Advertisement

Developing Language Curricula for Young Language Learners

  • Shelagh RixonEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)

Abstract

This chapter describes the processes by which curricula for teaching English to elementary school-aged children are arrived at, the distribution of responsibilities for devising young learners’ curricula, and the varieties of curriculum model that are found in response to different settings. It also discusses the ways in which curriculum decisions are documented and made available to teachers, parents, and other stakeholders in education and the relationships that can exist between curriculum design and assessment systems.

It is argued that the values attributed to English and the relationships that the English language may have with the national language and other languages used in the host country are an important dimension in much curriculum decision-making, some of which may be strongly influenced by political figures who do not themselves have educational or linguistic expertise. The relationships that English may have with other subjects on the school curriculum, including other foreign languages, are also addressed. It is argued that language curriculum design for young children needs to be approached in a different way from design for older learners and that, when converting a language curriculum for children into concrete teaching plans, as well as specifying language content, it is valuable to include syllabus strands that are “child-friendly” and have cognitive, educational, and cultural values. The success with which curriculum specifications reach full classroom implementation is seen as partly dependent on transparency of communication within the education system but also requires coordination of teacher education and the provision of resources. The focus in this chapter is on the state school system but with discussion, where relevant, of the role of the private sector.

Keywords

Syllabus design Curriculum English as a second language English as an additional language English as a foreign language Primary school English as a medium of instruction 

