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Caldas University

M.A Program in Didactics of English

Cartagena, Colombia
Personal views on current first and second language
acquisition theories by students in the M.A program on
Didactics of English at Caldas University at San Buenaventura
University in Cartagena, Colombia.

Ph.D. Carlos Man Ospina Nova


Language Acquisition Device
Kelly Margarita Campo Cajar

Noam Chomsky expressed that children are

born with the innate ability to acquire and use language at
an early age (1960). The theory about Universal Principals
supports the idea of innate acquisition of language since it
gives the same basis to all of them. For instance,
grammatical categories such as nouns, verbs and adjectives
are present in every language.
The innate ability denies somehow the theory of
interaction (Long, 1980) that is implied in the process of
acquiring a language, where participants of equal status
share similar needs. Socio-cultural factors directly affect
the use of language. There is a well documented case of a
feral child, Genie Wiley, who was a victim of abuse
neglect and social isolation (NIMH, 1970). Her father
decided to isolate Genie because he thought she was
mentally retarded. Genies isolation causes a strong

traumatic effect on her skills to communicate and her little use of language made it
difficult for her mental abilities to be assessed. The national institute of mental health
provided scientific research in Genies case to help her to overcome the abuse and
segregation she went through. They demonstrated that Genie was not a mentally retarded
child and that her behavior was caused by the harsh situation she experienced at her early
and critical brain development.
Because of Genie and other feral children, it is easy to infer that LAD is not a
rightful language theory. According to authors like Vygostky, Jean Piaget, and Michael
Long language acquisition is a process that requires self-evolution, through the different
periods of childhood, life, lots of exposure and interaction.
Neuroscientists like Richard Davison expressed that brain functions are shaped by
both good and bad experiences (Jenna Goudreau, 2012). Infancy and early childhood are
important periods in shaping brain development, besides adolescence is a key phase of
life during which critical consequential choices are often made (Davinson, 2011). There
is a special and unique connection between brain and feelings. Language acquisition is
one of the most complex processes that needs interaction, normal brain functioning,
experiences, stimuli and feedback. It does not build by itself or in isolation.
The following aspects define how to acquire a second language: language
proficiency, the ability of a person to speak or perform in an acquired language; learners
needs represent the gap between what the learner wants to get out of the learning
experience and his or her current state of knowledge, skill, and enthusiasm (Noessel,
2003) ; motivation Motivation is a key part of learning a language, says Davidson; and

class interaction is a practice that enhances the development of the two very important
language skills which are speaking and listening among the learners. This device helps
the learner to be competent enough to think critically and share their views among their
peers (Ghosh, 2010).
Feral children, scientific research in brain development and its relationship with
motivation, and the influence that Lev Vygotsky (18961934) has had on second
language acquisition (SLA) research is reflected in studies which emphasize the
important role played by semiotic mediation in social interaction within social, cultural,
physical, and historical contexts. All that evidence studied and showed give us the right
to say that Noam Chomskys LAD is a Titanic true lie.

Action Storm:
Seven Effective Actions to Acquire a Second Language
Surjey del Carmen Montes Perez

According to my experience and after reading

about Vygotski, Suzuki, Bruner, and others, and
lectures of this topic, I propose seven actions to
acquire any second language (L2). The following
actions can improve English teaching in L2.
1. Create a great environment. It is necessary to
organize the place in order to have all materials you
need. Music is also important to improve the learning
conditions. This strategy can help students with
traumas as Genie Wiley or polyglots like Tim Doner to feel confident and develop
their language skills (LS).
2. Speak in L2 all time or try to do it. If teachers talk in L2 into and out the
classroom about meaningful and interesting topics for learners. They can listen to
the new language and acquire it naturally. Teachers have to be patient with their
students speaking process. Students will have a silent phase (Krashen, 1982).
After that, they will start to use L2 every day.

