jueves, 7 de diciembre de 2006

Final Paper

Is Code Switching an Example of Language Interference?

Throughout the process of language learning there are many factors that take place. Besides, most learners have to deal with the fact that most of the errors and mistakes that they make are caused by language interference. Specifically, code switching has been considered an example of language interference, and an example of language development between learners.
First of all, Crystal (1987) has suggested that code switching might occur for many reasons. For example, when the learner tries to compensate his deficiencies of the language that s/he is learning s/he will switch to another language. In fact, this might occur if the speaker is tired or angry. Also, if the speaker wishes to express solidarity with a particular social group, s/he will switch to another language in order to exclude others from his/her conversation. Finally, the speaker will change to another language if s/he tries to convey his/her attitude to the listener. Therefore, these are some examples that demonstrate that code switching is actually used by the learners as a socio-linguistic tool.
On the other hand, many teachers have stated that code switching might be used as a tool for second language teaching. For instance, it is used when teachers start giving explanations in their first language and then they switch to the language that they are teaching or vice versa. In addition, code switching is very useful for those students whose first language is different because it will give them the opportunity to learn each other’s language when they are working in groups or pairs. In sum, code switching might be viewed as an effective teaching strategy, and as a chance for the learners to develop their communicative skills.
In conclusion, I think that it is very important to consider the role that code switching has in second language teaching. It might be viewed, as both, interference when it is used to compensate language difficulties, and as a socio-linguistic tool when it is used for second language learning and teaching.


miércoles, 6 de diciembre de 2006

Speaking Intro

Speaking is one of the skills that we must improve because is constantly changing. Therefore, I add here some interesting sites that you can visit in order to develop your speaking skills.

Speaking Comments


I liked the topics of the articles that I read and to do this type of exercises. I also find it difficult to pronounce the words that I didn’t know their meaning. Besides, at first, I was a lit bit nervous because I am not accustomed to hear myself when I am reading in English.


I liked the topics of the articles that I read. Again, I find it difficult to pronounce some words that were in the reading. At the same time, I had the opportunity to learn them, and I hope that I can remember them in order to improve my lexicon.

Note: Teacher, please first listen to side B of the cassette. It is ready for you to hear it. I had some technical problems. I was able to record the four articles; the other two are in side A.


I considered that the articles I read this month were difficult. They had many complex words such as: tsetse fly, abattoir, parallax, thoroughly, ingot, shepherd, and their pronunciation was also a little bit hard. I did not know the meaning of most of them, but I really like the fact of learning new words in order to increase my lexicon. Therefore, even though I had some difficulties, when I heard myself I was able to understand most of what I recorded. This made me feel very proud about myself, and of the fact that I do not have a bad pronunciation in English.

Speaking Sites




Listening Intro

Listening is one of the most interesting and funny skills to practice. I consider that it is one of the language skills that we have the opportunity to practice the most.

Listening Report

I explored the following site:

ELLLO: English Language Listening Lab Online. Listen to English speakers from all over the world. Over 400 listening activities that include quizzes and texts. New listening every day.

Baby Stuff Listen to things associated with babies. What things are part of a baby's life?

I liked this site very much because the listening exercise that I did was very easy and humorous. Also, while I was listening to the audio, the person who was reading the text was making funny noises. In addition, I answered a game quiz in which I got all my answers right.

I didn’t find any difficulty because the person who was reading the text did not read it very quickly.

Listening sites

Writing Intro

Writing was one of the four language skills that was the most hard for me to improve, perhaps because it is very difficult to communicate all your ideas in a coherent and clear way in a piece of paper. Don’t you think?

