Artigal Method – a different way of teaching a second language

como-identificar-proprio-tipo-inteligencia-noticiasAs an introduction, we can say that the “Artigal Method” is a method designed for infant and primary students. It tries to teach a second language through stories, with no visual support but body language.

It’s called the “Artigal Method” because its creator, Josep Maria Artigal, who is a Spanish teacher, developed an innovative resource for the learning of second languages in the EYFS (Early Years Foundation State) and Infant school especially.

The reason why Artigal decided to find a new way of teaching second languages was that the students didn’t learn how to use the language in a real context, even though they has spent many years learning it at school. Because of this, Artigal proposed his hypothesis: “Languages are not learned first and used later. Languages are acquired when used”.

The method is quite simple. It is based on the storytelling technique, using simple stories and very practical contents full of meaning for our pupils. In addition to this, the students must take part in the story in an active way.

Telling the story is coordinated with actions (body language) to understand the meaning of what is being said and to remember it easily later. This allows our students to access the foreign language without even having basic notions of it. Sing language, along with repetition, is going to be the best way of telling the story.

The CLIC method has enormous value in this methodology because the second language is the language used as the only way of communication by the teacher. This will help to learn everyday expressions easily in stories with characters who move in environments with which students are familiar. It is not only vocabulary, grammar and communicative skills that are learned, but the acquisition of social and cultural values.

The whole class takes part actively interpreting all the roles of the characters that are in the story. Also, the teacher will be the model to imitate and will use a lot of repetition. Therefore, through repetition the teacher will invite the students to join the reproduction of the story.

At first, the teacher does not use any complementary material but later, when the students are more familiar with the story, flashcards, murals, songs and drawings… will be introduced. In this way we want to be able to let the children’s imagination to take off and see them learn the language without any type of visual support or other help. Otherwise, they may be tempted to read only the images offered to them, forgetting to listen to the oral language.


You will find an example here where you can see a video about this method.

Ainoa Cano

Most Frequent Disorders in Child Language Development

shutterstock_75757024Language acquisition is one of the most complex of human processes. For many years, it was considered a basic human competency.  However, lately it has become, for many psychologists, the most special process, one which is biologically programmed.

At any rate, language development influences both people and global evolution. It allows communication, establishes social relationships and regulates our behavior. Therefore, the process of teaching and learning revolves around this complex acquisition and ultimately so does a school’s success.

This is why teachers should be aware of the most common disorders of the language of our students. Recognizing these will help pupils to receive early care and the appropriate treatment. Only through this recognition can we alleviate shortcomings and prevent further difficulties.
Most frequent disorders in child language development.

  1. Dyslalia. Dyslalia is an articulatory disorder in which very often children do not pronounce sounds clearly or they replace one sound for another. It is the most common language impairment. Providing correct oral models, along with family counseling, often helps solve the problem. It requires speech therapy intervention.
  2. Mild language delay. This occurs in children without apparent pathological cause, and presents as a delay in the development of language compared with children of the same chronological age. A language delay can be receptive, expressive, or a combination of both. Speech and language therapy is required.
  3. Mutism. This is the total disappearance of language, either gradually or suddenly. The most common type of silence is called “selective”.  In this case the child refuses to talk to certain people or in certain contexts.  It is generally associated with other underlying problems. If the real causes of the problem are addressed it is usually solved.
  4. Dysphonia. This is a voice disorder affecting the vocal chords (tone, whistle voice, melody).  Usually, it occurs because of an impairment of the vocal chords and eventually vocal cords can fail and as a result the voice has a hoarseness, which over time can become worse. Screaming children can suffer in the future from Dysphonia.
  5. Aphasia. This is total or partial loss of language due to a brain injury. The consequences for children are often less devastating than in adults because brain plasticity in children makes it possible for them to recover their language.
  6. Stammering. This is an alteration in the rhythm of speech, characterized by a series of spasmodic hesitations and repetitions. Some children around three years old may suffer from this disorder, but frequently it is due to an evolutionary characteristic which will disappear with time. Symptoms can be grouped into three categories:
    • Linguistic aspects: Fillers, disorganization between thought and language, etc.
    • Behavioral aspects: Anxiety, withdrawal, muteness, etc.
    • Body and breathing aspects: Spasms, respiratory disorders, facial stiffness, etc.
  7. Dysglossia. Articulation disorders caused by a malformation of speech organs such as lips, tongue or palate. In these cases the family are referred to a specialist.
  8. Dysarthria. Articulation disorders caused by a neurological etiology, which it is why it is often associated with other types of disorders as well. Often it is associated with cerebral palsy and therefore it requires specialized intervention.
  9. Autism. This is a disorder characterized by the presence of a severe communication barrier and a lack of social interaction. Some of the most common characteristics of this type of language are the involuntary repetition of words or phrases and difficulties in articulating and receiving information. There are three types of profiles:
    • Mutism or absence of language
    • Early onset of language loss and possible gradual subsequent acquisition
    • Delayed language development
  10. Hearing impairment. Deafness is not a language disorder in itself, but can cause it. This is because it prevents or reduces the exposure to speech sounds that are basic requirements for children to develop speech.

