Week 3’s class : Theories of language learning

This week I have had the opportunity to watch an excellent video from Dr.  Nellie Deutsch about Language Learning Theories. Here is the link for the ones who want to see :


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There were some questions to be answered after watching the video. I tried to give the best response possible, but I am still in process of development as a teacher so I hope you enjoy what I wrote.

A lot has been discussed in the academic area about the best way for teaching and learning a foreign language. However, one thing is clear: every practice needs to be supported by a theory (at least). No teacher teaches the way (s)he does because considers it beautiful, but (s)he takes into account an underlying theory to justify his/her practice.

Many teachers when talk about theory usually say ‘theory vs practice’ as if they were enemies, but here I want to emphasize the importance of theory and practice working together.


What does each language theory emphasize?

In the presentation made by Dr. Nellie she mentioned six language theories : Behaviorist, Universal Grammar, Krashen’s monitor, Cognitive, Conversation and Schumann’s Acculturation.

Despite their differences, each one has its contribution and value for the science of learning.

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The first one, Behaviorist, believes that the behavior can be shaped through reinforcement. It is done with the use of drills to reinforce the correct ‘behavior’ until they become automatic. There is too much repetition. Errors are punished and achievements are praised, so  there’s a stimulus and a learner’s response to it.



The second theory is Universal Grammar. It was created by Noam Chomsky. According to him, we are born with a certain kind of grammar in our brain. It is innate.


The third one, Krashen’s monitor, says that we acquire a second language the same way we learn the first one (our mother tongue).


The cognitive theory is similar to the Behaviorist, the difference is that in the Cognitive what you measure is knowledge, not behavior.

There’s also the Conversation theory which says that you learn vocabulary and grammar through interaction, with conversations etc.


And finally, but not least, we have Schumann’s acculturation. For the author of this theory you learn a language in order to be part of the culture.

How will each language learning theory contribute to your teaching?

Each theory, with its different perspective, has a lot to add in my teaching  because when we teach there are many factors involved and each theory includes an aspect that another one could not have mentioned. Therefore, when I teach I can take a little of each language learning theory for a purpose in the classroom.

What language theory did your teacher use tot each a foreign language?

From what I remember my teachers would use the Conversation theory – the class had to act out role plays – and also the Behaviorist when necessary. Sometimes there were drills but the difference is that she would not punish us.

What language theory do you prefer? Why?

I work with the Communicative Approach so I use a little of everything in order to have a communicative class. What I prefer more is having the students act out role plays , doing pair and group work and I also consider their Universal Grammar.

Will you use one or multiple language theories? Why?

I reckon that I can use theories since I have a reason and an aim for doing that. For instance, despite using Communicative Method, when I find necessary I use drills in my class


Course at WizIQ

As it was proposed for this week, I had to create a course at  WizIQ. It was a challenge for me, but I could do it. Here follows the link for it:  https://www.wiziq.com/course/97192-having-something-done

In addition, there are some questions to be answered. I hope I did a good job!

What do you expect students to learn from the course?

I expect the students to learn how to use the causative ‘get/have something done’ when it comes to services they did not do by themselves.

What skills and knowledge do you want them to acquire by the end of the course?

I want them to acquire speaking and writing skills and more grammar knowledge.

What teaching strategies (lecture, discussion, group work, case studies, etc.) will best help students achieve these goals?

In order to help students achieve these goals, there are reading and speaking activities, group work and written exercises.

Teaching with Technology

What does teaching with technology mean to you?


If you asked me this question years ago, I would be a little scared to answer because even in the college, the Professors did not use too much technology, except for the projector in their powerpoint presentations (sometimes). However, nowadays I cannot imagine my classes without the help of technology. I see it as a helpful tool / resource to help me planning and improving my classes by giving me access to some information I would not have otherwise.

After I started working in a private course that we use the eboard in the classes, my whole world changed. I admit I had some difficulty at the beginning, but with time, I overcame. There is so much I can do in order to provide students with a funny, supportive environment and I have seen results : the students love it.

One point that is worth mentioning is that our traits as teacher cannot be missed, like creativity, critical thinking, the ‘human touch’ etc. Why am I saying this? Because we have to be careful : at the same time that technology helps us, if it is not well-used many teachers can depend only on it and if there is a problem with the lights or similar things that do not enable them to use technology, the lesson may become a disaster.

As a Professor once said to my class in college: be prepared for everything, to teach with technology or if there are problems, without it. But, you cannot stop teaching.

There is an interesting graph below with some information about for what purposes teachers, in general, use technology. I hope you enjoy it!


I am an English teacher in Brazil and I teach at public schools and private courses for kids, teenagers and adults.
I want to learn and share what I know with different teachers around the world.
I had the wonderful opportunity of taking the course “Teaching with technology” and I reckon it will add a lot to my professional life. In this blog I will reflect abou the topics raised by the Professor Dr. Nellie.