Back in 1983, Braj Kachru predicted, “If the spread of English continues at the current rate, by the year 2000 its non-native speakers will outnumber its native speakers.”
Now in the year 2012, we witness the fact that a quarter of the world’s population speaks English. This phenomenon is due to different reasons. International businesses are carried out with English being one the main mediating languages. English has also become the lingua franca of conferences in different fields and academic discourse as well as tourism, air traffic control, internet communication, pop music and the film industry. Many people use English in a Global context and this means that our students, too, are becoming part of that global target-language community.
English in the morning.
It has proved a success to have English classes in the morning. The integration of the Spanish and English departments is now a fact. Los Olivos is a school where students study Spanish as well as English and the faculty interaction does nothing but contribute to help students develop their academic potential and achieve personal growth.
In English, when the context is one of a second Language, it is hard to think of classes that exceed 18 students in number. We have done our best to keep small groups and provide coaching to improve oral communication.
The best way to learn something is by doing it, and the best way to learn a language, the primary function of which is to make meaning, is using it meaningfully. Project works turn into the ideal resource to motivate students to use the target language. “Hands on work” is most appropriate in an English class, since we activate our working memory.
Different projects were carried out throughout the year. Students worked with recyclable elements on one of the topics they were dealing with on June 5th, “The Environment Day.” Some other projects were carried out throughout the year, such as “The Los Olivos Newspaper” and a play, both in charge of 6th graders.
The teaching of English towards bilingualism as a goal, means using the language as a medium to convey informational content of interest and relevance to the learner. In this way, students are exposed to matters of intrinsic concern. As a result, they are able to develop their own competence and autonomy as intelligent individuals capable of using the second language appropriately.
Our school has chosen to implement University of Cambridge international exams – International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) – as a means to integrate content learning with language teaching aims. In fact, the content areas of study are: English as a Second Language, Environmental Management, Literature, History and Mathematics.
Students in their final two years of school enter a wide-ranging, flexible and challenging programme of international exams that encourage high academic standards.