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Teaching Scientific Theories to Elementary School Students

Teaching Scientific Theories to Elementary School Students
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외국어교육특수대학원 TESOL학과
이화여자대학교 외국어교육특수대학원
Communicative competence has been consequently regarded as a primary goal in international second language classroom. With this flow, Korean English education has emphasized the use of language and functions rather than language accuracy. Additionally, this movement increased the variety of communicative activities in the language classrooms (Kim, 2016). However, the textbooks that are used in the classrooms are insufficient for development of language skills including communicative competence. In elementary English classrooms, there are some students who are struggling with decoding the textbook because it’s not suitable level for the students (Lee, 2016). The textbooks need to provide more opportunities to practice their English with enjoyable communicative activities. According to Brewster, Ellis & Girard (2004), children do not have specific foreign language needs such as learning language for getting a job or studying further in the country of the target language. They get bored easily and have a lot of physical energy and often need to be physically active. According to Berman (1998) “Children’s understanding comes through the hands, eyes and ears, so the physical activities are dominant at all time.” This book was designed to help students improve their English by doing something which provides opportunities for students to engage in meaningful conversations. The group of students I seek to address is Korean primary school fourth graders who take English class in a private English institute. They have 50minutes lesson a day with a Korean teacher who teaches the lesson in English. This book can also be used for public school English programs. The target students’ language proficiency is Level 3 on the WIDA 2012 Amplified ELD Standards. Specifically, the students can communicate concepts, ideas and information using words or expressions related to the topic. They can also use repetitive grammatical structures with occasional variation on their writing. The students can recognize specific content words and expressions related to the content area. They can understand the concepts of the story and know compound and some complex grammatical constructions. I have chosen this target group of students because they need to be motivated for language learning and need to have more opportunities to use meaningful English. They also need to develop their four language skills. Variety of fun activities and tasks related to different science topics can provide motivation and enjoyment for the students. Additionally, the students can learn expressions and build their vocabulary through this book. Based on this, this book will be designed based on Theme-based, and Task-supported teaching. In my textbook, I will use the Theme-based Instruction (TBI) and Task-supported teaching. TBI provides children the opportunities to learn the foreign language through thematic content. According to Cameron (2001) different areas of the curriculum can be taught in an integrated way. The lesson that is based on TBI requires teachers to choose a theme and then to plan a range of teaching and learning activities related to the theme, that incorporated aspects of subjects such as science, art, language, music and so on. This book will provide students with motivating tasks that have integrated different areas around interesting science topics. Task-supported teaching is another instructional methodology used in this book. According to Nunan(2004) a task is “a piece of classroom work that involves learners in comprehending, manipulating, producing, or interacting in the target language while their attention is focused on mobilizing their grammatical knowledge in order to express meaning, and in which the intention is to convey meaning rather than to manipulate form.” The reason I have chosen this approach is younger learner’s understanding comes from what they see, hear and touch rather than explanation (Harmer, 2007). Children develop in sequential stage from concrete to abstract levels of thinking (Nunan, 2011). Also they have a short attention span, but easily motivated when they are having fun (Superfine, 2002). Therefore, they need to be motivated in different ways. They concentrate more on the lesson and enjoy when they are doing something rather than listening lectures. So this textbook will include a variety of enjoyable meaningful activities based on task-supported teaching. Tasks can provide types of interactions such as pair work, group work and physical movement as well as individual activities that are easy for the learner to engage in, which links to learner’s interest and concerns (Cameron, 2001). This textbook will provide scientific tasks for students to apply the knowledge they have learned in each unit. For example, in the sample unit, students will learn about gravity and air resistance through songs, reading materials, multi-medias, and science experiments. Songs will be used in each unit to engage students and reading materials to activate their schema. They will also learn essential vocabulary related to gravity and air resistance. The words will be repeated in interesting communicative games such as word puzzles or board games. Then, scientific theory will be explained to the students using multi-medias and reading texts. For example, in the sample unit, gravity and air resistance will be presented through ‘Isaac Newton’s story’ and a video clip, ‘How does a parachute work?’ Some communicative or written activities will be provided to check the student’s understanding. To apply what they have learned, students will do science experiments. They will predict and test their hypothesis through science experiments. In the sample unit, they will do ‘Dropping Objects’ as a gravity experiment, ‘Parachute Experiment’ as an air resistance experiment. Finally, students will do an ‘Egg Drop Project’ to test their developed hypothesis of gravity and air resistance from their previous experiments. During the scientific discussions, the students will engage in meaningful conversations to solve the scientific problems with their peers. It will help the students improve their listening, reading, speaking, and writing as well as motivate them to learn and enjoy English. This textbook was designed for primary fourth graders who need to develop the four English language skills and want to have enjoyable lessons in their English classes or afternoon English conversation classes in the school. Due to the needs of my target group, I believe my textbook will help students not only have joyful and meaningful conversation lessons, but also become more motivated to study English. Additionally, this textbook will help the students reach to level 4 on WIDA scale. By studying with my textbook, students will enjoy listening and reading on different topics. They will learn and understand scientific theories. They will also improve their speaking and writing by engaging in group tasks and science project throughout the book.
☞ 이 논문은 저자가 원문공개에 동의하지 않은 논문으로, 도서관 내에서만 열람이 가능하며, 인쇄 및 저장은 불가합니다.
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