Thursday, 27 October 2016


In my previous post I wrote about the importance of providing feedback to our students and I differentiated mistakes and errors. On this opportunity I will write about errors. How do we treat them? Why are they produced? What categories can we put errors into?

First of all I would like to start by pointing out the downside of error analysis. There is a danger in paying too much attention to our learners’ errors because for instance if we make the correction using the second language, the corrected utterance will go unnoticed. While the diminishing of errors is an important criterion for increasing language proficiency, the ultimate goal of second language learning is the attainment of communicative fluency.

Another problem teachers face when analyzing an error is making an overemphasis on production data not paying attention to comprehension data which is equally important in developing an understanding of the process of SLA.
Over the years, many studies have shown that error analysis fails to account for the strategy of avoidance. The absence of errors therefore doesn’t reflect native like competence because learners may be avoiding the very structures that represents difficulty for them.

Now let’s talk about the different categories we have for the description of errors. All in all there are four main categories.
  • ·        1st Errors of addition, omission, substitution and ordering
  • ·        2nd Errors at the level of phonology, orthography, lexicon, grammar and discourse
  • ·        3rd Global errors vs. Local errors. The first affect the comprehension of the message. The second don’t affect the comprehension of the message. There’s only a minor violation of one segment of a sentence.
  • ·        4th Domain vs. Extent the former makes reference to the rank of linguistic unit that must be taken as context in order for the error to become apparent. The latter refers to the rank of linguistic unit that would have to be deleted, replaced, supplied or reordered to repair the sentence.

The last things I want to mention are the different sources of errors defined.

v INTERLINGUAL TRANSFER: the beginning stages of learning a second language are especially vulnerable to interlingual transfer from the native language, or the interference in these early stages, before the system of the SL is familiar, the native language is the only previous linguistic system upon which the learner can draw.

v INTRALINGUAL TRANSFER: it is a major factor in SL learning. It refers to generalization within the target language. As learners progress in the SL, their previous experience and their existing subsumes beginning to include structures within the target language itself.

v CONTEXT OF LEARNING: it refers to the social situation in which the SL learning occurs. Possibility of “induced errors”: learners often make errors because of a misleading explanation from the teacher, faulty presentation of a structure or word in a textbook, or because of a pattern that was memorized in a drill but improperly contextualized.

v COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES: learners use production strategies in order to enhance getting their messages across, but at times these techniques can themselves become a source of errors.  

Which is your personal opinion about errors? How do you treat a learner's error? 

Keep up because I will continue posting more about this topic which is so important for teachers. 

Monday, 24 October 2016

Feedback must always be present

To begin with: what do we speak about when we refer to FEEDBACK?  It is the information that is given to the learner about his/her performance of a learning task, usually with the objective of improving this performance.
Feedback has two distinguishable components: assessment and correction. In the former the learner is simply informed about how well or badly he has performed. In the latter some specific information is provided on aspects of the learner's performance through explanation.  It is possible to give assessment without correcting but it is virtually impossible to comment on what is right or wrong in what a learner has done without conveying some kind of assessment.

Now let's speak about an important difference that we have to consider when we are looking at our learners performance and it is whether they are making a mistake or an error. What's the difference between these two concepts?  Mistakes refer to a performance error that is a "slip" of the pen,  it is a failure to utilize a known system correctly.  [It can be self corrected] However,  errors are noticeable deviations from the grammar of an adult native speaker, they reflect the competence of the learner. [It cannot be self corrected]. When a teacher is providing feedback on mistakes the purpose is to help and promote learning, and that "getting it wrong" is not bad but rather a way into "getting it right".

As teachers, what do we do when instead of making a mistake we see that a learner has made an error? What are the different categories to describe an error? Which are the sources of errors?

I will be answering all these questions on my next post! :)

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Coming back soon...

I haven't been able to post lately because I've been having some problems with my internet connection! Soon I will keep posting useful reflections about the topics I'm learning at the prof :) 

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Sunday, 3 July 2016


Hi There!! 

On Thursday we started speaking about Second Language Acquisition at my English and its Teaching lesson. Of course we've already dealt with this topic before but now we will go deeper.  I would like to share some of the final ideas we came up to.

First of all, we spoke about the importance of the difference between Acquiring a First Language and Learning a second one. As we Acquire our First Language through an Unconscious process there are certain things which we cannot explain. On the other hand the reason why we can explain things when we refer to our Second Language is that we’ve learnt it through a Conscious process.

