ELT Tendencies in Pre-school and Primary School Education Rumyana Todorova Shumen University, Bulgaria 22nd BETA-IATEFL Annual International Conference
Background information • FLT – factor for a culturally-grounded school education • Emphasis on other cultures and intercultural communication
Aspects of early FLL • Early FLT – from grade 2 (age 8-9) (even earlier) since 2002/3 in Bulgaria • Reasons: • Intellectual abilities and emotional drive for acquiring languages • Psychological arguments: child’s brain has capacity for remembering info more easily • Acquiring skills for learning a FL
ET 2020 Strategy • Start school at an early age • Learning from each other http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/framework_en.htm • ‘Having an equal start’ before becoming 1st grade pupils http://www.minedu.government.bg/news-home/2012/12-12-08_pozicia-4godishni.html
AIMS of pre-school & primary school education • Up to 1970s: communication through the FL • Since 1990s: communication across cultures through FL
Hints: • Asking for favour • Greeting elderly people • Greeting their peers • Greeting parents • Apologizing
ASPECTS: • Cognitive: FL knowledge • Emotional: celebration of national and other countries’ holidays • Pragmatic aspects for FLL: knowing about other people’s cultures through their language • CLIL (Content & Language Integrated Learning)
COMMON EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK (CEF) OF REFERENCE FOR LANGUAGES (1998). Parametres: • multilingual communicative competence; • life-long language education; • constructing curricula; • achieving partial competence for various education goals.
MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES: Gardner 1983http://theoriesincareertech.wikispaces.com/Theory+of+Multiple+Intelligence
Every learner should be taught in different way according to their individual intelligences • FL material presented differently activated in different situations and cultural settings • (see Gardner, H., Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Basic Books,1983; McCormick, C. B. Child and Adolescent Development for Educators. New York: The Guilford Press, 2007)
TENDENCIES IN BULGARIA • 95% of children b/n the age of 4 & the age for starting compulsory primary education should participate in early childhood education • Children learning from their peers • Involving parents actively in early childhood education
Primary Education Prerequisites • Children’s ways of learning: • holistic; • concrete; • action-based; • by way of imitation (pronunciation, intonation based on Cartoon Network, friends’ & parents’ way of communication, etc.)
Goals of early FLL • to understand short adapted and abridged texts while listening to them; • to communicate using simple sentences and phrases; • to understand the main idea while reading short texts; • to use glossaries, tables and graphs that go with course books.
PREREQUISITES FOR EARLY FL EDUCATION • Early foreign language acquisition puts an emphasis not so much on the acquisition of the language than on the fact that pupils should be aware of the existence of other cultures and should develop competencies for intercultural communication along with the development of their intellectual and linguistic abilities (see Parapulska 2001: 33-36).
DISADVANTAGES • Young children easily distracted; • Can’t concentrate for a long time WAY OUT: • They should be taught the FL by using toys & games with a lot of motion & action ARGUMENT: • Nowadays small kids spend most of their time watching TV or playing computer games not paying attention to any toys they have
Using games for young learners of English. Reasons: • children easily distracted • can’t concentrate for a long time • play not by necessity but for pleasure • games provoke curiosity • games require discipline and rules • games provide easier acquisition of language material
source for ‘soft skills’ (e.g. team work, cooperation, concentration, creativity, etc.; priorities of EC strategies for all education levels)
Children in games are: • Creative even if following rules; • Highly motivated; • More concentrated; • More competitive; • Willing to win
competitiveness (positive & negative) positive effects on children if played properly (why?) easier acquisition of language material adequate reactions depending on situation (positive & negative) thinking outside the box/frame FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
Games driving force of human progress; • One of most important components in games related to curiosity (J. Heusinga, M. I. Gurevich http://www.springerlink.com/content/v716822w28380981/). • yet, too many games: stress, boredom & lack of interest
THINGS FL TEACHERS DON’T ALWAYS DO WHEN USING GAMES • Evaluate process when using games in FLT together with results • Take into account psychology of games • Re-group children if there are losers in group
EXAMS FOR CHILDREN/YOUNG LEARNERS • No more than an hour long (reason: children’s attention unstable) • Format in accordance with age group characteristics, i.e. in the form of games (interestingness) • Examiners advised to stop exam for a while, take children out, play other games
CONCLUSIONS • FL games: necessity & challenge • Social activities teaching children do things in team • Focus on consideration for others • Require different reactions for different situations in games • Proportion of games in FL classroom
Emphasis on global & constantly changing world by using Internet games • Acquisition of knowledge in other fields • Mastering of reading & comprehension skills – a drawback in Bulgarian educational system
NEED FOR RETHINKING BG EDUCATIONAL POLICIES • learners’ illiteracy as stated by Bulgaria’s Centre for Demographic Policy in an EC report (see http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=147520)
Bulgarian children rank second after Belgium, Holland, Denmark & Estonia for using Internet & first in Europe for chatting on Internet • BG children illiterate but great on using Internet • This negative issue should be turned into positive in FLT by using Internet games for words & phrases they can easily identify
BUT • Not leave them live and dream in their virtual reality • Present real-life situations by playing with toys & games in a guided way • Children of the new era lack these skills and qualities
LAST BUT NOT LEAST • Teach young learners specificities of different cultures through FL • Teach them to be TOLERANT to the Other
REFERENCES: • Gardner, H.Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Basic Books, 1983. • Hubenova, M. “Foreign language Teaching at Primary School – Intercultural Communication Education” (in Bulgarian). In: Nachalno obrazovanie,No 4-5/2002, 15-19. • Johnson, K., K. Morrow. Communication in the Classroom. Application and Methods for a Communicative Approach. London: Longman. 1981. • McCallum, G. P. 101 Word Games: For Students of English as a Second or Foreign Language. USA: Oxford University Press, 1980. • McCormick, C. B. Child and Adolescent Development for Educators. New York: The Guilford Press, 2007 • Martin, C. Games and fun activities. London: CILT, 1995. • Parapulska, Y. “Foreign Language Teaching at Primary School” (in Bulgarian). In: Nachalno uchilishte,VІІІ, No 6/2001,33-36. • Shopov, T. Foreign Language Methodology (in Bulgarian). Sofia: Kliment Ohridski Univ. Press, 2002.
REFERENCES: • Stoichkov, R. “Foreign Language at Primary School – a New Beginning” (in Bulgarian). In: Nachalno obrazovanie, No 4/2005, 22-23. • Todorova, R. “Advertisements – Games for Young and Old, but Mostly for Advanced” (in Bulgarian). In: Episkop Konstantinovi chetenia. Shumen, vol. 13. “Igri I igrachki”. Shumen: Konstantin Preslavski Univ. Press. 2008. 110-116. • Todorova, R., Todorov, Z. “Teaching English to Primary School Pupils: A Necessity, a Challenge or a Burden”. In: New Pathways in the Professional Development of Teachers. Eds. T. Janik, P. Knecht. Wien: LIT VERLAG GmbH & Co.KG. 2010. 290-295. • Wright, A., Betteridge, D., Buckby, M. Games for Language Learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
REFERENCES: • http://www.minedu.government.bg/news-home/2012/12-12-08_pozicia-4godishni.html • http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/framework_en.htm • http://voices.yahoo.com/early-childhood-foreign-language-development-7843392.html • http://theoriesincareertech.wikispaces.com/Theory+of+Multiple+Intelligence
REFERENCES: • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilder_Penfield • http://www.coe.int/T/DG4/Portfolio/ documents/case_studies_CEF.doc • http://www.springerlink.com/content/v716822w28380981/ • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STYU-iz8bUQ • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SZFY47aIog