Monday, March 20, 2006

8th Meeting: English in Elementary Schools

The ETJ Miyazaki had its 8th meeting with the theme: “English in Elementary Schools” held last Sunday March 12, 2006 from 10 am to 12 noon at the Kyoiku Johu Kenshu Center, Miyazaki Board of Education, Miyazaki City. It was participated by a total of 16 ETJ members.

The presenter, Mr. Sayed Mohamed, is an ALT for the past 8 years and at same time manages his own 2 English Schools (OXFORD & SES). He willingly shared his expertise, his insights gained over the years of his teaching experience. His presentation delved on the highlights of the book he himself have authored entitled “Yaru, Shogakko no Eigo” .

He initially discussed the current elementary English curriculum, its problems and his recommended measures. Among the problems he identified include: lack of harmony between the ALT and HRT; lack of books, lack of workable lesson plan and lack of ALT’s experience, among others. His recommendations include: Formulation of an upgraded curriculum; creation of lively lesson plans; establishment of practical team teaching framework; use of various teaching tools, among others.

His presentation focused on team teaching and his suggested lesson plan which comprise of the following:

  1. Warming-up - includes greetings, basic question and answer, he emphasized addressing ALT’s using the titles Mr/ Ms/ Mrs. The HRT should take active part right at the start of the class by giving hints to the students especially in the QandA.
  2. Song - songs should suit with the grade level of the students; it must not be too long; should be related to the topic and should be an easy-to-follow song
  3. Vocabulary - vocabulary should not be the main topic of the class; it should be read first by the ALT, followed by the HRT, then repeated by the students; use of big flash cards and chant box highly recommended and the vocabulary should be used in the conversation (later part of the lesson)
  1. Phonics - proper pronunciation and blending of sounds esp. consonants should be introduced as part of the vocabulary; refrain from translating or rewriting English words in Katakana version.
  2. Conversation - role playing of the conversation should be done first by the ALT and HRT at least 3 times in three different levels of speed (slow, natural speed and fast); Practice of conversation using an inverted triangle model, which suggest the following scheme: a) practice as a whole class b) divide the class into two groups; c) further divide the class into smaller groups; then d) make pairs; and then finally (e) ask for student volunteers to demonstrate the conversation in front of the class
  3. Grammar – basic grammar notes should be stressed in the conversation, although it should not be taught directly.
  4. Game – games should be connected to the conversation or topic
  5. Closing - The HRT should again take active part in the final greetings before ending the class

Other suggestions include:

1. Make three (3) different levels of lesson plan that suits the grade level of the students e.g. Level I for grades 1and 2; Level II for grades 3 and 4 and level III for grades 5 and 6.
2. At the start of the class, request for a meeting among the HRT’s, the Principal and Assistant Principal in the school and propose for some changes in their current lesson plans applying the above mentioned scheme.

@Marley Tallada