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Ministerul Educaţiei şi Cercetării

Unitatea de Management a Proiectului pentru Învăţământul Rural

Str. Spiru Haret nr. 10-12, etaj 2,


sector 1, cod poºtal 010176,

Elena GĂRDESCU
Bucureºti

Tel: 021 305 59 99


Fax: 021 305 59 89

http://rural.edu.ro
e-mail: office@ump.kappa.ro

ISBN 00 000-0-00000-0;
ISBN 00 000-000-0-00000-0. Program postuniversitar de conversie profesională
pentru cadrele didactice din mediul rural

TEACHING ENGLISH IN PRIMARY SCHOOL


Specializarea LIMBA ŞI LITERATURA ENGLEZĂ
Forma de învăţământ ID - semestrul IV

TEACHING ENGLISH
IN PRIMARY SCHOOL

Elena GĂRDESCU

Toţi copiii din mediul rural


Toţi copiiisădin
trebuie mediulmai
meargă rural
departe!
trebuie să meargă mai departe!
Tu îi poţi ajuta!
Tu îi poţi ajuta!
2007

2007
Program cofinanţat de Guvernul României, Banca Mondială şi comunităţile rurale.
Ministerul Educaţiei şi Cercetării
Proiectul pentru Învăţământul Rural

LIMBA ŞI LITERATURA ENGLEZĂ

Teaching English in primary school

Elena GĂRDESCU

2007
© 2007 Ministerul Educaţiei şi Cercetării
Proiectul pentru Învăţământul Rural

Nici o parte a acestei lucrări


nu poate fi reprodusă fără
acordul scris al Ministerului Educaţiei şi Cercetării

Language consultant: Dean Hufstetler, licensed teacher from California, USA.

Area coordinator: Anca Cehan

ISBN 978-973-0-04783-7
Table of contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction......................................................................................................iv
Unit 1
The young language learner............................................................................................. 1
1.1. Cognitive psychology in support of foreign language learning...................................... 1
Unit objectives ..................................................................................................................... 2
1.2. The characteristics of young language learners .......................................................... 6
1.2.1. Children’s knowledge of the world ............................................................................ 6
1.2.2. Children’s abilities and skills ................................................................................... 10
1.2.3. Identifying priorities ................................................................................................. 12
1.3. Factors that influence foreign language learning ....................................................... 12
1.3.1. The value of personal experience ........................................................................... 13
1.3.2. Children’s expectations and motivation ................................................................... 14
1.3.3. The influence of the environment ............................................................................ 16
1.4. Foreign language learning and child education .......................................................... 16
Summary .......................................................................................................................... 18
Key concepts .................................................................................................................. 21
SAA No. 1 ........................................................................................................................ 21
Further reading ............................................................................................................... 22
Answers to learning tasks .............................................................................................. 22

Unit 2
Developing skills in primary school ............................................................................. 25
2.1. The National Curriculum ............................................................................................. 25
Unit objectives .................................................................................................................. 26
2.2. The importance of the four skills ................................................................................ 27
2.2.1. Listening ................................................................................................................. 28
2.2.2. Speaking ................................................................................................................. 33
2.2.3. Reading and writing ................................................................................................ 39
2.3. Vocabulary and grammar structures .......................................................................... 47
2.3.1. The advantages of topic-based work ....................................................................... 47
2.3.2. Presenting and practising vocabulary ...................................................................... 48
2.3.3. Teaching grammar structures ................................................................................. 49
Summary .......................................................................................................................... 50
Key concepts .................................................................................................................. 50
Further reading ............................................................................................................... 51
Answers to learning tasks .............................................................................................. 51

Unit 3
Lesson planning strategies ........................................................................................... 54
3.1. The importance of planning ....................................................................................... 54
Unit objectives ................................................................................................................... 55
3.2. Conditions for efficient activities ................................................................................ 56
3.2.1. Content ................................................................................................................... 57
3.2.2. Procedure ............................................................................................................... 60
3.3. Long-term planning .................................................................................................... 62
3.3.1. Year planning ......................................................................................................... 62
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Table of contents

3.3.2. The learning unit .....................................................................................................64


3.4. Short-term planning ....................................................................................................66
3.4.1. The lesson plan .......................................................................................................68
3.4.2. The plan in action ....................................................................................................71
3.5. Optional course curricula ...........................................................................................73
Summary...........................................................................................................................75
Key concepts ...................................................................................................................75
SAA No. 2..........................................................................................................................75
Further reading ...............................................................................................................76
Answers to learning tasks...............................................................................................76
Appendix 1 – A year planning model ................................................................................80
Appendix 2 – A learning unit model ..................................................................................83
Appendix 3 – A lesson plan model.....................................................................................84

Unit 4
Using and creating resources.........................................................................................86
4.1. The value of resources in primary school....................................................................86
Unit objectives....................................................................................................................87
4.1.1. A few principles of developing resources in primary school .....................................87
4.1.2. The efficient use of resources ..................................................................................90
4.2. Using already existing resources ...............................................................................91
4.2.1. The coursebook pack...............................................................................................91
4.2.2. The blackboard .......................................................................................................95
4.2.3. Visuals ....................................................................................................................98
4.2.4. Games ..................................................................................................................100
4.2.5. Authentic materials ................................................................................................103
4.2.6. The tape/CD/video player .....................................................................................105
4.2.7. Teaching with a minimum of resources .................................................................107
4.3. Creating resources ...................................................................................................110
4.3.1. Resources created by the teacher ........................................................................111
4.3.2. Resources created by the pupils ...........................................................................114
Summary.........................................................................................................................117
Key concepts .................................................................................................................118
Further reading .............................................................................................................118
Answers to learning tasks.............................................................................................118

Unit 5
Evaluation in primary school .......................................................................................139
Introduction .....................................................................................................................121
Unit objectives..................................................................................................................122
5.1. The need for evaluation ...........................................................................................123
5.1.1. Types of evaluation ...............................................................................................124
5.1.2. The features of evaluation in primary school .........................................................125
5.2. Evaluation targets ....................................................................................................129
5.2.1. Language skills, vocabulary and language ...........................................................130
5.2.2. Social skills ...........................................................................................................132
5.2.3. Attitude and behaviour ..........................................................................................132
5.3. Evaluation techniques ..............................................................................................133
5.3.1. Ongoing evaluation ...............................................................................................134
5.3.2. Tests .....................................................................................................................134
5.3.3. Portfolios and projects ...........................................................................................136
5.3.4. Student self assessment .......................................................................................138

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Table of contents

5.4. Evaluation and progress ........................................................................................... 140


5.4.1. Marking schemes ................................................................................................. 141
5.4.2. Giving feedback..................................................................................................... 145
Summary ........................................................................................................................ 146
Key concepts ................................................................................................................ 147
SAA No. 3 ....................................................................................................................... 147
Further reading ............................................................................................................. 147
Answers to learning tasks ............................................................................................ 147
Appendices .................................................................................................................... 151
Annexes ......................................................................................................................... 154
Glossary ........................................................................................................................ 167
Bibliography .................................................................................................................. 192

Proiectul pentru Invăţământul Rural iii


Introduction

INTRODUCTION

Dear students,

We are pleased that you have chosen this distance training optional
course on EFL methodology in primary school. It deals with the
characteristics of teaching English in primary school. While the
approach on teaching English is similar to that in the general
methodology course, this optional course focuses on specific
problems of teaching English in primary school which derive from
the age level and the particular traits and demands of the learning
process in the case of young learners.

We hope that this course will meet your needs and interests in
primary school teaching, which is challenging and rewarding but
equally difficult. By recollecting your own early learning strategies
and reflecting upon both your previous and present teaching
experiences, you will be able to become a reflective teacher.
Reflection is a necessary practice that helps you to understand the
conditions for effective learning and also contributes to your
professional development. You can try new classroom ideas and
techniques and correlate them to the theoretical knowledge provided
by this course.

Course aims
One of the main guidelines of this course, which is also common to
the EFL Methodology course, is to keep the balance between
theoretical and practical knowledge. Your learning route will start
from your own experience and classroom practice through process
analysis and theory to practice again, as you will have to apply the
new ideas in your particular classroom context. The starting points
for each theoretical aspect are either the observation of classroom
activities, your own childhood learning experiences or case studies
and other examples. This will lead to the education of your empathic
capabilities and to the development of your ability to understand the
teaching and learning process from the children’s point of view by
becoming aware of their needs and abilities.

There is permanent reference to the use of the coursebooks and of


the national curriculum. We have tried to anticipate questions you
might ask yourselves while teaching primary school pupils and have
created the most relevant contexts in which you can discover the
answer through reflection and self-evaluation.

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Introduction

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

• set up your own strategies for teaching in primary school,


basically through adjusting the communicative approach
requirements to the young learners’ needs
• use the National Curriculum and the coursebook adequately
• use the available resources in an efficient way and create
new ones
• find out personalized solutions to classroom management
problems
• adapt your assessment and evaluation strategies to the
requrements of primary school EFL teaching.

Course tasks

The course tasks require materials and resources that are available
to you. The tasks are interactive and also encourage reflection and
problem solving.

In order to anticipate and use your previous knowledge in a certain


area, there is a ‘Think first!’ task, signalled by this icon:

Think first!

The following icon signals the learning tasks. The answers to these
tasks are provided at the end of each unit.

Learning task

At the end of units 1,3 and 5 you are asked to write a send-away
assignment (“SAA”) which helps you review the main points of the
unit. The answers to the SAAs will be sent to your tutor, either by
regular mail or by email. This will be decided during your first
meeting with your tutor.

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Introduction

SAAs are signalled by this icon:

Send-away assignment

Both the ‘Learning Tasks’ and the ‘Send-away Assignments’


encourage you to reflect upon your own teaching experiences and
find alternatives or explanations in the light of the theoretical input
that is offered in each unit.

The ‘big issues’ of EFL methodology are largely dealt with in the EFL
Methodology I course. The present course tasks reiterate these
issues in the particular context of the primary classroom.

Course outline
Teachers of foreign languages don’t have a special training for
working with primary school children. Experience has proved that
the younger the children are, the more difficult it is to adapt your
teaching style to the demands of their age.

The content and succession of the units in this course responds to a


logical sequence of questions:

• Who am I going to teach?


• What am I going to teach?
• How am I going to organize my lesson?
• What materials and resources can I use?
• How do I know if I got the expected results?

Introduction
Unit 1 The Young Language Learner
Unit 2 Developing Skills in Primary School
Unit 3 Lesson Planning Strategies
Unit 4 Using and Creating Resources
Unit 5 Evaluation in Primary School

There is a list of key concepts at the end of each unit and a glossary
of new terms and theories at the end of the book. You might
encounter difficulties in finding the 3rd and 4th National Curricula in
the school library, so you can find them in the appendix at the end
of Unit 3.

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Introduction

Assessment and evaluation


1. Continuous assessment will be done during the semester (30% of
the final grade), taking into account the quality of your answers to
SAA no. 1 and 2. For SAA no. 1 you will get 10 points, while for SAA
no. 2 you will get 20 points.
The answers to Send Away Assignments (SAAs) will be evaluated
according to the following criteria:
• The answers illustrate your understanding of the theoretical
input
• The answers contain genuine examples of your classwork
• Your solutions are realistic and clearly presented

2. Final Evaluation (70% of the final grade)


By the end of the semester you will also submit to your tutor a
portfolio containing:
a. A lesson plan, together with your own analysis of the way it
worked in class.
The lesson plan will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

• Both the general objectives and specific objectives are clearly


presented
• The activities have clear tasks for the children
• The choice of activities illustrates your understanding of the
general principles of teaching English in primary school (skill
development, guided and free practice, etc. )
• The plan includes a form of evaluation of the children’s
performance
For the lesson plan you will get a maximum of 15 points.
The analysis of its efficiency in class will consist in:
• Examples and evidence of the way in which the lesson
objectives were attained (e.g., 25% of my pupils were able to
perform the dialogue without my support)
• Strong and weak points of the lesson plan (e.g. Could you do
all the activities? Which ones were successful? Which ones
didn’t work? Why?)
• An action plan in which you will state your decisions about
how you can improve your work in the future
For the lesson analysis you will get a maximum of 20 points.

b. SAA no. 3, which will be graded according to the following criteria:


• The correspondence between the teaching objectives and the
evaluation items
• Measurable and detailed descriptors
• Realistic evaluation strategy.
For SAA no. 3 you will get a maximum of 35 points, as follows:
• 5 points for task 1
• 20 points for task 2
• 10 points for task 3.

Proiectul pentru Invăţământul Rural vii


The young language learner

UNIT 1

THE YOUNG LANGUAGE LEARNER

Unit Outline
1.1. Cognitive psychology in support of foreign language learning...................................... 1
Unit objectives ..................................................................................................................... 2
1.2. The characteristics of young language learners .......................................................... 6
1.2.1. Children’s knowledge of the world ............................................................................ 6
1.2.2. Children’s abilities and skills ................................................................................... 10
1.2.3. Identifying priorities ................................................................................................. 12
1.3. Factors that influence foreign language learning ....................................................... 12
1.3.1. The value of personal experience ........................................................................... 13
1.3.2. Children’s expectations and motivation ................................................................... 14
1.3.3. The influence of the environment ............................................................................ 16
1.4. Foreign language learning and child education .......................................................... 16
Summary .......................................................................................................................... 18
Key concepts .................................................................................................................. 21
SAA No. 1 ........................................................................................................................ 21
Further reading ............................................................................................................... 22
Answers to learning tasks .............................................................................................. 22

Teaching English in primary school has its satisfactions and


demands. Some teachers are attracted in the beginning to teach at
this level. Later on, they might feel disappointed at the discrepancy
between the great amount of effort they put into preparing their
lesson and their students’ apparently slow progress.

In this unit and the next we will refer to both children aged 7 to 9 who
might study study English as an optional course and children aged
10 to 12 who will study English according to the National Curriculum.
They will be referred to as young learners.

This unit will help you to understand the most important


characteristics of young foreign language learners and will focus on
those who have a special relevance in terms of effective teaching.

There is a Send-away assignment (SAA) at the end of this unit that


you will have to send to your tutor.

There are also learning tasks for you to do. After you have done
them, you can check with the suggested answers at the end of this
unit.

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The young language learner

Unit objectives After you have completed the study of this unit, you should be able
to:
• explain children’s behaviour in different situations
• identify the children’s natural abilities and skills which can
support the learning of a foreign language
• describe how certain factors can affect learning in a positive
or negative way
• decide which are the most important aims in foreign
language lessons in primary school
• identify the impact of foreign language learning on the
child’s education.

1.1 Cognitive psychology in support of foreign language learning

There have been various appoaches of how a foreign language


should be taught and learnt. There is value in each of them, and it is
a matter of personal choice to favour one over another. On the other
hand, research in the field of cognitive psychology reveals many
practical ways* in which they can become valuable.(Kostenbauer,
Irena, English for Kids, Wien, 1999).

The power of Suggestopaedia is a method which is based on the application of


suggestion suggestion to education and learning. There are three basic
theoretical principles in Suggestopaedia that come from the mental
health field:

• Learning should be characterized by joy and the


absence of tension
• There is a unity between each individual’s undermind
and conscience
• Suggestion is the link to the reserves of the mind.

What the teacher says is important but how one says it, is crucial.

The teacher’s manner of speaking, eye contact, a smiling face, voice


and intonation are of utmost importance. According to some
researchers, the atitudes that the learners perceive are 7% verbal,
38% vocal intonation, 55% facial expression.

Learning task 1

Repeat the question ”What’s your name?” in front of the mirror


using different intonations: kindly, angrily, loudly, softly, joyfully,
sadly. What might a child feel every time when he/she is asked
this question?

Write your answers in the space below.

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The young language learner

You can find the answer to this question at the end of this unit.

Total physical According to this theory, children are encouraged to use gestures,
response (TPR) touch, feel and do. Therefore, if you teach adjectives such as soft,
cold, hard, hot, let the children feel the objects. If you teach them
verbs, let them jump, run, draw or mime these actions. Suspense is
created by asking them to close their eyes, touch the objects and
feel what they are.
Listening before Alfred Tomatis was an ear specialist who put a great amount of
speaking
stress on the importance of the ear in language training. As a
result, he favoured listening before speaking. (Actually, this is also
true about a baby learning to speak.) In his opinion, no sound can
be reproduced properly if it hasn’t been heard accurately several
times before.

The classroom is not the natural environment for second


language acquisition, so you need to have the children exposed to
the foreign language. Teachers should integrate their students into
the sound universe of the foreign language as much as possible.
This theory lies at the basis of the methods which encourage the
children to use the foreign language from the very first lesson.

Total immersion and It is very common to hear people say – “X can speak English
natural language fluently, as he lived in England for a number of years”, although X
acquisition never spoke English at home while living in England. However, the
surrounding world, the necessity to associate certain typical realities
to their corresponding words, the need to communicate, turned X
into a really good speaker of English.

Actually, in foreign language learning, constant exposure to the


foreign language is a condition for successful learning. There is a
limit, though. The classroom is an artificial environment, therefore
the difficulty of the language has to be adapted to the learnes’ age.
The children are aware that they can always rely on their mother
tongue when they don’t understand something (except in the case
when a native speaker teaches them). The use of mother tongue is
a controversial matter, and it will be dealt with in one of the next
units.

You need to speak English as accurately as possible, as you are the


first model for the students. By maintaining the language at a
comprehensible level and using other ways to stimulate
understanding (pictures, mime), you can use the target language
from the beginning.

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The young language learner

Another important aspect here is the creation of real communication


contexts that would motivate the child to communicate in a
meaningful way. For example, shopping would be the proper context
for practising such structures as “How much is it?” or “Here you are”
/ “Thank you.”

Words or full Gestalt psychology stresses the importance of learning by wholes.


messages? Actually, it is very common that the children should use patterns of
language that they repeat regularly and very often. Moreover, they
understand the situation very quickly, and they can easily remember
the language. This is the way children learn classroom laguage as
well as a number of phrases from cartoons and other sources.

Think first!

Before you go on reading this section, think about the way you learn.
What helps you learn more efficiently? Taking notes? Summarising?
Reading aloud?

Write your ideas in the space below (about 50 words).


You can find the answers in the text that follows.

Multiple Learning takes place in a different way with each individual person.
intelligences Some people can remember what they see (they are mostly visual),
while others need to hear (the auditory type), handle objects or
experience things (kinesthetic).

Gardner considers that the “intelligence” we are born with is not just
“a single entity”, but a number of entities, out of which one is
prevailing. (linguistic, logical-mathematic, musical, bodily kinesthetic,
spatial, interpersonal and intrapersonal). As far as education is
concerned, his conclusion is that ”seven kinds of intelligences would
allow seven ways to teach, rather than one.“

Visual Auditory Kinesthetic


Organized Talks to self Responds to
Neat and orderly Easily distracted by physical rewards
Memorizes pictures noise Moves a lot.
Is not distracted by Can repeat back Learns by doing.
noise. Spoken language
Has problems with seems easy Points when reading
memorizing verbal Likes music
instructions. Can easily Responds physically
Would rather read reproduce tone,
4 Proiectul pentru Invăţământul Rural
The young language learner

than be read to. voice and intonation


Memorizes by steps,
procedures and
sequence
Needs an overall Dialogues internally Learns through
view of the material and externally manipulating and
Is cautious until Tries alternatives actually doing things
mentally clear verbally first
Remembers what Remembers what Remembers an
was seen was discussed overall impression of
what was
experienced
Reading is a strong Enjoys reading Likes plot oriented
area. aloud and listening books, reflects
Writing is not. Tends to talk better action of story with
than write body movements
Tense, thick
handwriting

While it is true that a “pure” type of intelligence is unlikely to find, it is


also true that this is just a brief “translation” of intelligences into
behaviours. Some children, for example, can be the visual type,
which enables them to associate pictures with words very easily. A
teacher needs, therefore, to use a wide range of stimuli that should
activate this potential and give each child an opportunity to learn.
Pictures, sounds, action games and rhymes are just a few
suggestions in this respect.

Learning task 2

Read about these children. Define each child’s dominant type of


intelligence. What solutions would you choose as a teacher for each
of them?

In about 100 words, write your answers in the space below.


You can check with the answers at the end of this unit.

Maria talks too much! Whenever she has to do something, she


turns to her colleague and starts telling her what she has to do. She
talks while writing, drawing and playing. She is very good at roleplay,
though. She puts a lot of effort in acting out even the simplest
dialogues.
Luiza writes down everything I say. Sometimes she is so
deeply absorbed in keeping her notebook neat that she misses the
funny moments. She has a lot of felt tip pens and crayons, and she
uses them all the time. Quiet, she seldom offers to answer.
Bogdan is very naughty. He simply can’t help fidgeting. I
hardly finish giving the task when he starts to wave hands and jump
out with excitement. He has attention difficulties, I’m afraid. He can
only remember parts of what we are doing and only if he took part in
them himself.
Proiectul pentru Invăţământul Rural 5
The young language learner

1.2 The characteristics of young language learners

Think first!

Before you start reading this section, think about primary school
children. What do they like doing?

Write your ideas in the space below.


You can find the answers in the following section.

1.2.1. Children’s knowledge of the world


It is very important to take a closer look at what children know, what
they can do and can’t do and then consider all these points from a
foreign language teacher’s perspective. There is not only a
difference among age groups in primary school, but also among
individuals. It is said, for example, that the British philosopher John
Stuart Mill started to learn Greek at the age of three. He was
definitely not an average child. However, there are more and more
children nowadays who can easily pick up and use expressions in a
foreign language. This is the result of their exposure to modern
means of communication.

The following characteristics belong to average eight to ten year old


children. It is important to think of them in terms of foreign language
learning. Direct class observation can provide other features as well.

• Basic concepts
Children already have a few basic concepts when they come to
school. They have relatively well-formed views of the world. Not only
do they understand human relationships and the surrounding world,
but they can make moral judgements and find solutions. Ten-year
olds, for example, will talk about their home, family and pets very

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The young language learner

easily, and they will be able to understand what is typical of an


English family.

• Previous knowledge of the foreign language


Children nowadays pick up a lot of English words and phrases from
television and the computer. Some start English in kindergarten.
This knowledge needs to be used and shared, not neglected.
Moreover, there are a lot of words of English origin which have
already been absorbed into our language.

Learning task 3

Here are a few “international” words whose origin is English: blue


jeans, rock and roll, hot dog. Make a list of other such words. Think
of a situation in which you can use these words in the classroom.

In about 25 words, write your ideas in the space below.


You can find a few suggestions at the end of this unit.

• Fact and fiction


Children can tell the difference between fact and fiction. However,
they enjoy living fiction, being a part of it. In one case, in order to
initiate the practice of the present continuous tense, the teacher
pretended to have hypnotic powers by which she could simply take
the children to other times and other places. One child was asked to
close his eyes and then tell everybody where he was what he could
see, who was there with him, the colours, the smells, what everyone
was doing. Not only did the child give a very accurate account of all
these details, but he also used the present continuous tense without
any errors.

Learning task 4

How can you explain the accurate use of the above-mentioned


grammatical form, even though the children had done few explicit
grammatical exercises?

In about 40 words write your ideas in the space below.


You can find the answers at the end of this unit.

Proiectul pentru Invăţământul Rural 7


The young language learner

• The word and the physical reality


Primary school children rely both on the spoken word and on the
physical world to convey and understand meaning. This makes it
necessary for the teacher to use various ways to introduce
vocabulary, including synonyms and antonyms. At the same time,
teachers must not use words only. Looking back upon the ideas in
chapter 1.1, we see that the activities with young learners must
include the use of senses as well as that of of objects and pictures.
Playing with language is a natural thing to do at this age, even if it
means talking nonsense (e.g. Andy, Pandy, sugar candy) and it is
very efficient for practising pronunciation.
• Categories
The basic thinking processes are in full development at this age. The
children are able to sort elements into categories, compare, analyse
and contrast them. Look at this dialogue between the teacher and a
2nd grade pupil

T: What’s this?
S: A doll.
T: And this?
S: A toy car.
T: What are they? (puts them next to each other)
P: Toys. Doll for girl, car for boy.
T: Big toys? (mimes big)
S: Big doll, but car, no.
• Rules
The younger the students are, the stronger is their belief that the
world is governed by rules. The children may not always understand
the rules, but they know that they are there to be obeyed.
Respecting the rules creates a feeling of security and a safe
environment, which favours efficient learning.The teacher can
consult the students in making up a commonly shared set of rules
that can be respected by the whole class. Routines and repetitions,
familiar situations and recurrent stages in the lesson raise the
students’ self confidence and ensure successful class management

Learning task 5

What rules would you like to negotiate with your pupils? How are
you going to monitor the children?

In about 50 words, write your ideas in the space below.

You can find some answers at the end of this unit

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The young language learner

• Questions
The adult’s world and the child’s world are not the same. Sometimes
the adults don’t understand what the children mean. At the same
time, children do not always understand what the adults are talking
about. In order to make things clear, the adults ask questions, but
the children don’t always do the same. They either pretend to
understand or they understand in their own way. As a result, they do
what they think the adults want them to do. Here is a joke that
illustrates this point:

Teacher: How many seconds are there in a year?


Pupils: …………..?!
Tom: There are twelve, sir.
Teacher: How do you know?
Tom: It’s simple, sir: January 2nd, February 2nd, March
2nd……….
• Fairness
Ever since primary school, children begin to prove their sense of
fairness, and they start to question the teacher’s decisions. That’s
why it is a good idea to make it clear for everybody why we are or
we aren’t doing certain things. For example, children get easily
disappointed if they don’t take a turn in a game. When the teacher
stops the game, he/she does it in favour of other language activities
or in order to calm the children down. He can start the new activity
with the “disappointed“ group.

Evaluation might also be a source of troubles. That’s why previously


agreed items of evaluation and comments on the children’s
performance will ensure an atmosphere of mutual respect. Being
aware of what he/she is expected to do, the child will more easily
accept failure and future support. On the other hand, parents want to
find out about their child’s progress, so the teacher needs to take
notes and talk to the children regularly about their work.
• Cooperation
Children are able to work with others and learn from others.
Grouping the children together as often as possible gives them a
chance to share experiences and practise language that they
wouldn’t be able to work on otherwise. Working in groups also gives
the children a sense of belonging and achievement if the members
of the group have a common task.

However, teachers need to be very careful about the negative effect


of competition. In a competition there is always a winning team and
a losing team, a reward and a prize for the winners and
disappointment for those who lose. In order to create a safe learning
environment, the teacher should find other forms of encouragement
and create situations in which everyone can win.

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Learning task 6

In your opinion, what are the advantages and disadvantages of


group work?

In about 40 words write your ideas in the space below.

You can find some answers at the end of this unit.

1.2.2. Children’s abilities and skills

Besides the previously mentioned characteristics, young learners


have abilities and skills that enable them to learn a foreign language
quite easily.

Think first!

Can you see any danger in using a limited vocabulary creatively?

Write your ideas in the space below.

You can find some suggestions in the following section.

• Children are able to understand a message even


though they can’t understand each separate word.
This skill is fundamental to human communication. As teachers, we
use gestures, intonation, mimic, demonstration, action and body
movement to convey meaning. This has a lot to do with guessing
and anticipating. Children enjoy anticipating and guessing what is
going to happen in a story, what a person is going to say or what the
result of an action would be.

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• Even though their vocabulary is limited, children


can use language creatively.
This happens very much in the same way in which the mother
tongue is learnt. For a long period of time, the children use just a few
words to say what they want. Sometimes the communication context
is so demanding and requires such unpredictable vocabulary that
the child starts inventing words in the foreign language and therefore
makes mistakes (it’s the well known case of adding the suffix “-ation”
at the end of different words just to make them sound English).

• Children often learn indirectly


Sometimes, the children use words and phrases that they know from
TV, from friends or from books. Guessing is a very powerful way of
learning phrases and structures.

Although the teacher tries hard to introduce new vocabulary and


practise it in various ways, there are instances when the children
focus their attention more on understanding the task than on
language acquisition. This is the case of guided language exercises
(e.g. fill in the correct form of the verb in brackets) which are totally
inefficient if the lesson does not also include real language tasks.

• Children need fun and take great pleasure in


creating it
Children always find opportunities and resources for fun in what they
do. Sometimes this is enough to ruin a carefully prepared lesson!
Games and roleplay activities are a good choice in language
learning, as they give each individual a chance to “live“ the language
they are using.

• They have a rich and vivid imagination


Children like to discover how the real world really works. One way to
discover this is to imagine how it would be different. Playing during
the language lesson provides the children a good chance to use
their imagination. (While learning the parts of the body, for example,
the children can invent their own monster and give it a detailed
description.)

• Children like talking


Young learners need to talk if we want them to become good at
speaking. Organizing pair work activities takes time and patience ,
but it is the only way we can have the whole class practise the same
structure at the same time. The teacher needs to provide regular
and well- planned situations in which the children can talk.

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1.2.3. Identifying priorities

Think first!

Before you start reading this section, have a look at the Curriculum
for primary school. What will you have to teach?

Write your answers in the space below.

You can find the answers in the following section.

There are three basic questions a teacher needs to answer before


starting any lesson:
1. What am I going to teach?
2. Why am I going to teach that?
3. How am I going to do it?
In answering these questions, we are actually referring to three main
aspects: content, aims and activities. In this part of the unit you will
find out more about aims, while activities will be fully dealt with in
Unit 2. In primary school, the children need not only learn basic
vocabulary, but they also need to develop a motivation and a wish to
use the language. That will sustain further learning. That’s why in
planning the lesson at this level, the teacher needs to have both
content and attitude aims in mind.

Content aims Basic knowledge of English for each level is provided for by the
National Curriculum and it consists of:

- Topics and situations (e.g. Family and home, Shopping)


- Functions of the language (e.g.asking for and giving
personal information:”What is your mother’s name? , etc. )
- Grammatical structures (e.g. the verb to be, the plural of
nouns )
- Skills (listening comprehension, reading comprehension,
speaking, writing)
- Cultural information (e.g. typical English names, eating
Attitude aims
habits, customs and traditions)

Attitude is essential for a coherent and meaningful achievement of


content aims. Attitude aims are very important in primary school
because they refer to the type of learning experiences, the
relationships we are building in class and the atmosphere of the
foreign language lesson. Here are a few of them:

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The young language learner

• the pleasure and confidence in exploring and using the


foreign language
• someone’s willingness to take part in communication
• the courage and desire to communicate
• the wish to use language for personal purposes
• the wish to learn together with and from others

In primary school education, the balance between the content aims


and the attitude aims needs to be a permanent concern of the
teacher. Moreover, attitude aims are a priority at this stage, while in
the later stages of the child’s education, content aims become a
priority.

Learning task 7

If you were in primary school again, what would encourage and


motivate you to communicate? How can you support the children in
this respect?

In about 40 words write your ideas in the space below.

You can find some suggestions at the end of this unit.

1.3 Factors that influence foreign language learning


Think first!

Before you read this section, think back to your first foreign language
lesson. What do you remember? Write down everything you can
remember, whether feelings, smells or facts. Was it a good or a bad
experience?

Write your ideas in the space below.


You will find some examples in the following section.

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1.3.1. The value of personal experience

Thinking about your first English lesson, you must have remembered
things connected with the teacher, the room, the sounds and smells
and eventually the content and the method.

Learning task 8

Read the following confessions about the very first lesson of English
and decide which of the following factors had the strongest impact:
The content (what was actually taught)
The classroom
The teacher
Others (what?)
Write your answers in the space below each confession.
You can find a few answers at the end of this unit.
1. “ I remember the teacher was a very strict man who started by
teaching us the phonetic transcription and then the rules of the
plural in English. It all seemed as difficult as Maths to me.
Besides, the teacher was wearing dark glasses and you never
knew which way he was looking.” (Ioana, 18 years old)
……………………………………………………………………
2. “I liked my first lesson because I knew from my sister it was
going to be easy and fun. I also knew a lot of words from her.”
(Suzana, 13)
………………………………………………………………..
3. “My first English lesson was in kindergarten. The teacher was
really nice, she never shouted and she had toys and all sorts of
surprises for us. It was a sunny day. I think this is when I started
to love English. “ (Delia, 12)
……………………………………………………………………
4. “I don’t remember one word from my first lesson. The teacher
gave us English names. I hated the name I was given – Kevin.
All the children called me Kevin Costner and I hated it.” (Valentin,
11)
……………………………………………………………………
5. “My first lesson was in kindergarten. The teacher taught us the
colours and how to ask for different things. The room was large
and bright and the teacher was very kind. “ (Lucia, 10)
……………………………………………………………………

6. “We had our first lesson in a dark room on the ground floor. It
was also cold and I was afraid of everything and everyone.”
(Marius, 9)
……………………………………………………………………………….
7. “At first, I didn’t like English because the teacher called me
Sorina instead of Sabina. What’s more, the teacher was very
strict and she hardly ever smiled. “ (Sabina, 9)
……………………………………………………………………

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Actually, the content is remembered if the learning atmosphere is


safe and nice (5) or if it was too difficult. (1) Some people give
details about the place as either threatening (6) or very nice and
comfortable (5).

There are many details about the teacher as either a very


mysterious person who taught a secret code (1), a very reserved
and strict person (7), or a kind, smiling person who inspired
confidence and love.

There are memories about places as as inspiring (5) or


discouraging and scary (6). It is interesting to see how poor
illumination of the room inspires not only the idea of cold but also of
fear.

There are memories connected with “personal stories”. “I knew


from my sister”, I hated the name”, “She called me X instead of Y”.
All of them have to do with what happened before the lesson
(background) or during the lesson, and all of them are highly
personal.

