Monday, 27 March 2017

An overview of Cambridge Global English Stages 1 - 6


Cambridge Global English is the first scheme designed for ESL children studying an English-medium curriculum. It is a nine-stage course for learners of English as a second language, ranging from the beginning of primary to the last year of junior secondary (roughly ages 6–14). The course has been designed to fulfil the requirements of the Cambridge Primary English as a Second Language curriculum framework developed by Cambridge English Language Assessment. These internationally recognised standards provide a sequential framework for thorough coverage of basic English concepts and skills.

1. How does Cambridge Global English relate to the Cambridge English as a Second Language curriculum framework specified by Cambridge International Exams and the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP)?

a. What is the Cambridge Primary English as a Second Language curriculum framework?
The Cambridge Primary English as a Second Language curriculum framework has been designed and created by University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations.

The framework provides a comprehensive set of progressive learning objectives for learners of English as a Second Language based on the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which is used widely both within and beyond Europe to map learners’ progression in English.

The curriculum frameworks are divided into five strands: Reading, Writing, Use of English, Listening and Speaking. In line with the CEFR, learning outcomes in each strand for each successive stage are defined in terms of what learners should be able to do in English. This framing of learning objectives as a progressive can-do sequence should encourage the use of learning-centred, activity-based approaches by teachers in the implementation of the curriculum frameworks.

Student progression in each strand within the curriculum frameworks is mapped in terms of the common reference levels in the CEFR.

It is envisaged that students will progress in terms of the CEFR across the Speaking and Listening and Use of English strands in the curriculum at a marginally faster pace. The main reason for this is the primacy of modified oral input in early years’ second language teaching where learners may not have sufficient literacy skills in their own language to develop English through reading and writing. This can be further complicated for learners whose first languages are non-Roman script languages – involving the mapping of new foreign sounds to equally foreign symbols. Although such early literacy considerations may vary within different learning contexts, what remains constant in the pedagogic approach within the curriculum framework is that the teacher’s use of structured talk will be the key facilitating factor in supporting early Primary learning and that all learning in the classroom will be characterised by high-quality interaction in which the teacher seeks to encourage the active use of English by learners in completing all tasks. This focus on modified oral input – which enables learners to focus on forms as well as meanings – will support the slightly faster incremental development of Speaking and Listening and Use of English skills across the curriculum.

The assessment framework (see table below) is designed to support the implementation of the curriculum framework by providing teachers and learners with motivational end-of-stage goals and to help teachers, learners and parents monitor progress being made. The assessments at key transition points across the curriculum relate to Cambridge ESOL’s international suite of English language assessments for learners – multi-skilled, externally certificated tests from University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations – and there are end-of-year progression tests for all stages from Stage 3 to Stage 6.

b. The International Baccalaureate® (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP)
Written Curriculum

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) balances the acquisition of significant and relevant knowledge and skills, the development of conceptual understanding, the formation of personal, positive attitudes and the capacity to take responsible actions.

The written curriculum is made up of five essential elements and details what students will learn.

Essential elements in the PYP

The five essential elements of the PYP are:

·        knowledge, which is both disciplinary, represented by traditional subject areas (language, maths, science, social studies, arts, PSPE) and transdisciplinary
·        concepts, which students explore through structured inquiry in order to develop coherent, in-depth understanding, and which have relevance both within and beyond subject areas
·        skills, which are the broad capabilities students develop and apply during learning and in life beyond the classroom
·        attitudes, which contribute to international-mindedness and the wellbeing of individuals and learning communities,  and connect directly to the IB learner profile
·        action, which is an expectation in the PYP that successful inquiry leads to responsible, thoughtful and appropriate action.

Taught Curriculum

The taught curriculum is the part of the International Baccalaureate© (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) that sets out its pedagogical approach. It identifies how schools should teach the PYP written curriculum.

The PYP is committed to structured, purposeful inquiry that engages students actively in their own learning. 

This approach respects students’ developing ideas about how the world works. It encourages them to question, consider and refine their understanding of the social and natural world.

Assessed Curriculum

The unique approaches to teaching and learning in the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) can be explained through the taught, written and assessed curriculum.

The assessed curriculum explains how teachers go about gathering and analysing information about student performance. The IB does not set examinations or moderate grades in the PYP.

In the PYP, learning is viewed as a continuous journey, where teachers identify students’ needs and use assessment data to plan the next stage of their learning.

Cambridge Global English 1 – 6 reflects the principles, aims and approaches described above as it has:

An international focus. Specifically developed for young learners throughout the world, the themes, and situations and literature covered by Cambridge Global English strive to reflect this diversity and help learners find out about each other’s lives through the medium of English. This fosters respect and interest in other cultures and leads to awareness of global citizenship.

An enquiry-based, language-rich approach to learning. Cambridge Global English engages children as active, creative learners. As learners participate in a wide variety of curriculum-based activities, they simultaneously acquire content knowledge, develop critical thinking skills and practise English language and literacy. The materials incorporate a ‘learning to learn’ approach, helping children acquire skills and strategies that will help them approach new learning situations with confidence.