Higher Education in Mexico and the United States

Higher education has been a topic that has concerned many countries in the world. Besides, the government in each country has made its best trying to fulfill the needs of their people in order to offer the best quality in education. Furthermore, this is the reason why educational policies are constantly changed, and what makes higher education in each country different. Higher education is an important issue, and this is the reason why in Mexico and The United States it is similar, but at the same time it is different.
First of all, higher education in Mexico and The United States is similar in what refers to the fact that both countries have public and private colleges and universities. Besides, in each country private institutions are not necessarily superior to the public ones, but they are more expensive and exclusive. Also, the American and Mexican university-level programs are from five to four years and lead to a bachelor’s degree. Moreover, the amount of money that American and Mexican students spend in tuition will depend on the requirements, the policies, and if it is a public or a private institution. In case students can not afford tuition, they will have the opportunity to ask for a scholarship or for a loan. In sum, both countries offer students the opportunity to study in a public or a private university. They both coincide in the number of years students have to study in order to obtain a bachelor’s degree. And finally, the government gives students the opportunity to ask or have a scholarship or a loan in order to pay their tuition.
On the other hand, in both countries higher education differs in what concerns to admission tests. For instance, Mexican universities although having competitive entrance examinations, such as the CENEVAL test, usually those students with high grades are accepted. In contrast, American universities asks students to apply for the SAT or ACT tests, at the same time they consider their grades, they often take into account their extracurricular activities, ask for a personal essay and made an interview. In addition, while m American universities provide residence halls, so students can live on campus, Mexican students, who are from out of town, normally live in boarding houses or apartments during their school year. Above all, the Mexican government spends the 25.3 % of their budget on education, as for the American government; according to the U.S. Department of Education it spends the 27.2 % of their budget. Therefore, we can notice that these are some remarkable examples of the differences that both countries have in what refers to higher education.
In conclusion, higher education in Mexico and The United States presents few similarities, but it also has remarkable differences. I consider that education in both countries is good, and what makes it better in one country or another, will depend on how much money the government assigns in each country for education.


If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
I would like to work as a reporter, who travels around the world and makes TV programs. In each show I would have the opportunity to tell the audience about the most important facts of each of the places that I have visited, and the most interesting things that happened to me during my trips.
First of all, I would love to visit different countries because I would have the opportunity to meet different people, and to make friends around the world. Also, I would be interested in learning about the different cultures, traditions, and customs in the world. At the same time, I would like to taste the different flavors that the food has in each place, and to know about the historical facts in each country that I visited. Therefore, this job would be a life experience, and something that I would not get tired of doing for the rest of my life.
In sum, I would love to work as a reporter who is always traveling, and making TV programs about it because I would be having fun, earning money and finally I would be doing what I would love to do for the rest of my life which is to travel.

Why Do Teachers Use Music in English Language Teaching?

It is very common to observe English language teachers who use music in their classes. Thus, teachers have different strategies, methods and reasons to include music in the English language classroom, they commonly use it when they want to stimulate and motivate students.
For instance, music as Jeremy Harmer (2001:242) says, “Is a powerful stimulus for student engagement precisely because it speaks directly to our emotions while still allowing us to use our brains to analyze it and its effects if we so wish.” It also changes the atmosphere in a classroom, and prepares students for a new activity. Besides, each student reacts in a different way, but most of them like the idea of listening music when they are in the classroom. In my opinion, most of the time music makes them feel motivated and willing to learn. Actually, I know many people that have learned to speak English because they like to listen, and sing English songs. In addition, as Jim Scrivener (1998:176) suggests, “Songs are often used as a ‘filler’ activity to change the mood or pace of a lesson. They sometimes tend to get relegated to the ‘Friday afternoon’ slot as a sort of reward for the week’s hard work.” Therefore, teachers tend to reward students by bringing them song lyrics, and also when they planned activities where they have to use music. In sum, most of the time songs are viewed as part of entertainment.
Besides the implications mentioned above, song lyrics tend to deal with the most common problems that most learners pass through. According to the article “Music in ELT”, “Songs tend to deal with problems relevant to young people, and the students identify with the singers and want to understand the words” (NKJA, 2005). Most of the time, this fact reinforce students to start reading, at least English songs, and care about what they mean. Also, it is very important for teachers, to know their students because this will help them to choose the song lyrics. If the students know and like the song, it will enhearten them to participate. Furthermore, it will help students to develop a variety of language skills because songs are useful in teaching the rhythm of language. Finally, songs are used to encourage students to learn more about the target culture speech community.
In conclusion, the way English teachers use songs in their classroom will depend on the purposes each one has to use songs, and also the skills they want their students to develop. In fact, teachers use music as a resource to help teach language and culture at the same time. Therefore, teachers might want to stop viewing music just as a filler activity, and use it more as a resource to help students to learn.


Harmer, Jeremy (2001) “The Practice of English Language Teaching” Ed. Longman 3rd Edition pages 242-245

Scrivener, Jim (1998) “Learning Teaching” Ed. Macmillian pages 176-177.