In conclusion, whatever is personal remains. Having to go through


an experience is what people need in order to learn. If the
experience is challenging enough, it can create motivation for
learning (5).

Learning task 9

Write down a few reminders for you as a teacher taking into


account what has been pointed out before.

In about 50 words write your ideas in the space below.


You can find a few suggestios at the end of this unit.

Start like this:


I need to:
• learn the children’s first names
• ............................................................................................
• …………………………………………………………………..

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1.3.2. Children’s expectations and motivation

Children start learning a foreign language with pleasure and


confidence. Here are a few reasons for these feelings:
• A foreign language is like a secret code they can use.
• It is the language of their favourite cartoons and of the
computer.
• Other family members or friends find it enjoyable.
• Parents say it will help them in the future.
Before their first English lesson the children feel interested and
confident. It only depends on the teacher to support the child and
sustain his/her motivation. Otherwise, motivation can decrease
dramatically until the child refuses to learn.

Step1 Confidence “I can do it. All my friends


can. Anyone can. “
Step 2 Doubt (after a bad mark or “Can I do it?”
after the teacher said
”Wrong answer”)
Step 3 Lack of confidence “I can’t do it.”
Step 4 Refusal “I won’t do it.”

Wishing to communicate also means having a good reason to do it.


This means creating a meaningful context and sharing new
information. Sometimes teachers ask questions which have a poor
or no logic in terms of communication.

Let’s consider the following sequence of questions:

1. What is this? (shows a pen)


2. Is it a pen? (obviously)
3. Is it a pen or a pencil? (once it has been decided it is a pen,
there’s no logic in asking this question. The only reason is the
necessity to practise the interrogative pattern of the verb to
be).

If the children are involved in a guessing game (new context), then


these questions have a different relevance. For example, the
teacher hides an object in a bag and the children have to guess
what it is by asking the question: Is it a…..?

1.3.3. The influence of the environment

It is now clear that there is a variety of factors which can work in


favour of an efficient language learning. In this part of the unit we are
going to deal with the “external” ones, both human and material:

• The school
• The classroom
• The community

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The young language learner

The school is the “big house of knowledge” which acquires huge


proportions in the eyes of the little children. A bright, clean, warm
building is a welcoming place for them. If possible, try to arrange a
room in the school for the foreign language department. You can
organize your resources there and also bring children for some
video or project work.
oreign publishing houses always give free posters for the
presentation of different materials and, you can display them on the
walls. Some of them are really very good to use as teaching aids for
different topics. The English room must necessarily have:

• One or two tape recorders


• Cassettes and other auxiliary materials to go with the
textbooks in use.
• A collection of documents: a copy of the National Curriculum
(Programe scolare pentru clasele a IIIa – a VIIIa, Aria
curriculara Limba si comunicare, vol.2), Ghid metodologic
pentru aplicarea programei de limba engleza – primar –
gimnaziu, Criterii de evaluare si descriptori de performanta
pentru invatamantul primar si gimnazial). Ask your
headmaster for all these documents because they have been
distributed to all the schools in the country.
• A Teacher’s guide for each of the textbooks in use in your
school (some publishing houses offer them free of charge).
• Any other books or dictionaries you can find.
• There should also be a photocopier in the English room as
well as a TV set and a video, a CD player, a computer and a
printer (preferably one with a scanner and photocopier
incorporated so that you can scan and multiply pictures and
photographs).
The classroom also needs to be a welcoming place. Group
activities or games cannot be well organized in small rooms.
Sometimes these activities can be performed in the open when the
weather is fine. In the beginning of this unit we mentioned the “total
immersion” concept. It involves a permanent contact with English,
speaking English all the time and also creating an English
environment (or “little England”) in the classroom. One way is to
create an “English corner” in the classroom where you can display
children’s work, projects, a calendar of special days and posters.
You can also encourage the children to bring posters and postcards
and tell a few words about them (e.g. This is a postcard from
London. I found it in a magazine).
The community is a decisive factor in the motivation and support of
foreign language learning. Parents and children, old and young
people in your area need to understand and need to learn how to
appreciate the value of learning other languages.
The local authorities need to understand why it is important to buy
modern equipment for the schools. Foreign languages can no longer
be taught with only a piece of chalk and the blackboard.

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Fortunately, today there are more and more people who choose to
work abroad, so that they are the living proof of how important it is to
speak a foreign language. You can also invite them to talk to the
children about the realities of other countries and about customs and
traditions in other countries.
The community also means the parents to whom you need to
explain your methods and requirements, but also the practical
benefits of their children learning a different language.

1.4. Foreign language learning and child education


All teachers are educators, irrespective of the subject they teach.
They become models for their pupils even though they might not
realize it. In modelling little children, the teacher has “to do as he/she
preaches”. In this respect, you have already made the first step
when you have chosen to complete your education by taking this
course. You are, therefore, a model for your pupils of what
permanent education means.
The problem of education is very important nowadays, when school
is required to solve problems that some very busy parents do not
bother to care about. More and more children suffer from a lack of
attention and affection in their families, which results in disruptive
behaviour and poor learning results.

Let’s see how you can help in this respect.

Think first!

Before you read this section, think about a teacher you admired.
What did you admire most in this person? How was he/she a
model for you? How did the teacher and the subject he/she taught
influence your life?

Write your ideas in the space below (about 50 words). You will find
other suggestions in the following section.

We will now have a look at what areas in foreign language teaching


can model children’s life and education. Many people say that the
lessons of English are different, and it is important that we should
become aware of what makes the difference.

What children get in school is not only knowledge on different


subjects but also attitudes, beliefs, certain views on life which are
different in different times and places. Some specialists call these
the “hidden curriculum”.

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Social skills In order to become able to fit into society, children need to learn
social behavoiur. They need to understand who they are and which
are their relationships to other people. They also need to learn how
to share and to cooperate with people around, to respect them and
demand respect from the others. They need to learn how to sustain
their point of view without becoming aggressive and to be flexible
enough to accept other people’s point of view. They need to learn
how to work in a team. In this way the children will see that good
results can more easily be obtained in a team. Teamwork is also a
good opportunity for each child to discover what he/she can do very
well (or less well) and what the others can do, too. In a game,
success actually depends on the cooperation among the members
of the team. If groups are reformed each time the game is played,
the children are given a chance to get to know their classmates
better and to discover their qualities in new situations.

During the English lessons, the children are asked to work in pairs
and to talk to each other. It’s an artificial situation, actually, but the
children accept the convention easily. Giving an answer involves
active listening of the partner, and the children learn this step by
step.

Children are sometimes asked to illustrate and present their pieces


of work in English. If their projects are displayed on the walls, the
children will have a chance to learn about other children’s ideas and
improve their own. Besides, their sense of achievement and self
esteem will increase, which actually brings more motivation to work
in general.

Role play is a very effective kind of activity, as it means assuming a


different role and living it. Spoken language is assumed by the
“actor” along with the character’s feelings, attitudes, behaviour and
even voice and intonation. Imagine a very simple dialogue:

A: B, do you want some chocolate?


B: No, thanks, I don’t like chocolate.
A: What do you like?
B: I like biscuits.

A and B can be in turns a fox and a Teddy bear, Tom and Jerry, a
dog and a bird, etc. Children are delighted to assume a different
identity and sometimes they produce unexpected vocabulary. What
is the social value of this activity? It means the education of
emphatic abilities, the capacity to understand the world from
somebody else’s point of view. As adults, we rarely do this and
prefer to make judgements upon others rather than try to understand
the situation from his/her point of view.

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Cultural background Any language carries a whole heritage of the people who speak it.
Language lessons are a good way to explore other people’s way of
life. Take any of the English textbooks which are currently in use for
primary school and look at the illustrations. You will find a lot of
details about life in England (the houses, the streets, typical food,
population–names, different races, important days, traditions,
children’s games).

Learning task 10

Choose one textbook in use for the 3rd grade. Find out elements of
British culture and civilization in the first five units.

In about 40 words, write your notes in the space below.

Open mindedness In primary school, children find it difficult to dissociate themselves


from the “here” and the “now” and enter into hypothetical or
imaginary worlds. It is also difficult for them to make connections
with knowledge from other subjects and apply certain experiences to
other situations. Project work activities , which mainly mean applying
knowledge from one field into a different context, help to enrich a
child’s imagination and ability to acquire knowledge and skills.

Life long learning It is largely and increasingly recognized that children need to “learn
skills
how to learn”. This means that their education goes far beyond the
limits of a certain textbook. The teacher’s duty is to “open doors” and
support the children so that they can find their own way in learning.

Actually, what the children need in order to make progress in


language learning is not a diet of oversimplified language fitted to
their level in order to make the message comprehensible. They need
to be exposed to language in a wider context and this becomes a
challenge for learning more, while the message remains
comprehensible. If there is no challenge, there is no learning.

Young learners of English need to become aware that


understanding a message does not mean understanding every
word. This will give them them the courage and desire to
communicate.

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Summary
This unit reveals the psychological caharacteristics of young
learners as well as their implications in foreign language learning. As
a teacher, you need to know how children learn in order to adjust
your teaching strategies properly. Besides, there are a lot of other
internal and external factors that influence learning.

When they come to school, children already have some skills,


abilities and knowledge that you can turn something useful during
the foreign language lesson. This will help in building the children’s
self confidence and motivation.

In order to set up clear objectives for your activities, you also need to
identify your priorities. Since the affective component is very
important with young learners, attitude aims become very important.
As a teacher, you need to be aware of the children’s expectations as
well as their patterns of behaviour. You are not only a subject
teacher but also an educator, and your contribution to developing
the children’s social and learning skills is decisive.

Key concepts

• the power of suggestion


• total physical response
• constant exposure to the foreign language
• communication context
• multiple intelligences
• knowledge of the world
• thinking processes
• commonly shared set of rules
• active listening
• sense of achievement
• commonly shared set of rules
• indirect learning
• content aims and attitude aims
• the value of personal experience

Send-away assignment no. 1

1. Write (in about 100 words) what your own experience is in


teaching primary school children. Mention which are your main
real or anticipated problems.

2. Give at least three reasons why children in primary school get


easily bored during the lesson (at least 25 words).

3. Insert your answers to Learning task 10. Mention the name of


the textbook and the publishing house (about 40 words).

Send the answers to these questions to your tutor.

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The young language learner

Further reading

1. Phillips Sarah, 1993, Young Learners, Oxford University Press, pp.


3-7
2. Halliwell, Susan, 1992,Teaching English in the Primary Classroom,
Longman, pp. 9-11

Answers to learning tasks


Should your answers to LTs 1 and 2 not be comparable to
those given below, please revise section 1.1.

LT 1
Kind tone - encouraged, supported, safe
Angry tone – fearful, insecure
Loud voice – dominated, fearful
Soft voice – protected, safe
Joyful tone – hopeful, happy, encouraged
Sad tone – confused, sad

LT 2
General suggestions – each child is a different type. Children need
to be praised for what they can do well but also encouraged to
respond to different stimuli.
• Maria responds mostly to auditory stimuli and should always
be involved in dialogues and roleplaying. This will give her a
sense of achievement. However, she should also be
encouraged to work on written and illustrated tasks.
• Luiza is the visual type. She works very well with the text and
pictures. She should be more involved in games, action
rhymes and roleplaying activities.
• Bogdan learns by doing, and he will feel safe and happy if he
is asked to demonstrate actions. However, he needs to be
supported in both speaking and working on visual tasks. His
handwriting might be a problem, but if his answers are correct
he needs to be praised for that.

Should your answers to LTs 3 - 6 not be comparable to those


given below, please revise section 1.2.

LT 3
• giving personal information (favourite clothes, food, music)
• likes and dislikes

LT 4
The imaginary situation is vivid, attractive and motivating. The child
could easily take over the form of the verb from the question
because he was highly interested in the question (What are you
doing? What are they doing? Are you eating anything?) and
spontaneously gave the right answer: I’m looking at the monster.

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LT 5
It would be a good idea to negotiate class rules.

• Put up your hand when you want to answer.


• Keep quiet when somebody talks.
• When the teacher puts up his/her right hand, the activity is
over.
• During pair work, you have to speak English.
• You mustn’t laugh when someone makes a mistake, etc.

We can monitor the observance of class rules by a system of


rewards. Keep a record of what the children are doing in class on a
wall chart. Whoever has the most points can give the pictures, can
lead a game or can even make an exercise for his/her classmates.

Example:

Pupils Hand up Keep quiet Activity Speak


over English
Anca • X X •
Dragos • • • •

LT 6
Advantages
• Children learn how to cooperate.
• They acquire team work spirit.
• Low ability children can learn from the others.
• Children get to know each other.
• They can find solutions to different problems faster.
• Imagination can be enriched by more ideas from group
members.
• It is fun.

Disadvantages
• It is difficult to organize
• It is hard to monitor
• The children are tempted to speak their native language
• They might be very noisy
• If the desks cannot be moved it is uncomfortable for the
children

Should your answers to LTs 7 – 9 not be comparable to those


given below, please revise section 1.3.

LT 7
• By creating a real context for communication
• By correcting the children’s mistakes gently and carefully
• By creating a safe atmosphere during the lesson
• By giving simple, comprehensible tasks
• By giving enough time for oral practice during each lesson.

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LT 8
Each factor is important according to each child’s personality and
affective response.
1. the teacher, content
2. previous knowledge
3. the teacher, environment
4. negative feelings created by the situation
5. content, teacher, environment
6. environment
7. negative feelings created by the situation, teacher.

LT 9
• make sure there is enough light in the room and it is a warm,
welcoming place
• learn the children’s names from the beginning
• plan the content carefully, in an attractive manner
• prepare yourself in order to create a non-threatening
atmosphere
• make sure there is enough material for all the children.
• observe children’s reactions and don’t repeat activities they
don’t like

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Developing skills in primary school

UNIT 2
DEVELOPING SKILLS IN PRIMARY SCHOOL

Unit Outline
2.1. The National Curriculum ............................................................................................. 25
Unit objectives .................................................................................................................. 26
2.2. The importance of the four skills ................................................................................ 27
2.2.1. Listening ................................................................................................................. 28
2.2.2. Speaking ................................................................................................................. 33
2.2.3. Reading and writing ................................................................................................ 39
2.3. Vocabulary and grammar structures .......................................................................... 47
2.3.1. The advantages of topic-based work ....................................................................... 47
2.3.2. Presenting and practising vocabulary ...................................................................... 48
2.3.3. Teaching grammar structures ................................................................................. 49
Summary .......................................................................................................................... 50
Key concepts .................................................................................................................. 50
Further reading ............................................................................................................... 51
Answers to learning tasks .............................................................................................. 51

2.1. The National Curriculum


Teaching and learning English in primary school has its specific
requirements derived from the age of the learners. The
characteristics of the young learners have been dealt with in the first
unit.

Think first!

Before you go on reading this section, think about what language


skills, basic vocabulary and grammar you would teach a 9-year old
child.

Write your ideas in the space provided below (about 50 words).


You can find the answers in the following section and in the
Appendix at the end of this book.

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Developing skills in primary school

Unit objectives In this unit you will find out how important it is to set up your aims
before you do a class activity and how you can adjust the content
and procedures of the activity to these aims.
By the end of this unit you will have learnt
• how to develop your own class activities starting from your
lesson aims.
• how to adapt your activities to the requirements of the
National Curriculum

The objectives of teaching foreign languages as well as the


language you are supposed to teach are given by the National
Curriculum for each grade. The Curriculum is compulsory for all the
schools and teachers in the country. In Romania, learning the first
foreign language is compulsory starting with the 3rd grade, and the
study of the second foreign language starts in the 5th grade.
In the past, the strategy of the National Curriculum focused on the
content only. This meant that by the end of a certain grade, the
children had to know a number of words and phrases, along with
certain grammatical structures. Little importance was given to
production (what children could actually do with those words and
phrases).
The current strategy of the National Curriculum starts from the
objectives of foreign language learning. Its structure is the same for
all the foreign languages studied in our country and is generated by
the Communicative Approach. Therefore, the accent is on
communication and how you can use language in order to
communicate. What you can do with language is more important
than the amount of language you know. By the end of a certain
grade, the children have to be able to speak, understand, read or
write in a foreign language at a certain level. The content of the
lessons has to be very well selected according to the objectives.
ere are general and specific objectives in the Curriculum.

The Curriculum provides the general outlines of the content that has
to be taught (topics, grammar structures and language functions).

Think first!

What does a primary school child need to be able to do in a foreign


language?

Write your ideas in the space provided below (about 50 words).


Compare your answers with the suggestions that follow.

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Developing skills in primary school

The general objective of foreign language learning is developing the


four skills (listening comprehension, speaking, reading
comprehension and writing.) There is also a cultural objective
referring to the specific cultural background of the English language
(names, traditions, celebrations, famous places).

The specific objectives make it clear for the teachers exactly what
the pupils need to be able to do at certain stages in their
development. In the table below, the general objective 1 (the
development of listening comprehension), is the same for the 3rd and
4th grades, but the specific objectives are different. The objectives in
italics are not compulsory.

By the end of each of these grades, the children will be able to:

3rd grade 4th grade


1. recognize specific English 1. identify basic oral
sounds grammatical categories
2. to distinguish words and 2. to understand the global
phrases in an oral message meaning of a simple
3. to have a verbal/nonverbal message
reaction to an oral message 3. to react properly to different
4. *to understand the global kinds of messages.
meaning of a simple 4. *to understand details from a
message they listen to message they listen to

For each specific objective, the National Curriculum offers examples


of activities. All the textbooks are approved by the Ministry of
Education only if they meet all the requirements of the National
Curriculum, so you can expect to find these types of activities in the
textbooks you are going to work with. In Unit 3 we are going to
analyze the Curriculum in detail and see how you can plan your
activities in an efficient way.

Apart from the compulsory study of foreign languages, which starts


in the 3rd grade, the teacher can choose to do an optional course in
the 1st and 2nd grade. The objectives and structure of an optional
course curriculum are completely different from the National
Curriculum. You will find an example of an optional course
curriculum in Unit 3.

2.2 The importance of the four skills


Skills development is a very complex process.

In real communication (which lies at the basis of the communicative


approach) you tell somebody something having a purpose in mind.
For example, you ask: ”Can I use your pen, please?” because you
haven’t got a pen. The answer you expect is: “Yes, sure” or “Sorry, I
need it.” Therefore you will not be able to answer if you don’t listen
to what somebody is telling you. Speaking goes along with listening.
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Developing skills in primary school

Here are a few principles concerning skill development that we need


to have in mind in the case of primary school children:

1. Skills cannot be developed separately.


In real life, when you speak, there’s always someone who listens to
you. When you write a letter, you have in mind the person you are
writing to. Skill development is a long and complex process. In order
to acquire and improve these skills, children need constant exposure
to all kinds of experiences in which they have to use the language.
2. Reception and production go together.
Listening and reading are receptive skills. Speaking and writing are
productive skills. In real communication, you cannot produce an
answer before you understand the message clearly.
3. Reception skills need to be favoured.
In primary school, we need to tackle the problem of productive skills
with extreme caution. It’s like trying to force a flower to bloom
prematurely. You need to allow the child enough time to acquire and
create a friendly and safe environment and then ask for an answer.
That’s why non verbal answers such as nodding heads, smiling or
clapping are accepted as good answers.

Think first!

When did you first hear the English language? Did you understand
anything? What did you do in order to understand?

Write your ideas in the space below (about 25 words).


Compare your answers with the suggestions that follow.

2.2.1. Listening
There are several reasons why listening tasks are basic in primary
school.
First, they provide the main source of the language stock from
which the children start to understand how the language works. You
cannot ask somebody to understand what swimming is if you keep
him/her away from water.
Then, there is no real communication without a purpose.
Efficient listening activities are always task-based. During the
listening activity, the children are asked to listen and do something
(listen and colour an image or listen and draw). With older pupils, the
task can be more complicated. For example: Listen to the tape and
tick the true sentences. This involves listening, understanding,
reading, comparing the oral message with the written one and
selecting the true sentences.

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Developing skills in primary school

Thirdly. it’s training the ear for the sounds of the English language
that ensures effective understanding of the language. Developing a
skill is actually training. If you speak English all the time, you will
create a natural environment for the students to listen. This is what
Krashen’s natural approach sustains, namely that real
communication occurs when ‘chunks’ of language, not separate
sounds or words are listened to and produced. You will find a
presentation of this theory in the Glossary at the end of this book.

Learning task 1

How would you explain the following situations?

In about 60 words, write your answers in the space provided below.

1. Children listen to you carefully for a few minutes, then they start
talking in Romanian.

2. Although you have explained the task in detail, very few pupils can
perform it.

3. Both children and parents complain that you speak only English
and the children don’t understand you.

Compare your answers to those at the end of this unit.

Conditions for The practice of English language teaching has revealed a number of
efficient listening rules that have to be respected during listening activities.
activities
1. In order to understand a message, the listener needs to have
a purpose in mind and the message needs to be meaningful.
Example: Listen and colour the right object. (Tapescript: There are
two armchairs in the room: one is red and the other is blue. There is a
green vase on the table and there is a red flowerin it. There is a dog
on the mat in front of the door. It is black.) In this case, the purpose is
identifying names of colours and, the context is the description of a
room.

2. In order to motivate children to listen, the language has to be


a little above the pupils’ present level.
The vocabulary of a listening script needn’t be restricted to what we
presume the pupils know very well. Developing their listening skill
means training them to select the relevant information from a longer
message and also understanding details from the context. In real life,
when we listen to the weather forecast or the news, for example, we
focus on a certain area or fact and not on all the details.

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Developing skills in primary school

3. In order to solve the task, the children need to practise


constantly
Training pupils in solving listening tasks is a matter of practice. The
first step is understanding classroom language. You can start with
greetings (Hello! Good morning! How are you today?), commands
(Open your books, please! Come to the blackboard!) and phrases of
praising (Well done, Dan!). You can find this kind of language in the
Teacher’s guides. All you have to do is to use it constantly.

When the pupils don’t understand the message on a cassete, the tape
has to be played several times. This establishes a certain routine for
the listening activities which helps the pupils feel secure and
motivated, thus the task is solved more easily.

4. There are different sources for listening: class cassettes, the


teacher, other colleagues, the TV.
The National Curriculum states that listening activities should be done
by using messages produced by a native speaker (recorded on
cassettes or CDs). There is a tendency to think that doing listening
means only using the cassette. Cassettes are useful for providing a
different voice and accent, but the teacher and the other colleagues
are also an important source of listening material. In this situation,
there is also a lot of body language and interaction that helps the
pupils understand the message. You should also encourage your
pupils to watch TV programmes in English.

5. Listening activities have to be preceded and followed by other


tasks.
Before you start a real listening task, you should do an activity which
reinforces or teaches the vocabulay which is essential for
understanding the message (pre-listening activity). A language game,
a brainstorming activity or the discussion of a picture can successfully
introduce the key vocabulary. After the task has been solved, the
content has to be further practised in a dialogue or exercise. These
are called post-listening exercises.

6. When you use a cassete, make sure that you know its
content. Make sure that it works and that the cassette player
is in good condition.
Sometimes you can choose to use a cassette reccommended by a
colleague or you don’t have enough time to listen to it before the
lesson. Before you use it, make sure that you know what it contains.
Good teacher’s guides offer a tapescript of the recorded message, so
you won’t risk misunderstanding it yourself!

You should also check if the cassette player works, if there is


electricity in the plugs and if the cassette is in good condition. These
may seem unimportant details, but one of them is enough to ruin a
carefully prepared activity.

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Developing skills in primary school

Think first!

Can you remember a personal teaching experience of a listening


activity that didn’t work? Can you remember why it didn’t work? How
would you do it again?

Write your answers in the space provided below (about 50 words).


Check your answer against the suggestions mentioned above.

Examples of listening 1. Picture dictation


activities Level: 4th grade (10 years old)
Topic: My room
Aims: a. giving pupils practice in listening for detail
b. reinforcing vocabulary on colours and furniture
c. practising the prepositions of place

I. Pre- listening activity: Game: Where is it?


One child goes out of the classroom. The teacher hides an object.
On his/her return, the child has to guess where it is by asking the
others questions like Is it in the pencilbox?

II. Listening activity

The pupils draw, following the teacher’s instructions.(Description:


There is a table in the middle of the room. There is a flower vase on
the table. The flower vase is blue. There is a red flower in the vase.
There is a bed on the right. There is a green ball under the bed.
There is a wardrobe on the left. There is a window between the
wardrobe and the bed. The curtains are yellow. ) When they have
finished, the teacher reveals the picture and reads the text again.
Then the pupils can evaluate their own drawings.

III. Post-listening activity

The pupils write four sentences to describe the picture using there is
and there are.

2. What’s your telephone number?


Level: 3rd grade (9 years old)
Topic: Numbers
Aims: a. giving pupils practive in listening
b. reinforcing the use of numbers in context (asking for/giving
information)

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Developing skills in primary school

I. Pre-listening activity:

Repeat a counting rhyme (example: One is the sun/ Two is a shoe/


Three is a tree/ Four is the door, etc)

II. Listening activity:

Pupils receive worksheets. They have to listen to the tape and fill in
the correct telephone numbers.

Name Telephone number


Janet
Kate
Steven
Patrick

Tapescript:
Situation1: “Janet?” “Yes.” “What’s your telephone number?”
“384951”
Situation 2: “Can you give me your telephone number?” “Yes, it’s
497381.”
Situation 3:”What’s your telephone number, Stephen?” “Err… my
phone number is… oh, yes. It’s 903705.” ‘Pardon?” “903705.”
Situation 4: “My phone number is 307420.” “Thanks, Patrick.”
(From Magic Time, Longman, 1995)

III. Post listening activity – Speaking


Each child asks four colleagues what their names and telephone
numbers are and takes notes.
Name…………………………………………………
Telephone number …………………………………

Note the variety of phrases used for the same purpose and the real
life hesitations in the tapescript.

Learning task 2

Choose a listening task from a textbook in use. Define its aims.


Describe the activity (what the teacher does, what the pupils do).

In about 50 words, write your answers in the space provided below.


Compare them with those given at the end of this unit.

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2.2.2. Speaking
As we have seen in Unit 1, children like talking. If you want them to
speak English, they need to be offered the chance to do it in class
and to use as many varied activities as possible. Children love to
learn rhymes, songs, little dialogues and short phrases. They are
also very responsive to music, rhythm and roleplay and really are
willing to take a turn in a dialogue.
However, teachers find speaking a very difficult skill to teach. When
speaking, a child needs to master vocabulary, pronunciation,
structures, functions and interaction.
Besides, it is a fact that permanent correction from the teacher leads
to a negative result: the children no longer concentrate on the
meaning of what they are saying. Instead, they will try to be as
accurate as possible. Here is a teacher’s permanent dilemma at this
level: Should I focus on fluency or on accuracy? Is there a ‘secret
recipe’ for both?

Think first!
How fluent are you in English at the moment? What helped you
improve your fluency?
Write your answers in the space provided below. Compare them
with the suggestions that follow.

Whatever your conclusions, it must have been the necessity to


communicate in repeated circumstances that helped you improve
your speaking skill. While personal effort is the key word in
developing speaking skills, speakers also need models to refer to. In
our case, you can be the model for your pupils by initiating the
dialogues, participating and role-playing yourself. However, in such
situations you should be careful that you don’t participate too much
and draw all the attention to yourself.

Vocabulary is the amount of words and phrases we learn in a foreign


Language functions
language. But what do we do with them? In order to create real
communication, we need to make a selection of vocabulary
according to the aim of our message.

Language functions define the purpose of communication. People


talk to each other in order to give and receive information, to ask for
directions, to express an opinion or to apologize.

This is how a meaningful context is created. Before you decide


that your pupils should learn a dialogue, you have to establish the
right context.

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Developing skills in primary school

Here is an example:

Topic: Shopping

Language Vocabulary Interaction


function
Greeting Hello! Good morning!
Offering ( to help How may I help you? Customer
or offering Would you like a…? Shop assistant
somethig) Here you are.
Asking for Can I have a …,
(something/ please?
price) How much is the…,
please?
Giving thanks Thank you.
Asking for Can you tell me the Pairs
directions way to…, please?
Expressing likes I like….I don’t like… Pairs
I love…I hate…
I’m really fond of…..
I don’t mind…

Learning task 3

Match these sentences or phrases with the functions they express.


Write your answers in the space provided below. Compare with the
answers at the end of this unit.

1. Can you tell me which is the way to the library, please?


2. Where do you live?
3. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it.
4. Would you like another sandwich?
5. Good bye, Mr. Green!
6. May I come in, please?

a. Offering something
b. Greeting
c. Asking for directions
d. Asking for permission
e. Apologizing
f. Asking for information

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Roleplay One of the most difficult problems is how you can get the students
remember the right replies in a situational dialogue. Do they have to
learn the dialogue by heart? Do they have to repeat it several times
with the teacher and then try to reproduce it? There is no magic
recipe for the success of this activity, but there are a few hints that
have proved efficient.

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1. Pre-teach the vocabulary. It’s absurd to have pupils perform a


dialogue they can’t understand.

2. Use pairwork as often as possible. Children need to get used to


talking to each other. For control, you can ask one or two pairs to
act out dialogue in front of the class. Acting means using body
language, specific intonation, even different objects. Be an actor
yourself and encourage your pupils to be good actors.

3. Encourage your pupils to think in English and express their


own opinions. Look at this dialogue about food:

“Do you want a biscuit?”


“No, thanks. I don’t like biscuits.”
“Really? I like them a lot.”

Children will use the expressions selectively if you encourage


them to say what is true about themselves and not repeat the
model dialogue. Whatever is personal, remains.

Personal experience also refers to the teacher. You need to try


several methods, but you will use those that you consider
efficient and you like. (For more details, go back to Unit 1, page
16.)

4. Remember that speaking is a productive skill which takes


time and practice to develop. Speaking activities need to take
place regularly and only as a natural result of previous activities.

5. Create situations and tasks which correspond to the


children’s abilities. While listening, which is a receptive skill,
involves a lot of anticipation and guessing, speaking doesn’t.
When you speak, you need to have all the lexical material ready
to use. If the dialogue requires a lot of unknown vocabulary, it will
not work.

6. Do guided practice first, then free practice. Whatever you


learn, whether it is shoe making, cooking or teaching, there are a
few basic stages that a good tutor will guide you through.

a. This is what you have to do. This is how you do it. (Presentation)
b. Now let’s do it together. (Guided practice)
c. It’s your turn to try. If you can’t, I’ll be here to help you.
(Controlled practice)
d. All right. Now you will do it yourself. (Free practice)

In teaching dialogues, presentation is crucial. It can be a dialogue on


the tape, or it can be a dialogue the teacher acts out with two
puppets. Then, the pupils take one role, and the teacher assumes
the other. In the next stage, two children can act out the dialogue.
This needs to be followed by pairwork, with all the children acting.

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Developing skills in primary school

Finally, you can ask one or two pairs to act out freely. Either you
give them freedom to invent or you can change the situation a bit.

Think first!

What materials can you use to facilitate roleplay?

Write your answers in the space provided below (about 40 words).


Compare them with the suggestions that follow.

Examples of oral Apart from dialogues, there are a variety of activities that you can do
activities in primary school. Young learners like having fun and create fun in
what they do. Some of the following examples are very easy,
entertaining and they don’t need a lot of resources.

1. Simple speaking activities


a. Find your partner

Aims: to give pupils practice in speaking, to ask for/ give personal


information (Hello, what’s your name? My name is…)

Preparation: Write names of famous characters or TV stars on


cards. Each name is written on two cards, and each child receives a
card.

Procedure: The children have to ask each other questions until they
find their partners.

b. Which one is it?

Aims: to give pupils practice in speaking, to describe a person

Preparation: Cut out pictures of people from magazines, stick them


on cards and display them on the blackboard. The pupils give them
names.

Procedure: The pupils work in pairs: one child describes a picture


using such phrases such as: He/she is…, He/she has got… His
eyes are…., etc.

(From Phillips Sarah, Young learners, OUP, 1993, p. 39)

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2. Poems and rhymes


Aims: to practise the sounds, rhythms and stress patterns of English
or to practise a structure

Preparation: Learn the poem yourself and practise saying it with a


good beat. Add actions to make it more attractive. Draw simple
pictures to illustrate the poem.

Procedure:
a. Say the poem and demonstrate the actions.
b. Practise saying it with the whole class and gradually introduce the
pictures. Keep up a good rhythm.
c. Teach the children the actions.
d. Say the first word in the line. The children have to continue.
e. (optional) Write the words on the blackboard, explain or translate if
necessary. You can substitute the words with pictures.

Example:
Five little elephants
Standing in a row (five children in a row)
Five little trunks
Waving hello (Wave arms as ‘trunks’)
‘Oh” said an elephant (the first child looks at his watch in
‘Time to go’ surprise and hurries away)
Four little elephants
Standing in a row.
(From Phillips Sarah, Young learners, OUP, 1993, p. 108)

The rhyme continues until there is no ‘elephant’ left. Encourage the


children to replace the words (dogs/tails, birds/wings, etc.)

3. Songs and chants


Children love songs and rhythm.It’s easier to remember words that
go with music and movement. A chant is like a song without music,
with a very marked rhythm. You can find songs and chants in
collections which are especially made for young learners, but you
can also adapt songs you know.

For example, the famous ‘Frere Jacques’ was translated in English


as ’Brother Peter’. The tune was adapted to the following rhymes
(each line is repeated) :

I love chocolate / How about you? / Do you like chocolate? / Yes, I


do.

