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I N T R O D U C T I O N

THE AIMS OF THE COURSE


The main aim of the course is to teach students of preparatory school age to communicate condently in English, using spoken language as well as written. New language is introduced gradually, so that students have the chance to learn and use the language thoroughly before they move on to learning more. The course is designed to meet the learning targets set out in the Ministry of Education Standards Document.

The approach
The course uses a standards-based communicative approach to learning English. This means that the students are encouraged to use and integrate the four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) in meaningful situations from the very beginning. Before the students can read and write in English, they need to hear the language, then to speak it. To communicate effectively, students need to learn the basic structures of the language, then to be given practice in using it in realistic situations. Students need to speak to each other in English when asked, and to help each other. Therefore, they will need to be able to work in pairs, as well as in groups, on their own, and as a whole class. This course is standards-based in that it aims to assist students in the process of reaching certain levels of prociency, not only in the English language, but in day-to-day real-life interactions in general. Because students are expected to acquire tools and not to memorise rules, standards are valuable and effective as a tool for good learning. This is because they express clear expectations for what all students should know and be able to do. The teacher is also clear that the language is a means by which the student can achieve a standard, and in this environment rote-learning becomes obsolete because there is nothing to nourish it. When teachers devise standards-based curricula, language learning is intentional and more purposeful than in most other curricula. Standards communicate shared expectations for learning and provide a common language for talking about the processes of learning and teaching. As a result, parents, community leaders and business people become more effective partners in, and monitors of, young peoples education. [ El-Naggar, et al, (2003), p. 144 ]. 1

THE COURSE COMPONENTS


The components of this course are as follows: 1 2 3 4 Two Students Books Two Workbooks Two Course Cassettes A Teacher s Guide

The Students Book


This consists of twenty-four units based on a structural and communicative syllabus abus covering topics which will be interesting to children of this age. The course takes kes on a magazine style be consistent with contemporary trends in ELT publishing, ng, and to present an attractive and exciting appearance to the book. The new language is introduced through dialogues and texts based around the e main characters in the book, with whom the students should be able to identify. The main characters are of the same age group and come from an average Egyptian household. For authenticity, genuine photographs are a primary feature of this book. They are used as a substitute for realia to immerse the

Ministry of Education, Egyptian Standards of Education, Vol. 2, Ministry of Education, 2003.

The Students Book

students in real-life situations. The point is to show the students real people communicating in English, hence relating the idea that English is an important means of language exchange, and can easily be used at home for extra practice! It is important that teachers utilise the photographs to their maximum, as each item in the snapshot, and each action, was photographed for a reason. Each unit begins with a box that summarises the aims of the unit to give teachers a list of the structures, functions and vocabulary contained in the unit. It can also be used as a checklist for the teacher to assess the progress of the students at the end of the unit. There are twenty-four units and every third unit there is a revision unit, which gives a total of thirty-two units. Each unit covers the four skills, listening and speaking, reading and writing, and practises many key sub-skills such as reading for main ideas of a text, or listening to identify the purpose of an oral text. Unit format and content Each main unit contains 5 pages, one for each day of the week. Each page is designed to be a lesson, which is then complemented, at times, with one page from the Workbook. The rst page is a presentation page, which lays out, in context, some of the new structures and vocabulary of the unit. It will always contain a listening exercise. The pages that follow present two new features: Our English Magazine and a Computer Lab. Students are subjected to authentic website and e-mail formats to enhance their knowledge of computer, and other forms of, information technology. Through these two mediums, students are presented with a wide variety of cross-curricular and cross-cultural topics. Such topics include space, conservation of the environment, dinosaurs, tourism, etc. Students are also introduced to scientic thinking and practise the rst steps towards conducting research via surveys and questionnaires, which they answer about themselves and their friends. Each unit ends with a DIY Do it yourself section and a Review section. In the DIY, Do it yourself exercise, the students are encouraged to work alone or in pairs. This activity can also be done as a whole class exercise. It is intended to be exible to encourage creative and independent thinking. There are various types of activities in this section which are intended to teach students lifelong skills. These include teaching students how to use the dictionary, how to punctuate, and how to practise