Then we pointed out some of the factors which play a role in SLA. It depends on:
·        Students’ goals and motivation
·        Age
·        Personality // Learning Styles
·        Social Background
·        Learning vs. Acquisition
·        Exposure (time – frequency)
·        Method

After that we briefly discussed Krashen’s theory of SLA. Now, some years ago a teacher showed us a video that I really enjoyed and I would like to share it with you today. I will post more information as we move forward around this topic which is of main importance for us, teachers of an SLA.

Have a nice week!!

Monday, 27 June 2016

Saturday, 25 June 2016

A rather controversial theory

Hi there!

I have already said that I’m a student and that I had the intention of speaking about the topics I’ve been learning for the past years. Today I really want to speak about a topic that has been in my mind since Wednesday. When I first started this year at the teachers training college we spoke about the properties of human language. This is a topic that we have talked about many times before. We’ve worked with a chapter of Yule in which he explains 6 characteristics which make human language unique:

1.       DISPLACEMENT: humans can talk about past and future and refer to abstract things.
2.       ARBITRARINESS: there is no natural connection between a word and its meaning.
3.       PRODUCTIVITY: language users manipulate their linguistic resources to produce new expressions. This may also be known as OPEN-ENDEDNESS.
4.       CULTURAL TRANSMISSION: language is transmitted from one generation to the other.
5.       DISCRETENESS: each sound in the language is treated as discrete. Different sounds in words can convey different meanings. Ex: pack-back.
6.       DUALITY: by combining different sound we can produce a large number of combinations. Ex: T- A- E can be TEA of EAT; the same letters can make different words which have different meanings.

These characteristics only correspond to HUMAN language and according to our knowledge we are the only species who can produce speech following the six properties.Before I explain the reason why I’ve been thinking about this topic in particular since Wednesday I would like to share a quote from the book, which is actually the beginning of the chapter:

“I once knew a golden retriever named Newton who had a perverse sense of humor. Whenever I tossed out a Frisbee for him to chase, he’d take off in hot pursuit but then seem to lose track of it. Trotting back and forth only a yard or two from the toy, Newton would look all around, even up into trees. He seemed genuinely baffled. Finally, I’d give up and head into the field to help him out. But no sooner would I get within ten feet of him than he would invariably dash straight over to the Frisbee, grab it and start running like mad, looking over his shoulder with what looked suspiciously like a grin” Michael Lemonick (1993)

Now, I’ve been thinking about these particularities because I witnessed something that can only be described as a conversation. I was outside playing with my dogs. I have five of them, two females and three males. The two females, Laika and Kiara, where looking at the three males playing. They are mothers and sons, Laika has Milo and Casique and Kiara has Otto. While the boys where playing the girls started to have a conversation, in turn each would make a series of sounds and the other one would respond making different sounds. I can even say that the conversation heated up in a moment and then went back to normal. Once they finished speaking they kissed each other and lay close, still looking at their sons.

I know I have used terms which we use to speak about a conversation that two friends might have but I feel as if the terms fit perfectly in this context. I know scientists have recognized an existing language in the bee community and that chimpanzees can imitate human language but, what about dogs? I’ve already told you that I love animals and dogs in particular. I believe they can speak. I believe they have an amazing system of language with its own properties. It would be absurd to think otherwise because it is very similar to the idea that there’s only life on Earth.  

 What do you think? Please, leave a comment!! I really want to believe that I’m not the only one. 

Saturday, 18 June 2016


Whenever I'm writing I come up with tons of questions and one of the things that makes me wonder the most is what to use instead of "said". Here are some possibilities! I hope that if you have the same problem you'll find it useful! 

Thursday, 16 June 2016


After an endless week there's nothing left to say...Now all we have to do is enjoy the long weekend :D

Chomsky and his Nativist Theory

Hello everyone!! :)

Today I want to make a post just to share a reflexion I wrote for my English and its teaching class. It was one of the assignments on the topics we've been working with. It is about Noam Chomsky's idea of the innateness of human language. Later on I will deal with the rest of the topics worked in class.

