Affective Filter Hypothesis (Stephen Krashen)
Explanation of Main Features

The affective filter hypothesis envelops three emotional variables: motivation, self-confidence, and anxiety. When students feel motivated to learn, self-confident, and have a low anxiety level then their level of language acquisition is increased. Comprehensible input coupled with a low affective filter is a requirement of language acquisition. Comprehensible input, i + 1, is the appropriate level of input to provide students. Krashen (2009) stated that input is the main variable of language acquisition, and for this input to be received one’s affective filter has to be low. The lower the affective filter the greater the language acquisition. In general, children in the pre-puberty years have lower affective filters. Teachers have a responsibility to supply comprehensible input as well as create a low affective filter in their classroom for maximum learning and language acquisition to occur.

Krashen, S. (2009). Principles and practice in second language acquisition. Retrieved May 8, 2011, from

Classroom Implications

Krashen proposes that the learner of the second language will acquire the language without speaking it, if the input is comprehensible and the affective filter is low. He claims that speaking the language, for the most part, is unnecessary. However, he admits that there may be a fringe benefit by speaking and engaging in conversation; the lowering of the level of anxiety and affective filter. He acknowledges that some directed teaching may be necessary for full language acquisition, however does not stipulate what exactly should be taught. This may, or may not affect the anxiety level of the student, with the exception of making the student feel more actively involved, raising self-esteem, whereby lowering the affective filter (Wright, 2010).

The major classroom implication from the affective filter hypothesis is that teachers should maintain a low-anxiety, non-threatening atmosphere in the classroom. This can be done by using a variety of strategies (e.g., games, songs, cooperative tasks), using humor, increasing the home-school connection, respecting students' L1 and home cultures, etc.


Wright, W. (2010). Foundation for teaching English language learners research, theory, policy, and practice. Philadelphia, PA: Caslon Publishing