School Framework B Y: S A M A N T H A R O D R Í G U E Z SEMINAR EDPE4019-001 DR. ANÍBAL MUÑOZ
What is a Curriculum Framework? Document that gathers foundations, philosophical principles and concentration of every program starting from Kindergarten all through the twelfth grade. It also gives us a better idea of what the program’s curriculum is. This document is known to include: Suggested strategies, ways of teaching, criteria to evaluate, organization, study content appropriate for each level, a vision, mission, goal and the scope and sequence of content. In other words, the framework explains in detail the curriculum principals given in each level and the theoretical foundations that uphold them.
What is a Curriculum Framework? According to the Department of Education, the curriculum is made up of three parts: a) Content that must be developed such as: skills and concepts directly from the materials used in class. b) Teaching techniques, strategies and methodologies or methods that are of updated and modern learning theories. c) Learning and assessment process. In this part of the curriculum, the student must be the core and creator of knowledge. The public school’s curriculum has three very diverse levels starting with elementary, then intermediate, and finally high school. The content that is taught in these levels all consider every single student’s physical and psychological development. The framework is also helpful to college professors because they are those who train future teachers of the Department of Education. These future teachers must be taught the content they will eventually teach, the attitude they must always have and the skills they must acquire in order to meet the terms that the Department of Education requires.
What is the Framework’s Purpose? It establishes goals, objectives, content, mission, teaching and learning methods, and focuses. The program’s goal actually depends on each student’s values and educational needs. It guides investigations and evaluations of how effective the curriculum and academic achievements are. The curriculum was created to help students learn which means that in order for students to succeed, they must acquire certain content, skills, values and attitudes; All of these add up to academic achievement.
What is the Framework’s Purpose? It helps teachers prepare and develop in-service training by subject. Student’s academic success greatly depends on current teachers as well as future teachers. With that said, teachers must be exceedingly prepared when it comes to their knowledge , teaching skills, content they have to teach and their ability to apply modern teaching theories to their classes. The framework provides teachers with the necessary tools to do so. It helps to guide the curriculum in its distinct levels. The framework determines the criteria as well as the philosophical and theoretical foundations that are the source for a successful curricular development in all school levels.
Highly Prepared Teachers Substantially fluent in the English language but also have great L2 pedagogical skills. Their knowledge must be proven through a tough certification process. They should always be open and willing to continue learning and expanding their level of expertise through training and educational opportunities provided by the Department of Education.
The Framework’s Missions and Goals The Department of Education’s main goal is that students become communicatively competent in the English language. However, students should master the communication skills in their native language (Spanish) because it serves as a good foundation to learn a second language. Another goal is that students learn to think creatively and critically so that they can successfully communicate with others. Being able to provide to all students a learning experience that is somewhat of a challenge, is meaningful and important to them and uses performance and assessment standards with the constructivist learning theory in mind.
The Framework’s Missions and Goals Help students reach their highest potential in their oral and written communication, appreciation for literature and reading comprehension. Motivate students to want to be intelligent, confident, reflective, competent and independent English language learners. Expose students to a wide variety of English literature, push them to be great model citizens and give them plenty of opportunities to participate in class.
Concepts & PrincipalsAssumptions of the English Program: Students and their parents feel that the English language is a threat because it will take over their first language and culture . We as teachers must show them that learning the English language means the complete opposite; It improves and enriches our knowledge, abilities and way of living. This message can be effectively shared with the community through parent/teacher meetings, orientations, school activities, etc. Students need to be taught content that integrates their learning styles, interests and cultural realities. We should not just be satisfied with an hour of English class, we have to immerse students in the language through educational yet fun activities that can take place during summer vacation, weekends or afternoons. It is important to always create topics for these activities that are of interest to the students so that the experience is meaningful and they can put their English communication skills into practice. Integrate what students are learning in their different classes to the English class.
