Core curriculum vs reality.

Dear parents, I’m sure that you have recently noticed that your children’s bags have become heavier. We remember times when we had only one student’s book and only one notebook concerning one subject at school. Nowadays, we may observe that our children have got a student’s book, a workbook, some worksheets and notebooks. The core curriculum exists, and it must be done. It’s a requirement but how the teacher does, it depend on his attitude, involvement and ideas.

Most of the books dedicated to the youngest (grade 1-3) are responsible for teaching simple words and collocations. These books are filled with pictures, colouring pages, songs and nursery rhymes. It’s good! Thanks to attractive and colourful heroes, rhytmic songs our child learns much faster and remembers more. But, there is a big difference, when we leaf through books dedicated to older children (grade 4-8). We have a big difference, here. In front of us we have got a book that consists of 10 chapters, but I point out that one single chapter includes different grammatical categories and different lexical content. One single chapter in a book covers from 6 to 8 pages whereas one page has got 4-5 tasks. To sum up, we have got at least 40 tasks but it’s only the book. Taking into account the workbook too, the number of all tasks that should be done reach to 60. We don’t mention here about homework and some worksheets… Looking at our children’s schedule we can see that English lesson is twice or three times a week. We know that one lesson lasts 45 minutes and there are 25-30 students in a class.

Questions: How the teacher can do the core curriculum? Does he do all tasks? Does he have enough time to do some revision and tests?

Answer: The tests will be done, because the teacher needs some marks. Revision also will be done due to the fact that pages with a headline ‘Revision’ look good when they are completed. Will he do all tasks from the book? No he won’t. He won’t do it because then he won’t do the core curriculum which must be done. And it’s not the teacher’s fault (there are some exceptions), the book is created in such a way and that’s it. So, how our child can master these all tenses, collocations and remember thousands of words? How our child can understand one single tense when he has little information and a grammatical structure is practised on the basis of two exercises in a workbook because for the rest there is no time? How our child can feel confident during classes and exams when half of the information is unclear, strange and difficult?

Question: How in such cases parents behave?

Answer: Parents usually sign up their children for a course or they organize some extra and individual lessons for their children in order to help them to comprehend certain issues and get good marks at school, in the minority in order to develop some foreign language skills – that’s the truth. There is also the third reason signing up for a course, namely, ‘our neighbour’s son or daughter has got some extra lessons so my child will have some lessons  too’. It might be called as a phenomenon of trendy teaching. There is no wrong reason sending our child for a course or organizing some individual lessons. Abolutely, not. It carries a lot of benefits. Our child understands everything what is done at school, he will get good marks, he will feel more confident or he just discovers a willingness to study a foreign language. But, we ought to remember about one vital thing. Taking into account the fact that our child participates in some extra classes once a week, there are only 26 or 30 meetings during a whole school year. So, it means that it’s a little bit more than one day of learning whereas he or she has to remember 10 different tenses, few structures and thousands of words. It sounds unbelievable, but it is. When the lesson finishes child’s motivation vanishes and 80% of children don’t analyse tasks, notes till the next lesson. Life…

Conclusion: Don’t expect from children whereas we have a lot to do. Do the first step and give a good example. Teach your child at home, during a walk, when you go to the nearest shop or when you are on holiday. Just show them that speaking, writing in a foreign language might be natural. Encourage them, that a foreign language gives many possibilities and opens many doors. Give a good example to your child, even if you just start our journey with a foreign language.

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