English for educational success. To meet the challenges of the future, children need to develop facility with both conversational and academic English. From the earliest level, Cambridge Global English addresses both these competencies by presenting authentic listening and reading texts, writing tasks, and unit projects similar to those learners might encounter in English-medium and international schools. Emphasis is placed on developing the listening, speaking, reading and writing skills learners will need to be successful in using authentic English-language classroom materials. At Stage 1, very basic learning strategies are introduced and practised. These lay the foundations for future language learning and development.

Rich vocabulary development. Building a large and robust vocabulary is a cornerstone to success in both conversational and academic English. Cambridge Global English exposes learners to a wide range of vocabulary. Many opportunities for revising these words and using them in personalised, meaningful ways are woven into the activities and lesson plans.

Individualised learning. We approach learning in an individual way by both acknowledging the individual nature of the knowledge and background of each child and encouraging their specific input. We also provide for differentiated learning in the classroom by offering a range of activities of varying difficulty and extra challenges. Unit by unit support for this is provided in the unit notes in the Teacher’s Resource book.

Integrated assessment. Throughout the course, teachers informally assess their learners’ understanding of language and concepts. The Teacher’s Resource provides suggestions for extending or re-teaching language skills based on learners’ demonstrated proficiency. At the end of each unit, learners apply the skills and knowledge they have acquired as they work in groups to create and present a project of their choice. This provides teachers with an excellent performance assessment opportunity. An end-of-unit quiz in the Activity Book provides another evaluation measure: a quick progress check on learners’ understanding of key ESL and early literacy skills.

Structure of the Coursebook and the Workbook across the 6 stages

The Learner’s Book provides the core input of the course and consists of nine thematic units of study.

Each unit contains six lessons developed around a unifying theme, and linked to a main question at the beginning of the unit. The materials cater for the needs of learners studying in a primary context, they feature skills-building tasks for listening, reading, writing and speaking, as well as language focuses.

In addition, there is a strong vocabulary-building element to the course. Ways of introducing basic learning awareness skills are also explored through features such as:

Materials are aimed at the learner with all the experiences that they bring to the classroom. Learners are encouraged to see the moral and social values that exist in many of the course texts, and find opportunities to reflect on these. We feel that the learner needs to be exposed to many different forms of text topics and styles in order to develop the skills of assessing, interpreting and responding appropriately to content. Therefore the course aims to provide a variety of factual and fictional texts, dialogues and poetry, on a range of different topics, at the appropriate level.

Learner’s Book structure

Cambridge Global English consists of nine thematic units of study, designed to cover approximately three units per term, in most educational systems. 

The Stage 1 and Stage 2 Learner’s Book is structured as follows:

• Starter unit: At the beginning of primary school, learners can come from a variety of backgrounds. Ideally most will have had some basic introduction to letters and numbers in English before they start this course, but a Starter unit is still included at the beginning of the Stage 1 Learner’s Book to provide an opportunity to review these basic concepts. The Teacher’s Resource offers a range of further activity suggestions for providing learners with additional support and basic language practice, so that they can all approach the Stage 1 Learner’s Book with confidence.

There is no such unit in the following stages.

Main units: Nine thematic units provide a year’s worth of curriculum lessons.

Picture dictionary: At the end of stage 1 and Stage 2 Learner’s Books there is a thematically arranged Picture dictionary. This dictionary can be used for a number of activities, such as reviewing material at the end of terms, but its main aim is to introduce the concept of using a dictionary in order to look up the meaning of words.
This should be done on a fairly regular basis, so that the learners become ccustomed to the idea.

Unit structure

Stages 1 and 2

Each unit is divided up into six lessons. The length of lessons will vary from school to school, so a strict time limit for each lesson has not been prescribed. Lessons are structured as follows:

Lesson 1 Think about it: Lesson 1 introduces the main topic, usually in the form of a question which should be a trigger for input from the learners in line with the enquiry-led approach of the course. A short poem and main picture lead into the topic of the unit, giving learners an opportunity to identify key vocabulary items. This leads to vocabulary practice tasks and culminates in a productive task.
Lesson 2 Find out more: Lesson 2 is geared to deeper learning about a curriculum topic. It usually involves a short listening or reading passage followed by critical thinking skills and guided writing tasks.
Lesson 3 Letters and sounds: Lesson 3 focuses on the mechanics of reading and pronunciation, including phonics, alphabet skills, reading, listening and writing skills. It usually contains a song or simple phonics story.

Lesson 4 Use of English: Lesson 4 focuses on developing language skills through contextualised activities. It involves combinations of speaking, writing and reading activities.

Lesson 5 Read and respond: Lesson 5 focuses on literacy and reading stories, poems and factual texts. It allows the learner to explore a variety of text types and develop comprehension and writing skills through related activities.

