14.1.14

THE NEW CHALLENGE FOR 2014


Hello everybody and happy new year!

I'm definitely facing a new challenge this 2014. It was already in the air at the end of 2013, but now the time has definitely come to start teaching reading and writing to Spanish children who can already speak and understand English and, are also attending primary school!

As you know I've been teaching English to Spanish children in Madrid for 6 years and I must say that Madrid has always led the English trend in Spain.

People here, in some way, are more conscious about the importance of speaking English and especially parents have become really sensitive to the subject.

Spanish people have always studied English at school, but classes were focuses on writing and grammar. Besides, English was a secondary subject.  

Until the economic crisis began.

From the beginning of this milestone event, the perception that English is a fundamental skill in order to find a good job or to simply improve life opportunities has dramatically increased.

According to this new,  sudden and almost desperate need, the educational system introduced a new project of bilingual schools where at least one or more subjects,  besides English as a second language, usually science and art, have to be taught in English.

I have personally never dedicated too much time to writing and grammar because those areas are still extensively worked inside the classrooms.

Therefore my classes have always been focused on speaking skills, listening comprehension and just a little bit of reading. 

But something is changing here in the capital of Spain...

This year, I mean scholar year, I met 3 Spanish children who can communicate themselves in English, listen and understand almost everything they are told, but they cannot write correctly or read very well.

This means that, here in Madrid, we are getting closer to something extraordinary and, at the same time, really natural.

Children have always learnt how to speak first, and then, at school, how to read and write. It's natural and strictly connected to the survival needs when they are babies.

These 3 children started English classes in kindergarten. They needed to learn the language so that they could communicate with their English teachers.

What is extraordinary is that they are Spanish and English is not their first language. 

Due to this new unexplored field I'm looking for resources that can help these children to improve their reading and writing skills.

I've always dealt with pre-reading and pre-writing stuff for preschoolers, but I can't present those kind of activities to 9 year olds. Even so, I'm perfectly conscious that phonics and word sounds are the basic concepts to start with.

So, if any of you is a school teacher, I would be really pleased to receive any suggestions, pieces of advice or online resources you could share. 

Thank you very much!

Lucy dedicates a lot of time and love to thinking about and writing the posts she shares with all of you. Because she believes that a better teaching is the key for a better future. If you find any help, value or joy in this blog, please consider becoming a supporting reader. A donation, in any amount, will be gratefully accepted.