Language Acquisition Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde
This lesson plan can be used to help you teach students about language acquisition. Students will watch a lesson video, analyze the stages of language acquisition, discuss the theories of language acquisition, and take a quiz.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'language acquisition'
  • name and explain the stages of language acquisition
  • describe theories of language acquisition and give personal opinions on them


1 - 1.5 hours

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.11-12.4

Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 11-12 texts and topics.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.11-12.7

Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.6

Evaluate authors' differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors' claims, reasoning, and evidence.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1

Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.2

Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.


  • Video lesson What Is Language Acquisition? - Theories & Stages
  • Access to technology and the internet
  • Prepared strips of paper labeled with the stages of language development, one for each small group (Stages may be repeated.)
  • Poster board
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Markers
  • Colored pencils

Key Vocabulary

  • Language acquisition
  • Classical conditioning
  • Operant conditioning
  • Chomsky's linguistic theory
  • Language acquisition device
  • Critical period hypothesis
  • Babbling stage
  • One-word stage
  • Two-word stage

Warm-Up and Preparation

  • For homework the night before the lesson, instruct students to investigate and gather information about their own language acquisition.
    • How old were they when they began to speak?
    • What were their first words?
    • When did they speak a full sentence? What did they say?
    • What words did they say often?
  • Start class by having students review their data, then break into small groups to share, compare, and contrast their personal experiences with language.
  • Share as a whole class and make a chart or graph on the board that correlates data.
    • What is the average age students began to talk?
    • What are some common words?
  • Ask students to share their own personal experiences with younger siblings, family members, or other children and their language acquisition.
    • What did they notice?
    • What can they conclude from their personal data and these experiences about children and language acquisition?
  • Instruct groups to create their own theory on language acquisition using this data, then set aside.

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