English Assignment: Planning, Teaching & Assessing English For 4th Graders
Based on the insights gained from this module (English Language teaching in a multilingual context, language teaching approaches, choice of activities, assessment), design how you would plan, teach, and assess English in a grade of your choice.
Background OfEnglish Assignment
The ability to teach English as a foreign language is a difficult, excruciating but an important consideration of education because most of the students from Mauritius or any other Asian country aspire to go to a Western country to acquire higher education. In such cases, the utilisation of foreign language knowledge and the ability to speak English acts as a basic life skill. Most of the western countries have English as their mother tongue, which eventually makes it easier for students to understand the instruction medium and showcase their proficiency (Sabirova and Khanipova, 2019). The discussion presented below is inclined towards focusing on a plan that would be responsible for educating numerous 4th graders who are aged between 9-11 years about reading English.
Planning, Teaching and Assessing English for 4th Graders
According to Fisher et al. (2020), some of the core principles that must be addressed while teaching foreign language consists of understanding the student’s expectations properly, creating a positive learning environment and managing to find a suitable balance between modelling, explaining and practice. Eventually, it is important for a foreign language teacher to establish a two-way communication with the students which would enable in enhancing the understanding better and the teacher becomes eminent in identifying the student’s strengths and weaknesses in learning the language. Some of the key steps that must be followed by the foreign language teacher consists of the following:
Chosen Element of Reading Skill
Teach students the sound of different alphabets
Some easily understand the different aspects of phonics while others struggle in learning the core details.
The use of audio-lingual approach would be suitable in assessing the students.
Breaking a word for better pronunciation based on the syllables present
The students find it easy to pronounce a difficult word by breaking it down based on syllables.
Verbal assessments would be undertaken to understand their pronunciation better.
Teaching the students to pause while incurring a punctuation mark.
The students learn the essence of punctuation and use pauses accordingly.
Students would be allocated external reading books for enhancing their reading capability.
Table 1: Teaching and Assessment Plan for English
(Source: Created by the Learner)
The learner would be specifically focusing on improving the reading skills of primary school students studying in 4th grade. This stage is crucial in enhancing their learning capabilities and making their foundation stronger and profound. Thus, the inclusion of phonics and syllables would be crucial in enhancing their reading skills and having better pronunciation of words.
Understanding of Teaching English in Multilingual Context
According to Ushioda (2017), the multilingual context refers to the type of teaching where more than one language is taught in or out of the prevailing school settings. Most of the students may deem it as not essential but as a teacher it would be important to understand the language’s relevance in the modern market and enable the students to understand the value behind learning it accordingly. The occurrence of national and international migration has eventually made multilingualism a very common phenomenon because it has been heavily normalised for students belonging to different countries to know more than one language. The use of basic level English would be crucial in enhancing the understanding of fourth graders especially on how to read each line and words with accurate pronunciation. According to Paudel (2020), most of the time the students and the teachers alike grow weary of the syllabus because of its lengthy attributes and the inability to make the learning process severely interesting. It eventually throws them of the knowledge they were supposed to be acquiring while learning the language. For example, some of the aspects that the students find very boring includes grammar, phonics and narration but it cannot be denied that without the incorporation of these, it would be extensively difficult for the students to acquire sufficient knowledge.
Choice of Language Teaching Approaches
According to Kukulska?Hulme and Viberg (2018), the use of a communicative approach is always efficient and better while teaching a new language and is the most widely used or accepted form of teaching in a classroom. This particular approach eventually focuses on the capability of the learner to communicate different functions such as asking or answering questions, requesting something, narrating, comparing and more. It also propagates the idea that students would continue to improvise and develop accurate speech if they frequently communicate in the foreign tongue.
Task-based learning has often been deemed as the refinement of the communicative approach because it manages to focus on the completion of specific tasks that enhance the learning capability of an individual (Coultas and Booth, 2019). Children at a young age are known for learning more proficiently when lessons are taught with practical approach. The utilisation of task-based learning would enhance their practice sessions and make the learning as an experiential process eventually leading to the formation of concrete ideas of facilitating a foreign language.
The use of audio-lingual approach indicates that the learner is expected to acquire different range of learning habits and indulges in heavy repetition of certain aspects of the entire learning process (Ghofur et al., 2017). One such example is of a teacher initiating the use of a sentence and then holding up a series of placards or pictures and allowing the students respond accordingly by framing sentences on their own. This particular approach enhances the thinking capacity of the learner and allows them to think about the grammatical positioning of certain words before the formation of a final sentence. It also gives them much needed motivation and confidence if they are correct. The teacher intends to utilise the aforementioned three approaches while enhancing the reading skills of primary school students. The use of communicative approach would enhance the capability of the student to use phonics and syllables appropriately while improving their pronunciation.
