Noam Chomsky is a lot of things: cognitive scientist, philosopher, political activist and one of the fathers of modern linguistics, just to name a few. He has written more than 100 books and given lectures all over the world on topics ranging from syntax to failed states. In the infographic below, we take a look at some of his most well-known theories on language acquisition as if he were presenting them himself.
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Use This Infographic In Your Class
We think that infographics are an awesome learning and teaching tool, so our creations will always be available for you to print out, use with your students and embed on your blog!
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Lesson Plan Inspiration
After presenting the infographic and discussing it with your ELLs, consider asking them to apply their new knowledge to one of these follow-up activities.
Role Play / Dialogue
This graphic is set up nicely for students to pair up and – depending on their English level – create a dialogue or conduct a less scripted role play. Some potential scenarios for students to act out include:
- A curious college student taking linguistics for the first time visits Professor Chomsky during office hours to ask him questions about various language acquisition theories.
- A journalist interviews Chomsky with the intention of publishing an article that simplifies language acquisition theories for non-linguistics-minded readers.
Need additional guidance? Pearson Longman provides some useful tips for setting up role plays.
Classroom Debate: Chomsky vs. Skinner
Classroom debates are a wonderful way to promote abstract and analytical thinking, especially when carried out in a language learner’s target language.
Divide your class into two teams. One team will represent Chomsky, while the other will represent B. F. Skinner (or another linguist of your choosing). Students will need to work with their team members to research each linguist’s theories on language acquisition and to prepare for an in-class debate.
When it comes to setting up the debate itself, it’s worth consulting Education World’s list of resources for classroom debates, which includes rules, sample rubrics and various debate strategies. You can also prepare your ESL students for the debate by following Daniel Krieger’s Six-Class Unit for teaching debate to ESL students.
Still looking for more ways to use infographics in your classroom? We highly recommend taking a look at the New York Times’ “Data Visualized: More on Teaching With Infographics.”
We want to know in the comments section below: Do you agree or disagree with Chomsky’s language acquisition theories? Ready, set, debate!