Songs can be used at any time in the lesson: in the beginning (as a
warm-up activity), in the middle (to relax after a more difficult activity)
or in the end to round up a lesson.

Some songs can be adapted for other activities. Here is an example


of a song that exists in our language, too.

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Developing skills in primary school

‘The farmer’s in his den’

The farmer’s in his den, The farmer’s in his den,


E, I, O, U,
The farmer’s in his den.
The farmer’s got a wife/son/cat, etc.

• Pupils sing and form a line moving around the class


• In goups, pupils can draw a poster of the farmer and what he
has got (animals, family, transport)

4. Information gap activities


In such activities, two pupils (A and B) ask each other questions to
discover differences between two pictures or texts. Basically, A
knows something that B doesn’t know and B asks for information.

Student A Student B

Paul has a secret friend, ……... Paul has a secret friend, Dixie.
He is from another planet. He He is from ………………... He
comes to see Paul comes to see Paul every
every……..... Sunday at 5 p.m.
……………………. Dixie is very small, as small as
Dixie is very small, as small as a …….. His skin is green, and
a finger. His skin is ………, and he has …….. eyes.
he has orange eyes. Dixie likes bananas and apples.
Dixie likes ……………………. He doesn’t like………….. He is
He doesn’t like milk. He is afraid afraid of cats and dogs. When
of………………... When he he sees Paul’s dog, he always
sees Paul’s dog, he always ……………………….
hides away.

There are also procedures for oral work which should become a part
of everyday routine.
• Describing pictures (either on a big card or pictures from the
textbook). You can start with very simple questions in the first lesson
(What’s this?) and gradually increase the difficulty up to How do you
know that?
• Drills, which are exercises of guided repetition meant to help
students produce certain structures automatically. You start from a
sentence and gradually replace a part of it, asking the pupils to
repeat it in the new form.

Teacher: John is eating / we
Pupil(s): We are eating, etc.

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Learning task 4

1. Choose one lesson from a textbook in use and list three activities
whose aim is practising oral language.
2. For one of the activities define the aims, the preparation and the
procedure.

In about 50 words, write your answers in the space provided below.


Compare with the examples above.

2.2.3. Reading and writing

Reading and writing will not be dealt with in different sections


because their approach is different in primary school as compared to
secondary school.

In primary school, the pupils are already in the process of learning


reading and writing in their native language. That makes it difficult
for children to start reading and writing in another language.

The National Curriculum for 3rd and 4th grade establishes the aims of
reading and writing in primary school.

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Developing skills in primary school

Learning task 5

List the reading and writing objectives in the National Curriculum for
the 3rd and 4th grade as follows.

Write your answers in the space provided below. Check with the
answers at the end of this unit.

Reading
rd
3 grade 4th grade
…………………………………. …………………………………...

Writing
3rd grade 4th grade
…………………………………. ……………………………………

Reading is a receptive skill. Its main aim is to have children


understand the written text, just as we do in everyday life when we
read notes, articles, letters, etc.

In primary classes, children need to read different types of texts:

• Textbook texts (short stories, descriptions, etc.)


• Dialogues
• Cartoon stories
• Exercise tasks
• Children’s own projects
• Easy readers

Here are a few very important aspects which need to be taken into
account at this level:

1. The pictures are very important.


Decoding the written text (making sense of what we read on the page)
is a very complex operation. Adults make use of all sorts of clues on
the written page: punctuation, paragraphing, key words, references to
things that have happened. In primary school, children are becoming
familiar with these in their own language, so they need a lot of visual
clues. At this age, illustrations matter as much as the words
themselves.
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Developing skills in primary school

That’s why textbooks for young learners include a lot of illustrations


and very little text. In order to practise or remember vocabulary, you
can successfully use picture dictionaries or flashcards.

2. Reading for meaning has to be encouraged.


There is a lot of discussion on whether the pupils should read silently
or aloud at this age. Reading aloud is for pronunciation and intonation,
while reading silently is mainly for meaning. Since both are equally
important, you have to give your pupils regular practice of both in the
classroom.
It is understanding the text that matters. That’s why checking
comprehension (through questions and answers, true – false
exercises, matching picture and word, filling in gapped sentences) is
absolutely necessary. In reading aloud, intonation proves the
understanding of the text, too.

3. Pre- and post-reading activities are very important.


Before we can exploit it in any way. the vocabulary in the written text
needs to be well understood (pre-reading activities). The texts have to
be based on the child’s language. That’s why, if they contain new
vocabulary, it needs to be explained and practised in various ways.
Some teachers make excessive use of translation with the reading
texts. Translation in the child’s mother tongue can help, but it destroys
the child’s motivation to read in English. It’s like instead of trying to
walk by himself/herself, the child will always have a “crutch” to lean
on.
When the pupils have proven they have a good comprehension of the
text, you can do activities which expand the ideas and appeal to the
child’s personal experience in the matter (dialogues, information-gap
activities, projects, etc.). Textbooks also contain exercises focusing on
certain grammar structures in the text.

4. The text has to be enjoyable.


The content of the texts needs to be attractive for the children and
should fit their interests. Children love stories and suspense, funny
characters and exotic places, but they are also interested in what
other children of the same age do or think. This is where special
attention needs to be given to the cultural aspect of learning a foreign
language (names, places, traditions). Encouraging the pupils to read
all sorts of texts will not only expand their reading for pleasure, but will
also enrich their imagination.

5. A proper layout and the good quality of the


illustrations ensure efficient reading activities.
Children have a specific range of visual reception. Illustrations need to
be clear and the letters need to be big enough. Many textbooks use
speech bubbles for dialogues. Their position in the text has to be good
enough for the child to understand who is speaking.

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Developing skills in primary school

Examples of My house
reading activities Level: 3rd grade

Aims: to give pupils practice in reading , to teach vocabulary on rooms


and furniture
Assumed knowledge: pupils should know the members of the family
and the rooms. They should also be familiar with verbs describing
daily routines.

1. Pre-reading activities:
a. You can use real doll furniture or flashcards to introduce the names
of the different pieces of furniture.
b. Picture discussion. Ask the children to look at the picture in the
book and answer the questions: Who are the people in the picture?
Where are they? Is there a Tv set in the room? Where are Paul
and his mother? , etc.

From M. Ralea, B. Popa “I Am Special”, EDP, 2002

3. Reading
At this level, you can follow this sequence:
• Give a model reading of the text yourself
• Use a cassette if there is any
• Ask the pupils to read, listen and repeat the text (stop after
meaningful pieces of text, not after separate words)
• Ask a few students to read the text aloud
• Check understanding by a true-false exercise

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Developing skills in primary school

4. Post-reading activity
Tick what is true about yourself:

I…. In the In the In the In the


bedroom living room kitchen classroom
write
eat
sleep
cook
play

Learning task 6

How important is reading for meaning from an early age ? Give your
opinion and reasons in about 50 words. Write your answers in the
space provided below. Compare them with the answers at the end of
this unit.

Writing
Writing is a productive skill. In primary school, pupils can encounter a
number of problems in regards with writing in English.

• spelling problems
• insufficient vocabulary
• lack of ideas
• accuracy in the way they express their ideas
Writing cannot start before the children have developed the skill of
writing in their own language because it is a very complex process.
Physically, the hand muscles have to be trained properly. Then, the
children need to be able to write such letters as w, y, q which are not
usually used in our language. Then, they need to become familiar with
the graphic form of the word and practise by reading it before they can
write it.

Think first!

Are there any dangers in asking children to write from their own
imagination from the beginning? What are they?

Write your answers in the space provided below. Compare them with
the suggestions that follow.

Proiectul pentru Invăţământul Rural 43


Developing skills in primary school

Experienced teachers have approached writing in primary school with


caution.

Although it is a difficult type of activity, there are many advantages in


writing:
• It helps pupils consolidate learning in the other skill areas in a
balanced way. Listening tasks, for example, require taking
notes, while practice in speaking freely helps when doing free
writing activities. This is actually the natural order of things in
real communication.
• As pupils progress in the language, writing activities allow for
the conscious development of language. When we speak, we
can’t always have a good control over the language we have
produced, but when we write, we can always go back on what
we have written.
• The sense of achievement writing gives is very valuable.
• Writing is a very important individual study technique.

Here are a few guidelines for successful writing activities in the 3rd
and 4th grades.

1. Copying is a good start.


This is a very simple type of activity which is helpful not only for
spelling, but also for text comprehension.(e.g. Copy the sentence
about Tom’s pet.) It gives you the chance to reinforce language
which has been presented orally or through reading.
.
2. Controlled (and guided) writing activities must precede
free writing ones.
Like oral activities, writing activities go from being tightly controlled
to being completely free. Guided activities are done to practise the
language and the concentration is on language itself. Free activities
should allow for self expression (no matter how low the level) and
content is what matters most. Matching and putting words/sentences
in order are semi-controlled activities.

3. Projects are a good way to motivate children for writing.


Projects are texts produced and illustrated by children. They are
topic based (e.g. My favourite TV programme) and they are the
outcome of the child’s imagination and personal experience.

It is a good idea to make a display of the children’s projects in the


44 Proiectul pentru Invăţământul Rural
Developing skills in primary school

classroom, as this gives them a sense of achievement. Besides, if


you want your pupils to produce good pieces of writing, you must
spend a lot of time on pre-writing work (talks, word webs, dialogues,
reading).

4. Homework is necessary, but it has to be given with care.


First, you must not set an exercise as homework without any
preparation. Secondly, you must not give the children exercises
which are beyond their learning capabilities.(such as compositions
on a given topic without any support words or ideas). It is very
important to set a routine of homework, but you should also carefully
choose the amount of homework you give.

5. Dealing with errors has to be gentle.


Just like speaking, writing is a productive skill. For the sake of
fluency, when we listen to children speak, we choose not to correct
all the mistakes. Accuracy comes with constant practice. You need
to decide which is the most important to correct – grammar,
punctuation, spelling or content. If you try to make the children’s
writing meaningful from the beginning, with an emphasis on the
content, correct the other mistakes gently. If possible, the mistakes
should be corrected while the pupils are still working on a task.
Pupils should also be encouraged to rewrite the sentences.

Learning task 7

How do you explain the following problems? What solutions are


there?

Write your answers in the spaces provided below each problem.


Compare them with the answers at the end of this unit.

1. Some children finish very quickly, and they disturb the class.
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
2. The dictation you gave them yesterday was a disaster. They
write exactly what they can hear.
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
3. Although you correct all the mistakes in your pupils’ notebooks,
they still make a lot of spelling mistakes.
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
4. Your pupils only do a part of their homework.
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
5. The compositions you give them always consist of two or three
sentences.
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………

Proiectul pentru Invăţământul Rural 45


Developing skills in primary school

Examples of writing 1. Controlled practice activities


activities
• Filling in gaps (letters in a word, words in a sentence, phrases
and grammar structures in a text)
• Multiple choice (e.g. Copy the right sentence that corresponds
to the picture)
• Mixed up sentences (to be put in order)
• Copying (new vocabulary, sentences, etc.)
• Dictation
• Writing letters, cards or other messages with given words or
following an example

2. Free practice activities


• Writing dialogues (and illustrating them in the form of a cartoon)
• Descriptions (e.g. ‘My room’, ‘My mother’, ‘My pet’, etc.)
• Letters
• Poems
• Simple stories
• Projects (e.g. My ideal town, An alien)

Learning task 8

Read the following text. Look back at section 2.2.3 and in about 60
words, suggest in the space below :
a. a pre-reading activity
b. a task for the reading activity
c. a writing activity that can follow it.

All the activities should refer to this text:

My best friend
Sam is my best friend.
Sam is short, and he’s got fair hair and brown eyes. He wears
glasses. In the morning we go to school together. On the way we
talk about our schoolmates, about music and about our pets.
We both like Maths, but we don’t like Geography. Sam is very
good at P.E, but I’m not. He can run a lot faster than me.
We sometimes do our homework together. On Saturday we go
swimming, but sometimes we stay at home and play chess or
computer games.

Compare your activities with those illustrated earlier in this section.

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Developing skills in primary school

2.3. Vocabulary and grammar structures


Children are naturally active and inquisitive. They enjoy playing, being
creative and taking part in activities that are engaging and fun. These
are natural resources that should be used in classroom situations.
Therefore, the topic chosen should be approached through a
succession of activity types which are carefully matched to the child’s
developmental level if they are to be challenging and motivating.

When we organize teaching around a theme (e.g. My house, My


family, Hobbies), we should also organize activities so as to maximize
opportunities for practising English as well as creating in this
language.

Think first!

In your opinion, does the textbook you are currently using offer
opportunities for topic-based work?

Write your answers (about 20 words) in the space provided below.


Check your answers against the suggestions that follow.

2.3.1. The advantages of topic-based work

• In topic based work we are concerned with vocabulary and


structures focused on a theme.Therefore, content automatically
becomes more important than language, and it is easier for you
to relate to the pupils’ interests and experiences.
• It can help learning processes in general. Association, for
example, is one of the most important learning processes.
Words are related to functions, to structures and situations. In
topic-based work, a context generates the use of certain
vocabulary and structures. Here is an example:

Topic Situation Functions Vocabulary


work
Food At the Asking/offering for Brainstorming
marketplace something politely Dialogue
Roleplay
Giving instructions Reading
A recipe Listening
Writing

• It reveals the children’s interests, and it makes it easier for


you to make a choice of activities according to your
Proiectul pentru Invăţământul Rural 47
Developing skills in primary school

particular group of pupils and to your personality. The


textbook is just a resource that you can adapt and work on
selectively.

2.3.2. Presenting and practising vocabulary


The children are quick to learn words and slow to learn structures The
structures need to be reinforced in different contexts, with different
vocabulary. In good textbooks, structures are repeated systematically.
Vocabulary is best learnt when meaning is explained by pictures, and
it is integrated into a meaningful situation.
In the process of learning new vocabulary, we recognise and
Active and passive understand more words than we actually use. Actually, our passive
vocabulary
(receptive) vocabulary exceeds our active (productive vocabulary). We
normally see or hear a word in different contexts before we begin to
use it, which means there is an incubation period.
That’s why it it essential to give young learners a limited active stock
quickly. From this, the pupils can build their vocabulary at a natural
speed. There are a few criteria we need to keep in mind when
selecting new vocabulary to teach:
• Frequency (how often the word is used)
• Range (The number of different contexts in which a word is
used)
• Usefulness (considering the pupils’ needs)

There are different ways in which the meaning of new words can be
explained (presentation of vocabulary):

1. Saying the word clearly, writing it on the blackboard and having the
class repeat it chorally
2. Translating it
3. Drawing a picture or showing a flashcard
4. Giving an example in English to show what the word means
(placing it in context)
5. Asking questions which contain the new word
6. Showing an object (realia) to illustrate the word
7. Miming the meaning of the word
8. Looking it up in the dictionary

Learning the new word is a more difficult task. It means practising it.
Here are a few suggestions for helping the children learn new
vocabulary:

1. Dialogues/ role play based on support structures or visual materials


2. Gap filling exercises to check understanding
3. Information gap activities
4. Discussions about a theme
5. Comprehension questions in a text to focus on the meaning of new
vocabulary
6. Pupils’ own sentences including the new word
7. Personalisation (wherever possible, pupils’ own experience has to
be involved).

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Developing skills in primary school

2.3.3. Teaching grammar structures


Think first!

What do you think about giving primary school pupils grammar rules to
apply in exercises (no more than 20 words)?

Write your answer in the space provided below. Compare it with the
suggestions given in this unit.

The National Curriculum sets a limited number of structures to be


taught in primary school. They are referred to as “elemente de
constructie a comunicarii” (communication building items), which
emphasizes once more that communication is the main concern.

In primary school, grammar is not taught explicitely. This is because


the pupils do not have knowledge of the concepts (tense, parts of
speech, etc.) in their native language. Secondly, the accent is on
fluency to a larger extent than on accuracy. That’s why it is not a good
idea to correct the child every time he/she makes a mistake.

However, when you want to have your pupils practise certain


structures (e.g. Continuous Present Tense), it is efficient to follow
these steps:

1. Highlight the structure you want to practise (select it from the text
and write it on the blackboard or draw the pupils’ attention to the
Laguage focus box in the textbook).

2. Do some oral drills using written or visual prompts.


Say the sentence Tom is eating now. Then show the children a
flashcard showing a child who is sleeping. They will have to produce a
new sentence: Tom is sleeping now.

In order to practise the Present Continuous verb forms, you can


suggest changing the subject (Tom is eating/ You / You are eating,
etc.)

3. Do some guided practice exercises based on a context (e.g. A


picture showing children in the park and a gapped text to be
completed with actions they are doing )

4. Do free practice exercises (e.g. A dialogue, sentences created by


children, language games, etc.)

5. Create new situations and contexts for the use of the new
structure whenever you can.

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Developing skills in primary school

Learning task 9

Make a list of Dos and Don’ts for activities of teaching vocabulay


and grammar.

In about 60 words, write your answers in the space provided below.


Compare your list to the suggested list at the end of this unit.

Do Don’t do
………………………………..
…………………………………..

Summary
Setting up your teaching aims is a very important decision. The
National Curriculum is the document which outlines the whole
educational policy and gives you the necessary orientation in what you
will have to teach.
The main objective in primary school is developing skills. There are
specific requirements for skill development activities which take into
account the learners’age level as well as the communicative approach
basic principles. For each of the skills there are a number of illustrative
activities whose stages are described in detail. There is also a lot of
practical advice on specific teaching strategies which can help you
solve problems that usually occur in class.
Children learn words easily, but are slow at remembering structures.
That’s why introducing and practising vocabulary has to be done in
ways and contexts which should make communication activities
challenging and motivating for the children.

Key concepts

• the National Curriculum


• general and specific objectives
• receptive and productive skills
• language functions
• task-based activities
• fluency vs. accuracy
• guided practice and free practice
• topic-based work
• active and passive vocabular

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Developing skills in primary school

Further reading
1. Ministerul Educatiei si Cercetarii, Consiliul National pentru
Curriculum, anexa 3 la OMEC 5198/ 01.11.2004 (Programe scolare
pentru clasa a IIIa – limba engleza )
2. Ministerul Educatiei si Cercetarii, Consiliul National pentru
Curriculum, anexa 2 la OMEC 3919/20.04 2005 (Programe scolare
pentru clasa a IV- a limba engleza)
3. Sarah Phillips, 1993, Young Learners, Oxford University Press , pp.
6-7, 17-38
4. Harmer J., 2001, The Practice of English Language Teaching,
Longman, part 6, pp. 199-282

Answers to learning tasks

Should your answers to LTs 1 and 2 not be comparable to


those given below, please revise section 2.2.1.

LT 1
1. The tendency to slip into the use of native language is natural. The
children might want to find confirmation from their classmates that they
got the right message. They might also fail to understand what you are
saying and get bored.
2. The task might be too difficult and might involve too many processes
at the same time.
3. You need to explain to the parents that their children will get used to
the language only if they listen to it regularly. Besides, you need to
simplify your language and use other means to help your pupils
understand your message (mimic, pictures).

LT 2
1. Define the aims in point of vocabulary, skills and functions
2. In describing the steps, think about their logical sequence.
(For example: 1. The pupils read the sentences in the book. 2.The
teacher plays the cassette. 3. The pupils work individually to tick
the true sentences., etc.)

Should your answers to LT 3 not be comparable to those given


below, please revise section 2.2.2.

LT 3
1c 2f 3e 4a 5b 6d

Should your answers to LTs 5 to 8 not be comparable to those


given below, please revise section 2.2.3.

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Developing skills in primary school

LT 5
Reading
(dezvoltarea capacitatii de receptare a mesajului scris)
3rd grade 4th grade
La sfarsitul clasei a III a elevul va La sfarsitul clasei a Iva elevul va
fi capabil : fi capabil:
3.1. sa recunoasca litere/ grupuri 3.1 sa recunoasca semnele de
de litere in cuvinte si cuvintele in punctuatie si caracteristicile
spatiul grafic ortografice ale limbii engleze
3.2. sa citeasca un text scurt cu 3.2. sa desprinda informatii
glas tare particulare dintr-un text citit in
3.3. sa desprinda sensul global gand
al unui text simplu, citit in gand *3.3. sa citeasca fluent un scurt
* 3.4. sa sesizeze legatura dintre text cunoscut
text si imaginile care il insotesc
Writing
(dezvoltarea capacitatii de exprimare scrisa )
3rd grade 4th grade
La sfarsitul clasei a IIIa elevii vor La sfarsitul clasei a Iva elevul va
fi capabili: fi capabil:
4.1. sa reproduca in scris litere, 4.1 sa reproduca litere/ grupuri
grupuri de litere, cuvinte, de litere, cuvinte, sintagme,
sintagme, enunturi enunturi
4.2. sa realizeze legatura intre *4.2. sa realizeze legatura dintre
scriere si pronuntie la nivelul rostire si scriere la nivelul unei
cuvantului si al grupului de propozitii scurte
cuvinte 4.3. sa produca in scris scurte
4.3. sa scrie cuvinte, sintagme, enunturi/ mesaje, pe baza unui
propozitii suport verbal/ imagine

LT 6
1. it gives relevance to reading as a form of communication
2. it is a way of practising new vocabulary and structures
3. it can be a good start for speaking activities on a certain topic
4. it is an activity which keeps the children quiet
5. it develops thinking in English
6. It motivates the children to read in general.

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Developing skills in primary school

LT 7
Nr. Explanation Possible solution
a. Some children just hurry, a. correct their piece of work
1. and they make mistakes and ask them to rewrite
b. Some children are fast and b. have some extra exercises
work well in stock for them
2. The children are not familiar - leave dictation for later.
with the written form of the - do some more simple guided
word. exercises
3. Spelling is not a priority. You - focus on content rather than
have given the right amount on spelling.
of time to skill development - do more copying exercises
4. a. The amount of homework Select attentively the amount
is too big. The pupils have a and difficulty of the homework
lot to do for other subjects, you give.
too. Explain the task well.
b. It is too difficult. Make sure the pupils know the
vocabulary.
5. a. the children’s vocabulary is Work more on the vocabulary
too poor in different contexts.
b. you haven’t done enough Exploit the reading texts in the
guided work point of text organisation.
c. the children lack ideas.

Should your answers to LT 9 not be comparable to those given


below, please revise section 2.3

LT 9
DO DON’T DO
Practise the same set of words in Introduce a large amount of
different contexts new vocabulary every lesson

Practise a limited vocabulary Introduce new situations


stock every time you have a without ever practising them
chance later

Explain new vocabulary in Translate new vocabulary all


different ways the time

Refer to the children’s own Ask the children to write


experience everything they do

Show how a grammar rule works Correct grammar mistakes all


without giving theoretical the time (especially in
explanations. speaking)

Expect the children to learn the


rules and apply them
immediately.

Proiectul pentru Invăţământul Rural 53


Lesson planning strategies

UNIT 3
LESSON PLANNING STRATEGIES

Unit Outline
3.1. The importance of planning ........................................................................................54
Unit objectives....................................................................................................................55
3.2. Conditions for efficient activities .................................................................................56
3.2.1. Content ...................................................................................................................57
3.2.2. Procedure ...............................................................................................................60
3.3. Long-term planning ....................................................................................................62
3.3.1. Year planning ..........................................................................................................62
3.3.2. The learning unit .....................................................................................................64
3.4. Short-term planning ....................................................................................................66
3.4.1. The lesson plan .......................................................................................................68
3.4.2. The plan in action ....................................................................................................71
3.5. Optional course curricula ...........................................................................................73
Summary...........................................................................................................................75
Key concepts ...................................................................................................................75
SAA No. 2..........................................................................................................................75
Further reading ...............................................................................................................76
Answers to learning tasks...............................................................................................76
Appendix 1 – A year planning model ................................................................................80
Appendix 2 – A learning unit model ..................................................................................83
Appendix 3 – A lesson plan model.....................................................................................84

3.1. The importance of planning


Think first!

Have you ever achieved something successfully after careful


planning? How did previous planning help?

Write your ideas in the space below (about 20 words)


You can find suggestions in the text following this task.

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Lesson planning strategies

Good organization of whatever we do is the key to success. Whether


you want to organize a party, a trip or a lesson, you need to take into
account a number of factors: what you want to achieve, what
resources you can use and which resources you need, when to take
action and how you will do it. Planning helps you work in a coherent
way and to be prepared to cope with unexpected situations. It also
gives you the feeling that you have things under control.

Now that you have seen who the young learners are and what they
have to learn, it’s time you start thinking about how you are going to
work with them.

Unit objectives In this unit you are going to learn:


• how to make a year planning
• how to plan a learning unit
• how to make a lesson plan.

Planning has to respect certain coordinates given by official


documents and methodology. However, the way you anticipate and
devise your activities in class is highly personal. You have to feel
comfortable with what you do, otherwise it doesn’t work. Recipes are
good, but they can be improved. When cooking, we use a recipe
creatively, adding or giving up certain ingredients according to our
taste.

Therefore you can choose to try activities you have seen, heard of or
read about, but you need to take into account certain aspects.

• The class (the children’s level, what they are responsive to,
previous successful activities with a particular group of
children)
• The resources (you shouldn’t plan a lesson based on a
video if you haven’t got one, no matter how attractive it
seems)
• Your own abilities (if you can’t draw, make sure you have
flashcards; if you can’t sing, make sure you have a tape to
use)
• Appropriacy (some themes and activities do not fit into the
realities of our world – e.g. birdwatching, which is a popular
hobby with British children). In other cases, the children don’t
have the previous knowledge to understand the content (see
“How a camera works”, “Islands in the South Pacific” in
Splash!: Manual pentru clasa a IV-a)
• Preparation (Have the pupils done this before? If so, did it
work? If not, how much response and involvement do you
anticipate?)

Planning is one of the strategies that supports proffessional


development. The teacher’s knowledge exceeds what he/ she has to
teach in class. The selection of content and techiques is a matter of
experience and a result of training. To sum up, a good teacher is not
Proiectul pentru Invăţământul Rural 55
Lesson planning strategies

only one who knows the subject very well, but also one who is able
to organize and adapt the content and his/ her methods to the
requirements mentioned above.

Learning task 1

How can planning improve the teacher’s behaviour? How does it


influence the pupils?

In about 40 words, write your ideas in the space below. Compare


them with the answers at the end of this unit.

3.2 . Conditions for efficient activities


The word “efficient” is defined as “ productive of desired effects”. An
efficient language activity is one that leads to the learning of
vocabulary and to enhancing pupils’ autonomy in using it. Good
learning is measured through the development of skills and the
attainment of the Curriculum targets.

Think first!

Have you ever observed a lesson taught by a more experienced


teacher? What kind of activities did he/she do? How did the children
respond? Was there anything special in the teacher’s behaviour?

Write your ideas in the space below (about 50 words).

There are a few suggestions in the text that follows.

Experienced teachers seem to have no difficulty in organizing their


activities and the children respond adequately all throughout the
lesson. This is actually the result of long-practised similar activities
and of the objective self-evaluation of their own performance. There
are also training courses that gives quality to their lessons as well as
a permanent concern for developing the pupils’ learning skills.

The lesson consists of a number of sequences having a common


aim. These sequences need to ‘flow’ smoothly in a relaxed
atmosphere. In primary school, the affective element is very
56 Proiectul pentru Invăţământul Rural
Lesson planning strategies

important. If the children like what they are doing, they do it well.
Somebody once remarked about learning at this age: “They think
they are playing. I know they are learning”.

In order to achieve a good learning atmosphere, you need to create


certain conditions. Some of them refer to the content of your
activities, some to the procedure. Here are a few suggestions:

3.2.1. Content
1. Be careful with the way you check comprehension
When you listen to a message in a foreign language, you can’t
understand everything. You do your best to make sense of the bits
you understand and guess at those you don’t. Sometimes you
translate in your mother tongue. Sometimes you ask questions or
use body language. This is normal with all speakers of foreign
languages, whether children or adults. During the lesson, the
teacher wants to make sure the children understand the whole
message and in this way make the children feel secure and
confident. If you check constantly by asking “Do you understand?”,
they will think you expect them to understand every single word, and
they will soon feel unable to do it!

The fact is that even in our mother tongue, we use whole messages
and not separate words. Therefore, the accent is on whole
messages in a foreign language, too. If you insist on separate
words, the meaning is lost.

Learning task 2

How do each of these methods of checking comprehension help?

In about 120 words, write your answers in the spaces provided


below.
Check with the answers at the end of this unit.

1. Translating each instruction into the native language


………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
2. Pointing to things, using pictures, mimicking.
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
3. Encouraging the children to demonstrate, point to things, act out
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………

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Lesson planning strategies

4. Using the new vocabulary in other contexts, paraphrasing


………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
5. Observing the children’s non-verbal reactions (a puzzled face, a
smile, enthusiasm or complete silence)
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
6. Asking children if they have understood
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
Which of these do you usually use?
………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………

2. Do constant recycling
Whenever you have the chance, bring into discussion vocabulary or
structures that you have already taught. For example, if the topic of
your lesson is “Buying clothes”, you can recycle vocabulary on
colours and numbers (for price), adjectives, expressing likes/
dislikes, asking for information, etc. Language acquisition requires
time and is stimulated by regular revision. When you learn to ride a
bike, regular practice and revision are also important.
On the other hand, revising material which they have already learnt,
gives the children a chance to demonstrate their capabilities. This
strengthens the children’s self-confidence and increases their
motivation.

3. Create meaningful contexts


Communication means a real exchange of ideas, opinions,
questions and answers. The context needs to make sense for both
the speaker and the listener.
Situation 1
A.:Can you tell me the way to the hospital, please?
B: You are here. This is the hospital.
Situation 2
A: Is this a hospital?
B: No, it isn’t. It’s a church.

In situation 1 there is a real language exchange based on asking for


/ giving information.

In situation 2, even if we think about possible circumstances in which


A cannot see the specific signs which indicate a hospital, we still
can’t understand what created the confusion. We can only presume
that the teacher wanted the pupils to practise the interrogative
structure “Is this a…? Yes, it is / No, it isn’t.”

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4. Encourage the children’s creativity


Children like to do the same thing (singing a song, playing a game or
watching a video) over and over again. Repetition and imitation are
important means of learning at this age. At the same time, children
can combine a relatively restricted vocabulary in a large number of
ways. Actually, success in a foreign language depends to a large
degree on the learners’ ability to use language creatively. Moreover,
stimulating creativity helps the development of imagination and other
mental abilities and processes needed in foregn language learning.
Here are a few suggestions for developing creativity:
• Ask the children to make rhymes/ new lyrics for songs they
know
• Ask them to draw and describe their imaginary classroom/
house, a monster, etc.
• Start projects from very simple stories (e.g. TheTthree Little
Pigs: the portrait of the wolf, the description of the little pig’s
house, a dialogue between the pigs and their mother).
• Get your pupils to act dialogues, sketches, stories. Encourage
them to modify these dialogues by using words, phrases and
sentences of their own choice whenever possible.

• Alternate activities that get the children to think about


activities that keep them busy
Imagine a very simple game in which you stick five pictures
representing fruit on the board. The children look at them for a few
seconds, then you ask them to close their eyes. You pick up one
card and then ask the children to open their eyes and say which one
is missing. First, they need to remember the names of fruit. Then,
the order in which they are placed on the board and finally say which
one is missing. These activities involve thinking. Colouring the fruit
does not.
In primary school children have a short attention span, and they
need simple activities in order to give the brain time to relax. When
they are tired, they become noisy and they can’t concentrate any
more.

Here are a few examples of such activities:

Get pupils to think by…. Keep them busy by……

• Information-gap activities • Colouring


• Puzzles • Joining dots
• Games • Copying
• Competitions • Reading aloud
• Talking about • Singing
themselves • Repeating after the
• Following oral or written model
instructions • Writing after the model
• Projects

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3.2.2. Procedure
It is very important to select the topics and the language you are
going to teach, but it is equally important to teach all these in an
appropriate way. Here are a few rules that must be observed:

1. Ensure variety in your activities


The younger the pupils, the more varied the lessons need to be.
Practising the new vocabulary has to be done in several steps, from
guided to free practice. Each time you decide to get your pupils to
practise the same structure, you can either create a new context or a
different kind of activity. In primary school, you need various
techniques and procedures within restricted vocabulary and
structures.
This is the real skill of the primary school teacher: to keep
vocabulary to a minimum and at the same time use a great variety of
techniques to teach it.

2. Create routines
It seems rather contradictory to create variety and routines in the
same lesson. However, these two requirements need to coexist
during the lesson. Doing certain things at certain times, using
classroom language all the time will help you not only to achieve
your aims, but also to keep the class under control. The sense of
anticipation is also something that has to be educated. When the
children become familiar with different stages of the lesson and
different procedures, they can anticipate what comes next in the
lesson, and they feel secure and confident.

Learning task 3

Write a few phrases you use as classroom language. Use the space
provided below.

You can find more suggestions at the end of this unit.

3. Give coherence to your lessons


You should plan only as many activites as you know you can do in
one lesson. Here are a few tips which will help you:

• When you plan your lesson, you must always refer back to your
general aims in order to give coherence to your plan.
• You should also pay attention to timing, by trying to anticipate
how much time you need for each activity.
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• Don’t forget that it’s the pupils’ talking time that matters, not the
teachers’ talking time. Give them as many opportunities to use
the language as you can. They will learn mostly from what they
do, not from what you tell them to do.
• Make sure you have one or two activities ‘in stock’ in case the
ones you have planned finish earlier.

Think first!
Before you read this section, make a list of the activities which
create noise and disorder in the classroom. Which are the activities
which keep the children calm and quiet?