3. Give learners the chance to develop the four LS. Teachers can create
games and fun activities that involve listening and speaking or reading and
writing. On the one hand, listening and speaking activities help to identify and
imitate new sounds. Playing with words that have similar sounds (as Tim Doner)
increases the vocabulary and improves pronunciation. On the other hand, the
importance of reading and writing is that these skills help to develop critical
thinking and mental structures of learners. In addition, they can know new words,
cultures, points of view, concepts, and discover new worlds.
To choose the topics for activities, teachers can develop a research
method in SLA in their classrooms. They will apply diverse data collection
techniques such as observations, questionnaires, and interviews. Analyzing
these data, they can know learning styles, interests, dreams, goals, and needs.
4. Design an Art Storm Club. In this space, learners can explore and
discover their talents while they acquire L2. Teacher and students can create
performances and art exhibitions in which participants can develop their LS and
different abilities. Furthermore, they will interact by making their own materials,
writing scripts, and practicing or playing their roles. These activities may help
students with mental disabilities to figure their problems out in a good way.
5. Plan an L2 project about an interesting topic. In this case, teachers will
apply the action research design (Griffee, 2012) to conduct the project. After a
conscious and in-depth observation, teacher identifies the topic. The project can
explore some questions. Then students can look for information to solve them.

For example, my students love and play sports. They can develop a
project about sports they play in Cartagena. They can discuss, read, and write
about this topic with my guide. At the end, learners can present the processes
and results to the community at school.
6. Integrate L1 and L2 cultures to the classroom. Language is immersed in
a cultural background and is a product of social interaction (Molina, 2015). For
this reason, teachers must include culture in SLA. Teachers can introduce reallife situations and develop cultural festivals. In this way, learners can know
traditions, customs, gastronomy, history, and other cultural elements of both
languages. Teachers can give students the opportunity to explore their
intercultural competences with respect, tolerance, and inclusion of different life
7. Increase the possibilities of interaction and communication among
students. The six actions above can help teacher and learners to interact and
communicate in L2 every day. These activities will be developed in a socialaffective environment in which children and adults can feel confident, motivated,
comfortable, and supported. To see more about this type of acquisition activities,
visit the following link for a clear and succinct description:

Kiling Fears
Facing Second Language Acquisition Inhibitions
Deisy Arteaga
Language learning is a demanding and intensively studied
disciple. According to Brown (1944), a certain degree of
concern or anxiety is a positive factor in second language
acquisition. From this perspective, the best way to support
students learning process and deal with the different factors
is the implementation of some techniques that help to build
up confidence and enhance different strategies that will
make students comfortable and possibly acquire the
language in an effective way.

Utilizing TPR, Cooperative Learning, Language experience and Academic scaffolding

will let the teacher turn the class into something productive and appealing to students.
Since they are willing to take risks, no matter how many mistakes they make, they get the
meaning of what they are acquiring. The teacher should not only think about the formal
aspects of the language, but also of the different levels and learning styles.

Taking feral cases into consideration, in which children are isolated from the rest of the
world, it is important to point out that a child raised in solation or any other type of
metaphoric deserted island, alone, without social interaction, without language, and thus
lacking language empathy, is a sentient being(Daniel Dennet). A real case of this
situation is Genie Wiley, a child whose brain got impaired because she was kept away
from any social interaction. This event had as a consequence the interference in the
acquisition and development of her native language.
On the contrary, Tim Donor is a case of a teenager who had the opportunity to acquire the
language by interacting with other people, traveling to other countries and using his own
learning strategies. All these aspects mentioned before helped Tim Donor to develop
communicative skills and made him a polyglot.
As noticed in the cases stated before, affective factors play and important role in
language acquisition, according to Gallagher (1964) who proposed a model of productive
thinking in which an individual operating under high motivation might overcome the
effects of an inadequate environment. This means that teachers should promote group
discussions, social and oral activities instead of pen and paper assignment only. As a
result, a variety of activities will be compiled to match the students needs. This shall
help the teacher to diminish the affective filter, reduce participant anxiety and reinforce
their self-confidence and all the abilities these new students possess.
So to plan an effective course it is important to consider that students are not only
intellectual but also social and an emotional beings. Thus, this is the starting point that
will make the class and the material used something engaging. For example, using

illustrations that are related to different cultures and diverse contexts will help students to
connect their experience to the new language acquisition process. For a teacher to be
competitive nowadays, he or she should constantly research and find out the different
approaches and adjustments required to create a rich environment in the classroom that
helps students to improve affective factors and increase their learning desire.


Griffee, D. (2012). An Introduction to Second Language Research (ebook).

