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ADQUISIN Y APRENDIZAJE DE L1 Y L2 A LA LUZ DEL SISTEMA EDUCATIVO BOLIVARIANO (ACQUISITION AND LEARNING OF L1 AND L2 IN

THE BOLIVARIAN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM)

Differentiating Language learning from language acquisition is considered as one of the many linguistic phenomena that emerged in the 20th century. The need for a systematic study of how languages are learned was developed as part of the cultural and communication expansion the world has witnessed. There is an important distinction made by linguists between language acquisition and language learning. Children acquire language through a subconscious process during which they are unaware of grammatical rules. This is what happens when they acquire their first language, Spanish in our context. They get a feel for what is and what isnt correct. In order to acquire language, the learner needs a source of natural communication. The emphasis is on the text of the communication and not on the form. Language learning, on the other hand, is not communicative. It is the result of direct instruction in the rules of language. And it certainly is not an age appropriate activity for your young learners. In language learning, students have conscious knowledge of the new language -as English in our case- and can talk about that knowledge. They can fill in the blanks on a grammar page. Research has shown, however, that knowing grammar rules does not necessarily result in good speaking or writing. A student who has memorized the rules of the language may be able to succeed on a standardized test of English language but may not be able to speak or write correctly. First Language acquisition is the natural process in which children subconsciously possess and develop the linguistic knowledge of the setting they live in. In contrast, Second language learning takes place where the target language is the language spoken in the language community that differs from the mother tongue first language and distinguished from Foreign language learning in which the language is absent from the setting of that community (De Bot and Verspoor, 2005). Many studies addressed the distinction between L1 (First language) acquisition and L2 (Second language) learning. The very first thing to address is the natural process in which L1 learners acquire their language knowledge. L2 learning is more of a conscious one. Compared to L1 learning, L2 learners develop this knowledge by utilising conscious and cognitive efforts. Krashen (1981) tried to draw a line between second language acquisition and learning by stating that acquisition is a subconscious process and very similar to the one that children develop in their first language. Yule (1985, p.163) defines acquisition to be the gradual development of ability in a language by using it naturally in communicative situations with others who know the language. He contrasts it with learning: a more conscious process of accumulating knowledge of the features, such as vocabulary and grammar, of a language, typically in an institutional setting. The natural subconscious or conscious learning factor is highly and vitally linked and attached to the linguistic setting. This leads to another major distinction between L1 and L2 learners which is exposure. The L1 acquisition, as defined earlier, takes place in a setting where the acquired language is the language spoken by parents

and or caregiver. The acquirer is in a constant exposure to this language. Second language learners have lesser contact with the language, and maybe as few as hours per week in the case of foreign language learners, similar to what in fact happens in our Bolivarian Educational System (Yule, 1985). There are also some individual differences that play part in this distinction and they fall in two groups. First, physical differences and age: Children who are acquiring their first language are still developing their speech organs. This explains the gradual and natural development of sound production accompanied with the brain development. L2 learners competence is also affected by age related physical conditions that hinder their learning. Yule (1985) argues that the readiness of the human mind to receive and learn a new language is most in childhood, which is called the critical period. In this sense, Ellis (1995) describes the critical period, that in which language acquisition is easy and complete (i.e. native speaker ability is achieved). Second, cognitive and psychological differences: A number of cognitive and psychological learning barriers that separate L2 learners from the L1 acquirers. Recent studies show that motivation plays a great role in attaining language proficiency. Cook (2008) states that bigger motivation leads to better performance in L2. According to this author, the motivation for learning deals with two types: Integrative, which reflects whether the student identifies with the target culture and people in some sense; and instrumental, one in which learning takes place for a career or other practical reason. In addition, Ellis (1995) points out there are two more types of motivation: Resultative; motivation that takes place when learning controls the motivation and an intrinsic motivation, in which it involves the activation and maintenance of the learning curiosity. There are other cognitive factors that play a role in determining learners effort and competence in the second language learning. Those factors are highly related to aptitude which is natural ability for learning an L2, and it may vary from one person to another (Ellis, 1995). Going beyond in teaching, it is necessary to say that the teacher is a resource that helps students identify their language learning problems and find solutions to them, find out the skills they need to focus on, and take responsibility for making choices which determine what and how to learn. Teachers will serve as a source of information to the students about how they are progressing in their language learning. In our case, the English as Foreign Language (EFL) class, how can teachers maintain an EFL integrated skills focus in their teaching according to the Bolivarian Educational System? There are at least two forms of integrated skill instructions. Two types of integrated skill instruction are content based language instruction and task based instruction. The first of these emphasizes learning content through language, while the second stresses doing tasks that require communicative language use. Both of these benefit from a diverse range of materials, textbooks, and technologies for the EFL classroom. One of these instructions is the "Content Based Instruction." In content based instruction, students practice all the language skills in a highly integrated, communicative fashion while learning content such as science, mathematics, and social studies. Content based language instruction is valuable at all levels of proficiency, but the nature of the content might differ by proficiency level. For beginners, the content often involves basic social and interpersonal communication skills, but past the