Write your answers in the space provided below.


Compare your answers with the suggestions given in the next
paragraph.
Here are two examples:

‘Stirring’ activities ‘Settling’ activities


Competitions Copying
……………………………… ……………………………
……………………………… ……………………………
……………………………… ……………………………..
……………………………… ……………………………..
……………………………… …………………………….
……………………………… ……………………………..

4. Stirring and settling activities


You will find that some activities ‘stir’ the children in a positive way –
they become enthusiastic, talkative and they feel stimulated.
However, over-excitement might affect learning negatively, and the
pupils will be hard to monitor during oral work, competitions, games,
pairwork and action rhymes.
Other activities ‘settle’ them down and get them to work in silence
(e.g. listening, copying, reading, colouring). That doesn’t mean that
‘stirring’ activities involve thinking, while ‘settling’ ones don’t.
Usually, you should take care to combine the two kinds in a
balanced way.

5. Treat mistakes carefully


This aspect has already been dealt with in Unit 2 (Writing).
However, you’ll need to take into account two more aspects:

• Real communication demands risk taking. Trying out


knowledge which is not well acquired is the basis of all
learning, so mistakes are inherent. In class we only simulate
real life situations in which we expect to use the language.
The classroom should be a safe environment where all the
pupils can be allowed to make mistakes in order to learn.
• The ultimate attitude goal for the teachers is to achieve their
pupils’ autonomy. The moment your students will be able to
express themselves freely in English is the ideal one, but it
takes a lot of trial-and-error practice.
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3.3 Long-term planning

Think first!
Before you go on reading this section think about the moment
when you decided to become a teacher. What plans did you
have in mind? What steps did you follow to achieve your aims?

Write your ideas in the space below (about 50 words).


Compare your ideas with the suggestions given below.

When you need to make a major decision in life, long-term planning


is what you do in order to define your aims and to decide upon
what exactly you will do, when and how you will do everything.
Then you break up the whole action into smaller steps. You also ask
yourself a number of questions: Where do I start? How do I start?
What instruments can I use ? Who can I ask for support?

In this section you are going to work on long-term planning having in


mind what you will do during a year, during a semester and during a
limited number of lessons.

3.3.1. Year planning


Year planning is a compulsory document for every teacher. You will
have to do it every year, for each level you will have to teach. It
contains certain allocations of time in which you have to attain the
objectives set by the National Curriculum and also teach the
vocabulary, functions and structures provided by the same
document. A well-made year planning will include all the obligatory
objectives and topics included in the National Curriculum for a
certain level. Let’s start by answering a few questions:
1. Where do I start?
The first step for you is to read the National Curriculum carefully.
Then you need to look for the topics, functions and structures to be
taught in the textbook you will use. If you find out that some of them
are missing, you will have to look for them in different other sources
(alternative textbooks are a good choice). In terms of skill
development, you need to check if the textbook has regular
exercises for practising the four language skills. You will also include
the current and end of term revision periods as well as the test
papers.
2. How do I start?
Look at the number of weeks in the schoolyear. Make a rough
division of the topics in the textbook so as to cover all of the lessons.
Some of the topics will need more time to teach, some will need
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less. It’s up to you to decide how many hours you will allow for each
of them, according to the level of your pupils and the difficulty of the
chapter/unit. One such division is called a learning unit and it will
be dealt with later in this section.
3. What instruments do I use?
You have to use documents (the National Curriculum), textbooks
and you can use models from other sources (such as “Ghidul
metodologic pentru aplicarea programei de limba engleza” or the
year plannings of more experienced teachers.) But take care! These
models are just for your orientation, so don’t copy them just because
someone told you they are good. You have to think for yourself and
personalize your year planning if you want to work efficiently.
4. Who will tell me if my planning is good?
In every school there is a senior teacher you can ask. In your
particular case, you can also ask your tutor. They can only give you
an opinion, but what counts more is that you really work with the
planning and adjust it according to your own observations.
5. What does year planning look like? Is there a pre-
established format?
Unless it has been decided otherwise by the staff in your school or
region, the year planning format should be the following:

School…………. Teacher …………………


Subject …………… Grade ……..Nr. lessons per week …
Year ……………………….

YEAR PLANNING

Learning Specific Topics Nr. of Week Remarks


unit objectives Functions lessons
Structures
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

In this table, we indicate the learning units (1) by titles (topics), for
example “Weather and Seasons”. (2) and (3) are indicated in the
National Curriculum. (4) is the number of lessons you allow per unit.
(5) is actually the week in the calendar, while (6) is there for you to
write down if there was a change (for example you needed more
lessons on this topic) or if something didn’t work. You will find a year
planning model in Appendix 1 at the end of this unit .

6. Can I change anything in the planning if I see it


doesn’t work?
Year planning is just for your orientation during a school year. You
can change the number of hours if there are not enough or too
many, but you can’t change the objectives or the topics in the
National Curriculum. You will see how important this idea is in the
point of evaluation, because there are National Evaluation
Standards at the end of primary school. It means that all the children
in this country have to learn the same thing at the same time, but not
necessarily in the same way.

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Learning task 4

Tick the following sentences if you think they are true and cross
those which are false.

Check your answers with those at the end of this unit.


1. Year planning contains of all the titles of the lessons in the
textbook.
2. The number of hours I allow for each topic is different.
3. Revision is done only at the end of term.
4. I can adapt the textbook to meet the Curriculum requirements.
5. A learning unit is a part of yearly planning.
6. I can adapt the Curriculum according to my pupils’ level.
7. If I teach two different grades (3rd and 4th ), I can use the same
yearly planning.
8. I have to follow my year planning closely, but I can make some
changes if necessay.
9. My yearly planning includes all my lesson plans.
10. Specific objectives refer to listening comprehension, speaking,
reading comprehension and writing.

3.3.2. The learning unit

The learning unit is the main component of the year planning. It


contains a detailed planning of the vocabulary / structures / functions
as well as the necessary learning activities and resources.
Evaluation will also be included in the learning unit.

A learning unit contains several lessons on the same topic. As in the


case of the year planning, there are a few questions you might ask :
1. Why do I need another form of planning before I do the
lesson planning ?
Planning a learning unit is actually ‘breaking the big thing into
pieces’. The year planning is very general, and it does not contain
details. The lesson plan is the most detailed form of planning.
2. What are the advantages of planning learning units?
Before you start a new unit (chapter), you need to know precisely
what you have to teach, how you will do it and what resources you
need to prepare. This will make it a lot easier for you when you think
of details in the lesson plan.
3. What is the connection between the learning unit and the
lesson plan?
In the past, teachers planned the lessons only. What they lacked
was an overall picture of the lesson as a part of a unit. You can’t
teach something today and forget about it tomorrow. Teaching
needs coherence, and the pupils need to start thinking coherently.
4. Do I have to plan all the learning units from the
beginning of the schoolyear? Won’t I spend too much time
on paperwork?
You needn’t plan all the learning units from the beginning.You can
do that in time. One learning unit can extend on for two or three
weeks, so there won’t be too much paperwork at the beginning.

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Besides, it is worth spending time planning your units, as you can


use the same units the following year at the same level.
5. How do I start planning a unit?
Planning a learning unit, as well as planning a lesson, starts from a
strategy which you can apply to any step in your teaching career:
The steps of the strategy are in the cases above, the actual actions
are in the cases below.

Why am I What am I What am I How am I How much


doing this? going to do? going to going to do of it did I
use? it? achieve?
Identifying Selecting the Selecting Choosing the Selecting
objectives content resources activities evaluation
instruments

6. Is there a format of the learning unit?


Here is a suggested format of the learning unit. You will find a
learning unit model in Appendix 2 at the end of this unit.

Unit title: ……………………. Grade: …….


Nr. of lessons: ……………..

Content Date Activities Resources Evaluation


(vocabulary,
structures,
functions )

In planning the learning unit, you can use any resources you can
find or you may create some (flashcards, posters, story books,
collections of language exercises, other textbooks). The main
condition is that these resources should fit the children’s level. In
conclusion, giving the students as many opportunities to use the
language in a coherent manner is the main focus of the lesson.

Learning task 5

Read the learning unit model in Appendix 2 and answer the


following questions. In about 40 words, write your answers in the
spaces provided below.

Compare your answers with the answers at the end of this unit.

1. Which activities are meant for speaking practice?


………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
2. What resources for introducing vocabulary are suggested?
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
3. Which grammar structures are practised in this unit?
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………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………
4. What types of classroom interaction can you identify?
………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………
5. What kind of supplementary sources are mentioned?
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………

3.4 Short-term planning

Think first!
Here are a few factors for you to observe in lesson planning. Number
them in the order of their importance for you. For me, the most
important is “clear lesson objectives” (no. 1 below).

Compare your answers with the suggestions given later in this unit.

… the number of activities


… specific objectives for each activity
… the variety of tasks
1 clear lesson objectives
… the length of activities
… the alternation of stirring and settling activities
… timing
… realistic and concise activity description
… creating opportunities to practise the four skills
… different forms of interaction (individual, pairwork, group work)
… creating fun during the lesson
… alternatives to activities which might not work
… the teacher’s guide
… alternating mentally engaging with actually occupying activities
… creating real communication contexts
… anticipating problems that might occur
… freedom to use the textbook creatively

What is a lesson You might very well ask yourself what a lesson plan is - a script
plan? which is going to be followed slavishly or proposals for action
whether detailed or in the form of notes?
We are now going to organize the above-mentioned factors
according to a number of very important criteria. The main dilemma
in lesson planning is whether we should start from activities or from
the objectives.
In his book The Practice of English Language Teaching, Jeremy
Harmer suggests considering four main planning elements.
• Activities
This is what pupils will be doing in the classroom according to their
level and their particular group features. Actually, you can see the
lesson as a sequence of balanced activities in which the pupils
interact and use the language in different ways.
• Skills
Before we start planning the lesson we need to decide what skills we
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want our pupils to practise. Skills are provided by the curriculum and
all coursebooks approved by the Ministry contain skill-based
activities.
• Language
It is very important to know precisely what language we need our
pupils to learn and to create appropriate contexts for that. For
example, if you decide to teach body parts, ‘Doing gymnastics’ is a
good context.
• Content
When planning a lesson, you should try to select content which can
create interest and involvement. For example, talking about toys in
primary school is a very attractive content, while environment is not.
Another perspective on lesson plannig is suggested in 3.3.2. It starts
from objectives (“Why am I doing this?”) and continues with the
consequent choice of content and procedures.
In making your plans, you should adopt the style you feel the most
comfortable with. Remember that your plans are meant to help you
identify your aims and anticipate potential problems rather than help
you become an actor on the stage. Plans are proposals of action for
you during the lesson, therefore you can take the decision to
change the action every time it proves inefficient.

Think first!

Before you go on reading this section, answer the following


questions. Write down your answers in the spaces provided below.
Check your answers against the suggestions given in this section.

1. What is the first thing you do when you start making your plan?
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
2. What resources (other coursebooks, for example) do you usually
use? ……………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………..
3. Do you use a certain format? How did you come to use it?
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
4. Do you write a detailed description of your activities or just notes?
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
5. Have you ever change the plan during the lesson? If so, why?
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
6. How do you decide that your plan is good or not?
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………

7. Which, in your opinion, is the advantage of using a lesson plan?


………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………….

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Lesson planning strategies

3.4.1 The lesson plan


Jeremy Harmer (2001, pg. 302) suggests three steps a teacher needs
to go through from pre-planning to a final plan.
• The pre-planning background
• The pre-planning decisions
• The plan

We are going to exemplify these stages with lesson 2 (Shopping)


from the learning unit model in Appendix 2.
Pre-planning For this lesson here are some of the facts that you need to
background remember about the class you are currently teaching. For example:

• The class is at the beginner level, between 9 and 10 years


old. They are enthusiastic. They love talking but get easily
out of control with too many oral/ stirring activities.
• The pupils need ‘waking up’ at the beginning of the lesson.
• They are familiar with roleplaying, and they like creative
activities.
• They have already learnt and practised vocabulary on food
• The topic of the lesson involves asking for/giving information
(shopping for food is the best context), quantifiers and
numbers 1-20.
• The pupils have already done guided practice on the topic,
so they need free practice activities.

These decisions make the rough outline of your plan. For example:
Pre-planning • The lesson should include a warm-up activity
decisions
• There should be several speaking activities, including roleplay
• There should be both ’stirring’ and ‘settling’ activities
• The main focus is on the shopping dialogue
• The quantifiers need a better context to be practised (e.g.
recipes)
The plan
Keeping in mind the decisions above, here is a possible sequencing
of the lesson. (You will find the detailed lesson plan in Appendix 3 at
the end of this unit.)
1. A warm up activity (game) to help pupils remember the
vocabulary on food
2. Introducing quantifiers (a bag of sugar, a loaf of bread, a
bottle of Coke)
3. Guided speaking practice (dialogues in the book)
4. Free practice (pairwork)
5. Individual practice (writing)
6. A language game (the recipe game).

Lesson aims A lesson normally has more than one aim. There are skill aims,
content aims and attitude aims. Here are a few examples in our
particular case:

• To give pupils practice in speaking (skill aim)

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• To enable pupils to ask for/offer something politely (content


aim - function)
• To encourage the pupils to interact in pairs and groups
(attitude aim).

If we think about the aims in terms of what pupils should be able to


do by the end of the lesson (e.g. ask for a specific quantity of food),
the aim is specific and has a measurable outcome. At the end of the
lesson, you can say how many pupils can do it and how many can’t.
Aims should reflect what we hope the pupils will be able to do, not
what you as a teacher are going to do.
The lesson plan Organizing your ideas is the most important step in writing the
format lesson plan. You can choose the form which is the most convenient
for you to use during the lesson and for evaluation after the lesson.
There is an example of a complete lesson plan in Appendix 3 at the
end of this unit.

Here is a possible outline of a lesson plan:

LESSON PLAN
Grade: …...
Unit: …………………………..
Title of the lesson:……………………….
Lesson aims: 1.…………………………………………………………..
2. …………………………………………………………..
3. …………………………………………………………..
Materials: …………………………………………………
Anticipated problems: …………………………………..

Activity 1
Aim: ……………………………………………………

Procedure Interaction Timing


1.
2.
3.

Activity 2, etc.

Homework: ………………………………………………………………..

The anticipated problems – the situations which might prove


troublesome in your lesson (e.g. the pupils are not familiar with pair
work, which means you need more time to organize it).
Procedure – the actual activities in the lesson (e.g. The teacher
points to different pictures of clothes. The pupils repeat the word
chorally.)
Interaction – the actual form of cooperation and response during
the lesson (individual, teacher - pupil, pair work, group work).
Timing - the allocation of time for each activity during the lesson.

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Learning task 6

Read section 3.2 again. Then look at the lesson plan model in
Appendix 3 and answer the following questions (in about 50 words):

1. Which skill is mainly practised in the lesson?


………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………..
2. What are the ‘stirring’ activities?
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
3. Is there any listening comprehension activity?
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
4. Which activities are ‘settling’?
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
5. Which activities focus on the guided use of the new vocabulary?
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
6. Which activities focus on the free use of language?
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
7. What instructions does the teacher give for activity 5?
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
8. What previous knowledge of English do the pupils need?
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
9. Is children’s creativity encouraged in any way? How?
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
10. Which activities get the pupils to think and which keep them
busy?
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………

Compare your answers with those at the end of this unit.

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3.4.2. The plan in action


Lesson planning is not an easy job to do, but it is a lot easier than
applying it in class. Some see the plan as a script the teacher has to
follow. Others consider it is a simple proposal of action which needs
to be modified if it doesn’t work. If we see the plan as a script, what
are we going to do about the unexpected situations in class?

Think first!

What unforeseen problems can appear during the lesson?

Take your answers to the next tutorial to discuss them with your
classmates and your tutor.

However well we think out the lesson the plan is only a suggestion of
what we can do in class. But how can we say when a plan is good?

Basically it all depends on how the pupils respond and relate to the
teacher’s proposals of action. As Jim Scrivener shows in his book
“Learning Teaching”, as a teacher you need ‘to prepare thoroughly.
But in class, teach the learners – not the plan.’
Here are a few suggestions which can help you to plan a successful
lesson.

1. Heterogeneity means supplying various types of activities in the


lesson. It is a very important feature of practice progress. Good
practice can be achieved through exercises that are adequate to
several levels and possibly can be answered according to the
students’ language level. In this situation the lower level students will
provide simplified answers, while the higher level students will
provide more complex sentences.
2. Flexibility involves adapting the plan to a certain situation or to a
particular group. It also means adapting the textbook to the
necessities of the teacher and the learners. Sometimes an activity
works so well and the atmosphere is just perfect, so you can choose
to continue, although there is something different in the plan.
3. Coherence means following a ‘thematic thread’ with a number of
lessons so that you can use the same language in different contexts
for some time. On the other hand, coherence involves offering your
pupils as many recycling opportunities as possible so that they can
use language in productive skill work. For example, we can revise
body parts in topics such as ‘Health’ or ‘Animals’ or colours in
‘Clothes’, ‘Toys’, ‘Seasons’.
4. Balance refers to many aspects of teaching. First, it means a
realistic combination of skill-focused activities. Even though the
children love to role play and it works well, it is unwise to do

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roleplaying all the time. On the other hand, balance is also needed
among stirring and settling activities, mentally engaging and actually
occupying ones. The balance between the presentation, guided
practice and free practice activities is also very important. (For more
details look for Jim Scrivener’s theory in the Glossay at the end of
this book.)
5. Feedback means looking for proofs of success but also critically
accepting to find solutions for what didn’t work. Written plans are not
only proposals of action, but also records of what has taken place. It
is a good idea to use plans as record and research tools. On one
hand, you can keep a record of how successful certain activities
were. On the other hand, troublesome situations can be the starting
point for study, in your own attempt to find out the causes of failure.

Learning task 7

For each of these situations that might appear during the lesson,
provide : a) a possible explanation b) a possible solution.

In about 150 words, write your answers in the space provided below:
You can find some suggestions at the end of this unit.

1. You planned an interesting activity, but the pupils found it boring.


a)……………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
b)……………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………….
2. The activities in the plan finished too quickly.
a)……………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
b)……………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………….
3. Some pupils work faster than others and they get bored.
a)……………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
b)……………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………….
4. Although the pupils have listened to and repeated the new words
several times, they can’t match objects with words, so you think they
are not attentive.
a)……………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
b)……………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
5. In spite of all practice, pupils repeatedly use Simple Present
instead of Continuous Present.
a)……………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
b)……………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………….

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Lesson planning strategies

3.5 Optional course curricula


Apart from the compulsory study of foreign languages starting from
the 3rd grade, in primary school you can choose to teach English in
an optional course. Optional course policy is a school decision so
don’t be surprised if children in one school study English in the 1st
and 2nd grade, while others don’t.
Suppose that you really like teaching songs and rhymes, and you
have discovered that you haven’t got enough time for that during the
lessons. In this case you can take a course called “Teaching English
through songs”. You can develop your own optional course or you
can do a cross-curricular one together with the class teacher (for
example English and Craft.)
You need to make your own curriculum for this optional course. The
structure of this curriculum and your objectives will be totally
different from the National Curriculum - it wouldn’t make sense to do
the same thing in the 1st grade and then repeat it in the 3rd!
This is a possible structure for an optional curriculum:

• Argument (in which you sustain your reasons for this optional
course)
• Specific objectives (which will define what the pupils are
supposed to do)
• Learning activities (types of activities the students will
actually do in class)
• Topics (the information that pupils will acquire and use during
your particular optional course)
• Evaluation suggestions (the types of evaluation which are
going to be used such as oral, written, projects, etc.)
• Bibliography

Here is an example of an optional course for the 1st grade, ‘Learning


English with Tilly and Fogg”. The title of the course is the title of the
coursebook used by the teacher, and it is taught 1 lesson per week.

Argument
• This course is meant to bridge the gap between studying
English in kindergarten and resuming it again in the 3rd grade.
• The course facilitates the correct acquisition of the sounds of
English through a longer period of listening activities
• It aims at building a positive attitude mostly by creating the
children’s pleasure of using English in games and songs.
Through action rhymes, language games, chants and other
activities, it helps teach children how to work and enjoy
themselves together (social integration).
• The course helps the children get used to the British cultural
background gradually (school life, popular games with British
children, typical nursery rhymes).

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Lesson planning strategies

Specific objectives Learning activities


Throughout this course, the
children will

1. interact in pairs and groups - action games, competitions


2. act as cartoon or fairy tale
characters - roleplay
3. illustrate messages in English
by their own drawings or - picture dictation, collage
collages
4. match song, rhythm and - nursery / action rhymes, jazz
movement chants, TPR activities

Topics
1. Games and toys
2. British nursery rhymes and festivals
3. Cartoon and fairy tale characters
Evaluation will be done according to the following criteria:
1. The child’s response and involvement in the activities
2. Picture dictation
3. Singing a song or a jazz chant.
Bibliography
1. Gardescu, E. and Vasile C., 1998, Tilly and Fogg, Editura ALL,
Bucureşti
2. Gardescu, E., Vasile C., 1998, Tilly and Fogg: Ghidul
profesorului, Editura ALL, Bucureşti
3. Gardescu, E. 2004, Tilly and Fogg: Caietul elevului, Editura ALL,
Bucureşti
4. Phillips, S., 1993, Young Learners, OUP
5. Cant, A. and Superfine, W., 1997, Developing Resources for
Primary, Richmond Publishing

Learning task 8

Compare the optional course curriculum above with the 3rd grade
National Curriculum. In about 60 words, write what you found out:

1. Differences of objectives
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
2. Common topics
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
3. Common procedures
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
4. Differences of evaluation
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
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Lesson planning strategies

Summary
Planning is a key stage of efficient learning. It gives coherence to
your performance, and it strenghtens your self-confidence and your
pupils’ esteem. If you know what you are doing, the children will
sense it immediately, and they will confidently follow you. If you
don’t, you might easily lose control over the class from the beginning
of the lesson. By planning your lessons, you can adapt the content
and teaching techniques to a particular class and to your personal
teaching style.
Planning is necessary on three levels: long-term planning (year
planning and the learning units), short-term planning (the lesson
plan) and optional course curricula. For each level, this unit offers
models and suggestions that you can try out and improve.
Year planning and lesson plans are the most important documents
that a teacher has to devise. They may be different from one teacher
to another and from one class to another. Through a sustained
exercise of realistic self-evaluation of your plans at the end of each
lesson, you can become a reflective teacher, and you will constantly
improve and refine your methods.

Key concepts

• Eficient learning
• Meaningful contexts
• Constant recycling
• Strirring and settling activities
• Learner autonomy
• Year planning
• Learning unit
• Lesson plan
• Optional course curricula

Send-away assignment no. 2

Send your tutor the following:

1. A copy of your year planning for a primary class. If you don’t


teach primary, choose one textbook, which is in use in your school
and make a sketch of a year planning without writing the dates.

2. One learning unit from the same year planning.

3. A lesson plan from the chosen learning unit.

4. For the lesson plan above, make a list of resources:


- you already have in school
- you can get from different sources (specify them)
- you can make yourself.

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Lesson planning strategies

Further reading
1. Harmer, J., The Practice of English Language Teaching, 2001,
Longman, pp. 308-320
2. Halliwell, Susan, Teaching English in the Primary Classroom,
1992, Longman, pp. 11- 15, 20-21
3. Gardescu, E., Vasile C., 1998, Tilly and Fogg: Ghidul
profesorului, Editura ALL, Bucuresti, pp. 5-7, 66-67
Answers to learning tasks
Should your Answers to LTs not be comparable to those given
below, please revise the following sections: for LTs 1 –
section 3.1, for LTs 2 and 3 – section 3.2, for LTs 4 and 5 –
section 3.3, for LT 6 – sections 3.2 and 3.3, for LT 7 – sectio 3.4
and for LT 8 – sections 2.1 and 3.5 .

Should your answer to LT1 not be comparable to that given


below, please revise section 3.1.

LT 1
• It increases your confidence in what you do during the lesson.
• It helps you understand concepts in methodology better.
• It creates a ‘routine’ of the lesson stages, which helps the
children understand its logic.
• It gives the students the feeling that the teacher is leading them
on the ‘right track’.
• It gives you a starting point for evaluating your own strong and
weak points.
• You are never at a loss for ideas.
• By doing it over and over again you feel secure in case your
lesson is observed by anyone.
• Once you have become acquainted with the basic steps, you
can try new ideas.

Should your answers to LTs 2 and 3 not be comparable to


those given below, please revise section 3.2.

LT 2
• Translating all the instructions into the native language : it
doesn’t help much, as it destroys the natural environment for
learning English , which is English itself. The children will not be
encouraged to trust their ability to guess meaning and will never
get the feeling that they are using English ‘for real’. As soon as
the children see that every instruction is translated for them,
they will hardly bother to listen to the instructions any longer.
• Pointing to things, using pictures, mimicking supports
understanding through non-verbal means, as it sometimes
happens in real life. When you talk to a baby, you show the
object or make faces to make yourself understood.
• Encouraging the children to demonstrate, point to things,
act out : It’s one of the procedures used in the Total Physical

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Lesson planning strategies

Response activities (see Unit 1). It gives you an immediate


feedback on how much of the message the child understood.
• Using the new vocabulary in other contexts, paraphrasing ,
asking questions
It is very efficient with children who already have some
knowledge of English, there are many such exercises in
textbooks.
• Observing the children’s non-verbal reactions (a puzzled
face, a smile, enthusiasm or complete silence): this is the
simplest way to see what has been understood.
o a puzzled face = what do you mean?
o a smile = OK, I’ve got it!
o enthusiasm = I know what you want me to do, and I like
it!
o complete silence= I don’t understand, so I can’t answer.
• Asking children “Do you understand?” is a very inefficient
way. None of the children will say ‘yes’ lest the others should
disregard him/her. Besides, the children will believe you expect
them to understand everything.

Normally, a teacher uses a combination of all these.

LT 3
General instructions Giving praise:
Let’s start. Well done.
Listen. Yes, that’s right.
Come here, please. Good work.
Go to the door/ window / Very nice.
blackboard. Other situations:
Open your books, please. I don’t understand.
Pay attention. Repeat, please.
Copy the sentence. Let’s work in pairs.
Repeat after me.

Should your answers to LTs 4 and 5 not be comparable to


those given below, please revise section 3.3.

LT 4
1. Year planning contains all the titles of the lessons in the textbook.-
FALSE
You can include several textbook titles under one topic. For example,
the topic “Animals” can include lesson 1 “Animals at the zoo”, lesson 3
“My pet”, Lesson 5 “The little frog”, etc.

2. The number of hours I allow for each topic is different. - TRUE


You decide how much time you need to teach different topics properly.

3. Revision is done only at the end of term. – FALSE


There are current revision lessons every three or four units.

4. I can adapt the textbook to meet the Curriculum requirements. -


TRUE
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Lesson planning strategies

The National Curriculum is a state document which must be


respected. Textbooks are just tools you can use. There are alternative
textbooks for every subject and every level. You can choose one
according to your style or to your pupils’ level.

5. A learning unit is a part of year planning. – TRUE


A learning unit includes several lessons on the same topic.

6. I can adapt the Curriculum according to my pupils’ level. – FALSE


The Curriculum is compulsory for all the pupils in the country.

7. If I teach two different grades (3rd and 4th ), I can use the same year
planning. - FALSE
You need two different year plannings, but you can use the same
planning in the following year for the same grade.

8. I have to follow my year planning closely, but I can make some


changes if necessay. – TRUE
Changes are allowed, and they will be marked in the Remarks section.

9. My year planning includes all my lesson plans. - FALSE


Year planning is done for your orientation; the lesson plans are
detailed plans of the learning units.

10. Specific objectives refer to listening comprehension, speaking,


reading comprehension and writing. - TRUE

LT 5
1. Dialogues, reading aloud, warm-up discussion of pictures and
the ‘trolley’ game, role play (shopping)
2. Posters, flashcards, real objects, cut-outs from brochures
3. Quantifiers, indefinite articles a/an, numbers, plurals
4. Class interaction:
• Teacher – student (vocabulary presentation, model reading)
• student- student (dialogue, group project)
• individual (comprehension checking, activity book exercises,
individual project)
• whole class (grammar rhythm)
5. Pictures, objects, activity book, practice books, other courses
(e.g. Magic Time).

Should your answers to LT 6 not be comparable to those given


below, please revise sections 3.2 and 3.3.

LT6
1. Speaking
2. Activities 1, 5, 6
3. Activity 2 step 4, additional activity (picture dictation )
4. Activities 2, 3, 4
5. Activities 3,4
6. Activities 5,6
7. 1.Now get into groups of three. Use the words in your notebook
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Lesson planning strategies

(act. 4) to make a shopping list. Here is an example: three bottles of


milk/ one packet of biscuits… 2. Look at the pictures. This is a shop.
Who wants to be the shop keeper? I’m the customer (model dialogue).
3. In your groups, one is the shopkeeper, two are the customers.
Come here. Talk. (If you give the ‘customers’ a bag, the message will
be clear.)
8. I’ve got…, the plural of nouns, numbers 1-20, there is/ there are
9. In activity 5 (the shopping list and the dialogue), in activity 6
10. Activities that keep them busy: Activity 2/2, 3/2, 4. All the other
activities get the pupils to think.

Should your Answers to LT 7 not be comparable to those given


below, please revise section 3.4.

LT 7
1. a) Either the topic is not fit for the children’s age or the procedure is
too difficult. b) Don’t insist on carrying it out to the end or you will lose
the children’s attention. If you can’t adapt it on the spot, give it up or try
it another time.
2. a) They were too simple, too few or you didn’t allow enough time for
practice. b) Try one that you can manage easily or give the children
some independent work to do. In the future make sure you have one
or two activities in stock for such cases.
3. a) It’s a normal situation with different ability children. b) provide a
variety of exercises or complicate the task for the higher level.
4. a) There was an error in the presentation stage – for example you
didn’t show pictures or objects when introducing the new words.
Besides, there was little or no guided practice of the new vocabulary.
b) ‘Listen and repeat’ the new words is just for pronunciation. The
pupils need to use the new words in familiar contexts within various
practice activities before they can remember them.
5. a) This is because there is no such difference in the pupils’ native
language. b) In primary school, it doesn’t help to insist on rules.
It will take a longer time and a lot of context-based practice for the
children to use the two tenses correctly. In time, the acqisition of the
two forms will show in the unconscious use of the correct form.

Should your answers to LT 8 not be comparable to those given


below, please revise sections 2.1 and 3.5 .

LT 8
1. National Curriculum:
• four main objectives, corresponding to the four skills
• specific objectives for both receptive and productive skills
• accent on content aims
• objectives attained through language functions
Optional Curriculum
• listening is favoured
• accent on attitude aims
• focus on complementary learning activities (drawing, collages,
action rhymes).
2. Games and toys, songs and poems
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Lesson planning strategies

3. Roleplay, singing , telling poems , pairwork, Total Physical


Response activities

4. National Curriculum - written, oral, portfolios


Optional Curriculum - Attitude / involvement, participation

Appendix 1 – A year planning model


School: School 149, sector 3, Bucharest
Teacher: Ioana Voinea
Subject : English
Grade: 3rd
Textbook: Ralea, Monica and Popa Bianca, “I am special”, 2002, EDP,
Bucureşti
Nr. lessons per week: 3
Year : 2004- 2005

No. Learning unit Objecti Topics No. Week Remarks


ves* Functions less
Structures* ons

1ST SEMESTER

1.1, - School objects 15-17


1. What’s this? 2.1, 2.2 - Greeting 2 Sept.
- Identifying things 20- 24
Sept. (1h)
1.1, - Colours 20-24
2. What colour is 1.2, 2.2 - Describing people, 3 Sept.(2h)
the sea? animals, places 27 – 1
Oct. (1h )
1.1, - Furniture 27-1 Oct.
1.2, 2.2 - Numbers 3 (2h)
3. Where is it? - Identifying things
- Saying where 4-8 Oct.
people and things (1h)
are
-The verb to be
1.2, - Names
1.3, - Age 4- 8 Oct.
4. The child’s 2.2, - Numbers 6 (2h)
world (lessons 2.3, 3.1 - Family members
4, 5, 6) - Introducing yourself 11-15 Oct
and somebody else
- Asking for/giving 18-22 Oct
information (1h)
5. Revision 1 All As before 3 18- 29
Oct.
1.1,2 - Animals
6. 2.1,2 - Leisure 3 25- 29
At the circus 3.1,2 - There is / are Oct.(2h)
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Lesson planning strategies

4.1, 2 - Identifying things


- Saying where 8-12 Nov.
people/things are (1h)
1.3, - Animals, pets 8-12 nov.
7. Have you got a 2.3, - Have got 3 (2h)
pet? 3.2, 4.2 - asking/giving info 15- 19
5.1 - expressing Nov. (1h)
possession

8. What’s the 2.2, - weather 3 15- 19


weather like? 3.2,3 - seasons Nov. (2h)
4.2 - giving /asking for 22-26
info Nov. (1h)
1.3 - Parts of the body
2.2, 3 - Animals 3 22-28 nov
9. Can you draw a 3.2, 3 - Can/can’t 29 – 3
lion? 4.2, 3 - describing animals Dec. (1h )
- expressing mental
and physical ability
2.2, 3 - Holidays 29 – 3
3.2, 3 - Have got 3 Dec (2h)
10. Merry 4.2, 3 - expressing likes
Christmas! 5.1 and dislikes 6- 10 Dec
-expressing ability (1h)
11. Revision 2 All As before 6 6- 21 Dec.