Retrieved 11 26, 2015, from
Krashen, S. (1982). Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition.
Retrieved 11 27, 2015, from


Eternal Sunshine Of Memories

The Role Of Memory In SLA
Milsa Torres Baquero
Memory plays an important role in the process of second language acquisition because
learning a second language implies
developing knowledge through skills such as
listening, reading, writing and speaking.
These skills can be developed through words
that humans use to express the ideas and
decode messages. When people are born,
they learn their mothers tongue by hearing
and trying to acquire the language. At this
time we store information and relate
ourselves with new information while the
second language is explicitly learned through
rules at formal school.
It is for this reason that when a person is
learning a language, memory is an important
factor which can be used to show their
performance. According to Houston (2001),
there are three kinds of memories in our
mind: sensory memory, short-term memory
and long term memory. Short term memory or better known as working memory plays
three important roles before messages are transferred to long term memory or permanent
memory. There are three important roles of working memory in learning a language:
language processing, namely language comprehension, language production, and
vocabulary acquisition, after which new vocabulary will be transferred here.
We saw this in Tim Doners presentation. His method to learn a second language is
learning and memorizing words and then putting them in a context. This methods show
the importance of storing words in memory. We know that according to Andersons
Theory, intelligence is made of small units of knowledge that in total produce complex
If we want to develop critical thinking in students, it is necessary to improve knowledge
through a process of interaction that involves reading extensively to create their own
learning. This way, all words students store in their brain are put in a context and are
related to other words they know in order to develop their second language skills.

Memory is the base to build interaction in different ways. One depends on the other. In
order to participate in a successful interaction our brain must be able to remember how to
use previous knowledge, vocabulary and grammar structures that you have stored in your
brain to construct meaningful messages. Taking into account that the brain stores
emotional and negative memories in the amygdala and these are transferred to the long
term memory and the Hippocampus, the normal seat of memory, teachers can help
students to consolidate long term memory with activities that involve emotion. This
process can help them to associate emotional learning and memory.
To conclude, the relation between memory and language is an important factor in
understanding how the cognitive system helps people acquire a second Language
competitively. Although it is obvious that students have individual needs and goals,
people with good memories are often seen as knowledgeable, smart, competent,
dependable and suitable to reach the goals that they take up.


Language Big Bang, The Nature of a Language.

Mayra Silva Ortega

Language is a social construction that responds to a stimulus from the environment.

According to Noam Chomskys theory, language is
seen as an innate ability that does not need to be
developed by other factors such as stimuli, responses
and behaviors. It is needed to have into consideration
that when children acquire their mother tongue they
do it in a natural way. Some other authors refute it by
demonstrating social interaction is extremely
necessary when talking about language acquisition.
ACT( Adoptive Control of Thought) language
learning ability is the sum of every single component
of it and the representation it has for the human
being. That is to say, language is the addition of all linguistic categories and their
functions in speech. Taking into consideration the Behaviorist approach (Skinner, 1948)
children copy their language from their parents, so they need contact with a specific
setting to evolve the skill or innate mechanism (LAD) Language Acquisition Device (
Chomsky, 1960).

When a speaker is acquiring his mother tongue, they not only collect the information
from the environment but also, construct it from different linguistic categories; nouns,
verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. It is not possible to get a language without interacting
within and around an environment. On the other hand, affectivity is also considered one
of the most important aspects to acquire a language. So does motivation or the reasons a
learner has to understand and communicate using it.
Genie Wiley was a girl that lost the ability to communicate because of forced isolation
and lack of contact with her parents. That is another reason to prove interaction and
affectivity are so important to enrich the skill of communicating in a first or second
language. Now it is necessary to think again about LAD where syntax comes as an
internal function of the brain. When a person learns how to speak, they do it gradually.
The brain grows in the same way vocabulary and internal structures do. Language is
considered a tool to communicate and express needs, feelings and emotions.
In the acquisition of a second language it is definitely necessary to know that motivation
and conviction are key to achieve learning goals. Language could be acquired only
within a critical period stretching from early infancy to puberty. That is to say, the brain
is more prepared to assimilate vocabulary and social conventions of the language.
The relationship between how people learn their first language (L1) and how they acquire
a second one (L2) is crucial in the way it defines the nature of the acquisition of a mother
tongue in order to take some characteristics from one to the other. That is to say, that it is
also possible to reply some methods of how L1 is acquired to put in practice in L2. Since


language is a social construction, the generative explosion of language comes about when
output takes a role in the acquisition process.


