jueves, 16 de octubre de 2014

Children and First Language Acquisition

The beginning of everything

Human beings have always been referred to as social beings. This characteristic is what allowed our society to exist and to create the world in which we live. But in order to be sociable creatures humans developed something called language. Without language our society would not be called society and our world would be completely different. Language is the beginning of almost everything we know. Curiously, language and children share this faculty. Children are also called the beginning of life and their relationship with language is one of the most relevant issues that has been studied.

If you happen to observe a baby who is few days old, you will probably find him/her moving his/her head and eyes as if trying to find something in this world. Some weeks or months later you will find this same baby playing with his/her vocal cords and smiling when someone makes a response. When this baby is older and he/she starts speaking, you might find that if he/she cannot transmit his message, he/she can get desperate, anxious or frustrated. Moreover, children tend to tell everything to everybody and they can repeat it lots of time just because they love doing it.

This shows us that children have the need to communicate; in fact, language is the first system they accurately manage at an early age. There is no other explanation other than that language is innate in every human being and that we all are capable of acquiring a language without any kind of instruction. A baby, unconsciously, constructs his/her own language system. He/she does not need to be taught grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation or nay rule. They simply get it by being exposed to it.

Once our children get to what the spoken words refer to, they move to the following step: managing time and space. Now our children words can refer to different moments in time and to different places. If children master this, then they are able to do almost anything with language. Sometimes children come up with words or phrases that could not have been uttered by an adult who already knows how grammar operates. This fact also demonstrates that children create their own language and “trial and error” is useful for them to do it. It is clear that there is something that happens in their mind; that language evolves there, in their brains and that there is little we can observe from the outside that determines what is going on inside.

Noam Chomsky is a linguist that believes that language is somewhere in our genes. He argues that behaviorism cannot explain how we get a language. He suggests that the process of acquiring a language is done due to the access children have to Universal Gramar (UG). He also says that every child is equipped with it and thus they are allowed to construct grammar from the given data. Moreover, UG not only processes input, it also contributes things of its own. Something comes into it and something comes out of it.

Chomsky introduced a very well know concept that is Universal Grammar (UG) and states that every child has access to it. That is why they can learn a great variety of languages while still being children; the child’s mind is open to any human language and grammatical competence is automatically incorporated. In Chomsky’s own words “the child does not acquire rules but setting of parameters, which, interacting with the network of principles, create a core grammar”

Chomsky’s hypothesis can be applied to any child in the world acquiring his/her first language. Besides, he refuted many other older hypotheses with his research. May be his theory cannot be empirically proved but it is the one that matches every case. Everybody can speak at least one language without making the effort. Not all of us can run a marathon or sing in tune without making any kind of effort. Language is something that we all come with to this world and naturally becomes ours in less than five years. Our first language is the most valuable inheritance and we can only acquire it when we are children. That is why language and children can be considered the beginning of everything.

miércoles, 8 de octubre de 2014


100% will
          will probably/ be likely to
          might not
          probably won't/ not be likely to
 0%   won't

Are you tired of showing your students this list?
Do you think they will learn them just by using them to complete sentences?


1. Take a bag/schoolbag/wallet
2. Put different kind of objects in it
3. Explain to your students who is going to use it and in what situation (You can invent it)
4. Ask them to have a look at the objects inside the bag/wallet
5. Ask them how probable it is that this person uses them or not.

For example...

"This bag belongs to a girl who is going to meet her boyfriend at the cinema"
(In the bag you can see: a lipstick, a bottle of perfume, an agenda, a watch, a book, etc)

A: What is it?
B: It's a lipstick
A: What do you think about it? Is she likely to use it?
B: Yes... she will probably use it. Girls like that kind of things.

A: What is it?
B: It's a watch
A: What do you think about it? Is she likely to use it?
B: Mmm... No, she probably won't use it because she has a mobile phone.
B: Yes... she will use it because in the cinema you can't use a mobile phone.


miércoles, 17 de septiembre de 2014

Improve your ENGLISH!

If you think you need to improve your pronunciation, vocabulary  or your knowledge of different cultures you can enter this site...


You will find people from different countries who will help you with English. At the same time you can help them if they need it because some people may be learning Spanish. You can also be a good helper for them.
This is very interesting and enriching!

I've already done it, IT'S YOUR TURN! I highly recommend it!!!!

(Rememer that you cannot use this page for any other purpose but learning)

miércoles, 3 de septiembre de 2014

Friday I'm in love

Hello everybody!