2ND SEMESTER

1.3 - Activities
12. Wintertime 2.2, 3 - Continuous 6 10- 21
3.2, 3 Present January
4.2, 3 - talking about
present activities
1.2 - Rooms and
13. My house 2.1, 3 furniture 6 24 Jan. –
3.3 - Simple Present 4 Feb.
4.3 - talking about
5.1 present activities
1.2 - Daily activities
14. Can you play 2.1,3 - Numbers 3 7-11 Feb.
after lunch? 3.3 - Telling the time
4.3 - asking / giving info
2.3 - Hobbies
15. What is your 3.2 - likes and dislikes 5 14 – 25
hobby? 4.2 Feb.
1.3, 2.3 - Clothes
16. I can’t find my T 3.3, 4.1 - Continuous Present 4 21- 25
shirt - describing people, Feb (1h)
talking about present 28 Feb.- 4
activities March
17. Revision 3 All As before 5 7 – 18 Mar
1.2, 4 - Groceries 14 Mar –
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Lesson planning strategies

18. Let’s make a pie 2.3 - asking for 6


3.2, 3 something, offering 15 Apr.
4.2 - Giving suggestions
- giving thanks
1.2 - Buildings 11- 15
19 My street 2.1, 3 - The days of the 3 April
3.3 week
4.3 - identifying things 18- 22
5.1 and their position Apr.
1.3 - Holidays 18 Apr. –
20. Easter time 2.2, 3 - Plural of nouns 6 5 May
3.4 - describing traditions
5.1

1.2, 2.2 - Fruit, vegetables 5 3 - 13


21. I love the 3.2, 4.3 - Farm animals May
country - Describing places,
present activities

1.2, - Seaside activities


22. Going on 2.2, - present activities 6 16 – 27
holiday 3.2, 4.3 May
30 May –
23. Revision 4 All As before 3 3 June
24. Final Revision All skills All previous topics 6 6- 17 June

*Cf. Curriculum National

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Lesson planning strategies

Appendix 2 – A learning unit model


Unit 18 – Let’s make a pie
Grade – 3rd
No. of lessons – 6
Textbook: Ralea, Monica, Popa Bianca, “I am special”, 2002, EDP,
Bucureşti

Content (vocabulary, Date Activities Resources Evaluation


structures, functions )
1. Warm-up (discuss
FOOD April pictures in the book) Oral
• Food vocabulary 4th 2. Introduce vocabulary Textbook
• Reading practice on food Poster
3. Read dialogues and Flashcards
act out
4. Activity book
exercises

LET’S GO SHOPPING April 1. Present quantifiers Objects Oral


• Shopping dialogue 6th 2. Read dialogues V. Evans – Written
• Quantifiers: a box 3. Practice on Roundup
of…, a bag of…, etc. quantifiers
• Numbers 4. The recipe game
• Need
Sweets
SWEETS April 1. Vocabulary practice Cassette Oral –
• Flavours, sweets 8th 2. Grammar rhythm player dialogues
• Shopping dialogue 3. Speaking practice – Tape
• A, an role play Magic Time
• Plurals (revision) 4. Writing practice – p. 15
• Offering, sentences
accepting/refusing
1. The ‘trolley’ game
STONE SOUP April 2. Model reading by the Gardescu Oral
• Revision of previous 11th teacher E., Written
items 3. Exercises to check English
• Reading practice comprehension Practice
• Revision of 4. Project: ‘My special book 1, p.
quantifiers and plurals soup’ 50
1. Make 4 groups
GROUP PROJECT April 2. Students make group Large Oral
‘THE SUPERMARKET’ 13th posters (different sheets of
• Revising food items supermarkets) paper
and shopping dialogues 3. ‘Customers’ in one Cut-outs
group go shopping – from
shopping list supermarket
brochures
Glue
April Test 4 from the Individual Written
TEST PAPER 15th textbook, page 59 copies

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Lesson planning strategies

Appendix 3 – A lesson plan model


For reasons of space, we have used the following symbols: T= teacher, P= pupil,
PP= pupils, PW= pair work, GW= group work, IW= individual work

Grade: 3rd
Unit: 18 “Let’s make a pie”
Title of the lesson: Let’s go shopping
Textbook: Ralea, Monica and Popa Bianca, “I am special”, 2002, EDP, Bucureşti

Lesson aims:
1. To allow pupils to practise speaking by asking and offering something politely
2. To give pupils practice in using quantifiers in the context of shopping

Materials: textbook, monster poster, food containers, flashcards, worksheets

Anticipated problems:
Pupils might find it difficult to remember the dialogue replies.
Possible solution – a competition or a language game to motivate them.

Activity 1 – Warm – up (The Monster game )


Aim: revising names of different food items

Procedure Inter- Timing


1. T draws or shows a poster with a monster having a very large action
mouth and a very large stomach. 10 min
2. Each child receives a flashcard with a different food item. T-P
3. PP have to ‘feed’ the monster sticking the cards in its mouth. If
they say the correct word, the food goes to the monster’s
stomach. If not, it stays in its mouth.

Activity 2 – Introducing the new vocabulary


Aim: presentation of vocabulary on quantifiers, revising numbers

Procedure Inter- Timing


1. T shows the containers and tells the corresponding words (a action
bottle of water, a box of candy, a packet of biscuits, a bag of 10 min
sugar) T - PP
2. PP listen and repeat.
3. The same procedure for a loaf of bread, a kilo of cheese
4. T asks questions about the picture in the textbook (e.g. Where
are the children? How many bottles of ketchup are there? How
many eggs are there in the box? How many bags of sugar are
there? What do the children buy? )

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Lesson planning strategies

Activity 3 – Speaking practice


Aim: guided practice of quantifiers

Procedure Inter- Timing


1. T gives a model reading of the first dialogue (or uses a action
cassete player) 10 min
2. PP listen and repeat T-PP
3. A few pairs of pupils read the dialogue taking up Mary’s and
the shopkeeper’s roles PW
4. In pairs, all PP read the dialogue

Activity 4 – Writing practice


Aim: to practise spelling of the new vocabulary

Procedure Inter- Timing


1. PP solve the exercise in the textbook (e.g.2/pg.45) action
2. The answers are checked in class 6 min
IW, T-
PP

Activity 5 –Speaking practice


Aim: to practise asking for something/offering politely

Procedure Inter- Timing


1. In groups of three, PP make a shopping list action
2. T sticks flashcards on the blackboard, putting up a ‘shop’. T 10 min
is the shop keeper in a model dialogue. GW
3. In groups of 3 (1 shop keeper, 2 customers), PP ‘go
shopping’ for the items on their list

Activity 6 - Speaking practice – The ‘basket’ game


Aim: to practise the new vocabulary in a different context

Procedure Inter- Timing


One P starts the game by saying I’ve got a bottle of milk in my action
basket. The next in the row continues: I’ve got a bottle of milk 4 min
and two bags of sugar. The game goes on until the chain of P-P
words is interrupted.

Activities “in stock”:


Picture dictation – T gives PP a worksheet with a simple drawing such as a table
with an empty plate and asks the children to draw and colour as follows:
There is a loaf of bread on the table. There are three apples on the plate – one is
red and two are yellow. There is a cup of coffee near the plate and a bag of sugar
next to the cup. There is a bottle of milk on the right and a box of candy on the left.
There is a basket under the table. Ther are two loaves of bread and a bottle of Coke
in the basket.

Homework : Make up a similar dialogue using the words in exercise 2.

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Using and creating resources

UNIT 4
USING AND CREATING RESOURCES

Unit Outline
4.1. The value of resources in primary school....................................................................86
Unit objectives....................................................................................................................87
4.1.1. A few principles of developing resources in primary school .....................................87
4.1.2. The efficient use of resources ..................................................................................90
4.2. Using already existing resources ...............................................................................91
4.2.1. The coursebook pack...............................................................................................91
4.2.2. The blackboard .......................................................................................................95
4.2.3. Visuals ....................................................................................................................98
4.2.4. Games ..................................................................................................................100
4.2.5. Authentic materials ................................................................................................103
4.2.6. The tape/CD/video player .....................................................................................105
4.2.7. Teaching with a minimum of resources .................................................................107
4.3. Creating resources ...................................................................................................110
4.3.1. Resources created by the teacher ........................................................................111
4.3.2. Resources created by the pupils ...........................................................................114
Summary.........................................................................................................................117
Key concepts .................................................................................................................118
Further reading .............................................................................................................118
Answers to learning tasks.............................................................................................118

4.1. The value of resources in primary school

Think first!

Before starting to read this unit, make a list of the resources you
currently use in your lessons.

Add this list to your portfolio and take it to your next tutorial to
discuss it with your classmates and tutor.

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Using and creating resources

In daily practice, teachers follow published coursebooks but there


are instances when teachers need other materials, too.These
materials are called teaching aids or resources. However, the term
‘resources’ includes other things as well.
First, time can be considered a resource. The way you distribute
your topics in time within your year planning or your activities within
the lesson plan is very important.
Then, it’s the space you use. In Unit 1 (1.3.3.- The influence of the
environment) we showed how important it is for primary school
children to learn a language in a friendly classroom and how you can
organize your own materials and resources.
Last, but not least, it’s the variety of resource books for teachers,
such as those mentioned in the bibliography of this course. You can
find out where some of them are available by contacting the local
inspector. If you have Internet access, you can join forums on
proffessional organization sites or find a lot of ideas and
downloadable resources.

Unit In this unit you will learn:


objectives • how to use different resources in the lesson in an efficient way
• how to create your own resources
• how you can teach with a minimum of resources.

Here are a few examples of such resources:

• very common and simple teaching aids such as real objects,


the blackboard, coursebooks, dictionaries, visuals
• modern audio-video technologies
• aids created by the teacher or the pupils.

We are going to include all of them under the generic name


‘resources’.
Language teachers use a variety of aids to explain meaning and
structures, to engage students in oral work or to illustrate a topic. In
this unit you will learn how different teaching aids can be used in the
classroom efficiently. You will find examples of activities in which
different types of resources are used, and you will learn how to build
your own activities. The examples are as different as possible (e.g.
vocabulary presentation, information- gap activity, etc.) in order to
illustrate various teaching situations.

4.1.1 A few principles of developing resources in primary school

Think first!

Before you go on reading this section, go back to Unit 1, section 1.2,


The characteristics of young language learners. How do each of
these characteistics influence the choice of resources in primary
school?

Write your opinions in the space below in no more than 150 words.

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Take your answers to the next tutorial to discuss them with your
tutor and classmates.

Here are a few principles that need to be taken into account when
using and making resources. Some of these principles focus on
content, others on form. According to these, resources have to be:

1. Easy to make, easy to handle


Many of the materials you use during the lesson take a lot of time
and effort to make. There are ways to avoid this. For example, you
can save a lot of time by using cut-outs from magazines or leaflets to
illustrate vocabulary instead of trying to draw or paint them or paying
a lot of money for coloured copying. You can keep these materials in
order acording to the topic (in a ‘resource box’ or ‘bank of ideas’)
and have access to these resources without complicated
preparation.
2. Large and clear enough to be seen by everybody
In order to ensure a good understanding of the task, the materials
you use have to be visible from any part of the classroom. This also
refers to audio/video equipment. During listening activities, the
position of the the cassette player has to be good enough for
everybody to hear, while the screen of the TV set has to be large
enough for everybody to watch.
3. Attractive and adapted to age
Children enjoy colours and suggestive images. The topic of these
resources also needs to be appealing to the children’s interest level.
You must pay special attention to the coursebooks you choose and
to their illustrations and layout. We shall discuss this in detail in a
special section.
4. Simple
Wallcharts/ posters have to contain a minimum of elements with a
clear outline which doesn’t create confusion regarding colour or
shape. Flashcards can be simple sketches suggesting human
actions or objects. The idea they convey is important, not the artistic
achievement.
5. Easy to integrate into the activity
In order to use resources efficiently, it is very important to do this as
naturally as possible. For example, when introducing new
vocabulary, you can use a wallchart/poster or a pack of flashcards
and tell the children: “These are fruit. Look at the pictures, listen and

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repeat: apple… pear… plum”.They might have the same images in


their coursebooks, but these pictures are too small and they can’t
concentrate as easily as they would do with big ones.
6. Engaging
Children learn best by doing things. If they handle the puppets in a
dialogue, they will perform better. If they listen and choose the right
picture, they make a selection and exercise their memory, too. The
resources are not only for the teacher to display; they are for the
children to use.
7. Varied
Children learn in different ways (see Unit 1, section 1.1) and with
different purposes (e.g. developing skills). The more the senses are
stimulated, the more successful learning is taking place. The
children need to hear, touch, see, handle, draw, illustrate or make
things themselves. That is why you will have to use as many types
of resources as possible.
8. Ways of creating a positive class atmosphere
When learning is facilitatd by teaching aids, the children have a
feeling of satisfaction and their motivation increases. You must have
experienced the situation when pupils fight over being the first to
throw the ball or handle the puppet. On the other hand, materials
can be exhibited on the walls and thus they will become a good
reminder of newly-learnt vocabulary.
9. Multifunctional
English can be used in exploring broader themes such as cross-
cultural issues, tolerance, traditions and social behaviour. In this
respect, children’s own projects can be used as resources
themselves.

Learning task 1

What are the advantages of using resources in primary school?

In about 80 words, write your answers in the space provided below.

Compare your answers with the suggestions at the end of this unit.

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4.1.2 The efficient use of resources


Using resources makes learning easier for the pupils if the effort of
teaching is pupil-oriented. The teaching aids that you use during the
lesson do not have to be only ‘nice’ or ‘attractive’ or ‘create fun’.
They have to be used with a certain purpose. The question that you
need to ask yourself all the time when deciding to use a certain
picture or object is: “How does this help my pupils to understand or
practice the language better?”

Here are a number of criteria for the efficient use of resources:


1. The appropriate placement within an activity.
The teacher has to say the word and show the image at the same
time. Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense, and the children will not be
able to figure out which object the word refers to.
2. The use of any resource requires a task for the children.
For example, when you play a cassette record, the pupils have to fill
in a gapped text or solve a multiple-choice exercise.
3. Simple resources can be used in an unlimited number of
ways.
Let’s think of a simple set of images representing toys.They can be
used to teach different structures:
• This is my …(e.g. ball).
• Have you got a…?
• I like playing with the…..
• Let’s play with the ….
• Can I borrow your …, please?
• How much does this … cost?
• Where is my …?, etc
In the following grid you can find examples of how you can use the
same set of cards in order to support the pupils’ practice of different
skills.

Skill Learning Procedure


activity
T displays the cards in a column on the board and says
Discriminating the words randomly. A pupil ticks the right image.
Listening words
PP stand in a line holding a card each. T calls out different
objects (e.g. doll, bike). The pupil who has the image
makes a step forward. If T calls:”Toyshelf!” all PP have to
step to the front.
Repeating after T holds up one image and says: “I’ve got a doll.” PP repeat
Speaking the model (drills) and when the image is changed, the sentence is changed,
too, e.g.”I’ve got a bike.”
Simple In pairs, PP practise a dialogue using cards selected from
dialogues the blackboard.(e.g. A: Have you got a bike/ball? B: Yes, I
have. Have you? A: Yes, I have./No, I haven’t”)
From the two choices on the board, PP copy only the word
Spelling that corresponds to the image shown by T.
Writing exercises
The children copy a text in which certain words are
replaced by pictures.

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4. The use of resources facilitates personalized learning


and the development of creativity.
As we have shown in Unit 1, learning is complete when the pupils
can express their personal opinions, feelings, experiences even with
a restricted vocabulary. Projects, for example, are created and
illustrated by children themselves. When they are displayed in the
classroom, projects become a good resource for the pupils to share
the same vocabulary in their personal vision.

4.2. Using already existing resources


There are a lot of resources that you can choose. Some of them are
already available, but the problem is how to use them efficiently.
Here are a few of them:

• The coursebook
• The blackboard
• Flashcards
• Wallcharts/wallpictures/posters
• Games
• Authentic materials: real objects, leaflets, postcards,
newspapers and magazines
• Dictionaries
• Workbooks /practice books

Technical equipment:
• The cassette/CD player
• The video player

In the following sections, you are going to see how you can use
these resources in different types of activities.

4.2.1 The coursebook pack

Think first!

Which coursebooks are currently being used in your school for the
3rd and 4th grades? What do you like about them? What don’t you
like? What other materials are there in your coursebook pack?

Write your ideas in the space provided below (about 150 words).
Then compare them with the suggestions given in the following
section.

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English coursebooks for primary school are very attractive. They


have brightly coloured pictures and funny characters. The topics and
activities are varied and engaging. However, they have few texts for
practicing reading and few exercises for language practice.
Speaking and listening are favoured in some, while reading and
writing are favoured in others.
As we have mentioned before, you can choose a coursebook for a
certain level from a list approved by the Ministry of Education. How
do you make your decision? How do you know if you have made the
right decision?
Choosing a coursebook is a major decision. You will use the
coursebook in the next few years, so you will probably need some
guidelines to make your decision.
Each coursebook has a syllabus (a particular conception of
organizing the language materials). Some coursebooks are topic-
based (the lexical material and structures are organized around
several themes: Family, Home, Weather, etc.), others are task-
based (the same vocabulary area is practised within increasingly
difficult tasks) or ‘combined’ (grammar, functions, lexis, situations
and skills are all combined). There is a ‘map of the book’ at the
beginning of each coursebook that you can consult to see if it meets
the requirements of the National Curriculum.

Learning task 2

Study the ‘map’ of the textbook in use for the 3rd grade in your
school.

In about 60 words, write down if it fits the National Curriculum from


the following points of view :

1. Regular opportunities of practising the four skills


2. The vocabulary areas for the 3rd grade
3. The language functions for this level
4. The grammar structures for this level
5. Cultural aspects (general objective 5 )
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Write your conclusions in the space below.

Answers will vary but take them to your next tutorial to discuss them
with your classmates and tutor.

What does the


A good coursebook is a part of a pack of materials including:
coursebook pack
contain? • The coursebook
• The Teacher’s Guide
• Cassettes /CDs
• Pupil’s Workbook

Some primary school packs also provide posters and flashcards and
more recently, software containing language computer games.

The coursebook is free, and some publishing houses offer the


Teacher’s Guide free of charge, too. However, you will have to buy
the cassettes (for listening comprehension activities) and eventually
the Pupil’s Workbook (if you consider that the coursebook does not
offer enough material for practice in class and for homework).
Here is a checklist that can help you and your colleagues decide
upon a coursebook:
1. Does it meet the requirements of the National Curriculum?
2. Does it provide regular opportunities for the pupils to practise the
four skills?
3. Are there clear tasks for language practice?
4. Are the instructions clear and easy to read?
5. Are the topics of interest to the pupils?
6. Are the lesson sequences logical and easy to follow?
7. Is the letter type big and clear enough?
8. Are the illustrations attractive and appropriate for the age group?
The Teacher’s Guides/Books are separate books which contain
suggestions or ideas for teaching different activities in the
coursebook or even detailed lesson plans. Some of them also
contain the courseebook page, so you can always have it at hand.
The Teacher’s Guide is a very useful resource, as it contains :

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• The basic principles (syllabus)


• Vocabulary and structures to be taught
• Lesson aims
• Stages of the lesson (in detail)
• Suggestions for optional activities
• Answers to the coursebook/ Pupil’s Book exercises
• Tapescripts of the listening comprehension exercises
Working with a
Good coursebooks offer a coherent syllabus plus motivating and
coursebook
well-structured language activities. Pupils like the ideas and
illustrations in the coursebook, and they get a feeling of personal
achievement and progress while units are completed.
However, some of the activities may not fit your particular pupils’
interests, and you might find out that you don’t feel comfortable with
some procedures suggested in the teacher’s guide.
What are your options then?
a) Omit and replace some of the activities or the whole lesson if in
your opinion, they are either just time-consuming or they don’t teach
anything fundamental. This has to be done carefully, because the
pupils might feel frustrated to just ’skip over’ a number of activities or
you might lose the coherence of the unit.
b) Adapt some of the activities. You can choose, for example, to
add something to the lesson, as for instance a role-play or extra
situations for language practice. You can also choose to re-order the
activities in a lesson or even to re-order lessons in a unit. This is
important for your development as teachers if you can make a
critical analysis of the results. At the same time, this line of action
gives you a chance to ‘do it your way’ (the personalized use of the
materials that we mentioned in Unit 3).

Learning task 3

What knowledge do you need in order to adapt a coursebook lesson


properly?

In about 40 words, write your ideas in the space provided below.


Compare them with the suggestions given at the end of this unit.

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4.2.2 The blackboard

It seems that anybody can work with the blackboard. For


generations, pupils and teachers have been used to consider the
blackboard and the piece of chalk as their main tools.

Think first!

What do you remember about the way your teacher used the
blackboard when you were in primary school?

Write your answers (about 50 words) in the space provided below.

Compare your ideas with the sugestions given in the following


section.

Here are a few dos and don’ts for an efficient use of the blackboard:

• Use clear writing


In primary school, the pupils are learning to write, so you will have to
adjust the way you write the letters to the way they do it. The letters
have to be large enough for everybody to see. Don’t use any
shortened forms of the words and don’t use capitals instead of
cursive writing.
• Organize your message
Start writing on the left and use the blackboard space in an
organized way. The way you write on the blackboard mirrors your
logical organization of the knowledge, and it will look exactly the
same in your pupils’ notebooks.
If you choose to draw something yourself, do it together with the
children and explain what you are doing. Make sure that the drawing
and text match.
• Create a routine
Teach your pupils to write the date and title of the lesson regularly.
They will be able to follow the logical sequence of the lesson, and
their parents will see what they have done every time.
• Don’t use the blackboard in excess
Some teachers think that writing everything on the blackboard will
help the pupils to remember everything. Actually, the pupils will feel
that they have to write everything in their notebooks, too. This takes
time, and you might also lose control of the class.
Here are a few suggestions for how you can use the blackboard:

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1. Display board
In primary school, the children learn how to focus their attention on
Uses of the
blackboard what the teacher says, so whole - classroom activities are more
predominant than independent activities, therefore the pupils need
an area of display in front of their eyes.
You can display your flashcards/pictures or wallcharts on the
blackboard any time you introduce new vocabulary or you need to
work with new vocabulary. The pictures on the board can also be the
starting point for a language game or for creative writing.
The following ideas illustrate this way of using the board:

Activity Procedure What the teacher says:


a) The pictures are displayed in a vertical Look at the pictures. Listen
row. The teacher says the word and and repeat.
points to each image. The pupils repeat. Apple (points to picture)
Look and Pear.., etc.
say/read/write b) The teacher writes a number next to
each image, then calls out the number Number 1- apple.
and the pupils have to say the word. Number 2 – pear…etc.
What is number 1? (pupils
c) The teacher writes the corresponding answer “apple”)
word next to each picture. The pupils
read and repeat. Listen, read and repeat.

d) One child is standing next to the


blackboard (blackboard behind). The
teacher removes a picture. The child tries What is it?
to guess by asking: “Is it the…?”. The You ask him.
pupils answer “Yes, it is. No, it isn’t”. Mihai, please.
Ok, go to your place.
e) The teacher writes the first letter of Well done!
each word next to the picture. The
children copy and complete. Then, they
check with the correct answer. Look at the pictures.
Write the words in your
notebooks.

a) The picture/poster is placed in the What’s this?


middle of the blackboard. The teacher Where are the children?
points to different parts and asks What is the girl doing?
Describe the questions.
image
b) The teacher places small numbered What is number 5?
labels on the poster. The pupils name the What number is the tree?
items.

c) The teacher reads a sentence out There is an apple in the


loud. One pupil points to one part of the basket.
picture.
Two posters or two groups of pictures are My picture looks nearly the
placed at a certain distance. The teacher same as yours, but some
Find the and one pupil (and then two pupils) things are different. For
difference describe the pictures, saying what is example, the bird in my
different in each of them. picture is blue. What colour is
the bird in your picture?

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2. Space for writing


In primary school, visual memory is very important in learning.
Select the items you want to write on the blackboard carefully
respecting the rules given before. Focus the children’s attention by
means of coloured chalk, frames and underlining.
3. Screen / stage
You can use the blackboard to project slides. You can also ask the
children to roleplay their dialogues in front of it.
Roleplaying is best played in front of the classroom. The children
really enjoy being the “actors on the stage”. You can draw some of
the “scenery” on the blackboard.
You can also use some curtains to cover anything you want to write
on the blackboard and reveal it gradually during the lesson.
4. Competition area
The blackboard can be used in an interactive way. You can initiate
many competitions on the blackboard. You can also write the rules
and keep the score on it. Here are two examples:

Activity Aim Procedure


Revising The pupils are divided in three groups. Each
vocabulary, group is given a slot on the blackboard. The
developing group teacher gives each group a key word (e.g. fruit,
Word work skills. clothes, breakfast), and they write as many
families words as they can within a time limit. The
group who writes the most words is the winner.
Giving practice in In groups, the children read a text and then
reading and they illustrate it on the blackboard (each
Group speaking member of the group can choose to draw a
drawings Developing group small part of it). The members of the other
skills groups try describe the picture. In the end, the
text is read. The best description wins.

Learning task 4

Suppose that you are a pupil in your own class. What suggestions
would you give your teacher concerning blackboard use?

In about 40 words, write your answers in the space provided below.

Compare with the ideas at the end of this unit.

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4.2.3. Visuals

The generic term visuals includes flashcards, cue cards,


wallpictures, posters, photographs or cut-outs from magazines,
newspapers or other sources. They can be drawn or taken from
books or from the Interne, and they are all used to facilitate learning.

Wall pictures are images large enough for everybody to see. They
usually represent scenes which create a context for new vocabulary.

Flashcards are pictures of separate items that the teacher holds up


for the pupils to see.

Cue cards (promptcards) are small cards that the pupils use in pair
or group work.

Pictures can be used in many ways. Here are a few examples:

1. Vocabulary presentation and practice


This is how you can use these flashcards to introduce and practice
vocabulary and structures:

a) Hold the cards up one by one. Say the word and ask the pupils to
repeat.

b) Number the cards, then call out a number. The pupils have to say
the word.

c) Hold up one card and say “I like milk’. Then hold up another one
and nominate a pupil to give a response (e.g. I like tea).

d) Give one pupil the cards. He/she has to hold them so that the
others cannott see which card is at the top of the pile. Start
guessing: “Do you want some tea?”

The rest of the pupils join in the guessing. When someone guesses
correctly, another child chooses a card.

2. Grammar practice
a) Some, any, no

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Ask each child to choose two cards and make a sentence (e.g. I
have some bread, but I have no milk.)

b) ‘Going to’ future


In pairs, the children make dialogues based on the cards:

A: What are you going to have for breakfast?


B: I’m going to have a sandwich and some milk.

3. Speaking practice
Create contexts for practising different structures (e.g. At the shops,
Breakfast). You can practice the following structures: How much
is…..?, Can you pass me the …?, Do you want some…?

4. Listening practice
Each pair of pupils has the five cards. Ask them to draw a square on
their notebooks, which will be the table. Then tell them how to place
the cards: The milk bottle is in the middle of the table. The teapot is
on the right. There is a loaf of bread between the teapot and the milk
bottle, etc.

5. Guided writing
Give the pupils a short text and ask them to rewrite the text replacing
the underlined words with the words suggested by the pictures.
Example:

Tommy is my dog. He’s a strange dog. He eats only potatoes, and


he drinks only orange juice. Sometimes he eats my biscuits, and I
don’t like it.

6. Creative writing
Ask your pupils to find rhyming words and then have them make
their own poem. Example: tea/me/ see/three

Come with me! / have some tea / and then count / One, two, three.

These are just a few examples of how you can use visuals in a
simple and effective way. It is your decision when and how you
introduce them into the lesson, but you must always have in mind
the activity aim.

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Learning task 5

Think of three activities in which you can use a wall picture. Describe
them briefly as in the examples above.

In about 25 words, write your ideas in the space provided below.

You can find some more suggestions at the end of this unit.

4.2.4. Games

Think first!

Before you go on reading this section, think about the games you
liked to play when you were in primary school. Which was your
favourite? Why did you like playing it?

Write your ideas in the space below (about 50 words).

Add your ideas to your portfolio and discuss with your tutor as to
how you can adapt these games in your lessons.

Games are a very enjoyable and rewarding way to teach a foreign


language. In primary school games are a necessity, as children
learn by playing. They can be used in different moments of the
lesson:

• at the beginning of the lesson (‘warm-up’ games)


• to consolidate lesson activities and provide revision
opportunities
• between two more demading activities (‘filler’ games)
• to end a lesson in an enjoyable way

It is very important to choose the most appropriate game for one of


these moments, taking into account the length of time it takes and
also the pupils’ level.
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Real games always have rules and winners.


This is what gives the children a sense of achievement and self-
awareness of their limits. They know that in order to win, they have
to put more effort in what they do (learn the vocabulary, improve
their pronunciation or spelling, etc.)

Language games need to have an aim and a meaningful context


Games have a repetitive pattern and develop an effective learning
environment and conditions for exploring social behaviour.
During the English lesson, games can be played by the whole class,
by pairs or groups. Some children finish their tasks faster, so they
can play a game until the others finish theirs.Some games are static
while others involve movement (action games). Games can also
focus on vocabulary or on skill development (e. g. speaking or
writing games).

It is important to play games in class, but it is even more important to


use them efficiently. That’s why you need to:

1. learn new games and try them in class


2. learn how to adapt games children already know to fit other aims
3. develop familiar games for other levels
4. exploit the lexical material in other ways starting from the game

Here are a few examples of simple language games and ideas and
ways you can use and adapt them.

1. Chain games

Aim revising lexical sets, practising language patterns


You say: ‘I’ve got a ball’. Choose a more confident child to
Procedure continue: ‘I’ve got a ball and a bike.’ The third child has to
repeat and add another toy. The game stops when one child
cannot remember the sequence.
You can add other prompts such as:
Adapting the game • alphabet (an apple, a bike, a car, etc)
• numbers (one ball, two bikes, etc.)
• adjectives (a blue ball, a new bike, etc. )
• verb forms (At the weekend I play/ play and go to the
cinema, etc.)
Exploiting the In groups, the pupils write down all the words in the chain.
lexical material The group with the most correctly spelt words wins.

(from Cant A., Superfine W., Developing Resources for Primary, Richmond Publishing, 1997, p. 10)

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2. Crossword puzzles

Aim Revising lexical sets and structures , asking questions


Procedure The children read definitions of words and complete in the
numbered squares .
Adapting the Information gap activities
game The crossword puzzle is prepared in two copies per pair. Half
of the words are already written in one square and half in the
other. (see example below.) In order to define a word on
his/her version, one child uses language, mime or picture.
The other child has to guess.
Exploiting the Children can make their own puzzles that they can present at
lexical material the end of a unit.

Example:

A P P L E P
E
A
T R E E R E D
E
A C A R

3. Who am I?

Aim Asking for/giving information


Procedure Write the names of famous people on sheets of paper. Pin one
sheet on the back of every pupil in class. Each pupil asks
questions to find out who he/she is.
Adapting the Write names of animals, objects, fruit
game
Exploiting the When a pupil finds out his/her name, you can organize a ‘press
lexical material conference’ and everybody can ask questions.

3. ‘Running’ dictation

Aim Listening comprehension, pronunciation, reading, spelling


Procedure Choose three simple texts and display them on the wall at the
back of the classroom. Divide the pupils into three groups.
Each group member runs to the wall, reads one sentence and
quickly dictates it to the members in his/her group. The most
correct text wins.
Adapting the The three texts are incomplete, and the teams have to
game complete them as they wish. The fastest team wins.
Exploiting the The text can be a description, a poem or a dialogue. The game
lexical material can be the starting point of a creative writing activity.

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Learning task 6

What are the advantages and disadvantages of playing such games


in the classroom?

In about 30 words, write your answers in the space provided below.

Compare your answers with the suggestions at the end of this unit.

4.2.5. Authentic materials

During the lesson you may choose to use different objects which you
consider suggestive and helpful. Children are very responsive to real
objects they can handle and are also very happy to bring their own
things in class when asked by the teacher. There are a lot of
authentic materials that you can use in class. In this section you can
find a few examples of how you can use them.

Real objects When you want a pupil to give an answer, you can throw a softball
(realia)
or give him/her a cuddly toy. When you introduce new vocabulary,
you can show real fruit or sweets that you can later offer as prizes in
a contest. The only problem with the objects you use during the
lesson is their size and the way you handle them.

Here is an example of what you can do wiith a hat and a stick:

Aim: to get the pupils to practise the affirmative, negative and


interrogative form of the Continuous Present Tense

Procedure: The teacher puts on the hat and pretends to have magic
powers. With the help of the ‘magic wand’, one child is ‘taken’ to
another place (given to the child on a promptcard) and he/she has to
answer questions. First, the teacher asks the questions, then
another pupil is asked to do it.

T: Where are you?


P: In the kitchen.
T: What are you doing?
P: I’m eating.
T: What is your mum doing?
P: She’s drinking her coffee, etc.

Children assume different roles very easily, and the border between

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the real and the fantastic world disappears when the language they
have to produce refers to their own experience.

Children’s own toys If you announce them in time, the children will be happy to bring
and things their own toys to school. This is how you can practise vocabulary on
a pupil’s objects (pen, book, eraser), using the children’s own things:

Aim: a ‘warm-up’ activity to revise vocabulary

Procedure: The teacher secretly puts different objects in a soft bag


and asks the children to feel it and try to guess what they are. The
pupils are divided in small teams. The number of guesses is limited.
The team who gives the most right guesses wins.