Knowledge Hungry
Second Language Acquisition
From a Radical Cognitivist View
Mayra Carolina Maza Martinez
Second language acquisition has been a highly studied and
debated topic. Through history, many authors have
contributed to the search for its understanding, from the
behaviorism-oriented theories and its idea of language being
learned as any other behavior through a process of stimulus,
response, and positive or negative reinforcement (Skinner
1940s) to the social interactionism perspective which focuses
on the tremendous role of the social environment in the
language acquisition process.
From the 60s to the 90s, the cognitivist era was consolidated
and history-changing ideas emerged with it. Richard C.
Anderson, an American Educational Psychologist, dismissed
the idea of language being an innate ability and presented it
as a component of human beings cognitive structure.
According to his work, language is the sum of its different
parts as intelligence is the gathering of small units of
knowledge which explains his ACT model, Adaptive Control
of Thoughts.
According to ACT-R all knowledge begins as declarative
information. Procedural knowledge, on the other hand, is
learned by constant meaningful practice from already
existing knowledge. It supports three fundamental types of
learning: generalization, discrimination and strengthening.
R.C Andersons theory appears in foreign language classes
by understanding declarative information as a learning process and procedural as the
acquisition per se. Initial explanatory stages in a class produce understanding of topics.
Then acquisition is possible only through meaningful and regular practice of sequential
and divided sub-parts of a whole until it is gradually and naturally assimilated and
internalized by learners.
In successful cases, such as in those of polyglot children, cognitivism has evidenced its
valuable contribution to their language acquisition processes. Timothy Doner, a much
known case of multiple-language user is a New York student who possesses the ability to

speak over 20 languages; he used cognitivist memory-retention techniques as LOCI

which combines the use of organization, visual memory, and association.
Extremely different cases such as feral kids who have been isolated and deprived from
human interaction during the critical years of their childhood can also be explained by
cognitivism. Genie Wiley, victim of severe abuse and neglect for 13 years, presented
considerable difficulties to produce completed and structured statements after months of
treatment. Different types of mnemonic techniques such as music, expressions, poems
and images could have been very useful in one-to-one work with her; pictures, song and
jingles could not only trigger her cognitive structure but also affective aspects.
Jerome Bruner is also a key representative of the cognitive revolution. This American
Psychologist provided meaningful and valuable contribution to psychology, education
and language by presenting enlightening ideas such as the Language Acquisition
Support System Theory, also known as LASS. This term was coined as an answer to
Noam Chomskys LAD, Language Acquisition Device and it suggests that human beings
innate ability to acquire a langue is backed by the childs social support network and
interaction. During the process of encoding information in the brain and facing language
acquisition processes, different types of representations are developed by stages which
are Enactive, Iconic and Symbolic meaning learning through movements, images and
abstract symbols respectively, (Jerome Bruner, 1957)
For educational purposes, Bruners presented the concept of Spiral Curriculum which
suggested the study of content by stages from the most basic and elementary ideas to
progressively and carefully passing to complex and advanced ones. They are to be taught
divided by chunks and repeated frequently along the whole learning process. If a research
project were to be developed regarding Second Language Acquisition, Jerome Bruners
theory is definitely to be considered as its main theoretical foundation. The study would be
focused on how a second language is acquired and the best methodological approaches to
enrich the process. The projects results will consolidate a language acquisition program that
aims at providing the necessary resources and apply the appropriate methodology that
directly triggers language assimilation.


The Behaviorist Theory:
the hub of many language teaching and learning theories.

Karen Julio Crdenas

Many theories are put forward to describe First (L1)

and Second Language Acquisition (L2). When these
theories are compared and contrasted, some
valuable results and implications appear. These
results are helpful in the field of language education
to design syllabi and classroom activities. To begin
with this plan, it is necessary to do some research in
order to choose the best aspects of Second
Language Acquisition to be applied in class.
Language teachers should consider the setting where
the teaching and learning process takes place, the
students needs and interests. The Behaviorist
theory, as the hub of all teaching and learning
theories, states that L1 and L2 are learned through
stimulus, response and reinforcement (Skinner,