According to Chomsky children are born with what he calls LAD (Language Acquisition Device). This device is the reason why any children can acquire any language in any place. The theory is that the child gets input and from that input the LAD sets the parameters of Universal Grammar. The latter refers to the set of principles and parameters of all human languages. It is as if the child has all the knowledge about grammar and activates it as s/he processes the input. He says that “the things that are missing from the input are added by the UG”. This is why children often come up with complex sentences which they had never heard before.

This theory is great for me but unfortunately it cannot be proved. The only way to see if it is true would be to have access to the “black box” in which children process the input they get and set the parameters. I like this theory and I like it a lot because I believe that things always go beyond what we know concretely. It would be like believing there is only life on planet Earth and not acknowledging the wideness and possibilities that the universe has.Children must have something inside their minds. And why not a device which helps them to acquire language? His idea is revolutionary and that is why I like it.

The abilities our minds have are awesome. If you don't agree just read this...

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

We need to laugh more!! :D

The worst part about this is that when I first read it I thought about using the bucket too!!

The Academic Style is still needed! XD

Knowing a little bit of grammar and the correct spelling of words can be very helpful! 

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Sharing materials is awesome!! :D

Hello fellow blogger!

First of all, I would like to begin this post by apologizing because I haven’t been able to post as many things as I would’ve liked to share.
Now, let’s go straight to the point!During the last five years I’ve been learning about the different approaches, methods and techniques for SLA. I’ve also studied the roles teachers and students take according to each theory. My teachers have always pointed out several facts, some of them are:

v  Not all students acquire language at the same speed
v  All students have different methods which suit them best
v  Don’t “marry” with the first method you learn (you could do it but you’d have to define the reasons why you’re choosing that specific method over all the others; and you should be faithful to that method)v  MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL: every teacher should make a balanced mixture of all the approaches, methods and techniques to bring an appealing lesson to the students.

A few years ago I witnessed a lesson and now I would like to share my experience. The teacher introduced the Simple Present. I know this grammatical structure generates difficulties for some students so it takes a lot of time and work to help them to acquire it. The teacher in this particular case started the explanation by contrasting the Simple Present with the Present Continuous. Immediately after that she introduced the third person rule. I couldn’t believe it because it was the first time students were exposed to this structure and at the exact time the teacher expected them to produce sentences following the third person rule. On top of that she had only provided three examples of particular cases.I’ve had the experience of teaching Simple Present last year. I planned my lessons having read material extensively and knowing the tips my teachers gave me. So I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the lessons I delivered in case someone is struggling with this particular structure. Always keep in mind that adapting the material to our learners is a key point for it to be successful and that this is just my point of view.

Finally, I would like to say that I know it is hard to plan in this way and that it is more demanding and time-consuming, not only for the teacher but also for the students, but it is totally worth it. When you see the final results you understand the importance and the huge difference that planning can make. In my case students were able to produce the language without difficulties. If you choose to use the plans I’m sharing take into account that they were prepared for children of around eleven years old.

Remember that no matter how hard it gets, if you work hard enough you’ll get your reward! And of course…keep updated!!

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Enjoying every second of this amazing life we were given is the most important thing we must do!! Have a nice weekend and laugh a lot :D

I was asked to create a task in which technology was involved specifying its macrofunction, microfunction and grammatical exponent. This is my idea and I hope it is good. I have recently discovered the benefits of exploring the different options which Google Drive offers finding it extremely helpful. It’s not only that you can create and share a document but you can also edit it at the same time so interaction is always present. And apart from that I chose to use Skype because it is an app that people can have at hand in their phones and it is really easy to use.

You've decided to go on holidays with your friends. Search the web to find the best destination you'd be interested to visit. Find at least three different options with the correspondent prices. Share that information with your mates using a Google drive document. Once each person has contributed with their opinion use Skype to make a phone conference and vote to which place you'll all like to go. 
*Agreeing and disagreeing.
*Expressing preferences
*Supporting arguments.

*Going to/will (future reference
*I’d like to go… I prefer…I’d rather…
*Expressions of agreement

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Hello Everybody! I am Maria Eugenia Donandueno and I am a student at the Teacher training college at I.S.F.D. y T NÂș55 in Escobar, Buenos Aires, Argentina. I am currently in the last year of my career and during the rest of my journey I would like to use this blog to share interesting information I have been learning throughout the past five years. Also I would enjoy sharing my personal interests which relate to music, animals and cooking. I hope you can make use of the information I will be providing and above all I hope you have fun! Welcome!!