TOPIC 21. PLANNING THE FL AREA:UNITS OF WORK. CRITERIA FOR THESEQUENCING AND TIMING OFOBJECTIVES AND CONTENTS.METHODOLOGY FOR LEARNING ANDEVALUATION ACTIVITIES.
INTRODUCTIONProgramming is the set of decisions that a teacher makesevery year about his or her subject or class, in keepingwith the school educational project and students’ leveland characteristics.Didactic Units are the main units of programming parexcellence, in these we organize the objectives,contents, methodologies and evaluation methods of thedifferent themes proposed in the curriculum of English asa foreign language.Planning our lessons includes the design, organization andevaluation of a wide variety of activities and materials inorder to achieve the educational goals proposed.
PLANNING THE FL AREAAccording to Decree 328/ 2010 (Junta deAndalucía, 2010), Didactics Programs inPrimary Education are specific planninginstruments, development and evaluationof each area of the curriculum establishedby the legislation. It will address thegeneral criteria in the educational projectand take into account the needs andcharacteristics of the students.
Why do teachers need to plan lessons?Programming is primarily a planning tool forclassroom activity:• To ensure coherence between the educationalintentions of the center and teaching practice. It’san adapted and coherent guide for teaching.• To attend the diversity of interests, motivations,needs and characteristics in general of thestudents.• It avoids improvisation, saving time andunnecessary effort.• It promotes meditation on the teaching practiceabout possible adaptations we can make in theobjectives, contents, methodology and activities.• It makes us more aware of how to evaluate.
Elements in the didactic unit1. Title. It should be attractive.2. Justification of why the teacher is going to teach the unit.3. Context: Characteristics of the school and the students.4. Why do we teach? The objectives guide the learning process. They arecapacities that students have to develop.5. Basic Competences refer to students’ ability to perform specific tasks.6. What are we going to teach? The contents are the means by which thecapacities are developed. The things that we are going to teach forreaching the objectives.7. How are we going to teach? The methodology refers to the procedureto be carried out. The way we are going to teach for reaching theobjectives according to our students’ characteristics and resourcesavailable. It includes: Activities, materials and resources, timing,guidelines, techniques, the organization of the classroom, etc.8. Evaluation is the way of measuring the acquisition of the competencesand objectives. It responds to the questions of how, what and when arewe going to value our own job and our students. It includes for thatinstruments, criteria and timing; and involves teachers, students and thedidactic plans.9. References.
BASIC COMPETENCESThe Common European Framework (2002) highlights theimportance of communication in foreign languages andconsiders students as members of a society with tasks todo.One of the objectives of the LOE is to create competentstudents, for that, the curriculum introduces eight keycompetences that every student should acquire finishingtheir studies. A competence is defined as the way a personuses his/ her resources to solve a task in a context. In thissense, we can thing in the abilities or strategies our studentsshould develop to communicate in English. Our way ofteaching should take into consideration a morecommunicative approach based on competences.The Task Based Approach (TBA) appeared in the 80s as anevolution of the Communicative Method. The teachercreates an activity where the target language is used by thelearners for a communicative purpose. Working with tasksallows the students to get the basic competences andbecome a full functional European citizen.
Basic Competences refer to student’s ability to perform specific tasks.a) Linguistic competence in communication. People who know foreign languageshave more possibilities to communicate. English learners develop new expressivenuances and communicative strategies.b) Competence in maths, the hour, converting pounds or dollars in euros, miles inkilometres and vice versa.c) Competence in the knowledge about and interacting with the environment: Alanguage is the main vehicle for human thinking, the most powerful tool forinterpreting and representing the reality and the learning instrument par excellence.d) Digital and information processing competence: The incorporation of theinformation and communication technologies to the school (ICT Schools 2.0) makescommunication possible in real time with any part of the world. Children will also haveeasy and immediate access to a continuous and never ending flow of information.E.g. Projects or reports, web pages, blogs, forums, data bases, etc.e) Social and civic competence: Languages are also vehicles of communication andcultural transmission; knowledge of a different culture from their own contributes tothe respect and acceptance of the differences, promoting tolerance and integration.f) Cultural and artistic competence: Language itself has a cultural component. Itinvolves knowledge of monuments and other art expressions (music, books, movies),customs, traditions, geography, conventions, festivities, celebrities, etc.g) Learning to learn competence to continue learning in an autonomous way. To usedictionaries, searching games and other Internet tools.h) Competence in personal autonomy and initiative (tightly related with learning tolearn competence): The inclusion of a content block devoted to the reflection onlanguage which makes the children conscious of their own way of learning and awareof the most efficient strategies for them to use.
Sequencing and timing of objectives• In the first cycle to start working with listeningcomprehension and speaking.• In the second cycle, one they realise they cancommunicate simple messages and get confidence in theforeign language, the teacher can introduce reading andwriting skills.• In the third cycle the teacher can concentrate more in thedevelopment of those four skills dealt previously workingwith writing some compositions, reading full text, createfive minutes conversation, etc.According to Royal Decree 1513/ 2006, the students shoulddevelop the four language skills of a language: listening, speaking,reading and writing, and they should be receptive to different cultures.These general ideas have to be graded according to the level of thestudents. What is really important is to start from their previousknowledge and level to help them realise they can learn a foreignlanguage.