In order to develop students ability in L2, comprehensible input (stimulus)
is needed. Rapidly, the teacher will get a response from them, and consecutively,
it is important to give them a reward. Students really appreciate it when the
teacher says a kind word or simply with giving them a pat on the back. They get
more motivated in the learning process.
A great example of this theory is Genies Wiley story. A girl who was
isolated by her family for 13 years. She did not receive any stimulus from his
family as verbal or non verbal communication. When she was found and therapy
began, she could learn many words quickly with the help of some scientists.
Also, she was stimulated in this new world where she found herself, so different
from the four walls where she was shut in. But it was not enough! Her traumatic
upbringing and her brain could not help her. Her time to acquire the language
was wasted.
At this point, a counterargument for the behaviorist theory appears. The
main strategies of this theory can only be true for the early stages of learning. For
this reason, as teachers, it is essential to take advantage of the time given in
language classes. It is necessary to provide our students with many stimuli as
possible to get the best results in the teaching and learning process, and
successively in the acquisition of the Second Language.
To reach the objective mentioned before, some elements that could work
in classes and in any job opportunity is using the right techniques in your English

teaching process. Use different strategies with your learners according to their
level. Such as, using mnemonics, issue topics, drillings, create life situations, use
authentic material, readings, translations, mutual monitoring and above all, make
sure you include fun while learning the language (Smolov, 2012).
Some of the strategies discussed before were put to work by Tim Doner, a
youth who is 20 years old and can speak 25 languages. The most amazing is
that he really had fun learning. His stimulus comes from himself, his selfmotivation to learn. His reinforcement is to practice what he has learned with
other people. His reward is that those people can understand him or simply when
somebody makes a positive post in his video of Youtube.
To conclude, it is clear that the Behaviorist Theory is the centre of many
teaching methods. It has exerted a great impact by influencing, for instance
Audiolingual Method, Total Physical Response, and Silent Way. It was proven
that the more stimuli are given to children, the better acquisition they will have in
their First or Second Language. In the Second Language Teaching area,
Behaviorism establishes the background basis of exercises, the learner is
stimulated with either written or oral input, language is seen as stimulus and
response. If teachers want to get success making students acquire the Second
Language, the conditioning state wins the fight because it leads the learners to
imitate, to practice, to reinforce, and to get habituated to the language.



Malone Susane, 2012. Theories and Research of Second Language

Acquisition. Bangkok.
Jack C. Richards. Theodore S. Rodgers (2001). Approaches and methods
in Language Teaching (Second Edition). Cambridge University Press.
Larsen-Freeman, Diane (2000). Techniques and principles in Language
(Second Edition). Oxford University Press.
Dmitri Smolov (2012). How to Master successfully any Language of the
Tedx (Director). (2014). Breaking the Language Barrier [Motion Picture].
Retrieved from
Wiley, G. (Producer), & TLC (Director). (2003). 'Wild Child :The Story Of Feral
Children' [Motion Picture]. Retrieved from


University of Caldas University of San Buenaventura

Masters Program in English Didactics
Luz Helena Madera Gonzalez

It is a mystery how primitive human beings grasp

language and how they do when it comes to acquiring a
second language. There is no written evidence of this
fact. We just have to trust the explanations of some
linguists who have worked hard to offer a clear and
concrete hypothesis. According to this idea, we should
ask how linguist Stephen Krashen responds to this
question: What is the perspective related to second
language teaching? In order to explain how certain
languages theories work, Krashen used some ideas
developed by Noam Chomsky and he created a method
which is intended to develop communicative skills; his 2L Monitor Model.

This model is based on the hypothesis which claims that there are two
distinctive ways of developing communicative competence in a second language. These
are language acquisition and language learning. Acquisition is an unwitting process that
has to do with the development of language proficiency through understanding language


and through using language for meaningful communication. And learning has to do with
a process in which conscious rules and grammar about a language are developed.

The matter is how to work with these principles and make learners develop
abilities in the second language. The secret may lie on working with the cognitive
(language aptitude, learning strategies), affective (attitudes, motivation, anxiety)
metacognitive, and demographic factors. Therefore, teaching a language can be seen as
working strategies that develop intelligence, memory, concentration, and the social nature
of the learner. The learning of a foreign language involves far more than simple
learning skills, or a system of rules, or grammar; it involves an alteration in self image,
the adoption of new social and cultural behaviours and ways of being, and therefore it has
a significant impact on their social nature of the learner (Marion Williams 1994:77).

We can focus on two opposite case studies that explain this fact: one of them is
the scientific case of Genie Wiley, a thirteen years old girl who was born with a normal
capacity to learn. Nobody talked to her for 8 years during which time she was tied up to
her bed in a room without any human contact. In this case, the cognitive abilities for
acquiring a second language decreased because of the lack of interaction. The other one
is the case of Tim Doner, a senior at the Dalton School in New York. Tim is fluent in 25
languages. He amazingly acquired those languages. In this case, the development of
language depends upon how he is exposed to language and the resources applied for
training his brain; all this exposure leads to brain plasticity.