self-study skills, an important aspect of learning English. More importantly, they are also meant to be fun! A Review section is also found on the last page of the unit and this is designed to be exible so that the teacher can use it to give additional input, check understanding, revise and go over the language covered in the unit that has just been completed. The Review section is the perfect opportunity for the teacher to re-teach or emphasise any points which have been missed throughout the week. It is for this purpose that the fth page of the SB is allotted an entire lesson on its own. The Revision Units are designed to revise and consolidate the language learnt in the preceding units. They can also be used to assess the progress of the students and identify any extra work that needs to be done on a particular structure. A Grammar Review is located at the end of each term to recap the structures and grammar taught throughout the term. The Grammar Review includes some questions, which may be used to assess the students comprehension. It may also be used as a reference when the teacher needs to sum up a certain grammatical structure that comes up in a particular unit.

The Workbook

The Workbook is intended to accompany the Students Book, reinforcing any language and grammatical structures learnt. The exercises are designed so that the students can practise new language, new structures, reading and writing. The Workbook rarely introduces new language. When new language is introduced, it is intended to elaborate or continue ontinue something which has just been studied in the Students Book. The Workbook is primarily y for consolidating language covered ered in the Students Book, but with focus on providing students nts with extra practice in both th reading and writing.

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The Workbook

Book format and content Because there are 5 pages in every unit of the SB and 3 in the Workbook, only 3 pages of the Students Book will be complemented by the Workbook. The pages in the Workbook that go with the Students Book are referred to next to the page number in the Students Book. Lesson 5 in the Students Book does not have corresponding lessons in the Workbook and is meant to stand on its own because it is a revision page. It is important that the teacher abide by this one-page-per-day system, otherwise the lessons could get confusing! There are twenty-four units and every third unit there is a Revision Unit, which gives a total of thirty-two units. The Revision Units in the WB correspond to the Revision Units in the Students Book. At the end of the term, there is a Practice Test, which was set according to the Ministry of Education specications. It not only tests the students progress, but also prepares them for the end-of-term exam environment. The general aims of the Workbook are: Writing letters, e-mails, words and whole sentences Practising free and guided writing Practising joined-up handwriting Reading words and sentences Reading phonic patterns Practising and reinforcing vocabulary and word families Practising and reinforcing grammatical structures The Workbook contains tasks and activities that the students should nd interesting and enjoyable. It includes:

Any new activity needs to be carefully introduced, explained and demonstrated:


Introduce the activity and revise any necessary language. Do one or two examples. Check that the students understand what they have been asked to do by getting them to tell you what they need to do. Get them to do the activity. Check their progress, and their answers.

Projects Some Workbook pages end with a project. The projects pages are in the Workbook and are intended to reinforce the language the students have already learnt. They do not introduce new language, but give the students the opportunity to see, read and write the language they have already learnt in different contexts. An example is page 42, Unit 12 in the Workbook. Projects should be fun. They are not tests! Practice Tests At the end of each term there is a test that can be found at the end of the Workbook. These are intended to give you, the teacher, an idea of the students progress and any areas of difculty that may need extra help. They are also intended to give the students the chance to get used to testing before they are tested more formally at the end of the course. During these tests it is best that the students work on their own. Ensure that they are facing the front and ask them to remain silent.

3 The Course Cassettes


The cassettes contain recorded dialogues from the Students Book and Workbook, as well as songs and rhymes. They also contain listening exercises. If you are unable to obtain the cassettes, tes, all exercises can be read aloud. Tapescripts cripts are included in the Teacher s Guide.

Sentence and picture-matching exercises Ask and answer exercises Listen and complete exercises Table/form completion exercises Surveys and questionnaires Projects The Workbook is used in class to follow up the Students Book lesson. It should only be used for homework if the students are clear about what to do. Generally speaking, homework should only consist of completing exercises begun in class. In this way, students will be condent about what the intention of the exercise is. The Workbook is not meant to test the students, it is meant to give them an opportunity to use what they have learnt and to feel a sense of achievement, progress and condence.

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The Teachers Guide


Book format and content The book begins with a general introduction to the course which includes descriptions of the published materials and notes about useful and effective techniques and activities. The main part of the guide consists of detailed notes on how to effectively use the material presented in the Students Book and Workbook. At the end of the book, there is a scope and sequence table; which summarises the language input of the course unit-by-unit; a word list which lists the words used in the course with the units in which they rst occur; and a glossary which contains words and phrases used in the Teacher s Guide and their Arabic (contextual) translation. Tapescripts contain all recorded material.

