The day the crayons came home. Kids books read aloud. The power of storytelling.
Text extracted from: Temario de oposiciones Inglés-Primaria. Self-learning method.
The relevance of oral abilities with a communicative intention must necessarily go through the creation of optimal learning conditions. In this light, Newton and Nation (2009) consider the “MINUS” framework as an acronym that refers to a set of relevant principles, especially interesting for the teaching of oral FLs at early stages. These principles can be resumed as follows:
Meaning: The main focus should be on language that learners can quickly use for their purposes. Meaning-focused listening and speaking may be directed towards classroom management, recalling or retelling stories or finding out about our learners´ preferences.
Interest: Considering the age of the learners in Primary Education and their limited attention span, activities should be short and varied.
New language: An overload in the presentation of new language and functions prevents students from gaining control over that language
Understanding: Before using the words in guided speaking, students need to be provided with plenty of comprehensible input through activities that require showing understanding. In this sense, the use of non-verbal language or visual aids offers a valuable contextual support.
Stress-free: It is widely accepted amongst researchers and FL teachers that anxiety influences students´ willingness to take active part in communicative activities. Thus, the creation of a safe and friendly cooperative classroom atmosphere is particularly important at early ages.
Nonetheless, before approaching the teaching of oral abilities, FL teachers should understand the nature of listening and speaking.
Text extracted from: Método de resolución de casos prácticos. Self-learning method.
One of the prospective dangers when writing a PCS is that the result sounds too “theoretical”. For instance, in this model we could have spelt out the plenty of benefits in the implementation of the PBL approach; and even the psychological foundations on why this approach is highly beneficial for children´s active involvement. But remember what has been said about pressure and time as two “enemies” that should be kept under control. In other words, if we spend too much time reflecting on those aforementioned aspects in the PBL approach, we shall not have enough time to develop a practical educational proposal illustrating the question. That would be very negative for us, since the most valuable part in the PCS (the one in which we show our abilities as FL teachers to design creative and attractive learning situations) may result poorly explained, without enough examples or not enough concretion.
On the other hand, creativity is something usually appreciated and well valued by the TBE. In this regard, we would like to remark that creativity can be found in the PCS as an inner feature in the whole proposal; and also in details like the names of the activities and its nature (what children do to attain the goals).
Before bringing this example to an end, let us reflect on some other contextualisation resolution guidelines for this same question:
Instead of music, we could have used the context of stories and storytelling to be at the heart of a similar proposal based on projects development. In this sense, children may create their own story by following previous patterns and record it (roleplaying); or even act it out for younger children in a different grade.
As for the use of games for children to practise the sounds of English in a “hidden way”, we would concentrate ideas short and widely. It is acknowledged that children love games and get involved easily. Thus, gaming is one way of the most powerful tool in FLT to increase student`s motivation and improve teaching effectiveness.
The use of ICT software for effective teaching and learning through the use of different activities, such as a camera to record children´s performances to promote autonomous learning strategies, foster an interest for English outside the FL class, amongst others. For instance, children would enjoy showing their performances in the FL blog to their parents; and may even develop a taste for listening simple oral texts, stories or songs in Youtube.