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COGNICIN Y COMUNICACIN DEL INGLS COMO LENGUA EXTRANJERA DENTRO DEL SISTEMA EDUCATIVO BOLIVARIANO

(COGNITION AND COMUNICATION OF EFL IN THE BOLIVARIAN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM)

According to most linguists, dealing with language and cognition is a fact that presumes thinking, in a way in language is just used for communication of completed thoughts, or it is fundamental for thinking (Yule, 2005). Existing approaches have developed a hypothesis that language and cognition are two separate but closely interacting mechanisms. In this sense, language accumulates cultural wisdom; cognition develops mental representations modeling surrounding world and adapts cultural knowledge to concrete circumstances of life. Language is acquired from surrounding language ready-made and therefore can be acquired early in life. This early acquisition of language in childhood encompasses the entire hierarchy from sounds to words, to phrases, and to highest concepts existing in culture. Cognition is developed from experience. Yet cognition cannot be acquired from experience alone; language is a necessary intermediary, a teacher. How do language interacts with cognition is unknown. Many questions may arise in this matter: How they function in thinking? Is language just a communication device, or is it fundamental in developing thoughts? Do we think with words and phrases, or do we speak without thinking? If both abilities are important, how do we learn? Which words go with which thoughts? Is there a word for one thought? Learning abstract ideas is even more difficult. Words and sentences are not used in small sets combined with objects and events exactly fitting the intended meanings. Most objects present in every situation are irrelevant for this situation (say a pattern on the floor is irrelevant for understanding that this room is a lecture hall or a dining room). Lets go back to language study at L1 and L2 in the last century. Contemporary linguistic interests in the mind mechanisms of language were initiated by Chomsky in the 1950s. He identified poverty of stimulus among the first mysteries about language that science had to resolve the tremendous amount of knowledge needed to speak and understand language; it is learned by every child around the world even in the absence of formal training. It seemed obvious to Chomsky (1950) that surrounding language cultures do not carry enough information for a child to learn language, unless specific language learning mechanisms are inborn. These mechanisms should be specific enough for learning complex language grammars and still flexible enough so that a child of any ethnicity from any part of the world would learn whichever language is spoken around. This inborn learning mechanism Chomsky (1950) called Universal Grammar and set out to discover its mechanisms. Chomsky emphasized the importance of syntax and thought that language learning is independent of cognition. The idea of inborn or innate language mechanisms is called nativism. A recent fundamental change of Chomskys ideas, aimed at simplifying the rule structure of the mind mechanism of language. Language was considered to be in closer interactions to other mind mechanisms, closer to the meaning, but stopped at an interface between language and meaning. Today, Chomskys nativism still assumes that meanings appear independently from language. Many psychological linguists, however, disagreed with the separation of language and cognition. In the 1970s, cognitive linguistics emerged to unify language and cognition and to explain the creation of

meanings. Chomskys idea about a special module in the mind devoted to language was rejected. Language and cognition use similar mechanisms, so communication can take place (Gardner, 1985). It is embodied and situated in the environment. Related research on construction grammar argues that language is not compositional, and not all phrases are constructed from words using the same syntax rules and maintaining the same meanings; metaphors are good examples. Evolutionary linguistics dealing with English Language Teaching (ELT) emphasizes an importance of evolving language and meanings. Language mechanisms are shaped by transferring from generation to generation. This transferring process was demonstrated to be a bottleneck, a process mechanism that selected or formed compositional properties of language and connected language to meanings (Gumperz and Levinson, 1996). But, existing theories of language and cognition do not explain many salient aspects of the unknown human neural mechanisms, remaining mysterious: How the mind learns correct associations between words and objects among an astronomical number of possible associations; why kids can talk about almost everything but cannot act like adults; what exactly are the brain-mind differences? Why animals do not talk and think like people? How language and cognition participate in thinking? In the last decades, authors as Vygotsky were developing ideas based on the interrelations between language and thought, both in the course of child development and in mature human cognition. These remained largely unknown in the West and especially in Venezuela, until the 80s, but what is important to say is that one of Vygostkys ideas concerned the ways in which language deployed by adults can scaffold childrens development, yielding what he called a zone of proximal development. He argued that what children can achieve alone and unaided is not a true reflection of their understanding. Rather, we also need to consider what they can do when scaffolded by the instructions and suggestions of a supportive adult. Moreover, such scaffolding not only enables children to achieve with others what they would be incapable of achieving alone, but plays a causal role in enabling children to acquire new skills and abilities, as language. Vygotsky focused on the overt speech of children, arguing that it plays an important role in problem solving, partly by serving to focus their attention, and partly through repetition and rehearsal of adult guidance. And this role does not cease when children stop accompanying their activities with overt monologues, but just disappears inwards. Vygotsky argued that in older children and adults inner (subvocal) speech serves many of the same functions. The thesis that language plays such roles in human cognition should not be controversial. But in Vygotskys own work, it goes along with a conception of the mind as being to an important extent socially constructed, developing through interactions with elements of the surrounding culture, guided and supported by adult members of that culture. In the recent years, scientist are emphasizing the distinction between areas of human abilities that are available to all human beings and play an important role in the evolution of our specie (such as language and basic number use), as well as areas requiring cultural elaboration (such as the ability to play musical instruments). The area of simplistic statements about the language and cognition relationship is perhaps drawing to a close, as cognitive scientists begin to deliver on the promise of a truly interdisciplinary approach to understanding the mind. Just having this perspective

towards a natural relationship between language and cognition, communication can be developed and some strategies to reach it can be put into practice in the EFL teaching. 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.