Choice of Activities
According to Franceschini et al. (2017), some of the key activities that would be required to improve the reading skills of primary school students consists of the following:
The Use of Vocabulary
The vocabulary of the student has to be improved because the more words they learn, the more proficient they would get in expressing themselves in a different language and communicate more coherently. The teacher can introduce a segment of ‘learning a new word every day’ and then incorporating those words in the daily lives of the students.
The practice of story sequencing is one of the crucial ways of improving English reading skills among primary students. The more sequentially the breakdown of the story occurs and the reader continues to get a better background idea of the characters involved, it excites them to learn further and discover what lies ahead for the character.
Choose Suitable Story for Fourth Graders
Any story that is lengthy or has too many moral elements would not interest 4th graders in any way. Thus, it would be crucial for the teacher to present them with stories that they can easily familiarise themselves with and can relate to the characters. For example, making the children read stories like Pied Piper, Alice in Wonderland and more would enhance their literary experience and provide them with a more comprehensive outlook on identifying what happens after a chapter.
Additional Reading Texts
The students could be given similar types of short stories that would be interesting to them to read and then write a summary on it to understand how far the student has successfully familiarised themselves with the story. If their reading is accurate then they would also write the summary accurately. It would be one of the convenient ways of assessing them and their learning capacity as well.
Appropriate Assessment Modes
The use of assessment modes would be crucial in understanding the knowledge acquired and grasped appropriately by the student and whether or not they are ready for acquiring some additional advanced lessons in the designated course (Mellar et al., 2018). With teaching a completely foreign language to primary school children, it would be essential to focus on whether or not they are interested in the curriculum offered to them and are learning each element properly. It was already suggested that the use of additional text reading would be a viable assessment method but at the same time, but according to Draffan et al. (2017), the following modes would be equally beneficial:
Best Assessment Practices
The students could be judged based on the outcomes of their previous assessments and in which sections they have fared well. It would be a good determiner of strong points of a student and would enable them to focus on his capability accordingly.
Verbal Assessment Method
The use of verbal assessment method has the potential to turn out to be the most effective one. It will allow the student to read a passage or a story of their choice aloud and would permit the teacher to examine their pronunciations, phonics, stress on syllables, addressing punctuation and different other elements considered while reading.
Formative and Summative Assessments
While the formative assessment may provide an opportunity to the student to give an oral presentation and showcase their calibre in reading, the use of summative assessment would be purely theoretical in nature. It would be essential to focus on the important aspects while a communicative approach is established to acquire more information on the capability of the student.
In case of a teacher, it is important to indulge in reflective practice because it sheds light on the experiences the teacher has had and the possible mistakes that must be avoided in future (Miller, 2020). Tis report was heavily insightful for me in learning about different assessment modes and learning methodologies that could be easily applied to make the knowledge of the student more proficient. I still believe that the use of communicative approach and audio-lingual learning would be crucial. However, I also think that sufficient exposure to foreign entertainment content would make it exciting for them to learn the language with more dedication and attention.
Critical Insights on Possibilities and Challenges
Despite the utilisation of different methods and assessment methods, there is still a possibility of incurring numerous challenges in the course of teaching English to primary students. The assessment modes may end up completely focusing on their individual capability and the idea of collectivist learning ends up being discouraged. This would further degrade the potential that social learning theory has in teaching children. According to Fox (2017), social learning theory suggests that individuals have the capability of learning from their surroundings or by imitating others and it is crucial in fostering some of the essential learning capabilities found among individuals. If some of the students’ witness proficiency among other students in learning English, then they are likely to get enthusiastic and learn with more eagerness about the language. Thus, not adding any form of collective assessments would reduce the chances of children engaging in the social learning and learning from one another. Also, the use of social learning theory would ground the choice of encouraging collective learning among the students. The teacher would eventually start with enhancing the individual learning capacity of the students and then proceed to encourage collective learning through group projects and propagate the use of social learning theory. Additionally, the medium of instruction and the heavy use of foreign language may make it easier for them to assume that the value of the foreign language is much more significant than their mother tongue. Here, the application of classic conditioning theory would be crucial in understanding the behaviour of the students. According to B?bel (2019), the classic conditioning theory suggests that it is a type of learning that happens unconsciously and is likely to make individuals have automated responses towards specific situations. This might be commonly witnessed among young children who have been asked to focus upon learning a foreign language instead of learning their mother tongue appropriately.When the students would be subjected to teacher’s conditioning in the form of reading external texts to learn phonics and indulge in group projects, they would recognise these activities as a form of learning process. This would cement the teacher’s plan of educating through different approaches.
This report was significant in providing immense amount of knowledge on teaching in a multilingual environment because most of the students are rarely subjected to such situation unless they have to avail higher education in a different country. This report shed light on the different activities that could be utilised by a teacher to teach primary school children a completely new language while enhancing their knowledge about the literature spectrum found in that specific language. Additionally, a change in the assessment methods is crucial for the teachers to consider to understand the proficiency of the student better in the language taught to them.
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