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Language Curriculum and Instruction

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 A Curriculum is a course or path. It is meant to be connected and, integrated. It should lead to learning. The goal of a Language curriculum might be fluency or literacy, and curriculum materials should be chosen to fit the Language Policy that has been articulated and founded in Language Content Standards that begin to translate that policy into practice.  This practice is called Language Instruction. The means of verifying the success of instruction and the adequacy of the policies and standards on which it is based and the curricular materials employed is Language Assessment, which represents the content standards through selected Language Performance Standards. One aspect of instruction may be an exchange experience, wherein a student lives for a period of time in a culture where the language being learned is the every day language of the people. The Strategic Plan for English and Other Languages examines such exchange programs as one aspect of its mission, which is to carry out the APEC theme of Learning Each Other's Languages. At another level, a section on Business Language for a Global Economy provides tools for students and graduates entering the business community, and another section provides English glossaries of industry-specific terms for several trade and business areas.


Contents



Overview

Language Instruction is important to all APEC members as they face the issue of how to prepare multi-lingual citizens who can appreciate the cultures of and communicate with speakers of other languages. In many APEC member economies, language instruction has historically occupied an important place in the school curriculum. Because of the primacy of English in diplomacy and trade today, many APEC members from Eastern economies have stressed English language education, extended this to the early elementary grades, and raised their expectations for proficiency. English speaking economies, on the other hand, find it hard to motivate their students to take other languages. even in secondary school. They may also find it hard to recruit teachers qualified to teach a language other than English.


It has been widely recognized that global citizens in the 21st century need to be proficient in multiple languages in order to communicate in a variety of contexts.  Economies with strong trade sectors are likely to experience greater economic growth, according to World Bank Studies.  Because English is the lingua franca of business and social communication around the world, it might makes sense to suggest that the mere acquisition of the language itself can provide job opportunities, access to higher education, and a more broad flow of information regarding everything from diplomacy to finance. Learning other languages can be beneficial in terms of meta-cognitive development, which in turn can lead to improved school performance overall, better problem-solving skills, and even higher self-esteem. If students can learn both to appreciate their heritage language and to maintain the drive to learn an additional one, they will be able to acquire global citizenship skills and the ability to work in a global context.


A variety of programs are available from vendors to provide instruction in English and other languages. Because some programs are available from vendors to provide instruction in English and other languages. Consumer checklists designed to help economies assess programs of English and Mandarin instruction have been developed.


Curriculum

Curriculum materials are the basic resources for instruction. They are often formal and developed providing instruction in a given content area (subject), such as language learning, for a given age group or set of students with a common level of previous learning in the subject. They may be supplemented with materials that are not formally developed for this purpose, but that the curriculum developer or teacher judges to provide examples of authentic use of the language at the appropriate learning level. Economies adopt curriculum materials for their students that instruction. The following table provides examples of materials that some APEC economies have selected or developed.


Table: Official APEC Member Language Curriculum Documents

The following table contains samples of official curriculum documents from various APEC members.

Three, APEC economies, Australia, Canada, and USA. have decentralized systems under which decisions relating to curricula and instruction are made at the provincial or state level, rather than national level.

Economy

Document Title

Description

Brunei Darussalam

Education System

A portal to pages containing overviews of the entire educational system, from primary level to higher education.  Shows primary education focused on literacy and numeracy and secondary education building upon this foundation.  Malay and English languages are mainstream subjects studied throughout the primary and secondary levels.

Chile

Curriculum de la Educacion Basica: Idioma Extranjero

Outlines general education structure of foreign language instruction during the fifth to eighth grades.

Chinese Taipei

General Guidelines of Grade 1-9 Curriculum

Discusses goals, core competencies, learning areas by grade, and implementation guidelines of Elementary and Junior High School Education.  The major learning area of language arts is divided between Mandarin, studied in all grades, and English, studied in grades five through nine.

Hong Kong

English Language Education - Curriculum Documents


Chinese Language Education - Curriculum Documents

Detailed reports on primary and secondary curricula for English and Chinese. Curricula include learning aims, targets, and objectives, curriculum development, teaching guides, and assessments.

Indonesia

Bahasa Indonesia for Primary School

Bahasa Indonesia for Junior Secondary School

Bahasa Indonesia for Senior Secondary School

English for Junior Secondary School

English for Senior Secondary School

Japanese for Senior Secondary School

Mandarin Chinese for Senior Secondary School

Examples of syllabi for language courses for the first semester of study at varying grade levels.

Korea

National Curriculum




National School Curriculum: English



Breaks down school courses by units per year in grades 1-10 and by subject units in high school.  Korean language is studied in all grades, and foreign languages, including English and Chinese, are studied in high school.


