Пятница 27 июля 2012

Опубликовано в печатной версии журнала. Вып. № 4.

В проекте нового закона «Об образовании» впервые предложено рассматривать дошкольное образование как обязательный уровень, как первую ступень общего образования.
Иностранный язык сегодня занимает заметное место в образовательных программах для дошкольников. Представляем вашему вниманию один из современных УМК для дошкольников, уже ставший популярным
в российском и международном педагогическом сообществе как тщательно разработанный для малышей, с учётом их возрастных особенностей построенный на увлекательной игре с целью познания, с ориентиром на воспитание и развитие личности в процессе обучения иностранному языку.

редактор: Natassa Manitsa

Natassa Manitsa holds a BA in Educational Psychology from the University of Athens, Greece and a Diploma in Translation and British Studies from the Institute of Linguists, London, England. She has worked as a teacher, a teacher trainer, a director of studies, an author and translator for more than 15 years. She has travelled extensively, delivering seminars and workshops all over Europe and the Middle East.
For the last five years she is the Head of the ELT Consultants Department in Express Publishing and the Chief Editor of the ELT Teacher’s Corner site of Express Publishing — http://www.teachers-corner.co.uk

ключевые слова: pre-school children, SPICE development, motivation, self-esteem and confidence, safe and secure environment

Here’s a poem by Miroslav Holub:

A boy’s head

In it there is a spaceship
and a project
for doing away with piano lessons.

And there is
Noah’s ark,
which shall be first.

And there is
an entirely new bird,
an entirely new hare,
an entirely new bumblebee.

There is a river
that flows upwards.

There is multiplication table.
There is antimatter.
And it just cannot be trimmed.

I believe
that only what cannot be trimmed
is a head.

There is much promise
in the circumstance
that so many people have heads.

What’s in a child’s head and how can we use the instincts, skills, needs and desires a child has to best enable him or her to learn English?

Children and parents

Do you agree with these statements?

  • acquire their mother tongue without lessons. They naturally pick up language. (They possess a “language acquisition device”), and follow a certain order in which they can use grammatical structures.
  • are creative with language and understand more than they can say.
  • like to imagine, talk, move, and have fun.
  • need a secure, friendly and supportive environment to learn.
  • The best teachers, I think you’ll agree, are parents / primary carers.
    Almost all children are verbally competent in their own language by the age of six.
    So perhaps teachers can learn from what parents do.
    What do they, the parents, do that we can learn from?

  • Provide a language-rich environment in which the child is supported and invited to contribute.
  • Talk about present situations — what’s this? What can we see? What are we doing now?
  • Tell stories, rhymes, sing songs and use pictures, actions, objects and contexts to help convey meaning.
  • Use words in colloquial structures.
  • Speak more slowly and reformulate aberrant utterances. “We goed to the park.” “Yes, sweetie, we did, we went to the park and we saw the ducks, didn’t we?”

    Most importantly, the child is the focus. In the language class, children need to be motivated, involved, challenged and affirmed through activities and topics that are conceptually and linguistically appropriate.

    Principles in pre-school learning

    A good coursebook for pre-school children will apply a set of principles to help children grow and not just in their English attainments. Express Publishing’s Happy Hearts course sets out aims for cognitive development and attitudes to foster thus:

    Happy Hearts encourages children’s SPICE development — Social, Physical, Intellectual, Creative and Emotional within a structured routine for each unit. How routine and variety can be combined is illustrated by this lesson structure from Happy Hearts 1:

    Songs, stories, games, creative activities, pictures, stickers, posters and DVDs are among the tools we can use. Language is constantly recycled and consolidated so children have a secure sense of attainment. Children, who at this stage are not expected to read or write, can show their understanding and learn by matching, tracing, colouring, pointing, touching, following orders, circling, drawing, playing and making as well as speaking.

    In Happy Hearts, each lesson has a Circle Time and Table Time so children can move around.

    Helping children learn

    You cannot teach a language. You can only create conditions under which learning is possible.

    Learning is an internal process. The same input to a class will be received, internalized, processed and utilized differently by each individual.

    What can we do to help this process?

    An important principle is to get children to do things with language, not just “say the words”. In a lesson on colours, for example, you present and have students repeat the words. The children could then be asked to “touch something blue / red / yellow”. They can get up and move around the classroom. They could also ask each other questions in pairs by holding up a coloured pencil and saying: “Is it blue?” — “Yes, it is. / No, it isn’t.

    To practice colours and body vocabulary they could draw and colour a monster on their own, then, in pairs, describe their monster to their partner, who listens carefully and draws what they hear. “It’s got a big red head…” They only see their partner’s original drawing at the end, when they compare to see how similar the monsters are. The monster pictures can be displayed on the wall with their description.

    Here’s an activity involving colours for students with a wider vocabulary. It can be done as a whole class game; divide the class into two teams — maybe girls against boys. Say: “It’s yellow.” The team members put their hands up to guess the yellow object the teacher is thinking of. “Is it a banana / taxi /Natasha’s T-shirt / the sun…?” The game can then be done in pairs or groups.

    These activities involve movement, imagination, understanding and communicating meaning, quiet individual work, pair and whole class tasks. There is learner autonomy (they choose to create their own monster and the words to describe it), as well as choral repetition.

    Some activities stir while others settle the class. There is a challenge, vocabulary activation, unpredictability, engagement and an element of play; all while reinforcing and developing language and skills.

    The class bond by working together.

    The teacher can take different roles — sometimes the focus of attention — a presenter, an explainer; sometimes an enabler going around helping as students work individually or in pairs or groups. Their work put on the wall makes them feel good (and the parents can come and see it).


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