NKJA (2005) “Music in ELT” retrieved January 2005 –1 from


Helgesen, Marc (2003) “How we use songs in the language classrom” ELT News from

Jarmol, Uchida Helena (2003) “Music in the English Language Classroom” ELT News from

Exercise on quoting, paraphrasing and writing a bibliography

The following are excerpts from a magazine, a book, a newspaper and a journal. Please paraphrase them and show how you would refer to them in your paper. What will you leave to quote? After that, write the bibliography pretending that you will have them as references in the same paper. Use APA style.

1. Adapting Textbook Activities for Communicative Teaching and Cooperative Learning by Anson Yang and Chan-Piu Cheung (Hong Kong)
English Teaching Forum Magazine Volume 41 Issue 3 (July 2003)

Teachers don't have enough time to implement Communicative Teaching and Cooperative Learning activities because, besides teaching, they also have to accomplish many other different activities in the places where they work.

2. From Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling 1997, printed in the USA published by scholastics Inc.

One day Harry found out who his real family was, and how similar they were to him.

3. published on September 21, 2006 New York Daily News
'Devil' of a tirade at Bush
Puts on bizarre show, says W acts like he owns world

At a meeting in the United Nations, the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, made fun of President Bush by saying he was the Devil because he was making decisions which made him looked like “he owned the world” (New York Daily News, 2006).

4. The Internet TESL Journal Vol. XII, No. 8, August 2006
http://iteslj.org/ Using Situation Comedy (Sitcom) to Enrich Learners' Vocabulary by Chi-Yen Chiu

A college teacher used the TV series Everybody Loves Raymond, to teach vocabulary to his/her students. In addition, most of the learners concluded that they have had a great time because they were relaxed and learning in an atmosphere where they had the opportunity to gain knowledge of the culture, humor and body language in the show and at the same time in the target language.


Bazinet, K.R. (2006, September 21). 'Devil' of a tirade at Bush Puts on bizarre show, says W acts like he owns world. New York Daily News.

Chiu, C.Y. (August 2006). Using Situation Comedy (Sitcom) to Enrich Learner's Vocabulary. Retrived September 21, 2006, from The Internet TESL Journal, XII (8). Web site: http://iteslj.org/

Rowling, J.K. (1997). Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. USA: Scholastic Inc.

Yang, A., & Cheung, C.P. (July 2003). Adapting Textbook Activities for Communicative Teaching and Cooperative Learning. English Teaching Forum Magazine, 4 (3).

Little problem

The students of the B.A. in English Language Teaching have attempted to talk with the authorities of the Department of Foreign Languages in order to have a place where they can talk, smoke and spend their time between classes. The only place they have to do this is the hall, but most of the time they bother their classmates and the teachers who are in class. Consequently, they upset their peers and the teachers tell them to keep silence, or to lower their voice. Therefore, the authorities now need to think how they can solve this situation. One solution to this problem should be the construction of a big and green area, similar to the one in architecture. In this way the students will not disturb anyone. They will have enough space to do what they usually do between classes, and no one will complain about their tone of voice, or tell them to be quiet.


Tommy: Are you going to tell the teacher that you did steal the test?

Sue: I don’t know. But, I have been thinking about telling the teacher the truth.

Tommy: Well, Pam told me that she saw you when you were looking for something in the teacher’s desk. She was going to the bathroom. You do know Pam, don’t you? She doesn’t like you at all.

Sue: Oh know! She will tell the teacher that she saw me. I’d better stop thinking about it. I did see Pam the other day. But, I never thought that she had seen me.

Tommy: You’re in trouble Sue, and I do mean it. Pam does know how to harm you this time.

Sue: I do know Tommy. What am I going to do?

Tommy: Well, you can talk to the teacher tomorrow at lunch time if she’s not drinking coffee with Mr. Moon.

Sue: That would be a problem. She does drink coffee with Mr. Moon at lunch time everyday.

Tommy: But, it will be the only chance you will have to talk to the teacher!

Sue: I know! Oh my God! What am I going to do?