Finally, these two cases are supporting the idea of two different ways of
developing ability in another language. Language competence implies the appropriate
exposure acquired in a natural way through interaction. Secondly, the knowledge of some
rules is necessary for understanding language. Likewise, the brain plays an important role
that has to do with learning. That is to say, it is important for processing the information
that is obtained by experimenting day by day through the perception of the senses,
memory and communication with other speakers.

REFERENCES Stephen Krashen's Theory of
Language Acquisition Ginie Wiley-TLC Documentary (2003) Breaking the Language Barrier /Tim Doner/TED


Zoltn, D.2008.Motivational Strategies in the Language Classroom. New York:

Cambridge University Press.


The Repetition Avengers,

The revolution of a marvelous language
Yina Carolina Murillo Zabala
The Audio-Lingual method had its
origins during World War II when it
became known as The Army Method. It is
also called the aural oral approach. It is
based on the structural view of language
and the behaviorist theory of language
learning. The behaviorist theory Is a
school of psychology based on the
proposition that all things which organisms
do including acting, thinking and feeling
should be regarded as behaviors. It
contends that learning occurs through
associations, habit formation and
reinforcement sometimes Abbreviated as
This positive reinforcement helps students to develop accurate pronunciation of
grammar, develop correct learning habits, respond quickly and assertively in speech
situation and gain knowledge of sufficient vocabulary to use with grammar patterns.
Nevertheless, the Audio-lingual method has been dismissed since then because of the
difficulty that students had at the moment of transferring learnt patterns to real
communication. It was based on false assumptions such as that learning structures and
grammar were the starting point for the student, mistakes were bad and should be avoided
because they were considered bad habits. Thus, the study of language would not amount
to more than studying the parole, the observable data.

Mastering a language relies on Acquiring the rules underlying language performance:

the linguistic, sociolinguistic and discourse competences.
Chomsky (1999) was one of the first who rejected this approach. With his theory of
Transformational Grammar he stated language is creative and generated, not a habit,
language derives from innate aspects of the mind and from how humans process
experience through language. For instance, taking into account the horrific story of
Genie, the feral child who suffered at the hands of her sadistic father, I would say that
this girl, because of her condition, could not be able to communicate by herself and
stimulation of her brain could not be achieved. For that reason the audio-lingual method
should not be implemented on her because she could not respond quickly and accurately
in speech situations with knowledge of sufficient vocabulary to use with grammar
patterns. Another important point of view, is tim doners language method which is a
clear example of how important acquisition of a second language is through interaction.
He mentioned that he used his own techniques to learn different languages through the
association of sounds, repetition, and exposure to real life situations. Since he noticed his
own process, he revealed that everything he did would help him to maintain his
pronunciation, and more importantly, help him keep the many languages separate in his
On the other hand, by applying the audio-lingual method in the English class I would
implement game-type activities in which students have to respond to questions using
the repetition and structural patterns exposed in this method. The teacher stands in
front of a class of learners sitting at their desks. She/ he asks one learner, Carlos, how
are you? The learner responds, Fine, how are you? The teacher continues, asking
different learners, who respond in turn. Then, if the learner is unable to produce the
response, the teacher models an utterance, mouthing the syllables first and aloud if

necessary. In the meantime, as an English teacher, if I were in charge of an

international Company and would have to teach English and use the audio-lingual
method, I would carry out this game in order to show a different perspective about the
acquisition of a second language. Learners should always be stimulated through the
use of activities to keep them interested in what they are going to learn. In conclusion,
the audio-lingual method of repetition has been influenced by the behaviorism theory
which claimed that any human behavior can be learned and performed through a
process of stimulus, response and reinforcement.

