¿Cómo mantener el Lenguaje Secundario?

En la actualidad nuestras vidas permanecen agitadas por gran cantidad de deberes y poco tiempo disponible. Entre el trabajo, los estudios y los quehaceres del hogar, se nos hace difícil encontrar espacio en nuestro calendario, especialmente para aprendizaje adicional.

Un área de la cual escucho inquietudes con frecuencia es la de hablantes de inglés como segunda lengua, quienes temen perder sus habilidades por el hecho de no darle uso continuo. Me preguntan cómo lograr seguir estudiando inglés si hay otras prioridades en sus vidas.

La verdad es que dominar una segunda lengua es un proceso complejo al cual hay que dedicar tiempo y esfuerzo para su adquisición y posterior mantenimiento, máxime, si la persona vive en un país donde la lengua oficial no es el inglés.

Afortunadamente, esta tarea se ha hecho más fácil en la medida que el idioma inglés ha tomado preponderancia, además del desarrollo de tecnologías para su uso. Adicionalmente, involucrarse en actividades que garanticen que el Lenguaje-2 se mantenga actualizado y listo para su uso cuando sea necesario.

A continuación, presento algunas buenas prácticas y medidas que pueden ayudar a mantener el lenguaje secundario en óptimas condiciones:

  1. Rodearse de exposición a todas las habilidades lingüísticas: programación de TV en inglés, listas de reproducción de canciones en inglés, podcasts de programas de radio en inglés, revistas, libros y periódicos. Finalmente, escribir un diario personal, un blog, la agenda, las notas de post-it, composiciones formales, etc. en idioma inglés.
  2. Utilizar un diccionario en el celular, tablet o laptop: Existen varias apps que pueden ayudar para estos fines. Merriam-Webster tiene algunas que son estupendas y que trabajan sin internet, hay otras que son igualmente adecuadas.
  3. Pagar una tutoría: Mantener un programa de clases individualizado puede servir a los fines de adaptación al horario personal y las facilidades de poder recibirlo en el hogar u oficina.
  4. Revisar los libros: Echar un vistazo a los libros de texto y de trabajo de niveles anteriores puede refrescar el conocimiento y aclarar dudas que hayan podido surgir. Tambien el uso de libros nuevos que esten el mercado es buena idea si se sigue un plan de clases que uno mismo puede diseñar.
  5. Hablar, hablar: Si se pudiera encontrar un circulo de amigos en el trabajo o vida personal que incluya personas que hablen la lengua, sería estupendo para mantener el idioma vivo. Viajar o visitar lugares donde podamos interactuar con hablantes es otra opción factible.





How to Produce Oral English

As I look back to the time I started composing oral language, I realize that it actually took place long time before that. It worked like magic because I didn’t have to consciously remember how to say things in my native language, and mental images would take the form of words when I needed it.

I’ve seen the same process in many of the students that I interview for placement tests and during casual conversations with intermediate levels. They are not sure how they achieved it, but they are able to find words and structures to express ideas.

You too, can develop this ability if you’re serious about your effort to learn a new language. All it takes is commitment and work. For some, it will be easier, and for the rest of us -like it was for me, it’s the result of systematic enforcement.

Firstly, there’s the need to increase vocabulary, which is the base of language. It’s been said that a learner needs to incorporate at least 7 new words everyday, so imagine the importance of collecting words, expressions and collocations, so you can speak up.

Secondly, being aware of the structure that is required to keep up with a conversation, such as: simple present tense, simple past, and future. Learning the rules of tenses includes different types of sentences: affirmative and negative statements, Y/N questions, WH-questions.

Lastly, making sure that intonation, pronunciation and clarity comply with the standard accepted; in other words, there’s no effective communication if the other person cannot easily understand you.

So, just follow this 1-2-3 method to accomplish the goal of producing oral language, and be proud of communicating with others, through this wonderful channel.



Official List of Top names for boys and Girls 2015

A name is something we carry throughout our lives and has a heavy weight in our relations, personality and even transcendence. The list of most popular baby names, released by the Social Security Administration Friday, catalogues the top names for any given year.

Below is the list of TOP 10 names for boys and girls, we thought you might be interested in knowing the trends of names in USA and make decisions for newborns, if you have to.

TOP 10 Names for boys:

  1. Noah
  2. Liam
  3. Mason
  4. Jacob
  5. William
  6. Ethan
  7. James
  8. Alexander
  9. Michael
  10. Benjamin

And here is the full list for girls:

  1. Emma
  2. Olivia
  3. Sophia
  4. Ava
  5. Isabella
  6. Mia
  7. Abigail
  8. Emily
  9. Charlotte
  10. Harper

Ugh! Homework.

ecr 2In the first place, homework is not! Some teachers like to give it a different name like Home-Play or Extended-Activities and I’m cool with that.. students must avoid the negative connotation of this necessary re-encounter with lessons they have previously practiced to ensure effective learning.