Each lesson has a summary box of targeted language: the aims of the lesson, the structures and new vocabulary, and the functions.

Answers to all exercises are provided.

There is a warm-up activity for each lesson which revises previous lessons and introduces the next.

Detailed step-by-step notes on how to effectively use the material and how to manage the class are given.

At the end of each lesson there is a Further practice section. Teachers are provided with some extra ideas in the form of games or further excercises related to the material covered in lesson. This is for use where time permits, or where further practice of new language is necessary.

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The Teachers Guide

Ongoing Assessment At the end of each unit, there are ongoing assessment suggestions. These are intended to give the teacher an idea of the students progress and any areas of difculty that may need extra help. They are also intended to give students the chance to get used to testing. The task can be given under test conditions, when students work on their own and without books. Ensure that they are facing the front and ask for them to remain silent (except in the speaking tasks!) At the end of the test, collect in the test papers. You can record the students marks in a mark book. Any common problems the students are experiencing should become the focus for the next lesson. For example, if the students are frequently using the wrong spelling, you could drill this spelling in the next lesson.

Individual difculties can be dealt with by talking with the student him/herself, or setting individual exercises, which may improve his or her condence. Try to talk positively to the students even about their errors. Show them that we learn through making mistakes! Also, be aware that reading and writing are more difcult for some students than others; every student is an individual. Some shy students who are reluctant to speak may be very good at writing and reading. Other students may be very good at speaking, but nd it difcult to read or write. Look for the strong points in each of your students and praise these, rather than focusing too much on their problems.

THE ROLE OF THE TEACHER


In the communicative classroom, the teacher has many roles. 1 Instructor: The teacher has to introduce the language to be learnt, give instructions to the students and decide what language and activities need to be practised. 2 Manager: The teacher has to organise the class in order to full the different activity requirements; sometimes this may mean putting the students into pairs or groups. 3 Advisor: When the students are working in pairs or groups, the teacher has to move from group to group helping individual students with unknown words, difculties with understanding the activity, or correcting mistakes. 4 Personal tutor: The teacher needs to identify individual students areas of difculty and nd ways of helping them. Preparation You can make teaching and learning as effective and enjoyable as possible by:
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Preparing the course cassettes 1 Make sure that you always wind the cassettes to the correct session for your lesson before the lesson actually starts. 2 If your cassette recorder has a counter, set it to zero, then you will be able to nd the place easily again when you have played the cassette and need to repeat it. NB: If you do not have a cassette recorder, simply read the tapescripts. Songs can become rhymes, or you can make up the tunes yourself! It is important to know that students learn best when they know what the aims are, i.e. they know what they are meant to be learning and what they are meant to do. Spend a few moments at the beginning of every lesson explaining what the students are going to do, learn, practise or revise. Use Arabic if necessary. It will only take a few minutes, but will make a big difference to how they approach the work they have to do. For example, say, Today we are going to learn how to talk about how old we are. How old are you, Soha? How about you, Ahmed? We will hear some students speaking in English rst. Then we will practise saying the words ourselves. You are going to work by yourselves to start with, and then with a partner practising the language. Classroom language Use the same instructions each lesson so that students become familiar with them. To highlight such instructions... Play the game The teacher says: You give students commands, beginning with the words The teacher says.

getting to know the course very well preparing learning aids learning about different teaching methods, techniques and activities developing new skills

The role of the teacher

Tell the students that if you do not say these words rst, then they are not to do the command. This can be used with a variety of different commands such as: Open your books. Stand up. Sit down. Work in pairs. Get into groups of four. Come to the front. Write on the board, etc. This can be a fun way of familiarising students with the language. L1 or English? This is a widely debated topic, and teachers will choose to take different approaches about when to use L1 (Arabic, in this case): to give instructions? to advise students? to scold them? to praise them? to explain grammar? to translate? It is most denitely an area of foreign language teaching that has to be considered and tactics decided upon by individual teachers. It is also generally agreed that the classroom situation provides the natural context for the meaningful and repeated use of some language, such as classroom instructions, and the opportunity to use English for these should not be missed. Also, as (for many students,) this course provides their only exposure to English, it should be used as much as possible, except where learning will be impeded by its use. For translation purposes, it is not always possible to translate effectively, and therefore it may be more effective to relate the new word to other English words and to give examples of use, than to translate.