‘Bits and pieces’ You can use an old shoe box to store diferent things you will use in
your lesson : string, pins, markers, glue, paper clips, white and
coloured paper, postcards, stickers or anything else you think
necessary. This is how you can work with a string in different ways:

1. Use a string to display the children’s projects like you put clothes
on a line. (with clips).
2. Cut several pieces of string and hold them like this:

(from Phillips S., Young Learners, OUP 1993, p. 85)

Each pupil gets hold of an end. When you release the strings, two
children will be holding the opposite ends of the same string. This is
how you can organize pairs.

3. You can use strings and pins to organize networks. In the bubbles
you can write words, stick pictures and even organize a display with
your pupils’ photographs.

Puppets Puppets are also very successful with young learners, especially
when they can handle the puppet themselves. Roleplay activities
and simple dialogues become more lively in this way.

Authentic materials are available all around. Sometimes, the


simplest things can be used in a very creative way if you decide to
use your own imagination. You can also rely on your students for
ideas or use the suggestions given in the resource books.

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4.2.6. The tape / CD / video player

Tapes and CDs Tapes and CDs are a normal component of the coursebook packs.
They contain tapescripts which are either meant for listening practice
or for fun (songs and poems).

The advantages of using an audio tape/CD are obvious:

• the voice on the tape/CD is that of a native speaker


• the real sound of language, genuine pronunciation and verbal
interaction of the native speakers are a part of the cultural
component of language learning
• there is a real sound background which makes the context
complete (e.g. if the dialogue takes place in the street, there
will be street noises going around)
• the sound quality is better than that of the individual teacher
in the classroom
• listening practice is an activity that children enjoy
• you can replay the tape as many times as required, especilly
with CDs, which have a quick replay button

The listening activities have a certain type of tasks and procedures


which have been described in the chapters dealing with skill
development. The audio equipment can also be used to play music
for the children and to develop song-based activities.

Think first!

Can you think of a few benefits music can add to your lesson?

In about 60 words, write your ideas in the space provided below.

Compare your ideas with the suggestions given in the following


section.

Songs are excellent learning tools, but teachers often stop after
playing a song several times, not knowing what to do next. By using
songs in the classroom, you can engage the pupils and create an
exciting and active learning atmosphere. Here are a few
suggestions:
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• expanding language: categories of vocabulary (food, the


human body, etc.), expressions and phrases that stem from
the lyrics, sentence patterns, etc.
• following instructions
• making projects based on a song (e.g. One day in Brother
Peter’s life)
• singing the song in a different way each time
• mime, simulations, music performances, songwriting, creative
writing, dramatizations.

Video and television Video and television bear an important impact on children’s lives
nowadays and can also be used efficiently in the language
classroom. While television is available in almost every home and
the children choose to watch their favourite programmes for
relaxation, videos are resources that the teacher uses as a part of
task-based activities. A video offers a complete context (sound and
image) for such activities as:

• presentation of vocabulary
• structure and function practice
• speaking activities

Videos can be recordings from television or videos that have been


specially designed for children learning English. The preparation of
video-based activities is very important. Using a video does not
mean spending a whole lesson passively watching a film. Here are a
few guidelines for using a video (from Phillips, Sarah, 1993, Young
learners, Oxford University Press).

Guidelines for using 1. Set up a clear aim for your activity. Example:
a video • to develop listening skills
• to present and practice new vocabulary
• to develop awareness of non-linguistic communication (facial
expression, gestures, body language).

2. Start with easy tasks to give the children a basic understanding


of the video. Example:
• Watch the video and find out where the characters are
• Cover the screen and get the children listen to the
soundtrack. Then ask them to guess where the story takes
place.

3. Continue with more demanding tasks that provide new language


or opportunities for language practice. Example:
• Answer true/false questions on the story
• Order jumbled sentences telling the story
• Find the mistakes in the story summary and correct them
• Select a language point in the video and give the pupils
practice worksheets on them.

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4. Create a follow up-task Example:


• Select a language point and ask the pupils to decide the
context in which it was used. In pairs/individually, ask them to
produce similar examples.
• Organize a dramatization of the video
• Expand the content of the video in a project.

Learning task 7

Anticipate a few problems that might occur in using audio/video


equipment. Give a solution for each of them.

In about 100 words, write your answers in the space provided below.

Compare your ideas with the suggestions at the end of this unit.

4.2.7 Teaching with a minimum of resources

Sometimes you are in a hurry, and you can’t find time to select and
prepare your resources properly. As in survival games, you need to
be prepared to teach using nothing but the coursebook and a piece
of chalk. Experience has shown that there are successful activities
which require no materials at all.

Think first!

Did it ever happen to you not to have any materials ready before the
lesson started? What did you do?

Write your ideas in the space provided below (about 25 words).

Compare with the suggestions given in the following section.

You may often have little material to use other than the coursebook.
Before you find some time to find or create your resources, here are
a few ideas of making your coursebooks more interesting or simply
providing variety.

1. Punctuate that!
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Choose a short text (or part) from the coursebook. Write it on the
board but leave out the punctuation and capital letters. Pupils have
to copy the text, putting in punctuation and capital letters. Finally,
they are asked to check with the original in the coursebook.

This activity can also be used as a team race.

2. Middle box
a) Before you teach a new text, you can make a copy and delete the
middle. Give each pupil a copy of the incomplete text and ask them
to invent the middle part of the text. Compare with the original.

b) Use a small piece of paper which covers the middle of the printed
text, leaving the first and the last word in each line. Ask the pupils to
complete the text in pairs.

(Activities 1 and 2 are taken from Tips and ideas for teaching
English vocabulary with minimal resources, Adrian Tennant and
Lindsay Clanfield at www.onestopenglish.com)

In oral activities, the focus is on fluency. Fluency can only be arrived


at by enough repetition of the task. Teachers are sometimes
reluctant to setting out role plays because they think they will have to
provide elaborate resources such as role cards, or introductory
reading, in advance. However, many successful fluency activities
draw on the learner’s own experience, knowledge and imagination.
The next activity illustrates this opinion:

3. Choose a holiday
The idea is to set up a situation whereby pupils in pairs shop around.
They may be shopping for services, and the class will be divided in
two (e.g. a package holiday – “shoppers” and “agents”) or for a new
school (“parents” and “headteachers”). These two groups will again
be divided into pairs. Each pair of ‘agents” will put together an
attractive offer, while the pairs of “shoppers” will prepare their
questions. Then, each pair of shoppers will visit the agencies in turn.

The challenge of this roleplay format is that there is built-in repetition


of the task by the shoppers, but unexpected interaction with a new
agent every time.

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Learning task 8

Read the following story told by a teacher for an ELT Anecdote


Competition. What is stress caused by in this situation? How can
you manage stress?

In about 75 words, write your answer in the space provided below.

Stress
Sometimes it’s hard not to get stressed-out from teaching.I
remember one particular day: not long ago, a colleague walked into
the teachers’ room and saw me madly dashing about trying to make
phoyocopies, cue a tape and looking through some resource books
for a good warm-up.I must have looked very stressed because she
asked me what was going on. I breathlessly explained that I was
trying to get ahead with my lesson planning because someone was
going to sub for me the next day. “Are you sick?” she asked
worriedly. “No, no, nothing like that”, I answered while still having my
nose in a book, turning off the photocopier and rewinding a tape. I’ve
been asked to give a presentation. “On what?”, she said. ‘Stress
management”, I replied. At that moment, there was complete silence
as we both just looked at each other for a few seconds and then
burst out laughing.
Linda Bawcom, Spain

Compare your ideas with the suggestions given at the end of this
unit.

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4.3. Creating resources

Think first!

What reasons could you have to make your own resources instead
of using already existing ones?

Write your answer in the space provided below (about 50 words).

Compare your ideas with the suggestions given in the next section.

‘Do-it-yourself’ We often get enthusiastic about an activity, and we would like to try
it in class by all means when we are not satisfied with the
coursebook. In this section you will find a few examples of how to
develop simple, inexpensive and attractive resources and then how
to use them in class.’Homegrown’ materials range from worksheets
and flashcards to selections of texts and objects to use in class.

Particularly in primary school, you will have to exploit your own


talents, abilities and imagination in order to create your own
materials. For example, creating new lyrics for a tune you already
know is a simple resource you can create yourself.

On the other hand, many of the materials can be made by the pupils
themselves. They gladly do things or projects at home or in the
classroom, and they take real pride in presenting them or using them
in their activities. In this section you will find ideas on the use of
projects, scrapbooks, personal dictionaries and toys the children can
make in the classroom.

Jeremy Harmer suggests five steps in making our own materials ,


having taken care that our materials are legible, clear, attractive and
durable so that we can use them more than once.

• Planning (the content of the materials needs to serve the aim


of the activities we thought of doing )

• Trialling (trying our material before we take it to class- ideally


by a colleague, friend or another pupil)

• Evaluating (while using the material in the lesson, we should


see if it is appropriate and decide what changes we need to
make in the future)

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• Classifying (storing the material after it has been used, by


topic, grammar point or any other criteria )

• Record-keeping (what material we have used with certain


groups and how well it worked – in this way we will not use
the same material twice with the same class)

4.3.1 Resources created by the teacher

Worksheets As we have shown before, there are moments in a lesson when


children need some ‘settling’ activities, and worksheets are a
good idea. If your pupils can’t afford a workbook, then you can
make your own worksheets.

Learning task 9

Study the worksheet below. In about 25 words, write:

a) the main aims of the lesson


b) which exercise can develop into speaking practice
c) when is it the best time for the pupils to do exercise 3

Compare your answers with the suggestions at the end of this


unit.

1. Look and write:

Milk Bread and Ham and Jam


butter eggs
TERRY + + - -
TOM - + + -
JENNY + - - +

Terry likes milk and………………………..He doesn’t like……………


Tom.......…………………………………..............................................
Jenny………………………………………………………………………

2. Complete the rhyme!

jam honey cofee ready

Breakfast is ……… …………….and cheese


For little Teddy. All that you please.
Butter and ………… Milk and ……………….
For little Danny. For brother Sam.

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Using and creating resources

3. What do you like? (Stick or draw!)


(From Gardescu Elena, Tilly and Fogg: Caietul elevului, ALL, 2004)

Flashcards You have to decide in advance what flashcards you need –


normally before you start a topic with your class. The way you
can use flashcars has been illustrated in the section ‘Visuals’
earlier in this unit. Here are a few suggestions of how you can
make them yourself:
• Use cardboard pieces of the same size.
• Make sure the images are clear, unambiguous and
simple. Detailed pictures are less clear to see.
• Write the name of each focus word on the back of the
flashcard, so that you know what it is without turning it
round.
• If you can’t draw, use large pictures from magazines,
brochures and catalogues.
• Store the flashcards by topic, and each year
supplemment the set with new ones.

Class notice boards A noticeboard is a way of bringing English into the area of the
children’s own lives and experience. It can reflect the interests of
the class as the schoolyear progresses. In order to become a
resource and not just a simple class decoration, the noticeboard
has to be placed at the eye level of the children and include a
number of things that have visual appeal.

This is what you can display on the noticeboard:


• Birthdays
• Children’s responsibilities in class (who cleans the
blackboard, etc.)
• Pieces of work done by individual children
• Special days and festivals
• News (what has recently happened in class,
achievements, etc)
• Units you are studying (e.g. We’re studying Unit …)
• New vocabulary or English words that exist in our
language (from wrappers, games, advertisements, signs,
TV)

Here is an example of a class noticeboard:

(From Cant A., Superfine W., 1997, Developing Resources for Primary,
Richmond Publishing )

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You can change information on the noticeboard at regular


intervals or assign a group of children to take care of it. In this
way the use of the noticeboard acquires educational values such
as cooperation, finding out and recording information, learner
autonomy and classroom organization, group identity

Puppets Puppets can be used in introducing vocabulary, dialogues,


roleplaying and songs.

Think first!

Read the following story. What advantages of using puppets are


mentioned in the story?

Write your answers in the space provided below.

I taught kindergarten for a while and started using puppets during


lessons. I bought a purpose-made duck, but anything can be
adapted to make a puppet, like an old sock with buttons for eyes or
even a sponge. Don’t forget to give it a name!
The puppet was introduced as being a new classmate to the
children, and I used it to participate in lessons when I taught new
vocabulary or simple grammar. I would make the puppet give wrong
answers and encourage the children to correct it by saying “Is that
tight? Is the answer…?” When the children knew the target
language, they desperately wanted the puppet, too and would shout
out the answers to help the puppet. Even though the puppet was at
the end of my hand and it was obvious that I was providing the voice
the voice, the children still went along with the idea and enjoyed
helping their new ‘classmate’!
Steffie Cavanagh, Bangkok, Thailand

Compare your answers with the suggestions given at the end of this
unit.

This is how you can make a puppet from a wooden spoon.

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(From Cant A., Superfine W., 1997, Developing Resources for Primary,
Richmond Publishing )

You can also make puppets from empty yoghurt pots,old socks,
paper bags or simply by drawing faces on a piece of card and
attaching it to your fingers.

The use of puppets with children is sustained by both


pedagogical and linguistic aims:

• Talking to the puppet is an excuse for some shy children


not to speak to the teacher or one colleague directly
• For the sake of talking to the puppet or handling it,
children will do their best to build a coherent message
• In order to understand what the puppet wants, does or
says, the children will listen with a purpose
• Having and creating fun is typical of children.

4.3.2. Resources created by the pupils

Children like making their own materials, and they feel rewarded
when they can present their creations in class. Some of the
materials can be made in the classroom while others can be
done as homework.

There are many things children can do in the classroom:


projects, scrapbooks, dictionaries, and they can also be involved
in making flashcards or posters. Definitely they can contribute to
class noticeboards and class decorations.

Projects Projects are illustrated pieces of extended work pupils can do


starting from a topic. In their projects pupils express their own
opinions, knowledge and experience according to their
imagination.

Projects can be done in groups or individually. In either situation,


it is very important that the project should be presented to class.
This is a chance for the children to contribute new ideas to the
topic and also develop their presentation skills.

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Projects are free practice activities They come at the end of one
unit, after the children have practised the vocabulary and
structures linked to the topic. A project actually consists in
creating an end-product (a poster,a letter, a toy, a survey, a
guide, etc.) meant to enable the use of pupils’ knowledge and
language in a new, meaningful context.

This is what a project looks like.

(From Hutchinson, Tom, 1985, Project English 1, Oxford University Press)

This is a simple project based on minimal research. You can also


ask your pupils to draw and write about their pet or a monster or
to imagine the daily programme of an elephant at the zoo. They
will create different projects, and they will use different
(sometimes unexpected) language as required by the topic.

Advantages of project There are many advantages of using project work in the primary
work
classes:

• A project is very personal. The children can write what


they know or imagine about a topic and illustrate it as
they wish.
• In doing projects, the children learn by doing.
• Projects stimulate the development of research skills,
editing and presentation skills as well as social skills
(cooperating for a common aim, accepting and sharing
ideas).
• Projects are motivating, and they give the children a sense
of achievement.
• Projects bridge the gap between language learning and
language use.
• Projects promote educational values such as tolerance for
diversity, care and respect for the end product.
• Projects enable children to explore other spheres of
knowledge and write about things which are important in
their lives.

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Scrapbooks Scrapbooks are personal books in which the children record


information as well as their simple creations starting from a topic
(short illustrated poems, letters, diary entries, anything which the
child considers worth recording).

Here is an example of how to create new contexts for the


language you teach in class:
• Topic: Weather
• Language: Days of the week, months of the year, it’s
hot/cols/sunny, etc.
• New contexts: this week’s weather chart as in the
example below

(From Cant A., Superfine W., 1997, Developing Resources for Primary,
Richmond Publishing )

Personal scrapbooks provide you with an excellent opportunity to


see how the child has progressed throughout the year. It reflects
the way the children have acquired new language items and how
they have used them in new contexts. You can also decide which
areas of language need further practicing.

Dictionaries Picture dictionaries can contain lexical sets connected to a topic


(e.g. food, animals, home) or words in alphabetical order. Many
coursebooks contain picture dictionaries which can serve as a
model. You can do regular dictionary work by asking your pupils
to illustrate (by drawing or collage) the most important words they
have learnt within a learning unit.

Learning task 10

These concepts are closely linked with the use of resources in


primary school. Match the concepts marked 1 to 7 to their
descriptions marked a) to g).

1. Autonomy 5. Contextual learning


2. Progress and
achievement 6. Information / evaluation
3.Creativity 7. Positive attitudes
4. Diversity

a) Vocabulary and structures are integrated in different situations


that can occur in real life or in the imaginary world. These
situations provide an aim and a purpose for communication.

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b) The pupils have the opportunity to prove the acquisition of new


language, and this gives them a feeling of satisfaction

c) The pupils are encouraged to appreciate different perspectives


on the same idea/topic and promote their personal ideads and
values

d) The pupils have a chance to perform a task, individually taking


responsibility for the way they organize and present the results

e) Resources created by pupils are a source of information for


you when you want to evaluate a child’s progress

f) The children are encouraged to illustrate and write about


certain topics in their own way

g) The pupils become more confident, and they learn how to


produce and present good and neat pieces of work

1… 2… 3…. 4… 5… 6… 7…

Compare your answers with the answers at the end of this unit.

Summary
In a broader sense, resources include time and space as well as
everything you can use during a lesson (resource books and training
courses included). In a restricted sense, resources are the teaching
aids supporting learning.

Using resources is a basic requirement in primary school owing to


the particular features of the children’s learning processes. In order
to learn, children need to see, hear and handle things. Most of all
they need meaningful and logical contexts and a positive class
atmosphere.

You can use already existing resources, or you can make them
yourself. In either case, teaching aids need to be easy to make and
to use and also attractive for the children. Using resources in a wise
and efficient way doesn’t necessarily mean having new material for
each and every lesson. Efficiency means using the same set of
resources in many different ways as well as giving your pupils clear
tasks and feedback on their performance.

There is a wide range of resources nowadays, including multimedia


products and rich coursebook packs. However, we shouldn’t neglect
very simple resources, and we should avoid the dangers of using
complicated ones. In each section of this unit you can find examples
of activities in which different kinds of resources are integrated. Each
of these activities can be adapted and personalized according to
your interests and talents.
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Key concepts

• Teaching aids
• Visuals
• Audio-video equipment
• Authentic materials
• Task – based syllabus
• Topic-based syllabus
• The coursebook pack
• Creativity
• Learner autonomy
• Contextual learning
• Project work

Further reading

1. Harmer, J., The Practice of English Language Teaching, 2001,


Longman, pp. 134-136, 137-139, 282-286
2. Halliwell, S., Teaching English in the Primary Classroom, 1992,
Longman, pp. 27-29, 114-117
3. Scott, W. and Ytreberg, L., Teaching English to Children, 1990,
Longman, pp. 7-9, 49-53

Answers to learning tasks

Should your answers to LT 1 not be comparable to those given


below, please revise sections 1.2 and 4.1.

LT1
Advantages of using resources in primary school:
a) They facilitate learning by sustaining the learning processes. At
this age, the children can’t learn without an illustrated support.
b) By handling the materials, children are involved in their own
learning.
c) They support understanding and increase motivation.
d) They create fun and a pleasant atmosphere in the classroom.

Good organization of whatever we do is the key to success. Now


that you have seen who the young learners are and what they have
to learn, it’s time you start thinking about how you are going to work
with them.

Should your answers to LT 3 not be comparable to those given


below, please revise section 4.2.1, for LT4- section 4.2.2.

LT 3
1. Good knowledge of the particular group of students you are
teaching and of their response to different types of tasks.
2. Suitability to the requirements of the National Curriculum.

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3. The clear aims of the lesson.


4. The expected results of changing one or more activities.
5. The logic in the sequence of activities and the way it would be
affected by the change.

Should your answers to LT 4 not be comparable to those given


below, please revise section 4.2.2.

LT 4
Teacher, please….
• write more clearly.
• use bigger letters.
• clean the blackboard very well before writing.I can’t see
anything because of the chalk dust.
• I would like to be called to the blackboard, too.
• don’t write here and there; be more organized.
• don’t ask me to write as fast as you. I can’t.
• you forgot to write the date and the title

Should your answers to LT 5 not be comparable to those given


below, please revise sections 4.2.2 and 4.2.3.

LT 5
1. Describe the picture by using questions and answers
2. “Label the picture ‘ – stick number labels on different elements in
the picture
3. Guessing games

Should your answers to LT 6 not be comparable to those given


below, please revise section 4.2.4.

LT 6
Advantages:
• enjoyable atmosphere
• a new way to practise / revise content
• all students are involved
• facilitate informal interaction
• motivating
• can be used at all levels
Disadvantages:
• noise and loss of control over the class
• some pupils might use their native language
• it takes time to prepare the necessary materials
• losing teams or individuals might feel disappointed

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Should your answers to LT 7 not be comparable to those given


below, please revise section 4.2.6.

LT 7
Problem Solution
Sound / image Before the lesson check the quality of
problems the tape and the equipment. Be
prepared to replace the activity.

The equipment doesn’t Check the plug and the cable(s) before
work the lesson
If there is a temporary power cut,
replace the activity

The pupils don’t Make sure the language doesn’t exceed


cooperate their level
Try the task with a colleague before you
give it in class

You want to replay, but Make sure you know the buttons well
you can’t find the right Practise replaying before you actually
section on the tape do it
Write down the timing on the
audio/video display

Should your answers to LT 8 not be comparable to those given


below, please revise section 4.2.7.

LT 8
Stress comes from trying to do too many things at the same time.
Besides, Linda was trying to leave everything in perfect order for the
supply teacher. She could have thought of some activities with very
simple resources or just talk to the supply teacher and announce the
topic and the aims of the lesson and let the teacher decide on the
procedure. It is also a good idea that pupils should experience
different teaching styles.

Should your answers to LT 9 and 10 not be comparable to


those given below, please revise section 4.3.

LT 9
a) Teaching vocabulary on food (breakfast), expressing likes and
dislikes, practising Simple Present , 3rd person singular
b) Exercise 1 can be adapted as pairwork: “What do you like,
Terry?”/ “I like bread and butter, but I don’t like jam.”
c) As homework or as a settling activity in class

LT 10
1d 2b 3f 4c 5a 6e 7g

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Evaluation in primary school

UNIT 5
EVALUATION IN PRIMARY SCHOOL

Unit Outline
Introduction ..................................................................................................................... 121
Unit objectives ................................................................................................................. 122
5.1. The need for evaluation ........................................................................................... 123
5.1.1. Types of evaluation ............................................................................................... 124
5.1.2. The features of evaluation in primary school ........................................................ 125
5.2. Evaluation targets .................................................................................................... 129
5.2.1. Language skills, vocabulary and language ........................................................... 130
5.2.2. Social skills ........................................................................................................... 132
5.2.3. Attitude and behaviour .......................................................................................... 132
5.3. Evaluation techniques .............................................................................................. 133
5.3.1. Ongoing evaluation ............................................................................................... 134
5.3.2. Tests ..................................................................................................................... 134
5.3.3. Portfolios and projects .......................................................................................... 136
5.3.4. Student self assessment ....................................................................................... 138
5.4. Evaluation and progress ........................................................................................... 140
5.4.1. Marking schemes ................................................................................................. 141
5.4.2. Giving feedback..................................................................................................... 145
Summary ........................................................................................................................ 146
Key concepts ................................................................................................................ 147
SAA No. 3 ....................................................................................................................... 147
Further reading ............................................................................................................. 147
Answers to learning tasks ............................................................................................ 147
Appendices .................................................................................................................... 151

Introduction
The processes of teaching and learning involve a very important
step – that of stopping and checking the level, extent and quality of
your pupils’ acquisitions.

This process is often referred to as evaluation or assessment and


is defined as “the act of placing value on the nature/quality of
something” (Webster Dictionary). In this unit we are going to use
both terms, each of them with particular reference to certain aspects
of the process.

1. Assessment as observing, recording and gathering


information about children’s development and learning. “Teachers
obtain useful information about children’s knowledge, skills and
progress by observing, documenting and reviewing children’s work
over time. Ongoing assessment that occurs in the context of the
classroom activities can provide an accurate, fair and representative

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Evaluation in primary school

picture of children’s abilities and progress.” (Dodge, Jablon &


Bickart, 1994, p. 181)

2. Evaluation as weighing of assessment information against


some standard, such as a curriculum learning objective in order to
make a judgement or take a decision. Decisions then are followed
by action from student, teacher, parents or school authorities.

In order to evaluate the pupils, the teachers use various techniques.


The most common of them is testing.
Testing is one of the procedures that can be used to assess a
child’s performance. A test has certain objectives, for example to
see if a child understands a written text. The test then checks
whether the child has achieved this objective. Testing uses tasks or
exercises and assigns marks or grades based on quantifiable
results.
To sum up, the teachers make judgements about their pupils’
progress based on the information collected through assessment
techniques. Teachers are required to mark and make judgements on
their pupils’ work all the time.

The ideal evaluation is as objective as possible and it can be arrived


at by using criteria, standards and descriptors. However, in primary
school you will need to take into account other factors such as
motivation, involvement, interaction, turn-taking, which cannot be
strictly measured. That’s why you need to know very clearly:
• what you want your pupils to achieve
• how much of it they have really achieved
• what you will do with the results of your assessment.

By the end of this unit you will have learnt:


Unit objectives
• which are the evaluation targets in primary school
• how to build an effective evaluation strategy
• how to use different evaluation tools
• how to give and use feedback.

You will find out why evaluation is a basic stage of learning and
teaching and how it can ensure constant progress.

You will also find out about the specific features of evaluation with
primary school pupils. You will explore different strategies of
evaluation and decide which is the most effective way in which you
can assess your own pupils. In your learning tasks you will have to
make your own evaluation tools such as worsheets, tests,
evaluation records, marking schemes.

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Think first!

Think about how you got your grades when you were a pupil. How
did your teacher decide upon the grades? How did you feel about it?

Write your opinions in the space below(about 50 words).

Compare your answers with the suggestions given later in this unit.

5.1. The need for evaluation


The evaluation of the learners’ results as well as of the teacher’s
effectiveness are essential for progress. If you know your strengths
and weaknesses you can take responsible decisions for future
action.
Think first!

Before reading on, say what are the following people’s opinions
about evaluation? Write what you think in the space below.

1. The teachers

2. The pupils

3. The parents

Now compare your answers to mine, given in the paragraphs below.

It is very important to see who receives the evaluation results and


how they use them.

• The pupils need to know how they are doing in order to


continue or improve their work. Evaluation results provide the pupils

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Evaluation in primary school

with tangible evidence of their progress. Short term goals (for


example, learning numbers from 1 to 20) are just stages of language
learning, which is a long process. Giving the pupils evidence of their
progress after they have completed a unit increases their motivation
and encourages them to persist in their efforts.
• The teachers need to know how they are doing in their effort to
make their teaching effective. The information provided by
assessment is very valuable for appraising your own work. In this
way you can make the necessary adjustments and choices of
methods and materials. Using assessment data regularly and being
open and fair with your successful or unsuccessful activities will help
you to become a reflective teacher, responsive to your own needs
as well as to the children’s needs.
• The parents need to know how their children are doing in order
to understand and support the teachers and their work towards an
effective result. When they understand the method and the results,
as well as the evaluation criteria, they become more willing to
cooperate with the school educators in meeting their children’s
needs.
• The school administration needs to know how effective the
teachers are in order to decide upon the best educational policy.
Evaluation practice is also very important for your own position as a
teacher: you are asked to evaluate your own activity each year and
to provide evidence in support of your self- evaluation.
• The school authorities can use the results of assessment to
make decisions concerning curriculum and examinations.

5.1.1. Types of evaluation


Pupils are evaluated for different puposes. Various techniques are
used to collect information for each type of evaluation.
• Formative evaluation is an ongoing classroom process that
keeps pupils and teachers informed of the pupils’ progress towards
curriculum objectives. Its main purpose is to improve instruction and
learning, and to help teachers adjust their own approaches.This type
of evaluation helps teachers understand the degree to which the
pupils are learning the course material and the extent to which their
knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes are developing.
• Summative evaluation is usually done at the end of a unit. It is
meant to help the teacher determine what has been learnt over a
period of time, to summarize the pupils’ progress and report it to the
pupils, parents and school administration.
• Diagnostic evaluation usually occurs at the beginning of a
unit/module or at the beginning of the year. It helps you to identify
the pupils who lack prerequisite knowledge and skills as well as the
gifted pupils. In this way, the teaching process can be tuned to the
pupils’ interests and needs, both collective and individual.

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Learning task 1

Read these comments and decide what kind of evaluation has been
done and to whom the comments are addressed.

Write your answers in the spaces provided. Compare them with the
answers at the end of this section.

1. 25 percent of the pupils in class 4C cannot read a simple text.


Sustained reading aloud exercises need to be done this year.
………………………………………………………………………………
2. 12 out of 27 pupils in my class cannot sustain a free dialogue on a
given topic. I need to allow more time for speaking practice.
………………………………………………………………………………
3. Typical mistakes in the test: ommission of –s in the 3rd person
singular and of do/does in the interrogative. Recycling the Simple
Present Tense forms absolutely necessary.
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………...
4. Very good description of your room. Well done, Peter.
………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………
5. John needs to do homework regularly. It is a very good way for
him to practise what he has done in class. Please check if he has
done it.
………………………………………………………………………………

During the course of a school year/semester, you will conduct all


three types of evaluation in different forms. Diagnostic evaluation
offers you the necessary information to set up objectives for a longer
period of time. When you take over a new group of pupils, this kind
of evaluation is very important.
Summative evaluation gives you feedback on the efficiency of your
own work within a certain period of time and enables you to adjust
your style accordingly.
In the particular case of young learners, formative evaluation is a
valuable way of measuring how children work. In order to evaluate
the development of the listening skill, for example, you will check if
the children can select certain information from an oral message and
if they respond to the task properly. In this particular case, you will
not focus on correct spelling or grammar.

5.1.2 The features of evaluation in primary school

Children have special needs and limitations: the need to play, a


short attention span, specific areas of interest. They have to be
observed if we want to make an appropriate evaluation.

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Evaluation in primary school

Think first!

As a pupil, how did you feel before a test paper or before an oral
examination? How do you explain these feelings?
Write your ideas in the space below (about 50 words).

Now, find explanations for your answers in the text below.

1. The way you assess your pupils should reflect as closely as


possible what you want them to learn. If you want to check
whether they have acquired content knowledge, you use
something like a pencil and paper test that requires them to
display that knowledge. But if you want to see if they can build a
dialogue, you have to use an assessment technique that allows
them to demonstrate the speaking skill.
2. Under the stress of certain exams, the teachers train the
students so that they can get the best results in the exam. In this
way, they neglect methodologies which are appropriate to
children.
You cannot assess children in the same way as you assess
older learners. You will need to match your evaluation
techniques to your teaching techniques, so that they will not
affect the children in a negative way. An assessment activity can
be motivating for the children if it suits their level. If it is designed
for a different level, it may be quite damaging.
3. You need to evaluate attitudes, too. Fostering a positive
attitude towards language is a priority because childhood is the
best time when positive attitudes can be formed towards learning
in general and towards learning a foreign language and its
culture in our case. But how can you assess attitude?
Observation is a good way to assess attitudes. However, it is not
possible to award objective marks for attitudes, motivation,
pleasure in learning and interest in the target culture. You should
keep a clear record of attitudes and encourage the participation
of shy or lower-ability pupils.
4. The children need to be familiar with the evaluation tasks
and criteria. You mustn’t give chldren tasks that they have never
solved in class before. The assessment tasks need to be
cloosely linked with the classroom practices so that the children
don’t see them as something different or alien, which might
create feelings of anxiety or fear. On the contrary, they should
create encouraging positive attitudes which should lead to
confidence-building attitudes.

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Discussing evaluating criteria before the actual testing is


important for the children’s expectations towards their own
performance.
5. Express assessment tasks as actions through which the
children can demonstrate their knowledge, skill or ability.
The best way for children to learn is by doing things.
Consequently, each assessment task needs to specify (by
certain criteria) what the children need to do in order to
demonstrate their knowledge of a certain area, skill or ability.

Area / skill Task Criteria


Knowledge of Match the word with its Understanding of
vocabulary definition meaning

Speaking Look at the two pictures and Describing a picture


say what is different

Reading Read the text and answer Reading for detail


the questions

6. Use various assessment tasks and activities. Having in mind


the need of having a complete picture of the children’s
achievements you need to evaluate the children in more than
one way. Many teachers choose test papers as the main
evaluation tool. You should also consider homework, portfolios,
and projects.

7. Evaluate your pupils regularly. Many teachers choose to give


their pupils tests at certain periods of time and mark them
accordingly. Some forms of evaluation can be announced in
advance, some should take place on a regular basis (homework,
skill development). This is how you can get a complete picture of
the children’s level of achievement On the other hand, the
children themselves can get a fair and coherent feedback on
what they can do and improve their performance.

8. Keep a record of your pupils’ results. There are official


regulations concerning the system of marking and evaluation.
According to them, you must grade your pupils after several
evaluations. This allows for an estimation of the child’s average
performance. That’s why it is necessary to keep a record of the
children’s grades and achievements accompanied by your
comments. Thus, you can also give parents a fair feedback on
their children’s achievements and areas for improvement.

9. Give feedback regularly. You should be fair to your pupils and


always tell them how they have done and what they need to
improve. It will help them to understand their strengths and
weaknesses and it will educate them in the spirit of fairness
towards the others and towards themselves.