Lesson 6 Choose a project: Lesson 6 is the consolidation and production section of the unit. Learners produce a project related to the unit content. Lesson 6 begins with a restatement of the initial unit question and leads to a review of what has been learned in the course of the unit. Learner independence is enhanced by allowing choice. Learners choose one of three projects to complete.

At the end of the lesson they carry out a short activity (Look what I can do!) where learners can be encouraged to identify and demonstrate skills they have accumulated during the course of the unit.

Stage 3

The Learner Book structure changes in that Lesson 1 is the Opening lesson, Lessons 3 and 4 are now Skills development lessons, there is a Literacy lesson and Lesson 6 is a consolidation lesson which includes not only projects but also other features.

Lesson 1 Opening: This lesson introduces the main topic, and the Big question which you will find in the unit notes of the Teachers Resource book. The unit objectives are introduced for the teacher to share with the learners. This overt teaching of objectives is part of the ‘learning to learn’ strategy. The main lesson introduces the theme through a large picture. Children respond to the picture in a ‘Talk about it’ activity in which they describe the picture, make predictions, share prior knowledge and/or make personal connections. Next, children are given a listening task, or they choose a listening focus from a series of questions. They listen to the narrative or conversation that accompanies the opening picture and then share the information they have gathered with their classmates. Subsequent Lesson 1 activities focus on building vocabulary related to the unit theme. Learners often read a brief informational text, examine a map, chart or graph, and/or do a simple hands-on learning activity.

Lessons 3 and 4 Skills Development: These lessons provide children with explicit practice of specific ‘Use of English’ and word study skills as they read, listen and respond to short, engaging texts related to the unit theme. There is a balanced emphasis on all four skills – listening, speaking, reading and writing – and vocabulary continues to be presented and reviewed. Each unit includes a short poem that helps children practise fluency and pronunciation.

The poem also provides an opportunity to examine rhymes and spelling patterns. Enquiry learning activities are integrated into these lessons; learners conduct interviews and surveys or do experiments, and then report on the results. A variety of guided writing activities are also included.

Lesson 5 Literacy: Children read and respond to a longer piece of literature, either fiction (a play, traditional tale or contemporary story) or non-fiction (a factual article or quiz). An initial ‘Talk about it’ activity engages learners in pre-reading strategies such as previewing, predicting, scanning or activating prior knowledge. Follow-up questions and activities focus on story elements, reading comprehension (literal, inferential and critical), word study and values-related conversations.

Lesson 6 Consolidation: This final lesson begins by restating the Big question and then offering learners a choice of two projects which can be done either individually or collaboratively. Each project engages students in using the language and concepts they learned in the unit and creating a product (a poem, poster, questionnaire, etc.) that they will then present to the class. The second part of this lesson asks students to review and reflect on their learning by completing several short tasks that directly relate to the unit objectives presented at the beginning of Lesson 1. The students can then think about their ability to do these concrete tasks as they consider the Look what I can do! statements at the end of the lesson.

Stages 4 – 6

The last stages also introduce changes to the structure of the units.

Lesson 1 Opening: This lesson is slightly different from that in Stage 3. It still introduces the main topic, the Big question which you will find in the unit notes of the Teachers Resource book and the unit objectives are introduced for the teacher to share with the learners. The main lesson begins with a ‘Talk about it’ activity in which the children are expected to react to information, ideas or visuals. There is a contextualised listening or speaking text which leads to exploitation of vocabulary and grammar. A free-speaking activity usually ends the lesson.

Lessons 2–4 Skills: In these lessons, learners explore the topic in various ways using a variety of short listening and reading texts which do include cross curricular topics. The lessons focus on the mechanics of reading, including spelling or pronunciation and use of English and integrate the four skills. Guided writing activities are included in these lessons.
The Literacy lesson is the same and Lesson 6, although it has a different name, remains the same.

Activity Book

Each lesson in the Learner’s Book is supported by two Activity Book pages which reinforce and extend the material introduced in the Learner’s Book. It also provides opportunities for personalisation and creative work, as well as challenge activities to support differentiated classroom situations. In these activities, more confident learners can do additional work at a higher level. The last lesson of each unit offers additional assessment / self-assessment opportunities.

Teacher’s Resource book

The Teacher's Resource 1 - 6 provide step-by-step guidance notes for each lesson in every unit to support teaching the content of Learner's Books.
A unit overview at the beginning provides a snapshot of lesson objectives and the language and skills covered.

The notes include answer keys to activities in the Learner's Book and Activity Book. An icon signposts moments in which it’s recommended to go to the Activity Book to do certain activities. You will also find teaching tips, complete audio scripts, suggestions for differentiation and assessment, cross-curricular links, critical-thinking opportunities, portfolio opportunities, unit-based wordlists and additional unit-linked photocopiable activities with detailed notes that include estimated preparation and completion time, materials needed and detailed procedure notes .

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