Group work Students work in groups of four or more to complete tasks. This also allows an opportunity for the students to help each other, and to speak in natural situations. Groups can also be used for singing parts of songs or reciting parts of rhymes. Pair and group work If you cannot move furniture for pair or group work, there are ways of organising this with minimum disruption.

Pairs: Ask the students to work with the person to their


right, left, directly behind or in front of them. Vary this so they do not always work with the same person.

Groups: Students could turn to face the students behind


them, or for some activities, students may be able to sit on the oor, or stand.

Noise: When the students are talking together they will naturally make a lot of noise. If it gets too loud, have a signal that tells them to quiet down, such as holding your hand up in the air and gradually lowering it, or counting down from ve to zero. Keep the level of your own voice low too; if you raise your voice, so will the students! Cooperation: Students should be encouraged to help each other as much as possible. Research shows that where students help each other, everyone learns better, both the fast and slower learners.
Correcting mistakes Do not try to correct all mistakes. The important thing is to maintain the students enthusiasm to speak, so encourage and praise their efforts. If you notice consistent mistakes, make a mental note of them, and correct them the next time you do a whole class drill, for example. Eliciting language or asking the class Encourage the students to put up their hands and not to call out when you ask them for their own ideas. Only choose the students with their hands up to answer questions or to give their ideas, but try to give all the students a chance at answering. (Dont always choose the same person!)

Classroom management
The class can be organised in different ways according to the activity being taught. This will be indicated in the detailed notes for each unit. Whole class For whole class work, the students face the teacher. This is useful when introducing new language or using the board to teach new vocabulary, structures or writing patterns. Individual students working alone Students work on their own to complete a task. This is useful for simple tasks such as writing answers to questions, copying words and sentences, and, sometimes, reading. Pair work Students work with a partner to complete tasks. This gives lots of opportunity for the learners to speak and practise oral skills, or to complete exercises which involve exchanging information. It is a very natural form of communication. It can also be used in activities when students need to help each other, for example with reading or writing. Students should rst work in closed pairs (privately) to practise the language before they proceed to speak in open pairs (publicly).

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Classroom management

USEFUL SUPPLEMENTARY ACTIVITIES


Here are some suggestions for other activities, which may help reinforce the language learnt but which are also meant to be fun. Here are some of the more frequent activities that can be adapted for nearly all the different units. Oral drills When you teach new phonics or vocabulary it can be useful to do oral drills. If learners chant new words as a class rst this will give them condence. Then you can ask individuals to chant the same words and hear how well they have learnt to say them. Picture dictations Using language items learnt in the unit, ask students to draw the descriptions you give them. They do this individually, but can swap or compare their drawings with a partner at the end to check that they have understood the language. NB: This is not a test on their drawing capability; you are simply using drawing to check their comprehension. If necessary, teach some basic skills for drawing stick men, clock faces, happy and sad expressions, the weather, etc. Variations on picture dictations Get students to dictate to each other in pairs. One pupil reads out directions for a map to his or her partner. They then check to see if they got it right, and swap roles. Memory Games 1) Pairs: (Using a set of picture cards and a set of matching cards with descriptions on them that relate to the current unit.) They are all placed face down on the table. Students take it in turns to turn over two cards. When they turn over a decription card and a picture card that match, they keep them and have another go. Students gradually learn where pairs of cards are on the table. The game ends when all the cards have gone. The winner is the one who has the most cards at the end. 2) Kims game: Place a number of either objects or words or picture cards which relate to the unit on a tray. Students look at the contents of the tray for a minute, and commit them to memory. The tray is hidden from view, and students write down the trays contents. 3) Jigsaw telling tales: Using a text from the unit (listening or reading), students are given a little bit of the text (a couple of sentences each) that they have to learn by heart. The students then work either with the whole class or in groups to reconstruct the text/dialogue by listening once to everyones bits, then reciting them aloud in the correct order.

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