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Learning task 2

For each of the following common practices write the positive or


negative consequences that might appear.

Compare your answers with the suggestions at the end of this unit.

1. Evaluation consists in written tests only.


………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………

2. You appreciate a child’s progress rather than his/her actual


performance……………………...………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
………

3. When a child disturbs the lesson, he gets a bad mark. When a


class is noisy, you decide to calm them down by a test paper.
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
…..

4. You tell your pupils their results only at the end of term. 5. After a
test paper, you analyze typical, not individual mistakes
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
…..

6. You mark the children for oral work without telling them your
criteria
….……………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
……

7. The main criterion in the evaluation of written tests is the number


and gravity of language mistakes
………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………

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5.2. Evaluation targets

Think first!

Which of these aspects do you evaluate in your lessons? Which


don’t you take into account? Write ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ next to each of them.
Add others which are not mentioned.

How the children read aloud ……………………….

How they use new vocabulary …………………….

Pronunciation ………………………….

Participation in classroom activities ………………

Homework ………………….

How much language they understand ……………..

Turn taking and interaction in dialogues……………


.
How much language they can produce ……………

Their neat classwork /project ……………

Spelling …………………

Behaviour ………………………….

Original ideas …………..

Promptness of response …………….

How correctly they solve exercises in class…………

How they work in a pair or in teams ………………

…………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………….

As we have shown before, you will need to define precisely what you
want to evaluate and that will be in close connection with what you
have already taught. There are several aspects that need to be
evaluated in primary school:

ƒ Knowledge of vocabulary and language structures


ƒ Language skills
ƒ Social skills
ƒ Attitudes and behaviour

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In daily practice, teachers tend to confine themselves to the first of


these aspects because the level of knowledge can be evaluated in
an objective manner, by means of clear criteria, descriptors and
marking schemes, while the others can’t. How can you grade
interest and pleasure in learning about the culture of the target
language? The answer lies in offering the children opportunities to
demonstrate what they can do. In the following sections, you will see
examples of activities by which you can evaluate different aspects
as well as the corresponding evaluation criteria.

5.2.1. Language skills, vocabulary and language structures

You can assess the children’s knowledge of vocabulary and


language structures if you ask your pupils to use the language in a
certain context. The more meaningful the context is, the more
chances of producing relevant language there are.

In primary school, you can’t assess the skill without assessing the
language the child uses. You might want to see the child’s progress
in a certain skill, but you also assess the language the child uses.
Besides, the receptive skills (listening and reading) and productive
skills (speaking and writing) are integrated in real life and rarely used
in isolation. Here are a few examples of what you can focus on if you
want to assess the above mentioned aspects separately.

Listening and Inferring meaning from content and


reading (receptive context
skills) Understanding of the global message
Understanding of detailed information
Speaking Pronunciation
Intonation
Turn taking
The promptness of response
Writing Spelling
Basic sentence formation
Simple text writing (e.g. description)
Vocabulary The adequate use of vocabulary
according to context
The extent of the oral or written message
Structures The adequate use of syntax and grammar
according to context

Here is an example of a reading activity and its assessment criteria :

Messages on the fridge (from Georgiou and Pavlou, “Assessing


Young Learners”, OUP, 2005, pp. 62-63). See the worksheet in the
Appendix at the end of this unit.

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LEVEL: Beginners
AGE GROUP 6 and above
TIME 10 minutes
DESCRIPTION: The children match instructions with pictures
LANGUAGE: Giving instructions: use of imperatives
SKILLS Reading: comprehending reading instructions
ASSESSMENT The children should be able to understand written
CRITERIA: instructions
MATERIALS Worksheet 4.3, small pieces of paper for each child
PREPARATION Photocopy worksheet 4.3 for each child
IN CLASS 1. Give out worksheet 4.3. for each child
2. Tell the children that they go home and there is
nobody there. They find a lot of messages on the
fridge. They manage to do everything, so a friend
draws pictures of what they have done to show their
parents. They have to match each message with the
right picture.
3. Collect the worksheets for checking.
FEEDBACK 1. Call out the number alongside one of the pictures.
Ask a volunteer to come out and mime what is
happenning in the picture. The rest have to guess
which message it is and say it out loud.
2. Write it up on the board and put the right picture
number next to it.
FOLLOW- UP 1. Give out a piece of paper to each child.
2. The children write an instruction, for example
Drink your milk! Help them where necessary.
3. They fold the piece of paper and hand it to you.
Mix all the papers up.
4. The children take turns to come out and pick one
of the papers. They read their papers silently, then
mime carrying out the instruction. The rest of the
class have to guess the instruction and say it out
loud.
5. For very young children who are not able to write
yet, prepare a set of instructions and put them in a
hat. The children can then pick papers out of the hat,
read them and mime the instructions.
VARIATION 1 If you would like other children to contribute towards
their assessment, ask them to write an instruction
each. You can then select five or ten and prepare a
worksheet to assess those.
VARIATION 2 If you want the children to assess the imperative, you
could erase the messages on the fridge and ask the
children to come and write out the missing
messages.
ASSESSMENT Use a discrete-point marking scheme. Assign two
OF OUTCOME points out of ten for each correct match.

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5.2.2. Social skills


Communication is human, interpersonal and social. In language
learning, the child can achieve some things individually (e.g.
reading) and some things together with others (e.g. speaking).
Learning a language is therefore a complex social process which
involves both human interaction and autonomous learning as well as
expressing identity in various ways. In a given context, the children
assume different identities (e.g. customer – shopkeeper) and
consequently they use different vocabulary and registers.

Becoming a good team member, being polite, being sensitive to


others’ feelings and being appreciative of their efforts are some of
the qualities you should also promote and assess.

5.2.3. Attitude and behaviour


Fostering positive attitudes towards the English language and
culture is a priority in primary school. Through permanent
observation, you will be able to describe the children’s attitudes and
find the most appropriate ways in which you can improve negative
ones. It is obviously impossible to award objective marks for attitude
and motivation, but it is also very damaging to neglect them.
A positive attitude means interest towards new language and facts,
motivation to learn, pleasure to take part in activities and a wish to
continue in spite of temporary failure or poor results.
Objective 5 in the National Curriculum refers to the development of
the pupils’ interest in the study of the English language and of the
Anglo-Saxon heritage. But are interest and curiosity measurable?
We can’t say how interested a child is in a topic, but we can
definitely say when the child is interested and offer him/her
opportunities to find out more.

Learning task 3

How important is feedback on children’s attitude for pupils, teachers,


parents and school authorities?

In about 40 words, write your opinions in the space below. Compare


them with the suggestions given at the end of this unit.

The children’s attitudes are reflected in their behaviour. The children


show their emotions openly and instantly. The way your pupils
behave during the lesson is the direct result of your effective or non-
effective teaching but also of your own attitude.

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As a teacher, you should respect your pupils and be realistic about


what they can manage at an individual level. Then, your
expectations will be realistic, too. You should also appear to like all
your pupils equally, irrespective of their abilities and performance.
Young children need to know that the teacher likes them and is fair
to them.

5.3 Evaluation techniques


This section will deal with how you are supposed to evaluate
children in primary school.
According to some researchers, there are four stages of the
evaluation process:

1. The preparation phase.


During this phase, you will decide what you want to evaluate, the
type of evaluation to be used (formative, summative or diagnostic),
the criteria against which the pupils’ outcomes will be judged and
the most appropriate techniques with which to gather information
on the pupils’ progress.
2. The assessment phase
During this phase, you will decide upon strategies, select
instruments, administer them to the pupils and collect the
information on their progress.
3. The evaluation phase
During this phase, you will interpret the collected information
according to the established criteria and make judgements about
your pupils’ progress. Based on these judgements, you will have to
make decisions about your pupils’ learning programme and report
on the progress to the pupils, parents and school authorities.
4. The reflection phase
During this phase, you will have to consider the utility and
appropriateness of the assessment techniques used. Your
conclusions will also help you to improve or change your teaching
and evaluation style.

Think first!

How do you currently evaluate your pupils? What instruments do


you use?

Write your answers (about 50 words) in the space provided below.


Compare your answers to the ideas given in the following sections .

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5.3.1. Ongoing evaluation


If teaching is to take place as a continuous process, so is evaluation.
There are times when we plan to test children for different reasons,
but we collect information and make judgements about their
performance all the time. Besides, the system of grading the
students in our country provides clear specifications concerning the
way we should mark pupils’ work after several evaluations, on a
combination of assignments. It is not an easy job to do, as you have
to see progress in content learning and skill development at the
same time.
It is very important to maintain a positive atmosphere towards
learning English. Assessment can damage this atmosphere by the
feelings of fear and frustration that it can create. In order to prevent
this, it needs to be done smoothly and in various ways. Here are a
few suggestions:

• Tests
• Structured assessment tasks (oral and written class work)
• Homework
• Portfolios
• Observation
• Systematic record keeping of learners during everyday
normal learning activities

Pencil and paper tests have to become temporary events in primary


school which should be carefully prepared so as not to create fear
that might alter the pupils’ results in a negative way.
In order to find fair solutions to evaluation, you need to respect two
basic principles:
• Report to criteria and objectives in order to achieve a fair
evaluation. Evaluating a child’s progress in comparison to
another child is unfair and irrelevant. Allow for the child’s best
performance to become possible.
• Keep a clear record of the children’s progress in a special
‘evaluation book’ before you mark the results in the register.

There is no given format for an evaluation record. It all depends on


what you decide to observe systematically throughout the year. All
the teachers have difficulty in applying standars and descriptors,
especially in oral work. You will find out more about this in the
section about criteria and descriptors.

5.3.2. Tests
Tests are the most common form of evaluation used by teachers.
There are many good reasons for including a test in your language
practice. Here are a few of them:

• Testing can as much be an assessment of learning as of


teaching. The results of a test can show you how your pupils
have progressed, but also how effective your teaching
methods were.
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• Tests at the end of units give the pupils a sense of


accomplishment and progress. They provide information on
what they know and what they need to review.
• Tests encourage pupils to review material covered on the
course. Haven’t you ever learned the most before an exam
yourself?
• Tests are also a learning opportunity after they have been
taken. After the test, the children often understand things they
couldn’t do during the test.

Learning task 4

Here is the story of a teacher who clearly remembers his feelings


towards tests, which many of you might have experienced:

“I will always remember the horror of receiving my chemistry results


when I was thirteen years old. I knew it wasn’t going to be high, but
to come bottom of the class was very upsetting. It was all made
worse by the fact that the chemistry teacher read the results to the
whole class, from first to last place. My humiliation was complete.
(Richard Frost, Testing and Assessment)

What other disadvantages of tests can you think of? How can you
minimise the negative effects of the tests? In about 100 words, write
your opinions in the space below. Compare your answers with the
suggestions given at the end of this section.

Here is a selection of testing techniques as shown by Penny Ur:


questions and answers, true/false, multiple choice, gap-filling and
completion, matching, dictation, transformation, rewriting. Penny Ur
also mentions a number of aspects a teacher needs to be aware of
when preparing a test:

• Validity (if the test really evaluates what is intended)


• Clarity (instructions have to be clear, and if necessary, the
test should provide a model)
• Suitability / moderation (neither too easy, nor too difficult)
• Heterogeneity (the same test needs to contain both easy
and different questions).

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Learning task 5

Look at the test in the Appendix at the end of this unit.

Write the answers to the questions below in the space provided..


Compare them with the answers at the end of this unit (about 50
words)
1. Which are the test objectives?
2. Does it respect the above-mentioned requirements? If so, give
reasons.

5.3.3. Portfolios and projects


Portfolios have become important evaluation tools in modern
teaching. The most important contribution of a portfolio is that it
encourages pupils to be active learners. Portfolios are a collection
of pupils’ work produced over a period of time. These pieces of work
can be put together in a folder. A portfolio can contain:
• Samples of written classwork
• Samples of homework
• Song lyrics or poems
• Picture dictionaries drawn by children
• Test results
• Self-evaluation sheets
• Individual projects

Organizing a portfolio is not a simple thing to do. First, you need to


decide together with the pupils what the portfolio will contain. You
can grade your pupils for their classwork, for their homework or for
the projects. Portfolios can provide information on the child’s
evolution and therefore sustain your decision to improve the child’s
grades at certain times. Here are a few advantages of portfolios:

• Being highly personal, portfolios give the pupils a sense of


ownership and increase self esteem. They also encourage
their creativity.
• They are a contribution to autonomous learning (learning how
to learn skills) as the children assume responsibility towards
what the portfolio contains and how it is organized.
• Portfolios educate discipline, accuracy and can be used to
develop presentation skills.
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• They are an instrument for the teacher’s self-evaluation.


• They offer parents a picture of what the children are doing in
the classroom.

How do we evaluate pupils’ portfolios?

Many teachers tend to evaluate a portfolio as “very good” for


completeness, nice presentation and accuracy. These are valid
criteria, but they don’t measure the results of teaching and learning.
Moreover, parents can sometimes help the child to produce a “very
good” portfolio and the evaluation is therefore unrealistic.

The solution is to design a portfolio assessment sheet. Here are a


few aspects that need to be taken into consideration:
• What aspects of teaching and learning do you want to
evaluate?
• What exactly will you look for? What tasks will you give the
children?
• How will you and your pupils decide what to include in the
portfolio?
• How long will the pupils work on the portfolio?
• Where will you store the portfolios?

Here is an example of a portfolio assessment sheet that you can use


and adapt. It is very important to present it to your pupils and use it
regularly.

Un-
Evaluation Very good Good Satisfactory satisfactory

Contains all Some* Half of the Content too


Portfolio agreed samples agreed poor to
contents samples of missing / content assess
work not
relevant
Written
Language pieces of Few Frequent Incomprehen
use work in mistakes mistakes sible pieces
correct of work
English
All the agreed Some
Cultural projects** projects do A few of the Irrelevant
information and personal not contain projects are projects
and projects contributions relevant relevant
are relevant. cultural
information
Neat and A few Many Disorganized
Presentation organized messy or careless or and messy
portfolio careless messy pieces portfolio
pieces of of work
work

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*1-5 pieces: 20 %, as agreed by teacher and pupils together


**Examples: “Shops”, “An English nursery rhyme”. “School
subjects in Britain ”, etc.

Learning task 6

What criteria for evaluating a project can you think of?

In about 40 words, write your answers in the space provided below.


Compare your answers with the suggestions given at the end of this
unit.

5.3.4. Student self-assessment


It is proven that self assessment and reflection are the way to
progress. If pupils learn how to appreciate their results fairly, they
will also become able to reflect on their strengths and weaknessess
and to set their own personal goals.

Children can use criteria to assess themselves, but they may need
more time and guidance than adults. If you apply self-assessment
instruments in a persistent manner, they will get the feeling that they
have a say in their own evaluation and this gives them a sense of
empowerment.

Think first!

Look at 1 - 12 below. Tick three points which you have thought


about and put a cross next to those you have never considered.

1. your performance in another language in a particular situation


(e.g. speaking to someone at a party)
2. the fact that on some days you can communicate well and on
other days you can’t say anything
3. why you can understand people in some situations but not in
others (e.g. you can understand people when you are talking face to
face but not on the telephone)
4. why some people are easy for you to understand and others
aren’t
5. which common mistakes you keep on making
6. which sounds are difficult for you to say
7. which grammatical area is difficult for you
8. what new words would be useful for you to learn
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Evaluation in primary school

9. how much you have learnt in a lesson or over a week


10. which of these areas you need to improve on most: listening,
speaking, reading, writing, grammar, pronunciation
11. how you can practise and improve on your own
(from Michael Harris and Paul Mc Cann, Assessment, Mac Millan Heinemann,
1994)

You can find an interpretation of your answers in the following


paragraph.

If you have placed a tick next to most of the questions, you have
been thinking about your learning and assessing yourself. You
probably did this on your own, outside the language class.
Sometimes it would probably have been helpful to have had
guidance and encouragement in assessing yourself.
The pupils are waiting for the teacher to tell them if they have done
well or not all the time. This is only one part of the process as
learning also means “learning from our own mistakes”, as the
proverb says, but also reflecting upon them. Self assessment helps
learners to think about their own progress and then find ways of
changing, adapting and improving.

Learning task 7

What do your pupils do when you return their corrected tests or


compositions? What can you do to encourage their self
assessment?

In about 40 words, write your answers in the space below. Compare


them with the suggestions given at the end of this unit.

In the particular case of young learners, self assessment can be


done in a variety of ways:

• ‘Test yourself’ or ‘Self check’ activities (answers are given at


the end of the activity). In order to create an efficient activity
of this kind, make a list of the most common mistakes the
children make and then ask them to correct the mistakes.
• Learner diaries
• Progress charts (see the example in the Appendix )

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Evaluation in primary school

Self assessment has to be followed by discussions, and the


collected data should lead to the adjustment of your teaching style
and of the child’s learning style. Self-assessment should become a
regular exercise with older pupils, as the ability to carry it should be
a long term educational objective.

5.4 Evaluation and progress


In the beginning of this unit we clarified the nature of assessment
(recording information in order to measure the performance of our
pupils and to diagnose the problems they have in order to provide
them with useful feedback) and evaluation (weighing assessment
information against some standard in order to make a judgement or
take a decision). This section deals with specific evaluation
techniques and marking schemes and with the way we give
feedback.

Think first!

Both teachers and pupils have negative feelings towards


assessment and evaluation. How can you explain this?

Write your opinions in the space below. You can find a few
suggestions in the following section.

Many of these negative attitudes come from the general feeling of a


divorce between learning and teaching on the one hand and
assessment and evaluation on the other. The fundamental reason
for this is that assessment does not feed back into the learning and
teaching process. (Harris & Mc Cann, Assessment, MacMillan
Heinemann, 1994)
Here are a few common spread prejudices about assessment and
evaluation as identified by Harris and Mc Cann:

• Assessment is seen as synonymous with testing. Testing or


formal assessment is an important tool, but informal
assesment (of attitudes, for example) and self assessment
are equally important.
• Assessment and evaluation are seen as something that
comes after learning has finished, rather than during the
learning process. Tests are given at the end of term or at the
end of the year, and the results come too late to be formative
and to feed into their own learning.
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Evaluation in primary school

• Feedback is often expressed only by a grade or mark. The


grade classifies pupils, but it doesn’t give them suggestions of
how to overcome their problems.
• Assessment often concentrates only on one part of what has
been done in the classroom (e.g. grammar). It is easier to test
knowledge of grammar and vocabulary than skills and
attitudes. The danger is the message to the pupils: that they
have been wasting their time trying to communicate in class
because what matters is grammar.
• Assessment is not constructive. It generally focuses on
failure, not on achievement. You should allow your pupils to
demonstrate what they know rather than trying to catch them
out.
In the particular case of young learners, it is very important that the
teacher should foster a positive attitude towards assessment and
evaluation. This attitude sustains motivation, a sense of fairness and
the pupils’ feel that they are contributing to their own learning.

5.4.1. Marking schemes


Finding fair solutions to assessing and evaluating young learners is
by no means easy. Finding solutions that positively affect children’s
motivation is vital. How can you say if a child’s performance is good
or not? This is the question to which this section is trying to answer.

Think first!

Look at the criteria below and tick those you consider “a good
result”. For each of them, write down the effects of such evaluations
on children.
Write your answers in the spaces underneath each idea.

1. Good for a particular child compared with the child’s previous


performance or perceived ability.
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
2. Good because the child has met the required criteria / curriculum
objectives / standards.
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………
3. Good because the child’s performance is better than that of other
children.
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………

4. Good in parts. Some areas are strong, others are weak.


………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………

5. Good because you liked the answer and you think it is original.
………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………

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Evaluation in primary school

In situation (1), one child’s ‘good’ may be the same as another


child’s ‘excellent’. It may be seen as unfair that a high achieving
child is ‘marked down’ compared with another who may achieve less
but is trying harder. In situation (2), children are not put in
competition with one another. In theory, all the children are good if
they meet the criteria. In situation (3), children are definitely put in
competition with one another, and the results are not reported to
objective standards. In situation (4), the aim is formative, to help the
learner adjust his or her actions. In situation (5), the children will be
in competition and might neglect the common task for the sake of
being original. Besides, this kind of evaluation is highly subjective.

In order to provide a fair and efficient evaluation, we need to


consider the following aspects (cf. Assessing Young Learners, OUP,
2004):

• Aims. Evaluation aims to check children’s language-learning


progress. The assesment tasks need to be constructed in
such a way that the area to be assessed is clearly defined
and isolated from other areas. If you want to assess and
evaluate speaking, you mustn’t ask the children to write or
read.
• Measurable results. You need evidence of each child’s
language development (e.g. Maria can read a text and
answer questions.)
• Criteria. The assesssment criteria must be expressed as
actions through which the children demonstrate their ability /
development (see specific objectives in the National
Curriculum).
• Timing. Assessment tasks are set at specific times, usually at
the end of a unit. However, ongoing evaluation will provide
regular data about your pupils’ performance all throughout the
year.
• Children’s participation. Children have to take part in
assessment tasks regularly. You can decide to assess a
limited number of children and focus your attention on them,
while the whole class is doing the same task.
• Record keeping. Children’s assessment on a task must be
recorded and kept on file. You can also make notes which are
relevant to the child’s performance. This will keep you
organized and well informed.

Marking schemes are a way of indicating the level to which a pupil


has achieved the aims of the assessment task. Marking schemes
are usually associated with a number or a mark. In primary school,
according to the actual evaluation system, we use qualifiers (“very
good” / “good” / “satisfactory” / “unsatisfactory”).

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Evaluation in primary school

Whatever the marking scheme, it has to be very specific as to what


we want to measure. If you want to evaluate reading, you will not
give marks for grammatical accuracy. The main advantage of using
a marking scheme over impressionistic evaluation is that it helps you
to make sure you use the same criteria for all your pupils. Besides,
you can report the child’s progress according to the same criteria
you applied during assessment.

Here is an example of a marking scheme for reading:

Points/ Qualifier Criterion: Detailed comprehension of written


text (4th grade )
9-10 Very good The child can answer all the four questions
correctly.
7-8 Good One of the answers is ambiguous or
incomplete .
6- 5 Satisfactory Two missing or incomplete answers, two
correct answers.
4 (or less) No correct answers or all incomprehensible
Unsatisfactory answers.

Learning task 8

If you were to apply this marking scheme, which of the following


aspects shouldn’t be taken into account and why?

Write your answers in the space below. Check them with the
answers at the end of this unit.

a. if the child can read the text aloud with good intonation
b. if the answer contains evidence from the text
c. if the answers are grammatically correct
d. if spelling is correct (in case of written answers)
e. if the child can provide personal information connected with the
theme of the text
f. if pronunciation is clear and correct (for oral answers)

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Evaluation in primary school

It is very difficult to say what is ‘good” or ‘satisfactory’. Evaluation,


especially in the case of a foreign language, cannot be reduced to
numbers and figures. In order to make it as objective as possible
and give a fair chance to each child in evaluation, we need
descriptors for different criteria. Descriptors illustrate the detailed
types of performance we expect from the children. Here is an
example of descriptors for assessing speaking:

Criterion Very good Satisfactory Unsatisfactory


All messages Most
Pronunciation are clear. messages are Incomprehensible
clear
Correct use of Some errors of Few
Grammar and target vocabulary comprehensible
vocabulary vocabulary and and structures structures
structures
Takes turns and Few instances Doesn’t
Participation participates in a of turn taking participate in the
dialogue dialogue

Such marking schemes can apply to definite objectives, but how can
we evaluate attitudes? We have mentioned before that informal
assessment of non-linguistic factors is very important with young
learners, as it encourages personal effort and increases motivation.
On the other hand, systematic observation of the pupils provides
valuable evidence for you concerning the effectiveness of your
teaching style.

Learning task 9

Look at these two pupil profiles. Which pupil is better? How can you
decide?

In about 50 words, write your answers in the space below. Compare


them with the suggestions at the end of this unit.

Pupil A
This pupil appears in the classroom to be very passive. He offers no
answers or opinions. He appears to be uninterested in what is going
on, bored and does not cooperate with his coleagues. In pair work,
he either insists that his answer is the right one or he gives no
answer.

Pupil B
This pupil is always actively involved in class activities. She always
has an answer or an opinion. She appears interested and always
cooperates with the teacher and the rest of the class. She is a good
listener and takes turns in dialogue by accepting her partner’s
viewpoints and giving her own at the right time.
(adapted from Harris & Mc Cann, Assessment, Heinemann, 1994)

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Evaluation in primary school

5.4.2 Giving feedback


The assessment and evaluation process doesn’t end as soon as you
give the children their results. Offering feedback is an important
stage, and it should follow as soon as possible after the task is
completed. The later you offer feedback, the less meaningful and
useful it becomes.
There are several ways in which you can offer feedback: individually,
to each child or to the whole class by discussing typical mistakes.
Feedback helps the children to discover their strengths and
weaknessess and to become aware of the areas that need
improving.
There are also different forms of feedback according to the type of
assessment task the pupils have to carry out. Harmer points out that
“decisions about how to react to performance will depend upon the
stage of the lesson, the activity, the type of mistake made and the
particular pupil who is making this mistake.”
It is also important to give specific feedback on oral and written work
as well as on fluency and accuracy work. Besides, owing to the way
we normally give feedback (e.g. That was really good. Well done!),
our pupils generally receive it in terms of praise or criticism. While it
is true that praise is encouraging, it is also true that excessive praise
or permanent criticism are counter-productive. Therefore,
assessment and feedback have to be carefully handled and to refer
to very specific areas.

There are several ways in which you can give feedback :

• Marks / qualifiers
• Comments
• Reports

Marks are a clear indication that the pupils have done well or badly.
When we decide to grade a piece of work (either homework or
classwork), we need to make the criteria clear to the pupils. It is
easier with such tasks as fill-in or multiple choice exercises, but it is
more difficult with creative activities such as or projects.

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Evaluation in primary school

Comments are made at various stages during the lesson. And they
indicate positive or negative evaluation. They can be oral and written
(Very well!, That’s not quite right, You have written an interesting
composition, but you haven’t respected all the points in the plan.)

Reports at the end of term or year on your pupils’ performance give


both the pupils and their parents a clear picture of the child’s
performance throughout a period of time. In order to give relevant
feedback in this way, you need to keep a record of your pupils’
performance according to the criteria you have established. Here is
an example of record book rubrics that you can adapt according to
your priorities:

Name Oral work Written Projects Comments


work
Maria FB/ 12.03 B/ 15.02 B/ 16.04 Maria is fluent and takes part in
Ionescu classwork regularly but makes
frequent spelling and grammar
mistakes

Summary
Evaluation is a key stage in the learning and teaching process. Both
the teacher and the pupils need to know how they are doing and
what their strengths and weaknesses are. Evaluation is also
important for parents, for the school and for the school authorities
who need to adopt the future appropriate strategies.

While assessment is mainly observing, recording and gathering


information about a pupils’ performance, evaluation means weighing
the collected information against some standard and finally making a
judgement. In the current system of evaluation, marking cosists of
qualifiers (e.g. Very good) for primary school children and grades
(e.g. 8) for older pupils.

Ideally, evaluation should be objective, but practically, it is very


difficult to make an objective evaluation, especially in primary
school. However, clear standards, criteria and descriptors give
pupils equal chances in the evaluation process. The main condition
is that the teachers should assess and evaluate what they have
taught, in the way they taught it.

This unit illustrates how evaluation should refer to the two main
types of teaching aims: content and attitude aims. That’s why the
variety of evaluation tasks needs to match the variety of teaching
techniques.

Learning is complex and flexible, therefore evaluation has to be


complex and flexible. Teachers should be open to combining
traditional evaluation techniques (tests) with alternative ones
(portfolios, projects and self - assessment).
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Evaluation in primary school

Key concepts

• assessment
• evaluation (formative, summative, diagnostic)
• ongoing evaluation
• feedback
• formal assessment
• informal assessment
• self - assessment
• marking scheme

Send-away assignment no. 3

1. Give five arguments based on the performance of your pupils to


prove that your teaching style is efficient (about 50 words).
2. Choose one unit in the 4th grade textbook. Write an end-of-unit
test and provide the criteria and descriptors to grade it.
3. Write an action plan for your future evaluation strategy taking
into account the following aspects:
a. Which forms of formal assessment are you going to use? How
often are you going to use them?
b. How are you going to assess non-linguistic factors?
c. What marking scheme are you going to use?
d. How are you going to give feedback?

Include your answers in the portfolio that you are going to present
to your tutor for the final evaluation. .

Further reading
1. Harmer, J., The Practice of English Language Teaching, 2001,
Longman, pp. 321-331
2. Ioannou Georgiou, S. and Pavlou P., Assessing Young
Learners, 2005, Oxford University Press, Introduction, pp. 3-17

Answers to learning tasks

Should your answers to LTs 1 and 2 not be comparable to those


given below, please revise section 5.1.

LT 1
1. diagnostic evaluation/ teacher’s own action plan for the next year
2. formative evaluation / teacher’s own action plan for the next period
3. summative evaluation after teaching the Simple Present / personal
or staff report addessed to senior teacher or to school administration
4. summative evaluation / addressed to particular pupil
5. formative evaluation / addressed to parents.

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LT2
1. The development of oral skills is not encouraged. Your evaluation is
incomplete, and you don’t evaluate as you teach. Some of the children
don’t do very well in writing, but they are very good speakers.
2. It increases the child’s motivation and positive attitude to language
learning. It shouldn’t be an evaluation criterion in itself, because it is
not objective.
3. The children will lose the motivation lo learn. Your duty is to
evaluate your pupils for what they know. Behaviour mirrors the
child’s interest in your lesson. In this case, evaluation becomes a
punishment instead of a normal stage in learning.
4. It is not fair, and it is not an efficient system. Your pupils will never
become aware of what they need to improve or work on more, and
they will be confused. The evaluation results have to be
communicated immediately to the children and to their parents.
5. It gives the children the feeling that making mistakes is a normal
stage in the learning process, and you can work on the items which
are not very well understood.
6. The children will lack confidence, and they will not be able to
understand their strong and weak points. They won’t become aware of
the progress expected of them in a given time frame, so they won’t be
motivated to try harder to achieve this goal.
7. The children will not focus on authentic language production, and
they will be more preoccupied to apply grammar rules than to actually
use language for communication. You should remember that accuracy
is not your main priority in primary school.

Should your answer to LT 3 not be comparable to those given


below, please revise section 5.2.

LT3
For teachers, children’s attitude is an indicator of their effectiveness in
class. You can use attitude arguments to support your choice of
methods and types of activities.
Parents will become aware of the causes of good or poor performance
and can support their children accordingly.
The school authorities can make decisions concerning the school’s
policy in the foreign language field (e.g. optional courses, an increase
in the number of classes per week).

Should your answers to LTs 4 and 5 not be comparable to those


given below, please revise section 5.3.2.

LT 4
Negative effects:
• Nervousness - some pupils become so nervous that they can’t
concentrate.
• Superficiality - some pupils can do well just with last minute
learning.
• Short term acquisitions - once the test has finished, pupils can
easily forget what they learned.

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• Irrelevant outcomes – pupils become focused on passing tests


rather than learning to improve their language skills.

Minimising effects:
• Make sure the children are familiar with the tasks
• Explain the purpose of the test
• Give the pupils plenty of notice and teach revision classes in
advance
• Tell the pupils that there will be other forms of assessment, too
(projects, portfolios, etc. )
• Discuss typical mistakes, not individual results
• Suggests pupils to compare their tests with their own previous
ones, not with their colleagues’.

LT 5
1. Checking knowledge on vocabulary (places in town), language
structures (Simple Present Tense, the interrogative form), the reading
skill (e.g. 3), writing (making simple sentences).

2. Yes, it respects requirements. It is valid (it evaluates both content


knowledge and skills), the instructions are clear (in order to avoid
confusion, they are even translated), it is suitable (it can be solved by
medium-level pupils) and it is heterogeneous (the exercises are
increasingly difficult), it contains different types of tasks.

Should your answers to LT 6 and 7 not be comparable to those


given below, please revise section 5.3.

LT 6
Criteria Yes Partially No
Does the child use the
new vocabulary in a
personal context?
Is the language used
grammatically correct?
Is the project neat and
organized?
Can the child present
its content in front of
the class?

LT 7
Pupils usually just look at the mark and do not really read the
feedback.

If pupils are encouraged to assess and evaluate their own work, they
think about their own mistakes and they will try to correct them. They
are no longer passive, and they are more likely to improve than when
only the teacher assesses and corrects.

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Evaluation in primary school

Should your answers to LTs 8 and 9 not be comparable to those


given below, please revise section 5.4.

LT 8
c. grammatical accuracy proves good mastery of structures, and this is
another aim
e. personal information involves expansion on the topic – another aim
f. This has to do with speaking skills, while correct intonation can
indicate that the child understands the text

LT 9
You should identify a few areas as possible criteria for assessment,
such as:
• Is passive / is active
• Offers answers and opinions / doesn’t offer answers and
opinions
• Shows interest / does not show interest
• Co-operates / doesn’t cooperate
• Accepts opinions / does not accept opinions
We can also consider other areas of interest such as: regular
homework, class work, etc.
You can rate attitude at regular intervals and then analyze the reasons
so that you can give your children useful feedback on that.
It is a mistake to rank one of the students as “the best”, as they are
very young and attitudes can be improved and educated. If you rank a
child as “the best” or “the worst”, he/she will act accordingly, which
might have negative effects.