I found this song very useful for adults and young adults (beginners probably). They can...

> Make a revision of the days of the week
> Match feelings with colours
> Use their imagination while trying to guess what happens on each day
> Watch the video and analize the different objects that appear
> Discuss how we feel on each day
> Learn new vocabulary

I hope you like it!

martes, 26 de agosto de 2014


Hello everybody!

I know we are all tired by this time of the year... but let's do our BEST!


May be you feel like the boy in the picture but here there's a recipie for you...

1. Choose one day and SLEEP at least eight hours...
2. Eat some chocolate or cook something you love(really, do it)
3. Phone some of your Friends and talk to them (take 1 hour)
4. Spend some other hours with your family, husband, children, boyfriend, friends or the dog jaja
6. Spin round for 1 minute

After that you're ready to read and study a bit more.... batteries are charged! jaja

Hope you have a nice second term!

miércoles, 9 de julio de 2014

Learning through games?

Hello everybody!!!

I've been working for my paper and I've found a lot of interesting information. I would like to share Mark Prensky's ideas with you.

He supports DIGITAL GAME-BASED LEARNING and argues that learning can be fun and encouraging. Honestly this is really interesting and from my point of view a challenge for all of us!!!

If you find it as interesting as I do have a look at:



Digital Game-Based Learning. is precisely about fun and engagement, and 
the coming together of and serious learning and interactive entertainment into a newly 
emerging and highly exciting medium — Digital Learning Games. 

Digital Game-Based Learning is still a radical idea.
It is based on two key premises that are still not fully accepted in the training and adult
learning community. The first is that the learners have changed in some fundamentally 
important ways — the bulk of the people who are learning and being trained today,
people who in the year 2000 are roughly under the age of 36 (the median age of the US
corporate worker) 11 , are, in a very real intellectual sense, not the same as those of the
past. As a result, while there is a great deal of discussion about “how people learn,” there
has been relatively little focus on how these people learn, with the exception of snide and
generally unhelpful observations that often they do not (or at least not what some think
they should).


Computer and videogames are potentially the most engaging pastime in the history of 
mankind. This is due, in my view, to a combination of twelve elements:

1. Games are a form of fun. That gives us enjoyment and pleasure.
2. Games are form of play. That gives us intense and passionate involvement.
3. Games have rules. That gives us structure.
4. Games have goals. That gives us motivation.
5. Games are interactive. That gives us doing.
6. Games are adaptive. That gives us flow.
7. Games have outcomes and feedback. That gives us learning.
8. Games have win states. That gives us ego gratification.
9. Games have conflict/competition/challenge/opposition. That gives us
10. Games have problem solving. That sparks our creativity.
11. Games have interaction. That gives us social groups.
12. Games have representation and story. That gives us emotion.

But what about adults – the workers we are supposed to train? Do adults play? Is there 
any value in it for them? And what is play’s relationship to “work”? 

Of course adults play – they play with their children, they play games, they play in many
of the senses of the above definitions. But unlike children, adults also have a “serious,”
“work,” or “real life” side that is often construed to be in conflict with, or even the
opposite from, play. The definitions cited above define play as “outside of ordinary life,”
not serious,” and “unproductive.” Some authors attribute this work/play distinction to
industrialization or to social-class distinctions. We speak of executives who “work hard
and play hard.” But are play and work really that separate?

What do you think? Can we learn through games?

sábado, 28 de junio de 2014

Tenti Fanfani's Lecture

On 19th June, Emilio Tenti Fanfani came to Escobar and gave a lecture and the topic was education.
This was a very interesting seminar because we could get from him more than we could ever get from his books.

Tenti's words were honest and that's when we come to know that he really means what he writes. That there are people who think and work to make of the classrooms and education a better environment, a coherent one. That it's not only we, teachers, who feel that there is something wrong.

Hearing such an important author was inspiring. What most called my attention was the moment when he mentioned that the role of the school has already changed, that we cannot pretend we're still in traditional schools although most of our heads do so, that we have to give our students something that neither a computer nor a game can give them.

Computers can give them information, but we are the only ones who can give them KNOWLEDGE and make it part of them.

It was inspiring because I think we can do it if we work together. We can get our students attention by showing them that they can do more than they imagine, that they are important and that they are the future. Education is the key for a better world and Tenti's words showed that.

I invite you to read more about him and his books because you will get new ideas and points of view as regards our roles as teachers... and as regards the role of education in this new era.