Ainoa Cano




8 Ideas to work on your language classes when you don’t have any.

kasjdnfñakjsd.001Of course we like to be good teachers, prepare the best lessons for our students and get good educational outcomes. But if we want that, it is essential to have resources, materials.

However, although we have plenty of motivation to plan a lesson, we have to address a lack of creativity or, the most common one, time. Moreover, It has happened to me where I have had to cover a lesson at the very last minute or complete the lesson sooner that I expected.

Furthermore, it’s true that you can find many resources online, but selecting from that amount of information also take a while. As a result, I have found it fairly useful to save those useful websites that I find to make them accessible in seconds when needed, and to have a list of simple wildcard activities, helpful at almost every level.

Having this collection of pages will greatly facilitate our task of planning and improvisation: students finish their work earlier than expected, we turn to one of our links, we have to cover a teacher that morning, we turn to one of our links.

In this post, I want to collate some of the basic activities and useful links in order to bail you out.

1. THE COMIC.The comic as an educational resource can be very enriching. Submitting a “silent” comic strip to students can lead to amazingly different dialogue between the characters and fantastic stories, all from the same resource. Capturing the interest of students with a given subject can be highly effective if we use the comic as a classroom resource.

I always have a few blank comic strips in my folder for my language lessons because it has infinite possibilities, develops creativity and can adapt to any age. It is my star resource, you can extend it as much as you need. As you can see bellow, the comic allows a chain of endless questions, which will help us to fill the time we require:

  • Invent a story line with those scenes.
  • Discuss the succession of events. What happens before and what happens next?
  • Describe what you see in each picture. What do you think the character is doing? Why?
  • Imagine what action takes place between 2 pictures.
  • Why are the character there?
  • List the vocabulary. For example, if the character is eating, we can ask our student about what kind of food and drink. What is their favorite food?, Where is this meal typical? What do you know about that country?…
  • Focus on the action. If the character is singing, then what kind of music do you think he is listening to? What kind of music do you like? How often? What are you doing when you listen to music? etc.

Bitstrips is a website to create your own comic. You can change backgrounds and chose a character, to which you can define facial expressions, posture, gesture, finger position, etc. I loved discovering this product!

2. FLASH CARDS.  Can be used for any topic – it can be as complex or as a basic as you need – and works with images. You can merely teach vocabulary, ask questions or ask pupils to describe what they see. Therefore, the same images can be used for different levels of learning. I mention below some of the most typical topics:

Professions, animals, clothes, weather, numbers, colours, transport, body parts, expressions (surprise, tiredness, happiness, anger …), class materials, food, beverages, hobbies, actions, the class rules (be quiet, raise your hand, do not touch …) daily routines (waking up, eat breakfast, brush teeth, go to school …), concepts (full-empty, near-far, long-short…), etc.

3. DRAWING-NARRATION. That is to say, telling a short a story using the vocabulary that is being studied. Student should draw our description. For instance:

Once upon a time two sisters who lived in a very small house with their cat. The front door to the house, however, was very large and was painted yellow …

In just a couple of lines we have already reviewed part of: family members, colors, animals, sizes and elements of a house (door).

4. STORIES AND FABLES. What better way to spend the time left in class than reading. However, in this case we should choose a story according to our student ages. Especially, we can keep the attention of our students if instead of reading the whole story ourselves, we indicate who should read the next paragraph. This keeps them silent and focussed on the activity.

