Subárea de Comunicación y Lenguaje L3 (Inglés) - Quinto Grado
English Fifth Grade
Volver al Área de Comunicación y Lenguaje
Students realize that learning a foreign language could be easy if they engage in meaningful activities requiring the use of the language and its components. Throughout each task, learning English should be fun, so students may get an authentic, contextualized and interesting learning process.
English is, nowadays, the international communicating language, used in commercial, technical, scientific and academic sites. It is the access language in a global world to technological and communication advances for the XXI century. Students that learn another language like English develop communicating and interpersonal abilities to relate to people from different sites and cultures. This cultural exchange helps learners to develop critical thinking, to compare other societies and their own social, cultural, political and economical environments for judgment and reflection.
English speakers have a powerful key to open labor markets, to obtain a better academic preparation to face technological and global challenges, to grow up in any kind of tasks and employments chosen due to cultural exchange and information enrichment.
The very foundation of lingüistic habilities in native language will support learning English: listening, speaking, reading and writing. These habilities sway will determine English performance. The approach to English learning must be technical, functional and communicative to assure students competence to use the language system appropriately in any circumstances.
The language practice and skill development activities have been designed to involve students in all aspects of the contents, making them active participants in the learning process. The learning process is centered on the learners to encourage them to express their own realities in English and to help them maintain a high level of motivation.
1. Oral expression and comprehension: listening and speaking are a must in a successful communication. Students must know how to discriminate phonemes from new language, to distinguish meaning from homophonic words with context keys, use of inflection, clear pronunciation and accent and speech melody according to context and speaker; also they have to use new vocabulary and idioms from the new language properly.
Developing oral abilites will let students to have a conversation or to present a speech, to exchange more and more complex information about many topics. This learning includes knowledge and use of sayings, proverbs, idioms, greetings and other popular language uses.
2. Written expression and comprehension: reading is a complex process to understand and interpret not only words and sentences but signs, icons, pictures and other graphic resources that may appear in a written text. Writing let students to share ideas, information, feelings and other communications for his own.
Since reading and writing are processes that students already learned in their own language, they are supposed to transfer known cognitive and metacognitive strategies for reading and writing in a new language. Anyhow, English teachers will also work to facilitate reading comprehension ability.
It is very important to take into consideration that this is a second or third language for students that already speak one or two Guatemalan languanges.
Reading comprehension involves active and pasive vocabulary usage and for that reason, it is treated in a separete component. Needless to say that writing is the more complex learning level in a second or third language; so, English teacher will also help students to improve their ability. This component also includes intellectual and communicative tasks related to grammar and syntactic English structures knowledge.
3. Vocabulary development: having a wide vocabulary and idioms from new language will let learners to obtain more knowledge and better ways to interact with other people. Vocabulary possession is a good learning level indicator. The more accurate, wide and strong vocabulary the student acquires, the more possibilities to communicate his/her needs or feelings as well as to process and interpret the information he/she receives. It could take many years to go through one level to another. In a very initial level, the learner could easily exchange simple information with a basic vocabulary to understand and to be understood in predictable daily situations and conversations in which he/she could be producer but mostly recipient of his/her interlocutor messages. For an advance a level, instead, students could easily and clearly say ideas and opinions about a wide range of topics. They could also understand and exchange information in a reliable way; soy by themselves they could proficiently communicate with other people about other situations than academical: commercial, technical, literary and conceptual. To be able, they have to get an extensive vocabulary.
4. Culture and society: oral and written comprehension plus a wide vocabulary and idioms in the new language should help students to obtain a good knowledge about culture involved as well as to compare and value their own language. It is well known that language categories rely on uses that native speakers give to them, becoming in a kind of window to grasp another view of reality and life.
From greetings, the common gateways to other communities, to refined metaphors, the students should recognize they are in contact with other traditions, references and meanings linked to Anglo-American cultures. Teacher will take the opportunity for second thought about culture and societies involved in every word and category when working oral and written activities.