Sequencing and timing of the contents• Oral skills (listening and speaking).• Written skills (reading and writing).• Knowledge of the language.• Sociocultural aspects of the Englishspeaking countries.• Teachers have to adapt the contentsaccording to the students’ level ofknowledge, cognitive development, skills,and interests.
TBA METHODOLOGY1. The Pre –task is the times to introduce the topic and toshow the activities that are necessary to complete thetask.2. The task –cycle is the moment when students work onthe task in pairs or in groups to prepare the oralexposition. The teacher must to promote foreignlanguage as a vehicle of communication.3. In the language focus, students display the task I frontof the class.Teachers should teach in different ways depending on the students’characteristics and learning styles. In the TBA, students perform a series ofpreparatory tasks in order to build the necessary competence to perform the finaltask. Willis (1996) talks about three different processes in methodology:TBA is designed to develop the four skills (listening, speaking, reading andwriting) concentrating on more communicative activities rather than grammarexercises. For example, if the topic is about clothes, the final task could be a“fashion show”.
Teachers’ and students’ rolesWith the introduction of the communicative methodsand the TBA, the learning/ teaching process is centred tostudents. Pupils are active participants, with decision andinitiative, and the teacher is a facilitator providing newsituations, developing students’ autonomy and stimulatingcommunication and learning strategies.The taskTo get a good result, the task has to: motivate, be usefulfor real communication, contemplate flexible and negotiablecontents adapted to students’ interests and characteristics,pay attention to the process and the product.
The learning environment• The interaction between peers and teacher –students has to createa communicative environment, fun, respectful and tolerant.• Active and participatory, we should ensure that everyone has thechance to speak and express what he or she feels. The teachershould negotiate with the students the contents and methodology ofthe course encouraging them to formulate their own objectives.• Reality: situations related to the students lives, habits andexperiences.• Variety: to use a wide range of contents, materials, topics, gamesand activities, structures, vocabulary and accents.• Safety: students should feel confident expressing themselves andnot worried about errors. Errors are natural part of the learningprocess.• To design the classroom rules, routines and procedures at thebeginning of the year or the didactic unit. If everyone knows exactlywhat to do and how to do it and why they have to do it, the finalproduct will be a success.• ZDP Vygotsky: Comprehensible Input is very important, neithertoo difficult or easy.
The organization of time• We have two or three hours per week with our English group. Ourmain objective is to maximize the time of communication in eachlesson.• The time organization should be flexible and natural not forced.• TBA allows the students enough time to do the different activitiesrequired to complete the task. Each group can work at its ownpace.• A task is not a project to be done in a session, it is a work thatstarts at the beginning of the didactic unit and is not completeduntil the end of it.• The teacher has to devote time to create the groups and toarrange the classroom in an appropriate way.• They have to spend time designing, explaining, making andpracticing the activities orally.• Routines are particularly very important to maximize our teachingand group work encourage communication between peers.• Analysis of actual time spent on the different classroom activitiescan be useful indicators of how to improve our work.
The organization of space• Class in rows. E.g. exams.• Class in U –Shape. E.g. role plays andother games.• Class in circle. E.g. discussions.• Classes in pairs and in groups encouragesocial interaction between peers.The distribution of the desks in the classroom should be flexible.Group work allows students to interact many times We can use thefollowing physical distribution of the students in the room:We can have an English corner where keep all materials:dictionaries, stories, posters, maps, flashcards, books, videos, etc.
MaterialsThere are a lot of types of materials available for teaching English:• Printed materials: textbooks, magazines, newspapers,handouts, dictionaries and other publications.• Visual materials: posters, murals, flashcards or maps.• Audio materials are essential for the teaching of listening:songs, radio, podcats, stories, dialogues, etc.• Audiovisual materials combine visual and auditory content.E.g. videos, movies, cartoons, commercials, video clips, TVprograms, etc. These can be reinforced with English subtitles todevelop also reading skills.• Computer materials nowadays are the most interestingmaterials for our students. As ICT Schools 2.0 we can usecomputers with a wide range of both online and offlineactivities, laptops and the digitalboard in the 3rd cycle.• Realia are materials that come from the real world. Forexample if you are teaching foods bring in an apple, a banana.
Evaluation• The student comprehension and participation.• Group work and cooperation.• The development of the activities to complete the task.• The use of foreign language in the process.• The student’s evolution from his or her previousknowledge.• The creativity.• The student’s opinion about the group.• Self –evaluation.• The final task.The evaluation in TBA shouldn’t be the usual one based on a test at the end ofthe unit. We have to start evaluating at the moment we describe the task to thestudents. We have to pay attention to:As we have seen before we should consider: what to evaluate? Criteria, Howto evaluate? Instruments, and when to evaluate? Timing; and take into accountthat the students are not the only elements under evaluation but it includes theteacher and the lesson plan.
CONCLUSIONAs we have seen throughout this unit,planning is not a mere bureaucratic task.A well –planned and organised didacticunit helps the teacher to think about thestudents’ learning process.Nowadays oral skills are taken moreinto consideration. TBA shows anopportunity to deal with thatcommunicative approach working withtasks.