References

  1. Alderson JC, Wall D (1993) Does washback exist? Appl Linguist 14:115–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arnold W, Rixon S (2008) Materials for young learners. In: Tomlinson B (ed) English language learning materials: a critical review. Continuum, London, pp 38–58Google Scholar
  3. Benigno V, de Jong J (2016) The “global scale of English learning objectives for young learners”: a CEFR-based inventory of descriptors. In: Nikolov M (ed) Assessing young learners of English: global and local perspectives. Springer, New York, pp 43–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bentley K (2015) CLIL Scenarios with Young Learners. In: Bland, J ed. Teaching English to Young Learners: critical issues in language teaching with 3 – 12 year olds. London: Bloomsbury. pp 91–111Google Scholar
  5. Bolster AB, Balandier-Brown C, Rea-Dickins PM (2004) Young learners of modern foreign languages and their transition to the secondary phase: a lost opportunity? Lang Learn J 30(1):35–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carless D (2012) TBLT in EFL settings; looking back and looking forward. In: Shehadeh A, Coombe C (eds) Task-based language learning and teaching in EFL contexts: research and implementation. John Benjamins, Amsterdam/Philadelphia, pp 345–358Google Scholar
  7. Chick JK (2002) Constructing a multicultural national identity: South African classrooms as sites of struggle between competing discourses. J Multiling Multicult Dev 23(6):462–478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Coleman H (2010) The English language in development. The British Council, LondonGoogle Scholar
  9. Council of Europe (2001) The common European framework of reference for languages: learning, teaching and assessment. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. http://www.coe.int/t/dgg/linguistic/source/manual/revision-proofread-final_en.pdf. Accessed 15 Jan 2019Google Scholar
  10. Cox B (1991) Cox on Cox: an English curriculum for the 1990s. Hodder and Stoughton, LondonGoogle Scholar
  11. Cummins J (1979) Cognitive/academic language proficiency, linguistic interdependence, the optimum age question and some other matters. Work Pap Biling 19:121–129Google Scholar
  12. Cyprus Ministry of Education (n.d.) Pilot curriculum for EFL in Cyprus primary schools (years 1–6). http://www.moec.gov.cy/dde/programs/eniaio_oloimero/pdf/analytika_programmata/curriculum_english.pdf. Accessed 15 Jan 2019
  13. Dalton-Puffer C (2011) Content and language integrated learning: from practice to principles? Annu Rev Appl Linguist 31:182–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dalton-Puffer C, Smit U (2013) Content and language integrated learning: a research agenda. Lang Teach 46(4):545–559CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dearden J (2015) English as a medium of instruction – a growing global phenomenon. https://www.britishcouncil.org/education/ihe/knowledge-centre/english-language-higher-education/report-english-medium-instruction. Accessed 15 Jan 2019
  16. DfE (2015) National curriculum in England: primary curriculum. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-primary-curriculum. Accessed 15 Jan 2019
  17. Enever J, Moon J (2009) New global contexts for teaching primary ELT: change and challenge. In: Enever J, Moon J, Raman U (eds) Young learner English language policy and implementation: international perspectives. Garnet Education, Reading, pp 5–20Google Scholar
  18. Enever J, Moon J, Raman U (eds) (2009) Young learner English language policy and implementation: international perspectives. Garnet Education, ReadingGoogle Scholar
  19. Eurydice (2001) Foreign language teaching in Europe. Eurydice European Unit, Brussels. http://www.indire.it/lucabas/lkmw_file/eurydice/foreign_language_teaching_EN_2001.pdf. Accessed 15 Jan 2019Google Scholar
  20. Eurydice (2017) Key data on teaching languages at school in Europe – 2017. Brussels:EACEA https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/key-data-teaching-languages-school-europe-%E2%80%93-2017-edition_en. Accessed 15 Jan 2019
  21. Graddol D (2006) English next. British Council, LondonGoogle Scholar
  22. Hasselgreen A (2005) Assessing the language of young learners. Lang Test 22:337–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Holliday A (1994) The house of TESEP and the communicative approach: the special needs of state English language education. ELT J 48(1):3–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Huguet Á, Lasagabaster D, Vila I (2008) Bilingual education in Spain: the present and the challenges. In: Hornberger N, Cummins J (eds) Encyclopedia of language and education. Bilingual Education, vol 5, 2nd edn. Springer Science + Business Media LLC, New York, pp 225–237Google Scholar
  25. Johnstone R (2000) Context-sensitive assessment of modern languages in primary (elementary) and early secondary education: Scotland and the European experience. Lang Test 4(17):123–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kachru B (1990) The alchemy of English: the spread, functions, and models of non-native Englishes. University of Illinois Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  27. Kersten K, Rohde A (2015) Immersion teaching in English with young learners. In: Bland J (ed) Teaching English language to young learners: critical issues in language teaching with 3–12 year olds. Bloomsbury, London, pp 71–89Google Scholar
  28. Kiai AW (2012) Biography of an English language textbook in Kenya: a journey from conceptualization to the classroom. PhD thesis, University of WarwickGoogle Scholar
  29. Knagg J (2013) Taking and implementing language-in-education decisions: applying principles to local contexts. In: McIlwraith H (ed) Multilingual education in Africa: lessons from the Juba language-in-education conference. British Council, London, pp 69–93Google Scholar
  30. Kuchah, K (2009) Early Bilingualism in Cameroon: where politics and education meet, In: Enever, J, Moon, J, and Raman, U (Eds) Young Learner English Language Policy and Implementation: International Perspectives, Reading: Garnet, pp 87–94Google Scholar
  31. Kuchah, Kuchah (2013) Context-appropriate ELT pedagogy : an investigation in Cameroonian Primary schools. PhD thesis, University of WarwickGoogle Scholar
  32. Little D (2012) The European language portfolio in whole-school use. Innov Lang Learn Teach 6(3):275–285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Littlejohn A (2011) The analysis of language teaching materials: inside the Trojan horse. In: Tomlinson B (ed) Materials development in language teaching, 2nd edn. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp 179–211Google Scholar
  34. Orafi SMS, Borg S (2009) Intentions and realities in implementing communicative curriculum reform. System 37:243–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Parker V, Valente D (2018) Syllabus development in early English language teaching. In: Garton S, Copland F (eds) The Routledge handbook of teaching English to young learners. Routledge, London, pp 356–373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pearson Education Ltd (2018) The global scale of English learning objectives for young learners. Pearson, HarlowGoogle Scholar
  37. Pinter A (2005) Task repetition with 10-year-old children. In: Edwards C, Willis J (eds) Teachers exploring tasks in English language teaching. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp 113–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rixon S (1992) State of the art article: English and other languages for younger children. Lang Teach 25(2):73–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rixon S (2013) British Council survey or policy and practice in primary English language teaching worldwide. British Council, London. https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/sites/teacheng/files/D120%20Survey%20of%20Teachers%20to%20YLs_FINAL_Med_res_online.pdf. Accessed 15 Jan 2019Google Scholar
  40. Salamoura A, Hamilton M, Octor V (2012) An initial investigation of the introduction of Cambridge English examinations in Mission laïque française schools. Research Notes 50:24–33Google Scholar
  41. Song S (2015) Cambodian teachers’ responses to child-centered instructional policies: a mismatch between beliefs and practices. Teach Teach Educ 50:36–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Tomlinson B (2003) Developing materials for language teaching. Continuum, LondonGoogle Scholar
  43. Tomlinson B (ed) (2008) English language learning materials: a critical review. Bloomsbury, LondonGoogle Scholar
  44. Tomlinson B, Masuhara H (eds) (2010) Research for materials development in language learning: evidence for best practice. Bloomsbury, LondonGoogle Scholar
  45. Wang Q (2007) Primary EFL in China: teachers’ perceptions and practices with regard to learner-centredness. PhD thesis, University of WarwickGoogle Scholar
  46. Waters A, Vilches ML (2008) Factors affecting ELT reforms: the case of the Philippines basic education curriculum. RELC J 39(1):5–24Google Scholar
  47. Wedell M (2011) More than just ‘technology’: English language teaching initiatives as complex educational changes. In: Colman H (ed) Dreams and realities: developing countries and the English language. British Council, London, pp 269–290Google Scholar
  48. Weir C (2005) Language testing and validation: an evidence-based approach. Palgrave Macmillan, BasingstokeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Williams E (2006) Bridges and barriers: language in African Education and Development (Encounters). Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LeicesterLeicesterUK

Personalised recommendations