5. SONGS. Listening to songs will help us, among other benefits, to strengthen and learn new vocabulary and improve our listening. The most common activity is to remove some of the lyrics of the song and ask the children to fill in the gaps.

6. SPELLING. Spelling words that have been worked on can be fun. The children can become quite engrossed in this if you give each student a sheet of paper or a whiteboard and start dictating word by word. To reward their involvement, invite a student who has written the word correctly, to write it on the board (as the teacher). You can do spelling online as well:

7. DICTATION. A teaching technique which improves, amongst other things, misspellings. You can dictate exactly from a given text or you can improvise the dictation.

8. WORKSHEETS. Select any worksheet already prepared according to the level of your students.

TIP!  keep the links that you find useful!

Ainoa Cano


A chart to assist teachers to compare easily each level of English and Spanish Educational Systems

In the recent years, there has beeneducationspain a flood of young people moving from their places of origin to countries offering better alternatives of life. The goal of this migration is basically due to three major topics: educational, work and/or language reasons. Included in all of these aspects is experience, which comes out of all three factors. Of course, there are always very enterprising people wanting to see the world, but I dare say that for most of us, it is the lack of opportunities and the low value placed on us in our countries, which pushes us to go out. A kind of feeling of accumulating certificates that seem to have lost any validity. However, you dare to get out and people are amazed with your training, they respect it.

Nevertheless, Let’s not fool ourselves, it is not as easy as to pull something off at the first attempt. Progress requires effort, hard work and more hard work. Some of this work begins to enhance your professional knowledge of where you have migrated to. Although it is true that it seems that here they recognize your training and give you the corresponding validation for your certificates, let’s be honest, you do not feel competent at first. And I’m not just referring to the language, a real barrier, but I won’t talk about it on this post.

The thing about our profession, being teachers, is that we can have a deep understanding of education from our country. You may have a great mastery of your National Curriculum and the Spanish legislation, but when you come to England…What do you know of their curriculum? What do you know of their priorities? What are their objetives? What are the concerns in school and what worries them here? and What about the law? Perhaps, all these questions overwhelm you, make you feel small. You have to start from zero. However, it isn’t like that, trust me. We are competent and capable. We have valuable experience, although we still need to research in order to clarify some of our ideas. But how do I know what I need to research? Well, because I am of theses teachers who have decided to have a try in England, I will use my experience to advise you what I consider important, as I would have appreciated someone explaining to me before arriving.

One of the first things we need to know are the names of any stages of education in England in comparison with Spain. Why? because get confuse in a interview denotes ignorance of the topic, ignorance is associated with a lack of proficiency and no boss likes hiring incompetent staff. In other words, imagine you are in an interview for a position as a teacher in Year 2. The interviewer ask you what will you do. As a teacher, we know how important is to know our student ages to adapt our content, objetives and activities. Well, Year 2 is known as 1º de Primaria in Spain. It is clear now, right?

The next chart assists in comparing easily English and Spanish Educational Systems. Its shows the journey from kindergarten to high school. The English system is shown on the left and the Spanish on the right. Each colors correspond to a similar level.

Chart Stage Eng-Spa

I would like to emphasize some points and provide more data in order to complement the information:

First of all, Compulsory Education begins at 5 years old in England, although it is possible to homeschool. In Spain it is at 6, but the reality is that almost all children are in school at the age of 3. On the other hand, compulsory education ends at age of 16 in both. In England it is required to continue taking some type os studies until 18, although the teenager can be working.

Reception, also known as Foundation, is the educational stage with the least resemblance. The biggest difference to me is Foundation 1 (pre-school), which corresponds to Educación Infantil 3 años. The reason is because in England it is frequently taught by non teaching staff, when in Spain must be taught by qualified teachers.

Primary Education expands itself a year in Spain, reducing in one academic year the time spent  by Spanish students in high school.

At the end of Secondary School there are important exams in order to graduate in both countries . Those exams are known as GCSE in England.

The Sixth Form and Bachillerato occupy two academic years with important exams at the end. In England these tests are known as A Levels (Advance Levels). There is a big difference in the educational structure at this level. In Spain are two full-time academic courses in high school and with an average of 8 subjects. However, in England it is a specialization of a 3 subjects in line with the university career that they will take and are part time self-study.