Malone, D. (2012) Reading for day 2, topic 2LA theories. Retrieved from








Huff, C (2014) Tim doners language Method retrieved from
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Social Interactions and Sociocultural Theories

Jos Fernando Garcia
Theories attempt to explain how
individual mental functioning is related to
cultural, institutional, and historical contexts.
Therefore, the focus of the sociocultural
perspective is the role participation in social
interactions and culturally organized
activities plays in influencing psychological
Some authors have differed in their ideas about language acquisition. For
example, Chomsky decided to focus on the deep structured and abstractions. He says
children could not learn a language through imitation alone because the language spoken
around is structured according to the context. Also, Vygotsky emphasized interaction to
help children learn. In 1990, Swain argued that comprehensible output, when the
learners talk in L2 is the gap and a difference between L2 and what they need to say.
After that, they modify the L2 speech and pay attention to L2 grammar.
Those theories have contributed to the learning acquisition process and recently
sociocultural theory has been taken into consideration in the design of online distance

education technologies. Research on the social context of learning has provided sufficient
evidence that traditional teacher-centeredness would be inappropriate in an online
setting. Trying to leave teacher-centered classes, learning languages in an online setting
became so important for learning many languages (like Tim Doners case) through
watching videos, singing songs, experiencing games, doing exercises. That way, learners
become competent when they interact with society. Also, it is an advanced toll when the
learner is immersed in that target language. That is acquisition of a second language and
subsequently it would be useful for learners to demonstrate their skills when they are
On the one hand, these types of learners have the privilege of studying that way
due to their motivation for grasping language. On the other hand, not always, things
happen in a good way.
According to Chomsky, everybody is born with a Language Acquisition Device
(LAD) except for those who were born with brain damage. Sometimes, the learning
process is interrupted by unusual events like Genie Wileys case who had a psychopathic
father who locked her up for thirteen years. Something that is demonstrated is that human
beings have learning stages and they have to be developed. Otherwise, the brain does not
at the first stages of learning or it may be impaired.
If research were done on second language acquisition, it should be applied to how
teachers correct their students in the in the best way not to interrupt the acquisition
process or make them feel frustrated. The way teachers give feedback should be

According to Hendrickson framed question (1978) about correcting errors such as

should learners' errors be corrected? when should learners' errors be corrected? who
should do the correcting? and how should errors be corrected? These questions have been
formulated for a research in order to focus on error treatment in second language
classrooms and the way teachers should correct their learners and give the suitable form
of feedback to them.
There have been authors who express their ideas about error correction. A.J. Hoge
said that learners must not be corrected whatsoever. They just have to receive input
through listening. Korkov, (2005) stated that errors depend on the context of the
usage. Also, as language develops, errors eventually disappear. There are types of
corrective feedback such as explicit correction, recast, elicitation, repetition, among
What seems to be normal is that teachers must correct students or at least let them
correct themselves. Something that teachers have to consider that they are a resource, not
a judge. Error correction and feedback help people from each field of life. If there were a
vacant for a coordinator or for a person who knows how to train teachers for international
tests, the person with this knowledge would be ideal to get that post because he or she
besides having the basis of language, has the strategies to correct and to give feedback.
Finally, these both error correction and feedback are important in order not to
cause traumas or any disgusting situation because the correction or the feedback was not
suitable. Anyone can improve with positive feedback, too. Positive feedback tells you
what you are doing right or what works. If you know that, you can do more of it. It is true

that you will not improve as much if you only get positive feedback. You also need to
know what isnt working or what you are not doing well. It is always better to start giving
positive feedback.
Malone, S. (2012). Theories and Research of Second Language Acquisition A strong
foundation and a good bridge. Retrieved from
Hendrickson, J. (1978). Error correction in foreign language teaching: Recent theory,
research, and practice. Modern Language Journal, 62, 387-398.
Tedick, D. and De Gortari, B. (May 1998). Research on Error Correction and
Implications for Classroom Teaching. The Bridge: From Research to Practice,
1(3) 1-6. Retrieved from


English Learning Adventure

Wilfrido Muoz Julio

First of all, students have to know how to

read and write in their mother tongue.
When this is so, they will transfer those
skills to learn, comprehend, interpret,
analyse and argue in a second language.
Children with strong foundation in their
mother tongue develop stronger literacy
abilities in the other language used.
Secondaly, pupils need to know strategies
to read and write. These techniques such as
scanning for specific information and
skimming through a reading that are
essential to get the main ideas of each paragraph to understand the whole of a text. Also
they have to learn how to plan and organize a document with cohesion and coherent
words. After all of this, they are capable of putting these abilities their mother tongue in
practice and develop in a second language. According to Bruner learning should be
actively discovered by students rather than being passively assimilated. They should be

encouraged to find their own, formulate conjectures and express their points of view
orally and in writing in any language.
Additionally, learning should be stimulated in order for children to feel comfortable and
delighted with the different situations presented to develop and learn any information in
whatever context. Opposite to the case of Genie Wile who was in isolation for a long
time without being in contact with anybody and without much brain stimulation. It was
still, in a passive way and it was not correctly developed.
In this order of ideas, to help students acquire a second language, teachers should create
natural environments that aim at targeting language aspects. They should include relevant
information such as vocabulary, authentic material and language that capture students
attention. They should use comprehensible input when presenting new words in order for
learners to make association, for instance, between new

words and their meaning.