Tommy: Tell the teacher the truth. You do want to pass the seventh grade, don’t you? And, by the way, let’s talk about why you did steal the test?

martes, 5 de diciembre de 2006

Reading Intro

Reading is one of the most interesting skills of language. It helps you to develop your writing, reading skills and to improve your lexicon. Besides, you enrich your creativity an imagination, while reading an article, a newspaper or a book.

Reding Report 6


I agree with the fact that code switching may be used as a teaching tool, and that sometimes bilingual speakers need to alternate between two languages because there are many reasons, as the article mentions, to do so. Therefore, I think that we should be aware of the important role that code switching takes in second language learning and teaching.

Reading Report 5


This article is very interesting because it talks about everything related with education in Mexico. Besides, I also realized that there are many organizations involved in the development of Mexico’s education system. In addition, I considered that we are very lucky because the education system in our country, has worried about the needs of their people in order to fulfill their needs and demands in what respects to one of the most important things for them, the quality of education of their people.

Reading Report 4


I found this reading very interesting because it gave me many ideas of how I can improve my vocabulary. Besides, it was good for me to know that there are many web pages that
I can consult on the Internet, which will help me to learn develop my lexicon. Finally, I think vocabulary is very important because it helps to understand what we read and write. Also, I have noticed that most of the time, when we do not know a word, we do not bother to look up for it, and most of the time we are afraid to ask their meaning because we do not want to make a fool about ourselves.
Afterwards, I made one of the exercises called The Dating Game quiz I. It was very interesting because I had to label a pair of words with an S if I thought they were synonyms, an A if I thought they were antonyms, and finally with an X if I thought they were incompatible. Therefore, the first time I made the quiz a got a 55%, the second time I got a 70% and the third time I got an 80% until I finally got a 100%.


Chinese EFL Students’ Learning Strategies for Oral Communication

This summary talks about an investigation made by a teacher named Huang Xiao-Hua to know which were the learning strategies for oral communication employed by Chinese EFL student’s, and that helped them to enhance their communicative skills. For this study, 60 students from the Guangzhou Foreign Language Institute were asked to answer a 22 items test in which they had to describe their personal learning strategies. In addition, the students with the ten highest and nine lowest scores were chosen to be personally interviewed with the purpose of gathering detailed information. Talking to oneself, memorizing lists of vocabulary, thinking in English, speaking in English with other students, teachers or native speakers, reading, and participating in communicative activities were some of the findings revealed in this investigation, and which are most commonly used by the learners. At the same time, motivation and the students’ learning behavior were mentioned as important factors that influenced their learning processes. Finally, the author concluded that “good language learners in China are in many respects similar to good language learners elsewhere.”
In what concerns to the way the summary is written, the title needs to be more specific because when you finish reading the whole summary you notice that it talks about the findings of the investigation, and not about what you read in the title which was to know more about the learning strategies of the students. Also, the introduction includes some elements, such as assessment and techniques that go beyond the title because it does not mentioned anything about them. However, I know the report has to be short, but I think it does not include enough information. Besides, the sample of 60 students mentioned in the methodology is not a representative number of all the people who study in the Guangzhou Foreign Language Institute, so a bigger sample should have been considered. Finally, the author goes on to say that “good language learners in China are in many respects similar to good language learners elsewhere.” In this statement, he is generalizing by saying that what happens in this institute is happening everywhere. Therefore, he is not taking into account that there are many other factors that should be considered and that make people different from one another.

Reading Report 2


The articles talked about programs that helped future teachers in the United States to be well prepared for their job. I found it very interesting because there are people concerned about the teachers job, and the efforts that they have to make in order to achieve their goals, as the same as the responsibilities that they have with each one of their students. In addition, the article “The Wages of Teaching” mentions an important issue that teachers, most of the time, receive a low salary because as the article states, “It is very hard to measure the merit of what a good teacher does”. I don’t know if this is true or not, but in Mexico we have the same problem because how many times have we heard about teachers protests, especially in the South of our country because they are not being well paid

Reading Report 1


I think this article is very interesting because it is true that there is a difference between the attention and the way teachers behave with their students. Their attitudes will depend also if they work in a private or a public school. One of the reasons might be that public school classrooms have approximately 40 students and private school classrooms have between 18 and 20 students. This fact makes the teachers’ job either easier or more difficult in different cases. In my opinion, the social status of a person does not determine if s/he is capable of achieving a better life quality and a considerable progress in life.