In the case of opting for vocational training or formación profesional, students will be referred to other centers in the same manner as in England, where are called FE College.

NOTE: a bachelor and bachiller are not the same. The first one means that you have a degree at University!

Ainoa Cano.

PEDIATRIC FIRST AID. How to deal with poisoning of the digestive tract.

first aid(1)

When we decided to be teachers and we entered for the first time into the dogmatized world of the university, we discovered that the well-respected university also has its shortcomings. On one hand there are subjects that may not be required and on the other, there are imperative subjects missing.

How can these old-fashioned subjects still remain on the syllabus? these are subjects with little use in our daily reality. I am almost certain that many of us do not remember the subject-matter or even the subject name. But nevertheless, at the same time, we find a brutal lack of some basic knowledge that should be there in our training period. Pediatric First Aid is the perfect example.

Families leave us their most valuable asset, their children, and teachers are responsible for a whole school full of those precious lives. Additionally, these children are vulnerable and unable to protect themselves, but at the precise moment in life where they have less sense of risk. Those who understand this educational stage in depth, be it teacher or be it parent, can bear witness to the great need of investigating the world that children have at this age. Definitely it is a healthy need, but at the same time, it can bring dangers or frights.

Of course, addressing it properly is a task for professionals, our intervention does not replace that of a healthcare professional. However, our intervention of caring for the child until medical help arrives can be crucial.

So complaining is of little use. Let’s be smart. We will focus on what we can change for sure to improve the situation: to inform ourselves.
What should I know after read this post?
As a rule we do NOT induce vomiting. Specially in cases of unconscious people, when we have doubts about what to do or when we do not know what the child swallowed.poisoning

With First Aid knowledge we can take the right action. For guidance, I will tell you five types of poisoning of the digestive tract most frequent according to the pediatric first aid course I took in Murcia (Spain):

1. SPOILED FOOD. Children are more sensitive to this type of intoxication. If it happens, we should rinse the mouth with water and wash with soap the hands or any other parts of the body that have been in contact with the food. If the child has diarrhea and vomiting, it is very important re-hydrate him/her to replenish lost fluids and minerals.

2. INGESTION OF A FOREIGN BODY. Treatment will be different depending on the size of the object. Small harmless objects will naturally pass through the digestive track on their own. Otherwise seek medical help. Meanwhile, we can put an ice pack on the abdomen, but never hot water. In the case of ingesting batteries, we induce vomiting when it comes to button cells, but never when it is alkaline battery.


A) Caustics. We understand caustic as something that burns. For example ammonia, depilatory creams or nail polish remover products are caustic. In this case it is advisable not to give anything to eat or drink to the child. Likewise, do NOT induce vomiting as this can cause burning of the esophagus twice.

B) No caustics. These are generally less toxic but can cause burning of the mouth, vomiting and abdominal pain. The most common are soaps, detergents, fabric softeners, mothballs or toilet flushing tablets. In most of these cases we can induce vomiting or give water.

C) Non-toxic substances. These are those substances with are not toxic in small amounts, but are toxic in large amounts. For example, modern bleaches or toothpaste. In schools we can find some non-toxic some water-based paints, modeling clay, white glue, pencil, erasers or ink pen (except the green and red because are highly toxic). In the event that a small amount has been ingested, it will be enough to allow the subtence to pass naturally. Other hand, if it has been ingested in large amounts, you must follow the same procedure as in the case of ingestion of caustic products.

4. POISONING ASSOCIATED WITH ALCOCHOL. If a child has swallowed alcohol you have several options. Inducing vomiting unless than two hours have passed after ingestion, because alcohol is not found in the stomach once this time has elapsed. It is also advisable to drink sugary fluids.

5. MEDICINE POISONING. Children tend to put everything in their mouth. As well as this, they may mistake tablets for delicious sweats. Of course, It is best not to leave any drug within reach of children, if they do take any, with this type of intoxication we must consider inducing vomiting.

TIP 1! It can be very helpful to take the label or container that has been ingested so health professionals know how to treat.

TIP 2! keep handy the NHS Direct number (111) or website to ask them what to do in an incident when you know for certain the product that has been ingested, or call emergency (999).

Ainoa Cano