beginning level, the content can become increasingly academic and complex. The Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach (CALLA), created by Chamot and O'Malley (1994) shows how language learning strategies can be integrated into the simultaneous learning of content and language. At least three general models of content based language instruction exist: themebased, adjunct, and sheltered (Scarcella and Oxford, 1992). The theme based model integrates the language skills into the study of a theme (e.g., urban violence, crosscultural differences in marriage practices, natural wonders of the world, or a broad topic such as change). The theme must be very interesting to students and must allow a wide variety of language skills to be practiced, always in the service of communicating about the theme. This is the most useful and widespread form of content based instruction today and it is found in many innovative EFL textbooks. In the adjunct model, language and content courses are taught separately but are carefully coordinated. In the sheltered model, the subject matter is taught in simplified English tailored to students English proficiency level. In this same way, "Task Based Instruction", students participate in communicative tasks in English. Tasks are defined as activities that can stand alone as fundamental units and that require comprehending, producing, manipulating, or interacting in authentic language while attention is principally paid to meaning rather than form (Nunan, 1989). The task based model is beginning to influence the measurement of learning strategies, not just the teaching of EFL. In task based instruction, basic pair work and group work are often used to increase student interaction and collaboration. For instance, students work together to write and edit a class newspaper, develop a television commercial, enact scenes from a play, or take part in other joint tasks. More structured cooperative learning formats can also be used in task-based instruction. Task based instruction is relevant to all levels of language proficiency, but the nature of the task varies from one level to the other. Tasks become increasingly complex at higher proficiency levels. For instance, beginners might be asked to introduce each other and share one item of information about each other. More advanced students might do more intricate and demanding tasks, such as taking a public opinion poll at school, the university, or a shopping mall. No doubt about it, the new era assigns new challenges and duties on the modern EFL teacher who wants to promote their students communicative competence through integrating the four language skills. The tradition of English teaching has been drastically changed with the remarkable entry of technology. Technology provides so many options as making teaching interesting and also making teaching more productive in terms of improvements. Technology is one of the most significant drivers of both social and linguistic change, as the number of English learners is increasing different teaching methods have been implemented to test the effectiveness of the teaching process. Use of authentic materials in the form of films, radio, TV has been there for a long time. It is true that these technologies have proved successful in replacing the traditional teaching. Graddol (1997) states that technology lays at the heart of the globalization process affecting education work and culture. At present, the role and status of English

is that it is the language of social context, political, sociocultural, business, education, industries, media, library, communication across borders, and key subject in curriculum and language of imparting education. It is also a crucial determinant for university entrance and processing well paid jobs in the commercial sector. Since there are more and more English learners in our country, different teaching methods have been implemented to test the effectiveness of the teaching process. One method involves multimedia in English Language Teaching (ELT) in order to create English contexts. This helps students to get involved and learn according to their interests. It has been tested effectively and is widely accepted for teaching English in modern world. Technology is utilized for the upliftment of modern styles; it satisfies both visual and auditory senses of the students. With the rapid development of science and technology in our Bolivarian Higher Education System, the emerging and developing of multimedia technology and its application to teaching, featuring audio, visual, animation effects comes into full play in English class teaching and sets a favorable platform for reform and exploration on English teaching model in the new era. Its proved that multimedia technology plays a positive role in promoting activities and initiatives of student and teaching effect in English class. Technological innovations have gone hand in hand with the growth of English and are changing the way in which we communicate. It is fair to assert that the growth of the internet at the university (as in the case of our Interactive Dialogical Learning students- ADI in Spanish) has facilitated the growth of the English language and that this has occurred at a time when computers are no longer the exclusive domains of the dedicated few, but rather available to many. There are many techniques applicable in various degrees to language learning situation. Some are useful for testing and distance education, and some for teaching EFL. The teaching principle should be to appreciate new technologies in the areas and functions where they provide something decisively new useful and never let machines takeover the role of the teacher or limit functions where more traditional ways are superior. There are various reasons why all language learners and teachers must know how to make use of the new technology. Here we also need to emphasize that the new technologies develop and disseminate so quickly that we cannot avoid their attraction and influence in any form. It is true that one of the ultimate goals of multimedia language teaching is to promote students motivation and learning interest, which can be a practical way to get them involved in the language learning. Context creation of English language teaching should be based on the openness and accessibility of the teaching materials and information. During the process of optimizing the multimedia English teaching, students are not too dependent on their mother tongue, but will be motivated and guided to communicate with each other. Concerning the development of technology, we believe that in future, the use of multimedia English teaching will be further developed. The process of English learning will be more students centered but less time consuming. Therefore, it promises that the teaching quality will be improved and students applied English skill scan is effectively cultivated, meaning that students communicative competence will be further developed. In conclusion, I believe that this process can fully improve students ideation and practical language skills, which is helpful and useful to ensure and fulfill an effective result of teaching and learning. Barring a few problem areas multimedia technology can

be used effectively in classrooms of EFL with proper computer knowledge on the part of teachers, overcoming the finance problems in setting up the infrastructure and not allowing the teachers to become technophobes. With careful reflection and planning, any teacher can take advantage of technology and strengthen the tapestry of language teaching and learning. When the tapestry is woven well, learners can use English effectively for communication.