In reality, these learning tools designed to be made at home provide several benefits for the cognitive development due to several factors:

  • Students retake the ideas discussed at school and are now able to reflect on them at a more personal stage.
  • The effect of reproducing the learning experience in a different and comfortable environment contributes to endure retention.
  • Reviewing aspects of the lesson at students’ pace facilitates comprehension of key knowledge.
  • The creativeness process is strengthened since students are free to consult external sources encouraging critical thinking and decision making.

While homework represents a complementary stage of lessons, it should be carefully planned to ensure  continuity of previously covered topics. This planning involves sequential exercises to guarantee long-lasting learning using different teaching approaches.

One particular sequence is defined through the ECRIF framework, as it depicts five stages of language learning: Encounter, Clarify, Remember, Internalize and Fluently use. In short, homework assignments should contain exercises oriented to Remember and Internalize what has been already Encountered and Clarified.




Four Basic Skills for TOEFL

Learning a foreign language is easy if you prepare a plan where you improve the four basic areas of expression: Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing.

The order in which I listed the skills comes from the sequence of tasks that are given in a worldwide prestigious exam such as the TOEFL. Here, participants demonstrate their abilities by performing diverse assignments during a period of almost four hours. The exam has a cost of around $200 and it is a requirement to enter colleges in USA.

Many students overtake this language endeavor because they have gotten a scholarship, or because they are ready to study abroad under their own means. Regardless of the motivation, truth is, TOEFL will prove you abilities to the extend of being able to receive tuition in English language.

I use different resources to prepare students for this challenge: exam strategies, language knowledge and several simulation practices. Indeed, the key to get a decent score at TOEFL lays on the student’s ability to successfully understand sophisticated academic vocabulary, as well as to express themselves in written and spoken language.

A major factor is intelligibility in both written and verbal expressions. For the later, TOEFL takes into account good pronunciation, clarity and correct intonation. As for the first, students must demonstrate appropriate level of grammar and writing mechanics.

Lastly, Reading and Listening are receptive skills that can prove our understanding/reporting capabilities after the analysis of a text. To do well in these sections, we can use several resources such as note taking, transitions signal words and other language devices.

All in all, this type of exams can hugely impact on our learning experience because of the amount of language features we must use and more important, reflect upon.

Tips to Improve English Pronunciation

Pronouncing correctly defines the level of your English to others, especially native speakers. We need to consider several aspects and improve in each one of them: Linking, Intonation, Stress, Vowels and Consonant sounds, etc.

There are English students who develop good levels of fluency, but it’s hard for others to understand what they say and this is why we must try to speak fluently, but more important, to speak clearly.

Engaging in practices such as repetition, modeling sounds, imitating native speakers and such, can really make the difference for English to be comprehended.

I chose this simple video because it is one of multiple tools that you can use in your goal to become a proficient speaker. Please click on the link and make the best out of it.


5 Techniques to Speak Any Language

This is very INTERESTING, Sid Efromovich speaks seven languages and he gives testimonial of how to learn a new language reflecting on meaningful learning. The five tips he provides are:

  1. Make Mistakes
  2. Scrap The Foreign Alphabet
  3. Find a Sticker
  4. Shower Conversations
  5. Buddy Formula

Watch this video and start practicing!

Language for Call Centers

FunctionsThe actual job that is done in a call center is based on listening and speaking, naturally. This is why being able to express ideas in a comprehensive way constitute an indispensable factor for accomplishment.

Oral communication through a telephone line requires special treatment because speakers don’t see each person’s face and gestures. This characteristic demands them to put an extra effort when delivering messages. Telephone communication is indeed more elaborated than personal.

Many of the functions performed as a call center representative are based on reading scripts and information from companies’ databases. The task of reading and applying complex instructions while using a language that is easy to understand by the caller can make the difference between good and bad call handling.

Some strategies that are typically implemented relate to the ability of saying simple yet accurate information, without losing the sense of keeping the focus on resolving the reason for calling. In short, specialists must provide solutions to the problems while keeping a conversational and professional tone.

All four basic functions of language, namely speaking, listening, reading and writing represent critical drives during the course of a consultation and this is the reason why an ideal representative should develop strength in each of them, responding quickly to the prompts received.

When a call is answered, spoken language is the first function in usage. Throughout the next stages, listening and understanding will interplay between both parties in touch. Then, a resolution is adopted after reading norms and procedures from the informatics system. They are communicated using oral constructions. Finally, leaving written notes of what happened on the call is a precise task which has to be completed on every single call.

As can be noted, language represents the main assembly of call centers’ interactions and must be reinforced in order to maintain an effective level of solution. This is why English skills should be the main focus of every aspirant to apply in a call center.