ^ Eddy, Matthew Daniel (2014). "How to See a Diagram: A Visual Anthropology of Chemical Affinity". Osiris 29: 178–196. doi:10.1086/678093. 
  2. ^ Jump up to: a b c d Brasseur, Lee E. (2003). Visualizing technical information: a cultural critique. Amityville, N.Y: Baywood Pub. ISBN 0-89503-240-6. 
  3. Jump up ^ Michael Anderson (1997). "Introduction to Diagrammatic Reasoning". Retrieved 21 July 2008.
  4. Jump up ^ Lowe, Richard K. (1993). "Diagrammatic information: techniques for exploring its mental representation and processing". Information Design Journal 7 (1): 3–18. doi:10.1075/idj.7.1.01low. 
  5. Jump up ^ Bert S. Hall (1996). "The Didactic and the Elegant: Some Thoughts on Scientific and Technological Illustrations in the Middle Ages and Renaissance". in: B. Braigie (ed.) Picturing knowledge: historical and philosophical problems concerning the use of art in science. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. p.9
  6. Jump up ^ White, Jan V. (1984). Using charts and graphs: 1000 ideas for visual persuasion. New York: Bowker. ISBN 0-8352-1894-5. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Bounford, Trevor (2000). Digital diagrams. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications. ISBN 978-0-8230-1572-6. 
  • Michael Anderson, Peter Cheng, Volker Haarslev (Eds.) (2000). Theory and Application of Diagrams: First International Conference, Diagrams 2000. Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, September 1–3, 2000. Proceedings.
Garcia, M (Ed) (2012) The Diagrams of Architecture. Wiley. Chichester.