International Schools Curriculum Work

I have recently started a project where I have been asked to develop English, Maths and Science learning objectives for the approved curriculum in the client’s International Schools. It’s quite a head-shift for me, as in the International House schools I worked in, I didn’t do too much of what is now known as CLIL.

I’ve spent most of today drafting examples to go with content edited learning objectives for Year 3 Science students and teachers. It’s really interesting – working outside of my comfort zone, I find more questions come to mind such as how do I phrase an example to go with this biology learning objective: ‘Describe ways in which animals are suited to the environments in which they are found.’ ‘I’ve come up with: ‘Example: describe how a camel survives in the desert by carrying fat in its hump for times when there is little or no food or water.’ and am fairly happy with that one.

I’m less confident about my physics examples. Here’s an example for you: learning objective: ‘Understand that we need light in order to see things and that dark is the absence of light.’ My example: ‘understand that we can see things in daylight or with other sources of light, and that we can’t see things when it is dark at night or when we don’t use electric lights.’

I’m more or less in the middle with my chemistry ones. Feel free to suggest improvements that can be made to the following example for this learning objective: ‘Understand that temperature is a measure of how hot or cold something is and that it is measured in degrees Celsius (°C) using a thermometer.’ Here, my example is: understand that temperature varies and we use thermometers to measure how hot or cold something is.

Thanks for reading this and I look forward to receiving some comments or likes if you like this post.

IATEFL 2017

IATEFL 2017 in the great city of Glasgow is finishing up after a busy, enjoyable and thought-provoking week for many in the ELT profession.

This year I really started to make use of my membership when unable to attend because of work and family commitments. I checked how the MaWSIG or Materials Writers Special Interest Group was getting on at their PCE on Monday and saw they’d had a great time. You can read about it here in Rachel Daw’s excellent post: Storify about the 2017 MaWSIG PCE.

I also watched the British Council interview with the world-renowned, erudite and extremely affable David Crystal. See it at: David Crystal interview at IATEFL 2017.

I haven’t had time to fully check out the presentations by contacts and mentors in my career so if  you are interested you can check out these links:

Rachael Roberts’ blog; Marie Delaney’s site  The Learning Harbour and Jo Gakonga’s site and links to videos on YouTube: Jo Gakonga elt teacher training.

Today, I have the task of rewriting some Secondary progress and end-of-year tests so the internet and Facebook are mainly switched off apart from research purposes. Come 4.00 pm GMT, I’ll be finishing off and either relaxing with a cuppa in the garden or heading into town for a well-deserved coffee.

 

 

Session 1 Young Learners are Different

The first session in my ten-week teacher training course for Young Learners’ teachers gets trainees to consider why children are different to adult learners. Trainees consider the suitability of some demonstrated activities for different age groups, then discuss differences between the children they teach and the adult learners they taught on their CELTA. The session then looks at published Young Learners course books and how their approach differs from course books for adult learners.

session-1_yls-are-different

Learning Objectives for Young Learners

During 2015 I helped with the development of the Young Learners learning objectives for Pearson’s Global Scale of English and co-presented the project with Mike Mayor at IATEFL in Manchester.

Since then, the learning objectives have been finalised and published. Teachers of 6-14 year olds can now use them to see what level of proficiency their learners have reached. You can download them at: https://www.english.com/blog/download-gse-young-learners or read them in this PDF: gse_lo_younglearners

They are also available as part of Pearson’s Teacher’s Toolkit at: https://www.english.com/gse/teacher-toolkit/user/lo

If you look at page 8 of the PDF, you can see how the learning objectives have been used to inform the lesson objectives and activities in Pearson’s Poptropica Primary course at Level 2. You can map the materials you use with your Primary learners to the learning objectives, so do have a go at seeing how these objectives can inform your teaching and let me know how you get on.

Teachers are invited to get involved with the project and Pearson welcomes feedback from teachers and ELT practitioners with experience of teaching children. You can send feedback at https://www.English.com/gse/contact

 

 

 

 

Test writing at A2 level for Lower Secondary

Since coming back after the break, I have been tasked with briefing some unit and progress tests for an A2 Lower Secondary course for 11-14 year olds. I’m currently writing the progress and end-of-year tests, so I am working with my Cambridge English KET Handbook close to hand. I am cheered by the news that I may have found a writer for our unit tests as we are asking for someone to start as soon as possible and our first choices were booked up.

Test writing from the inside perspective

It’s the second day back at my desk since the UK August bank holiday, when I treated myself to four whole days off including a very sunny Friday in the garden.

I’m now getting on with revising a sample Primary test in line with the client’s feedback. I know my stuff, or so it seems from the good overall feedback, but I have to be mindful of not writing too much especially as it is the first unit test. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Fortunately the client has given good suggestions on how to counter this, so I will be amending the activity types so less text can feature. And I will be sketching out the layout as this is a requirement.

Sometimes people think because there is so little on the page for children that it is a doddle to write for this age group. Wrong! I am inclined to think it takes more time as you have to get it right in terms of cognitive challenge, interest, physical ‘fit’, course book ‘fit’, motivation, engaging activities that children want to do and so on.