Unofficial translation prepared by Korea Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation of the “National Curriculum: English.” Concerns grades 3-10, with detailed objectives, assessments, and learning and teaching methods.

Malaysia

Bahasa Melayu (Malaysian)

English

Chinese

Tamil

Malaysian Ethnic Languages (Iban, Kadazandusun, and Semai)

These links provide portals to curricula of languages spoken in Malaysia.  The portals' main language is Melayu, but most curricula are written in their subject language.  The languages are broken down by grade level.

Mexico

Lengua Extranjera: Inglés

Lists main characteristics of the national curriculum pertaining to English education,with emphasis on instructional methodologies to improve communicative capability.  

New Zealand

Learning Areas: English


English in the New Zealand Curriculum

Statement that briefly describes the use and importance of the English language and an outline of its instruction.


Thorough document that includes an overview of languages and English in particular  policy statements, curriculum structure, and assessment objectives, with examples of instruction.

Peru

Diseño Curricular Nacional de Educación Básica Regular

Includes organization and design of the curriculum, information on implementation, and a lengthy section devoted to competencies at various levels and grades.  Explains plan of education of foreign language at the secondary level, broken into oral and written skills (pages 179-182).

Singapore

English Language Syllabus - Primary & Secondary

Chinese Language Syllabus - Primary

Chinese Language Syllabus - Secondary

Chinese Language Special Programme - Secondary

Malay Language Syllabus - Primary

Malay Language Syllabus - Secondary

Malay Language Syllabus - Pre-university

Tamil Language Syllabus - Primary

Tamil Language Syllabus - Secondary

Subject syllabuses for English language, Chinese language, Malay language and Tamil language outline the courses of study offered at various levels of study.



Instruction

Methods of curriculum development and instruction were addressed by several participants in the 2007 APEC Learning Standards for English and Other Languages Seminar.  Patricia Duff addresses recent developments in instruction in her recent paper delivered at that seminar (Duff, 2008), especially the recent tension between the teaching of reading and translation skills and practical skills based in oral communication, as well as advances in teaching methods and curriculum improvement (3-5).


Examples of Instructional Methods

There are a variety of approaches to language instruction beyond the traditional classroom. Several examples follow: 


Exchange or Cross-border Programs

In language learning, one of the ways to provide an instructional experience conducive to developing appropriate pronunciation; acquiring idiomatic phrases, meanings, and usage; and appreciating the culture that accompanies the language is through spending time in a country in which, the  language is the, mother tongue. Such Language Exchange Programs may serve both students and their teachers (either separately or together). They may not involve exchanges between two or more economies, but involve cross-border experiences for at least some of the participants.

 

Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) and Beyond

Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) takes advantage of the capacity of computers to provide access to natural speech and video in an interactive format, including tutors or other tools. This can allow learners and users of a language to hear native users without the expense of travel. Sometimes virtual communities are created for instruction. Organizations such as Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium and the International Association of Language Learning Technology provide resources.  In her recent paper, Patricia Duff describes many technological advances being made beyond traditional CALL resources (Duff, 2008, pages 15-17).

E-Language Learning

An example of a new type of CALL program is E-Language Learning, in which teachers and students connect and learn distantly over the Internet.


Immersion

Immersion is a type of language learning in which students are constantly surrounded by the use of the language to be learned as it is spoken, written, and read. The students are, therefore, "immersed" in both that language as the means of communication, as well as the culture or cultures associated with it. these programs,all courses are taught using the particular language being learned. Language learning is therefore combined with learning and achieving at high levels in a variety of content areas and understanding and with appreciating cultures.


As Duff (2008) notes "FL [foreign language] immersion allows students to begin learning a FL from as early as kindergarten in an experiential-communicative way, with highly proficient teachers delivering not only language instruction but also the rest of the curriculum through the medium of the FL."


Duff goes on to say:

The results of nearly four decades of French immersion research in Canada and, more recently elsewhere (e.g., English in Japan and the Netherlands; Spanish in Hungary; French, Spanish, and Japanese in USA; Swedish in Finland) attest to the success of this model in producing graduates who are more proficient in French than those studying the FL as a regular subject, and whose English [or first language] skills and competency in other subjects are not compromised as a result of this FL immersion experience; on the contrary, they often outperform their monolingual peers in first-language literacy and subject matter (Canadian Parents for French, 2003; Johnson & Swain, 1997; Harley, Allen, Cummins & Swain, 1990).

Duff then sounds an important warning:

Notwithstanding the massive public and academic support for immersion, research shows that this model works successfully only if certain basic conditions are met: excellent teacher education, teachers with high levels of FL proficiency, and the availability of suitable curriculum materials and support in the FL. In other words, money and careful planning are needed (Duff, 1997).