Therefore, language terms will be presented not only as text, but also as audio and
pictures or gestures that convey meaningful information.
Teachers should work with active class where students interact and are involved in their
process of learning in which they participate in

different games, listen to songs,

dialogues, role playing and other with the objective that teenagers acquire a second
language through a positive and meaningful context.
In the same way, students should be competent in a second language. The need to use
language to accomplish communicative competence, that is to convey ideas well
structured and with sense in a particular context. In accordance with Canale and Swain
(1980), communicative competence as a synthesis of an underlying system of knowledge

and skill needed for communication. In their concept of communicative competence,

knowledge refers to the (conscious or unconscious) knowledge of an individual about
language and about other aspects of language use. According to them, there are three
types of knowledge: knowledge of underlying grammatical principles, knowledge of how
to use language in a social context in order to fullfil communicative functions and
knowledge of how to combine utterances and communicative functions with respect to
discourse principles. This way students are proficient when they have developed
linguistic, sociolinguistic, strategic and pragmatic competence.


Terminators Language
Advantages of The Communicative Approach
Jairo Alonso Mendoza Padilla

Communicative language teaching emerged

in the 70s and the 80s since learning emphasis
changed from grammar to speaking. This
communicative language method, which is still
used at schools, is based on what the students need
in real situations. Its learning is based also the
social interaction inside and outside the classroom.
We all know that a variety of methods exist to
acquire a second language, but it is very important
to identify the right way to use it in our daily
practice. The fact of selecting an appropriate method lets the students learn faster and
more easily.
The communicative method, whose main supporters were Canale, and Swain,
1980, offers the learners the opportunity to grasp learning by practicing instead of
studying syntax and rules as if they were receiving class with old style, making feel them
bored and frustrated. This method certainly encourages students to speak and feel free
without thinking about structures and mistakes but meaning. This is the main reason of
the communicative approach since it is used to develop speaking skills in learning. As an

example of the good results in this field, there is a youth Tim Doner, who learnt different
languages by himself by using social interaction, Tim was all the time exposed to real life
situations in order to improve his communicative skills. He met people from all over the
world and had his own strategies to learn new words wherever he went.
However, it does not work the same for everyone, this is the case of genie Wiley,
a young who was locked to a bed for 13 years with no human contact and no social
interaction around her. In this case she could not be exposed to social interaction since
her affective side had more importance than than the communicative one. As a result of
these two case studies, it could be said that SLA is not determined only by a method but
also by some others aspects such as social interaction, cognition, personal factors and
even the desire to learn.
Since communicative competence is our aim, it is essential that students be given
every opportunity to practice interacting. In this kind of classroom teacher talking time
(TTT) must be kept to a minimum. This is not to say that the teacher shouldnt speak at
all, but TTT should be controlled and appropriate. The classroom should be learner
centered due to the fact that the teachers role is to facilitate student communication
which is done through careful selection of materials and activities according to the aims
of the lesson in which they are used. It means that the interaction should usually be
student to student and should include the teacher only where necessary. During most
classroom activities the teacher will monitor and intervene only when necessary.
There are many different types of activities that can provide listening, Reading
and writing. Activities used in the classroom must be selected carefully as if they are

above the level of the students they can destroy self-confidence and if below they can
bore the students. Activities usually involve the students working together either in pairs
or in small groups.
We should now understand that the teacher's job is to get their students to
communicate using real language by providing them with instruction, practice, and above
all opportunities to produce English in activities which encourage acquisition and
fluency. During the teaching process with communicative approach, the classes should be
fun for both teacher and students and enabling students to communicate successfully.
In short, this terminator communicative approach method has no rival. who could
destroy it on account of its great weapons like strategies, abilities and qualities that make
one of the best methods ever seen before to acquire a second language.