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.

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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 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.

YLs Teacher Training Course – Session 7 Valuing Children / High Expectations

I am backtracking a little and posting session 7 of my 10-week YLs teacher training course. In it, I work on getting teachers to consider how they demonstrate to their young learners that they value them and have high expectations of them. The session is a blend of theory and of activities that ask trainees to consider their practice as teachers.

Please note, I am currently awaiting permission to reproduce one of the resources in this session. The Michael Rosen poem can be found here

 TT course – session 7 – Permissions awaited

YLs Teacher Training Course – Session 6 Involving and Occupying Activities

As most UK and some overseas schools have now been back for a week, here is the sixth session of my 10-week Teacher Training course for teachers of Young Learners.

Session 6 examines the fundamental principles of providing a balance of involving and occupying activities in children’s lessons. Trainees take part in a demonstration of a common range of primary age lesson activities. They then discuss whether they will appropriately challenge and include the children in their classes, and if not, how they can adapt the activities to achieve this aim.

I hope you find these materials useful and relevant to your teaching context. Do please let me know if you have any feedback or questions.

YLs TT course – Session 6 Involving and Occupying activities

Research into task design of assessment tasks for YLs

I am making available an MA assignment I wrote a while ago about the design of assessment tasks for children. In it, I examine how tasks which effectively assess the language ability of children can be designed. It was written while I was working at Cambridge English as a Subject Officer for the YLE tests and I refer to the research the tests underwent as part of the 2007 review of the YLE tests.

NB The two internal documents from Cambridge English are not publicly accessible (Guidelines for Oral Examiner Training and Coordination and Instructions to Oral Examiners) Also note that the latest YLE information is available online: http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams/young-learners-english/ 

I hope you enjoy reading my MA assignment.

YLs Teacher Training course Session 4 Instructions

After a break of more than three weeks, I am back with the next instalment of my training course.

This is session 4 of my 10-week Teacher Training course for teachers of Young Learners. It is written with NQTs or newly qualified teachers in mind and it looks at how to make instructions clear to children’s classes to ensure successful learning takes place. The session includes a demonstration of how not to give instructions, followed by a step-by-step guide on how to make a greetings card with a children’s class. Trainees are set homework to observe each other and see how they can improve their teaching practice.

I hope you find these materials useful and relevant to your teaching context. Do please let me know if you have any feedback or questions.

Session 4_YL Teacher Training course