Teaching Tips

The following are tips that teachers across the Asia-Pacific region exchanged during International Education Week 2009, which work to enhance teacher professional development.

Tip Subject Tip Title Author Economy
Chinese, TCSL TCSL- How to Write Down Chinese Characters Xiang Ling, Huang Chinese Taipei
English Through the IWB to Use a Picture Book in Teaching Hsu Hsiu Fen Chinese Taipei
Using ICT to Help Students Learn and Use English Sri Prihartini Yulia Indonesia
English as a Foreign Language EFL Lesson Scenario and Plan – 1

 Rosario Fuenzalida

Chile
EFL Lesson Scenario and Plan – 2

Victor Hugo Cobo Rivera

Chile
EFL Lesson Scenario and Plan – 3

Maria Ester Barrio Flores &

Angelina Cavallo

Chile
EFL Lesson Scenario and Plan – 4

Elizabet Pandelara

Chile
EFL Lesson Scenario and Plan – 5 Angelica Torres Chile
EFL Lesson Scenario and Plan – 6

Carmen Gloria Pincheira Ulloa &

Fernando Barrios Fernández

Chile
Extra-Curricular Learning Projects – 1 Rubén Cárez Chile
Extra-Curricular Learning Projects – 2

Claudia Boniche Castillo &

Pamela Ugalde

Chile
Extra-Curricular Learning Projects – 3

Juan Palacios Retamales &

Luis Durán Salinas

Chile
Extra-Curricular Learning Projects – 4

Christian Cossío Saldamando

Chile
Extra-Curricular Learning Projects – 5 Hernán Avalos Pizarro Chile
Organization of a Professional Teaching Group - 1 Loreto Bustos Chile
Organization of a Professional Teaching Group - 2 Daniel Mauricio Castro Araneda Chile
Organization of a Professional Teaching Group - 3 Margot Elisabeth Pantillon Sanhueza Chile
Organization of a Professional Teaching Group - 4 Ana Catalina Muñoz Vargas Chile
Organization of a Professional Teaching Group - 5

Alicia Palmira García Díaz

Chile
Foreign Language Foreign Language Michal Australia
Spanish, Grade 5 Marisol Needs a Family Monica Shuler United States


Teacher Quality

Teacher quality is one of the most critical needs in education generally. The teaching of language is no exception.

The recommendations made at the 2008 EDNET Symposium held in Xi'an, China include this observation:

...building teacher capacity, as emphasized by [Information and Communications Technology] & Systemic Reform Priority Area, should be emphasized when considering projects . . . As learners in many economies are not living or working in environments where they are exposed to English or languages other than English that they may be learning, it is even more important that the quality of teaching be emphasized and that good teaching be highly esteemed. Students can be exposed to a wide variety of language input via media and the Internet. Applying critical thinking to what they hear and see and learning to produce comprehensible language requires keen guidance from teachers. For that reason, building teacher quality is key in this priority area.

The paper goes on to point out that:

The policy survey from the December 2007 Seminar on Standards for English and Other Foreign Languages in APEC Economies showed that more than half of all respondents deliver professional development and training for teachers in each of the following methods: teaching networks, training courses, mentoring, and e-learning. However, members of the language learning subgroup were intrigued by the work of the math and science subgroup in the area of professional development for teachers using a lesson study approach. They then chose to focus their professional development recommendations only in developing lesson study for learning each other’s languages.

 One of the most promising ways to approach the improvement of teaching is through lesson study.


Lesson Study

Chinese Taipei's project on Lesson Study Applications in Teaching and Learning Languages in APEC Economies reads in part:

Based on the success and contribution to improving teachers’ professional development and the quality of mathematics education that has resulted from the “Collaborative Studies on Innovations for Teaching and Learning Mathematics in Different Cultures” series of projects (HRD 03/2006, HRD 02/2007, HRD 02/2008) we propose a complementary project for investigating the applications of the Lesson Study approach in the learning and teaching of languages.

Although many university courses cover good practices in language pedagogy, in-service teachers, especially in the diverse conditions that exist across the APEC economies, are often challenged by implementation of the practices they’ve been taught. In some situations, limited training or lack of good exemplars hinders well-meaning teachers. Identifying the best practices that are actually in use, and collaboratively studying how these may be transferred around the region, will promote the overall quality of language education and develop a collaborative language teacher professional development network among member economies. Based on the success and contribution to improving  education with the classroom videos accessible on the Knowledge Bank, we model this project on the past/present projects referred to above.
 
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)