Focuses & Features Student Diversity Teachers have realized how difficult it is for students to learn a second language, they have also noticed the skepticism, lack of support from family and lack of exposure to the language after class. This means that teachers have to learn how to work around those factors and figure out a way to improve the issue. Characteristics of an ESL teacher Has excellent English language skills – fluent oral and written skills Is fully academically prepared for the profession. Is optimistic and positive towards English teaching and learning in P.R. Comprehends the L2 student’s learning and acquisition process. Dedicated to teaching and is willing to continue learning and researching. Is able to work with parents and involve them in their child’s teaching and learning process. Help students develop critical thinking skills and explain to them the importance of our L1 and L2 culture.
Focuses & Features English teachers should always try to create a stress-free environment so that students don’t feel intimidated, uncomfortable or overwhelmed with the second language acquisition process. Teachers should be so prepared that they are able to study each student and determine the area in which they need the most amount of help in. Obviously teachers will need help in order to achieve all of this so there are options such as seminars, workshops, among others. Teachers who always try to improve and expand their knowledge to become better professionals should be rewarded for it because of their additional responsibilities and workload.
English Program Curriculum Features The English curriculum gives students options to the traditional ESL curriculum. The framework guarantees high standards in student’s results. English class is integrated with other classes. Research on second language acquisition and methodology support a student centered curriculum where the student is interested in learning new things and growing intellectually.
Other English Program Curriculum Features Environment – hygiene, recycling, health… Values, Attitudes and Human Virtues – responsibility, dignity, socialization… Economy – budgets, savings, investments… School to work - commitment, negotiation, rules… Technology – effective equipment usage, internet, educational application… Skills and Competencies – communication, reflective thinking, life skills… Cultural Diversity – race, socio-economic status, type of family… Knowledge – facts , theories, concepts…
Strategies With Positive Results Teachers can pick out the materials that they wish to include in their curriculum. Based on student’s needs, the teacher can choose the strategies, teaching and learning activities and techniques he/she thinks will be more effective. The teacher can include more class activities, projects and assignments that are more hands-on which helps students with diverse learning styles. Activities outside of the classroom can be planned so that students have more opportunities to practice their English language skills. Technology can be integrated in the English class as another way of exposing students to the target language. Teachers can provide students with tutoring sessions. The teacher’s decision on the activities, strategies and approaches he/she will use in class must be considered with the following factors in mind: the teacher’s preferences, the situation in the moment and the student (with their distinct learning styles and strategies).
Strategies With Positive Results The Total Physical Approach, Natural Approach (for communicative skills) and Language Experience Approach (for literacy skills) all have been considered very successful teaching methods for second language learners. Music, dramas, storytelling, poetry and role-playing also help students improve in their second language skill development. Try integrating activities that are hands-on or project based, create activities that cover multiple intelligences, create opportunities for students to improve in their writing skills by arranging writing workshops, etc.
Scope & Sequence The teaching approaches that have been included in the curriculum and joined with the language arts are Communicative Approach, Language Experience Approach, Total Physical Response, Balanced Literacy Approach and Natural Approach. Kindergarten and 1st Grade – First semester focus on listening, speaking and cultural diversity. Second semester of 1st grade focuses on reading, writing, listening, speaking and cultural diversity. 2nd and 3rd Grade – Same focus as 1st grade but now using the Balanced Literacy Approach and language arts. 4th through 6th Grade – Same focus as Kindergarten- 3rd grade using the Balanced Literacy Approach to better develop listening, speaking and writing skills as well as cultural diversity. These grades start learning how to write creatively and are encouraged to create bilingual resources.
Scope & Sequence 7th through 9th Grade (Intermediate Level)– The Balanced Literacy Approach is highly recommended to use for these grades so that the language arts are integrated too. Students at this level are given more opportunities to read, speak aloud and complete written projects/assignments on their own. 10th through 12th Grade (High School) – Usage of the Balanced Literacy Approach once more. Here, students develop their writingskills (written composition) , improve in their oral communication, analyze reading selections and do investigations. At this level, the language arts are integrated and the conversational skills are emphasized on. Students now independently read classic reading selections and complete oral and written projects based on these texts.
Reference The Department of Education of Puerto Rico’s Curricular Framework Document for the English Program http://www.de.gobierno.pr/sites/de.gobierno.pr/files/Ingles.pdf