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Appendices

Appendix
Worksheet 4.3. Messages on the fridge
(From Ioannou Georgiou S. and Pavlou P., Assessing Young Learners, OUP, 2005)

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Appendices

Test 4
(from Popa B. and Ralea M., 2002, I Am Special, EDP)

Octopus progress chart


(From Cant S. and Superfine W., 1997, Developing Resources for Primary, p. 89)

My progress chart

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Appendices

1. say the numbers 1-20


2. say the days of the week
3. talk about my family
4. say the colours
5. say how old I am
6. say how old I am

Complete this at the end of the term.

I am good at ………………………………………

I am not good at ……………………………………

I am going to …………………………………………

I have learned:
1. ………………………………………………………………

2. ……………………………………………………………………
3. ……………………………………………………………………

4. ……………………………………………………………………

5. ……………………………………………………………………

Put the numbers on the octopus’s legs.

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Annexes

Anexa nr. 3 la Ordinul ministrului educaţiei şi cercetării nr. 5198 / 01.11.2004

MINISTERUL EDUCAŢIEI ŞI CERCETĂRII


CONSILIUL NAŢIONAL PENTRU CURRICULUM

PROGRAME ŞCOLARE PENTRU CLASA A III-A

LIMBA ENGLEZĂ
[LIMBA MODERNĂ 1]

Aprobat prin ordin al ministrului


Nr. 5198 / 01.11.2004

Bucureşti, 2004

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Annexes

NOTĂ DE PREZENTARE

Revizuirea curriculum-ului de limba engleză pentru învăţământul primar a pornit de la


următoarele premise:

- introducerea noului plan-cadru de învăţământ;


- dezvoltarea unei strategii didactice pornind de la obiective;
- necesitatea proiectării unui set unitar de obiective cadru şi de referinţă pentru toate
limbile moderne studiate în şcoala românească, din perspectiva modelului
comunicativ-funcţional de predare / învăţare a acestora;
- necesitatea proiectării conţinuturilor predării în funcţie de nevoile de comunicare ale
celui care învaţă;
- racordarea treptată, chiar de la începutul studierii limbii engleze, la nivelurile de
performanţă prevăzute de Cadrul European Comun de Referinţă
- asigurarea continuităţii şi a progresiei de la o clasă la alta, ţinând cont de obiectivele
ciclurilor curriculare.
În acest context, structura actualului curriculum cuprinde: obiectivele cadru, pentru
parcursul învăţământului primar, unde limba engleză se studiază numai ca limba modernă
1, (şi care vor fi aceleaşi şi pentru limba 1 studiată pe parcursul învăţămîntului gimnazial);
obiective de referinţă, exemple de activităţi de învăţare şi conţinuturi (acestea din urmă
sub-împărţite pe teme, funcţii comunicative şi elemente de construcţie a comunicării)
proiectate pentru fiecare clasă; standarde curriculare de performanţă pentru finele clasei a
IV-a.
Dată fiind plaja orară (2-3 ore) prevăzută în planul cadru pentru limba modernă 1,
curriculum-ul conţine atât obiective de referinţă şi conţinuturi obligatorii, cât şi altele, la
decizia şcolii (care devin obligatorii când se optează pentru curriculum extins – 3 ore pe
săptămână – la o anumită clasă). Acestea din urmă sunt marcate cu asterisc şi scrise cu
litere italice.
La finele învăţământului primar, elevii vor atinge un nivel comparabil cu nivelul A1 din
Cadrul European Comun de Referinţă.

OBIECTIVE CADRU

1. Dezvoltarea capacităţii de receptare a mesajului oral

2. Dezvoltarea capacităţii de exprimare orală

3. Dezvoltarea capacităţii de receptare a mesajului scris

4. Dezvoltarea capacităţii de exprimare în scris

5. Dezvoltarea unor reprezentări culturale şi a interesului pentru studiul


limbii engleze şi al civilizaţiei spaţiului cultural anglofon.

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Annexes

CLASA A III-A
1
OBIECTIVE DE REFERINŢĂ ŞI EXEMPLE DE ACTIVITĂŢI DE ÎNVĂŢARE
1. Dezvoltarea capacităţii de receptare a mesajului oral
Obiective de referinţă Exemple de activităţi de învăţare
La sfârşitul clasei a III-a elevul Pe parcursul clasei a III-a se recomandă
va fi capabil: următoarele activităţi:
1.1 să recunoască sunete - exerciţii de identificare;
specifice limbii engleze
1.2 să distingă cuvinte şi sintagme - exerciţii de discriminare;
. în fluxul verbal
1.3 să reacţioneze verbal/ - exerciţii de răspuns la comenzi/ întrebări
nonverbal la un mesaj audiat - exersarea unor formule simple de
care să ofere modele de limbă comunicare în societate;
autentice (produse de nativi) şi
variate2
1.4 să desprindă sensul unui enunţ - răspunsuri la întrebări de control;
simplu - exerciţii de tip adevărat/ fals;
- exerciţii de confirmare a înţelegerii sensului
global al unui enunţ simplu, prin îndeplinirea
unei sarcini simple.
2. Dezvoltarea capacităţii de exprimare orală
Obiective de referinţă Exemple de activităţi de învăţare
La sfârşitul clasei a III-a elevul Pe parcursul clasei a III-a se recomandă
va fi capabil: următoarele activităţi:
2.1 să articuleze sunete, izolat şi în - exerciţii de pronunţie şi intonaţie;
cuvânt / grupuri de cuvinte,
respectând accentul şi intonaţia,
specifice limbii engleze
2.2 să reproducă enunţuri simple / - exerciţii de repetare după model a unor
părţi ale unui enunţ cuvinte, sintagme, propoziţii;
- recitare de poezii, interpretare de cântece;
2.3 să producă enunţuri simple, - activităţi în perechi (dialoguri simple);
adecvate unor situaţii de - joc de rol;
comunicare uzuală
2.4 să participe la dialoguri simple - dialoguri dirijate;
în situaţii de comunicare - jocuri didactice.
uzuale

1
Obiectivele de referinţă marcate prin asterisc şi caractere italice nu sunt obligatorii. Ele pot intra în
curriculum-ul la decizia şcolii.
2
Având în vedere că la această vârstă modelele de limbă sunt esenţiale pentru însuşirea unei pronunţii şi
intonaţii corecte se va lucra cu material audio.
156 Proiectul pentru Invăţământul Rural
Annexes

3. Dezvoltarea capacităţii de receptare a mesajului scris


Obiective de referinţă Exemple de activităţi de învăţare
La sfârşitul clasei a III-a Pe parcursul clasei a III-a se recomandă
elevul va fi capabil: următoarele activităţi:
3.1. să recunoască litere / grupuri - exerciţii de identificare: a unor litere/ grupuri de
de litere în cuvinte şi cuvintele litere în cuvinte, a unor cuvinte, sintagme,
în spaţiul grafic enunţuri scrise;
3.2. să citească un scurt text - exerciţii de citire cu voce tare, cu / fără
cunoscut, cu voce tare, cu model;
intonaţie adecvată sensului
textului
3.3. să desprindă sensul global al - exerciţii de tip adevărat/ fals;
unui text simplu, citit în gând - exerciţii de alegere (din soluţii multiple);
*3.4 să sesizeze legătura dintre un - întrebări şi răspunsuri pe marginea textului şi
text şi imaginile care îl a imaginilor;
însoţesc - exerciţii de potrivire a imaginii cu textul.
4. Dezvoltarea capacităţii de exprimare în scris
Obiective de referinţă Exemple de activităţi de învăţare
La sfârşitul clasei a III-a elevul Pe parcursul clasei a III-a se recomandă
va fi capabil: următoarele activităţi:
4.1. să reproducă în scris litere, - exerciţii de copiere, de completare de spaţii;
grupuri de litere, cuvinte, copiere selectivă;
sintagme, enunţuri
4.2. să realizeze legătura între - exerciţii de scriere după dictare;
scriere şi pronunţie la nivelul
cuvântului şi al grupului de
cuvinte
4.3. să scrie cuvinte, sintagme, - exerciţii de completare pe baza unui suport
propoziţii scurte vizual;
- exerciţii de redactare de propoziţii
- jocuri didactice (rebus, grilă etc.).
*4.4 să producă în scris mesaje - exerciţii de completare, jocuri didactice;
scurte, pe baza unui suport - exerciţii de redactare (mesaje scurte).
verbal/ imagine
5. Dezvoltarea unor reprezentări culturale şi a interesului pentru studiul limbii
engleze şi al civilizaţiei spaţiului cultural anglofon
Obiective de referinţă Exemple de activităţi de învăţare
La sfârşitul clasei a III-a elevul Pe parcursul clasei a III-a se recomandă
va fi capabil: următoarele activităţi:
5.1 să manifeste curiozitate pentru - colecţii de obiecte culturale (insigne, timbre,
. descoperirea unor aspecte vederi, ambalaje, etc.),
legate de viaţa copiilor din - realizarea unui album / panou / portofoliu cu
spaţiul cultural anglo-saxon imagini etc.

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Annexes

CONŢINUTURI3

ORGANIZARE TEMATICĂ4

- Copilul despre sine: nume, sex, vârstă, însuşiri fizice şi morale, părţile corpului,
îmbrăcăminte, culori, jucării şi jocuri
- Familia: membrii familiei, *ocupaţii, *sărbători în familie
- Casa: încăperi, mobilă
- Şcoala: obiecte şcolare, activităţi specifice
- Animale: denumire
- Vremea: *anotimpuri; *caracteristici climatice
- Copilul şi lumea înconjurătoare: *oraşul/ satul (clădiri)
- Activităţi: activităţi curente, *activităţi pentru timpul liber, *momentele zilei,
- Cultură şi civilizaţie: nume şi prenume tipice, cântece şi poezii
În atenţia autorilor de manual: temele şi subtemele nu constituie capitole şi lecţii de manual.
Ele vor fi tratate transversal, în cadrul unor unităţi elaborate din perspectiva scenariului
proiectat de autori

FUNCŢII COMUNICATIVE5

1. a saluta şi a răspunde la salut


2. a se prezenta şi a prezenta pe cineva
3. a identifica elemente din universul familiar
4. *a descrie persoane, animale, locuri
5. a cere şi a da informaţii (de ordin personal, despre mediul înconjurător)
6. a localiza persoane, obiecte, acţiuni
7. a mulţumi şi a răspunde la mulţumiri
8. a propune şi a cere cuiva să facă ceva6
9. a relata activităţi (la prezent)
10. a exprima ceea ce îţi place şi *ceea ce nu îţi place
11. a exprima capacitatea mentală şi fizică
Funcţiile comunicative propuse vor fi regrupate pe baza tematicii abordate, dezvoltate
progresiv, concentric, în funcţie de nivelul acumulării lexico-gramaticale. Ele nu vor constitui
obiectul unei tratări explicite, ci vor fi prezente în contextele situaţionale.

ELEMENTE DE CONSTRUCŢIE A COMUNICĂRII

I. Gramatică
ƒ Substantivul
numărul singular/ plural

3
Conţinuturile marcate prin asterisc şi caractere italice nu sunt obligatorii. Ele vor intra în curriculum-ul la decizia
şcolii, în cazul în care se optează pentru curriculum extins.
4
Unele subteme, notate cu asterisc în clasa a III-a, devin obligatorii în anii următori de studiu. În acest caz,
subtemele propuse pentru un an de studiu pot fi reluate şi, eventual, îmbogăţite, ca arie lexicală, în anul de studiu
ulterior.
5
Funcţiile comunicative propuse vor fi regrupate pe baza tematicii abordate, dezvoltate progresiv,
concentric, în funcţie de nivelul acumulării lexico-gramaticale. Ele nu vor constitui obiectul unei tratări
explicite, ci vor fi prezente în contextele situaţionale.
6
Prin structuri foarte simple de tipul „Let’s”.
158 Proiectul pentru Invăţământul Rural
Annexes

ƒ Articolul
a/ an; the
ƒ Pronumele
personal în nominativ
ƒ Adjectivul
calificativ
posesiv singular/ *plural
demonstrativ singular/ *plural
ƒ Numeralul
cardinal (1-12)
ƒ Verbul
to be, timpul prezent (afirmativ, negativ, interogativ)
to have, timpul prezent (afirmativ, negativ, interogativ)
can
structuri specifice: there is/ there are
imperativul
timpul prezent simplu (forma afirmativă)
timpul prezent continuu (forma afirmativă), *(interogativă, negativă)
ƒ Adverbe
de timp (now, every day)
ƒ Prepoziţii
de loc (in, on, near, under, to)
ƒ Conjuncţii
uzuale (and, *but, *or)
Categoriile gramaticale enumerate mai sus aparţin metalimbajului de specialitate.
Terminologia NU va face subiectul unei învăţări explicite. Nu se va face apel la
conceptualizarea unităţilor lingvistice, utilizate în situaţiile de comunicare.
Structurile gramaticale de mare dificultate, dar necesare pentru realizarea unor acte
de vorbire, nu vor fi tratate izolat şi analitic, ci vor fi abordate în cadrul achiziţiei
globale. Elementele de gramatică se vor doza progresiv, conform dificultăţilor şi
nevoilor de comunicare, fără a se urmări epuizarea tuturor realizărilor lingvistice ale
categoriilor gramaticale enumerate mai sus
II. Lexic
150 – *200 unităţi lexicale (cuvinte, sintagme corespunzătoare realizării funcţiilor
comunicative, în cadrul ariilor tematice specificate mai sus).

Proiectul pentru Invăţământul Rural 159


Annexes

Anexa nr. 2 la Ordinul ministrului educaţiei şi cercetării nr. 3919 / 20.04.2005

MINISTERUL EDUCAŢIEI ŞI CERCETĂRII


CONSILIUL NAŢIONAL PENTRU CURRICULUM

PROGRAME ŞCOLARE PENTRU CLASA A IV-A

LIMBA ENGLEZĂ
[LIMBA MODERNĂ 1]

Aprobat prin ordin al ministrului


Nr. 3919 / 20.04.2005

Bucureşti, 2005

160 Proiectul pentru Invăţământul Rural


Annexes

NOTĂ DE PREZENTARE

Revizuirea curriculumului de Limba engleză pentru învăţământul primar a pornit de


la următoarele premise:
- introducerea noului plan-cadru de învăţământ;
- dezvoltarea unei strategii didactice pornind de la obiective;
- necesitatea proiectării unui set unitar de obiective cadru şi de referinţă pentru toate
limbile moderne studiate în şcoala românească, din perspectiva modelului
comunicativ-funcţional de predare / învăţare a acestora;
- necesitatea proiectării conţinuturilor predării în funcţie de nevoile de comunicare ale
celui care învaţă;
- racordarea treptată, chiar de la începutul studierii limbii engleze, la nivelurile de
performanţă prevăzute de Cadrul European Comun de Referinţă
- asigurarea continuităţii şi a progresiei de la o clasă la alta, ţinând cont de obiectivele
ciclurilor curriculare.

În acest context, program şcolară de Limba engleză pentru clasa a IV-a are
următoarea structură:
• obiectivele cadru: urmărite pe întreg parcursul învăţământului primar, unde
limba engleză se studiază ca limba modernă 1;
• obiective de referinţă şi exemple de activităţi de învăţare;
• conţinuturi; subîmpărţite pe teme, funcţii comunicative şi elemente de
construcţie a comunicării;
• standardele curriculare de performanţă pentru finele clasei a IV-a.

Dată fiind plaja orară (2 - 3 ore) prevăzută în planul cadru pentru limba modernă 1,
curriculumul conţine:
- obiective de referinţă şi conţinuturi obligatorii: pentru cele 2 ore din trunchiul comun;
- obiective de referinţă şi conţinuturi la decizia şcolii (marcate în text prin asterisc şi
corp de literă italic): obligatorii numai în situaţia când, la o anumită clasă, se optează
pentru curriculum extins (3 ore pe săptămână).

La finele învăţământului primar, elevii vor atinge un nivel comparabil cu nivelul A1


din Cadrul European Comun de Referinţă.

OBIECTIVE CADRU

6. Dezvoltarea capacităţii de receptare a mesajului oral


7. Dezvoltarea capacităţii de exprimare orală
8. Dezvoltarea capacităţii de receptare a mesajului scris
9. Dezvoltarea capacităţii de exprimare în scris
10. Dezvoltarea unor reprezentări culturale şi a interesului pentru studiul
limbii engleze şi al civilizaţiei spaţiului cultural anglofon

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Appendix

OBIECTIVE DE REFERINŢĂ7 ŞI EXEMPLE DE ACTIVITĂŢI DE ÎNVĂŢARE


1. Dezvoltarea capacităţii de receptare a mesajului oral
Obiective de referinţă Exemple de activităţi de învăţare
La sfârşitul clasei a IV-a elevul va fi Pe parcursul clasei a IV-a se recomandă
capabil: următoarele activităţi:
1.1 să identifice semnificaţia unor - exerciţii de corelare;
enunţuri simple, referitoare la - răspunsuri la întrebări de control;
universul imediat
1.2 să desprindă sensul global din - exerciţii de confirmare a înţelegerii
scurte mesaje audiate (mini-dialog, globale a unui text audiat, prin
descrieri de persoane/ obiecte/ îndeplinirea unei sarcini simple (de e.g.
acţiuni)8 bifează, încercuieşte, mimează,
desenează etc.);
1.3 să reacţioneze adecvat la diferite - exerciţii de răspuns la comenzi / întrebări
tipuri de mesaje orale / formule de comunicare în societate;
*1.4 să desprindă informaţii punctuale - activităţi de confirmare a receptării
dintr-un mesaj audiat (realizarea unui desen, aranjarea unor
obiecte, notarea / alegerea unor date/detalii
dintr-un text audiat etc.).
2. Dezvoltarea capacităţii de exprimare orală
Obiective de referinţă Exemple de activităţi de învăţare
La sfârşitul clasei a IV-a elevul va fi Pe parcursul clasei a IV-a se recomandă
capabil: următoarele activităţi:
2.1 să reproducă scurte mesaje / părţi - exerciţii de repetare după model;
ale unui mesaj - exerciţii de corectare a pronunţiei şi
intonaţiei.
2.2 să integreze cuvinte noi în enunţuri - alcătuire de enunţuri cu elementele de
proprii vocabular şi structurile noi;
- joc-concurs pentru alcătuirea de
propoziţii coerente conţinând mai multe
cuvinte noi;
2.3 să producă răspunsuri scurte şi - dialoguri, conversaţii;
întrebări simple în situaţii simple de - joc de rol;
interacţiune, în contexte familiare - activităţi de simulare;
sau de necesitate imediată
*2.4 să vorbească despre sine/ despre - descrieri simple, cu suport verbal
persoane/ despre activităţi din (întrebări, cuvinte de sprijin) şi vizual
universul imediat (imagini).

7
Obiectivele de referinţă pentru clasa a IV-a se bazează pe obiectivele de referinţă pentru clasa a III-a, pe care
le integrează şi le dezvoltă. Obiectivele de referinţă marcate prin asterisc şi caractere italice nu fac parte din
programa de trunchi comun (2 ore/ săptămână). Ele intră în curriculumul la decizia şcolii, în cazul în care se
optează pentru curriculum extins.
8
Se vor folosi materiale audio care oferă modele de limbă autentice, adecvate.
162 Proiectul pentru Invăţământul Rural
Appendix

3. Dezvoltarea capacităţii de receptare a mesajului scris


Obiective de referinţă Exemple de activităţi de învăţare
La sfârşitul clasei a IV-a elevul va fi Pe parcursul clasei a IV-a se recomandă
capabil: următoarele activităţi:
3.1 să identifice semnificaţia unor - exerciţii de tip adevărat/ fals;
cuvinte / propoziţii simple, în texte - exerciţii de alegere (din soluţii multiple);
autentice comune (etichete, - potrivire imagine – text;
anunţuri, afişe)
3.2 să desprindă informaţii particulare - răspunsuri la întrebări de control;
dintr-un text citit în gând - exerciţii de completare de informaţii;
*3.3 să citească fluent un scurt text - exerciţii de citire cu voce tare (pe roluri,
cunoscut, cu intonaţie adecvată în grup, individual).
semnificaţiei textului
4. Dezvoltarea capacităţii de exprimare în scris
Obiective de referinţă Exemple de activităţi de învăţare
La sfârşitul clasei a IV-a elevul va fi Pe parcursul clasei a IV-a se recomandă
capabil: următoarele activităţi:
4.1 să reproducă, în scris, cuvinte, - exerciţii de copiere;
sintagme, enunţuri - completare de text lacunar;
*4.2 să realizeze legătura dintre rostire - exerciţii de scriere după dictare;
şi scriere, la nivelul unei propoziţii
scurte
4.3 să producă în scris scurte enunţuri / - exerciţii de completare, jocuri (rebus, grilă
mesaje, pe baza unui suport verbal etc.);
/ imagine - exerciţii de redactare (scurte descrieri,
formule de felicitare).
5. Dezvoltarea unor reprezentări culturale şi a interesului pentru studiul limbii
engleze şi al civilizaţiei spaţiului cultural anglofon
Obiective de referinţă Exemple de activităţi de învăţare
La sfârşitul clasei a IV-a elevul va fi Pe parcursul clasei a IV-a se recomandă
capabil: următoarele activităţi:
5.1 să demonstreze interes pentru - colecţii de cărţi poştale, prospecte
cunoaşterea unor oraşe / *zone din turistice, *hărţi şi planuri, etc.;
spaţiul cultural anglofon - realizarea unui plan al unei străzi / oraş
etc.
- proiecte.

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Appendix

CONŢINUTURI9

ORGANIZARE TEMATICĂ10

• Copilul despre sine: nume, sex (actualizare), vârstă (actualizare), adresă, însuşiri fizice
şi morale (actualizare), părţile corpului (actualizare şi extindere), îmbrăcăminte, culori
(actualizare şi extindere), jocuri şi jucării (actualizare)
• Familia: *membrii familiei, ocupaţii, sărbători în familie, *hrana
• Casa: încăperi (actualizare), mobilă (actualizare şi extindere), şcoala, obiecte şcolare
(actualizare), activităţi specifice (actualizare şi extindere)
• Animale: denumire, caracteristici
• Vremea: anotimpuri, caracteristici climatice
• *Lumea fantastică: personaje de basm, desen animat, film
• Copilul şi lumea înconjurătoare: oraşul/ satul (clădiri), *corespondenţă, cumpărături
• Activităţi: momentele zilei, zilele săptămânii, *lunile anului, activităţi curente, activităţi
pentru timpul liber
• Cultură şi civilizaţie: nume şi prenume tipice (actualizare), *nume de monumente,
cântece şi poezii, *nume de oraşe
În atenţia autorilor de manual: temele şi subtemele nu constituie capitole şi lecţii în
manual. Ele vor fi tratate transversal în cadrul unor unităţi elaborate din perspectiva
scenariului proiectat de autori.

FUNCŢII COMUNICATIVE11

1. a saluta şi a răspunde la salut (reluare şi îmbogăţire)


2. a se prezenta şi a prezenta pe cineva (reluare şi îmbogăţire)
3. a angaja şi a încheia un schimb verbal
4. a identifica elemente din universul familiar (reluare şi îmbogăţire)
5. a descrie persoane, animale, locuri
6. a cere şi a da informaţii (de ordin personal, despre mediul înconjurător)
7. a localiza persoane, obiecte, acţiuni (reluare şi îmbogăţire)
8. a exprima o dorinţă
9. a face o urare, a felicita
10. a se scuza şi a răspunde la scuze
11. a propune şi a cere cuiva să facă ceva
12. a relata activităţi: la prezent (reluare şi îmbogăţire)
13. *a relata activităţi: la viitor
14. *a exprima o stare fizică
15. *a formula şi a accepta o invitaţie
16. a exprima ceea ce îţi place sau ceea ce nu îţi place

9
Conţinuturile marcate prin asterisc şi corp de literă italic nu fac parte din programa de trunchi comun (2 ore /
săptămână) . Ele intră în curriculumul la decizia şcolii, în cazul în care se optează pentru curriculum extins.
10
Unele subteme, notate cu asterisc în clasa a IV-a, devin obligatorii în anii următori de studiu. În acest caz,
subtemele propuse pentru un an de studiu pot fi reluate şi, eventual, îmbogăţite, ca arie lexicală, în anul de studiu
ulterior.
11
Funcţiile comunicative propuse vor fi regrupate pe baza tematicii abordate, dezvoltate progresiv,
concentric, în funcţie de nivelul acumulării lexico-gramaticale. Ele nu vor constitui obiectul unei tratări
explicite, ci vor fi prezente în contextele situaţionale.
164 Proiectul pentru Invăţământul Rural
Appendix

Funcţiile comunicative propuse vor fi regrupate pe baza tematicii abordate, dezvoltate


progresiv, concentric, în funcţie de nivelul acumulării lexico-gramaticale. Ele nu vor
constitui obiectul unei tratări explicite, ci vor fi prezente în contextele situaţionale.

ELEMENTE DE CONSTRUCŢIE A COMUNICĂRII

I*. Alfabetul (spelling)


II. Gramatică
ƒ Substantivul
numărul plural
*plurale neregulate
ƒ Numeralul
cardinal (13 - 20)
ƒ Adjectivul
demonstrativ (singular şi plural)
posesiv (singular şi plural)
ƒ Verbul
timpul prezent continuu (afirmativ, negativ, interogativ)
timpul prezent simplu (afirmativ, negativ, interogativ)
*timpul viitor (cu will)
may
must
*adverbe de timp (tomorrow)
ƒ Prepoziţia
de loc (*between, over, across, above, at, in, on)
Elementele noi enumerate mai sus vor fi prezentate alături de elementele însuşite în
clasa a III-a. Categoriile gramaticale enumerate aparţin metalimbajului de
specialitate. Terminologia NU va face subiectul unei învăţări explicite. Nu se va
face apel la conceptualizarea unităţilor lingvistice, utilizate în situaţiile de
comunicare. Structurile gramaticale de mare dificultate, dar necesare pentru
realizarea unor acte de vorbire, nu vor fi tratate izolat şi analitic, ci vor fi abordate în
cadrul achiziţiei globale. Elementele de gramatică se vor doza progresiv, conform
dificultăţilor şi nevoilor de comunicare, fără a se urmări epuizarea tuturor realizărilor
lingvistice ale categoriilor gramaticale enumerate mai sus.

III. Lexic
200 – *250 unităţi lexicale (cuvinte, sintagme corespunzătoare realizării funcţiilor
comunicative, în cadrul ariilor tematice specificate mai sus).

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Appendix

STANDARDE CURRICULARE DE PERFORMANŢĂ


(pentru finele învăţământului primar)

OBIECTIV CADRU STANDARD

1. Dezvoltarea capacităţii de S1. Desprinderea sensului global al unui


receptare a mesajului oral scurt mesaj audiat
Identificarea, în mesaje scurte audiate, a
semnificaţiei unor cuvinte şi propoziţii
simple referitoare la universul imediat
2. Dezvoltarea capacităţii de S2. Reproducerea unor mesaje orale scurte
exprimare orală
S3. Producerea unui mesaj simplu şi scurt
despre persoane şi activităţi din universul
apropiat
Participarea cu întrebări simple şi
răspunsuri scurte la interacţiuni verbale
simple (dialoguri), în contexte familiare
sau de necesitate imediată
3. Dezvoltarea capacităţii de S4. Identificarea semnificaţiei unor cuvinte şi
receptare a mesajului scris propoziţii simple, în texte autentice
comune (etichete, anunţuri, afişe)
Desprinderea sensului global al unui
scurt text citit în gând
4. Dezvoltarea capacităţii de S5. Redactarea unui enunţ scurt / mesaj, pe
exprimare în scris baza unui suport verbal / a unei imagini.

166 Proiectul pentru Invăţământul Rural


Glossary

Glossary

Krashen, Stephen

Stephen Krashen (University of Southern California) is an expert in


the field of linguistics, specialising in theories of language acquisition
and development.

In 1983 Krashen and Terrel’s Natural Approach to foreign language


learning revolutionised the methodology of second language
acquisition. It consisted mainly of five hypotheses:

1. The Acquisition – Learning Hypothesis


According to it, acquisition means developing competence by using
language for real communication. Learning means “knowing about”
or formal knowledge of language. Acquisition is subconscious, while
learning is conscious.

2. The Natural Order Hypothesis


The result of providing acquirers with comprehensible input
(messages they can understand) is the emergence of grammatical
structures in a predictable way. Krashen noticed striking similarities
in the order in which children acquire certain grammatical
morphemes in their first language and in the second language.
According to his theory, the teacher should create a “natural”
environment for the learner.

3. The Monitor Hypothesis


When somebody produces a message in a foreign language (output),
the message is checked and repaired after it has been produced.
This can be done with the help of the explicit knowledge the learner
has gained through grammatical study.

4. The Input Hypothesis


This hypothesis explains how successful acquisition occurs. The
learners have to understand input which is a little beyond their
present level. Krashen defined the present level as i and the ideal
level of input as i+1. According to this, in the development of oral
fluency, unknown words and grammatical structures are deduced
through the use of context (both situational and discursive), rather
than through direct instructions. As a result, good teachers should
tune their speech to the pupils’ level and gradually add to the
difficulty of the message.

5. The Affective Filter Hypothesis


Krashen shows that “attitudinal variables relate directly to language
acquisition, but not language learning.” This theory is sustained by
the obvious effects of self-confidence and motivation.

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Glossary

Another aspect of this hypothesis is allowing for errors, while at the


same time providing correct input, which can help students in their
acquisition of language. This dialogue provides an example:
Teacher: What are the children doing in this picture?
Student: Run.
Teacher: Yes, that’s right. They are running.

Krashen summarises these hypotheses like this: “The best methods


are therefore those that supply “comprehensible input” in low anxiety
situations containing messages that students really want to hear.”

Scrivener, Jim

Author of a highly appreciated book – “Learning to Teach”, Jim


Scrivener developed the ARC theory on lesson planning. According
to this theory, the lesson is divided into 3 clear stages. Each stage
responds to a common-sense question:

How can students know what they are supposed to practice if they
haven’t been shown what to do? How can students do an exercise if
they cannot understand the grammar structures or vocabulary that
you want them to practice during the exercise?

1. Clarification & Focus stage, in which the teacher demonstrates,


explains and illustrates, pre-teaches the necessary new vocabulary.
This stage is needed more than once during a lesson.

How can a student openly communicate with another student using


newly taught English if they have not had the chance to practice the
new structures beforehand?

2. Restrictive exercise stage in which the students do an exercise


to practice grammar structure and form, increase their English
accuracy and test and demonstrate their ability on a given language
point.

Why would a student be interested in practising English structures


and being tested on a grammar point if they didn’t know such
phrases, vocabulary, etc. This could be used effectively in real life
situations in English speaking countries?

3. Authentic Exercise stage in which students do an exercise that


involves communication with language, fluency practice that relates
to real life and is meaningful. Such activities are normally enjoyable
as they are flexible and allow the students to decide what to do/say
for themselves.

For a lesson to be balanced, you need to have all the 3 stages


above. This will ensure the logic of the learning process. A typical
lesson might run something like CRCAC.

168 Proiectul pentru Invăţământul Rural


Bibliography

Bibliography
1. Cant, Amanda and Superfine, Wendy, Developing Resources for
Primary, Richmond Publishing, 1997
2. Gărdescu, Elena and Vasile Cristina, Tilly and Fogg, Manual de
limba engleza pentru clasele I-II, ALL Educational, 1999
3. Gărdescu, Elena and Vasile C., Tilly and Fogg, Ghidul
profesorului, ALL Educational, 1999
4. Ioannou Georgiou S. and Pavlou, P., Assessing Young Learners,
Oxford University Press, 2005
5. Halliwell, Susan, Teaching English in the Primary Classroom,
Longman, 1992
6. Harmer, J., The Practice of English Language Teaching,
Longman, 2001
7. Harris, M. and Mc Cann, P., Assessment, Mac Millan Heinemann,
1994
8. Ministerul Educatiei si Cercetarii, Consiliul National pentru
Curriculum, Ghid metodologic pentru aplicarea programei de
limba engleza primar – gimnazial , Bucuresti, 2001
9. Ministerul Educatiei si Cercetării, Consiliul National pentru
Curriculum, Anexa 3 la OMEC 5198/1.11.2004 (Programe scolare
pentru clasa a IIIa, Limba engleză)
10. Ministerul Educatiei si Cercetarii, Consiliul National pentru
Curriculum, Anexa2 la OMEC 3919/2004 (Programe scolare
pentru clasa a IVa, Limba engleză)
11. Phillips, Sarah, Young Learners, Oxford University Press, 1993
12. Popa B., Ralea M., I Am Special, Manual de limba engleză pentru
clasa a IIIa, Editura Didactica si Pedagogica R.A., Bucureşti,
2002
13. Davis Robin, Gerngross G., Holzmann C., Puchta H., Magic
Time, Longman, 1998
14. Scott, Wendy and Ytreberg, Lisbeth, Teaching English to
Children, Longman, 1990
15. Wright, Andrew, 1000 Pictures for Teachers to Copy, Collins ELT,
1984

Useful web sites


1. www.onestopenglish.com (professional support, methodology,
case studies, teachers’ anecdotes, lesson plans and worksheets)
2. www.songsforteaching.com (different kinds of songs, songbooks
and sheet music, teaching tips)
3. www.sasked.gov.sk.ca (evaluation and assessment models of
evaluation criteria)
4. www.eltforum.com (for the assessment of young learners, in
‘Amazing Young Minds’, Session papers, Cambridge 2004)
5. www.oup.com (for resources and assessment)
6. www.teachingenglish.org.uk (methodology, test writing, case
studies, project work, different approaches to ELT)

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