Assesment criteria are intended to guide teachers to aspects that they have to take into account to determine level and kind of learning the students reached in every teaching process moments according to competences settled in the curriculum. From this sight, they function as regulator of learning-assessment-teaching strategies.
The following assessment criteria are suggested:
1. Use English knowledge to exchange information about different topics:
- Spontaneously talking about interesting topics with a clear and rich vocabulary.
- Answering in a proper way to questions or commands.
- Sharing with native speakers or learners clubs in any opportunity.
- Conversation with native or non native speakers.
- Using new learned words, idioms, sayings and proverbs when needed.
- Joining to cultural activities such a holiday celebrations and others.
- Telling and hearing stories, anecdotes, among others.
2. Produces oral or written texts based in previous readings:
- Reading Anglo-American books as a reliable source to find information and inspiration.
- Avoiding literal translation when reading or writing.
- Using accurate syntax and spelling in writing.
- Taking care of proper tense or mood when using regular and irregular verbs. Applying new vocabulary in written texts.
3. Value different cultural practices:
- Applying perceived social interactions when conversing with native or non-native speakers.
- Judging the different approaches to every day activities, as well as commercial and advertising ones.
- Being aware of the idioms, sayings, and other local uses given to words in his/ her community.
- Grasping relation between language and culture through behavior and communication patterns.
- Playing roles about history and tradition characters.
Teaching methodology notes
Before any learning action, it is necessary to make diagnostic assesment to check language level for each student. This will help to determine developed skills level and which of them will need reinforcement and practice.
Teachers should be opened to dialog, arguments, reflections about social norms, good relationship activities and to provide cooperating tasks and achieving goals. They should use technics from specialiced methods for learning languages such as suggestopedia, which allows teacher to encourage students to go through negative suppositions like: «I can not do it, it is too hard to me, I do not like it, I do not want it, I do not understand it» to positive and active ideas: «It is possible, I will try to do it, I can do it, It is funny, It is not so hard as it seems».
So, teachers should build up an amusing environment with resources as posters, draws, pictures, lights, videos, songs, sounds, music, to make everyone to relax and to settle other kind of associations to understand and interpret meaning of words and phrases. These activities allow students to stimulate their right cerebral hemisphere so the creative part is learning and not only the conscious one. They would act in an assertive way, would look and accept their own intuitions and would trust in their learning capacity.
Teachers model the foreign language class and their actions are actually suggestive for students. The inflection in their voices, the gestures and body movements, the construction and orientation for every dynamic exercise, as well as recommended resources become significant. This method makes teacher to prepare and practice positive experiences to develop a meaningful learning and to have pleasant emotions. Teaching a foreign language conveys collaborative participation, to throw out stage fright, suspicion and fear to be wrong or punished. The activities must be interdisciplinary and motivating to reinforce positive behavior and self-confidence from learners.
To organize a learning language classroom, we suggest:
- To develope oral and written interaction mechanisms: cooperation, negotiation, new information, coherence, relevance, emphasis, repetition, summarizing in different topics.
- To speak only in the learning language as possible.
- To teach grammar in an inductive way; it means that students should reach conclusions about learning language grammar structures by themselves better than to receive explanations.
- Lots of vocabulary should be taught with practical demonstrations of objects, pictures; the figurative vocabulary should be taught by associating ideas.
- Start the class with a short story or dialog in the new language, using modern and conversational speech.
- To design short dialogs and exercises based in common questions in learning language about motivation topics.
- To intuitively teach associated culture to the learning language.
- To focus in creative uses of language. Speaking does not mean to repeat given phrases but to build up all possible phrases (linguistic competence).
- Stimulate reading, writing and speaking with motivating activities according to the interest of the students.
- Mistakes are necessary to learn. Never let correction to inhibit the communicating process.
- Go to the Bibliography.