Thesis Title

Position Paper: English Language Curriculum guidelines for elementary School English Language Learners

Graduation Date

Summer 2007

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Program Name

Education

Program Director

Madalienne F. Peters, EdD

Abstract

English Language Development (ELD) and Academic English Development (AED) curricula in most public schools lack a communicative method and consist mostly of dry, meaningless grammar lessons devoid of relevance and authentic context.

The purpose of this project is to develop guidelines to teach English language to elementary school children following the model for teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). As the literature reveals, students acquire second languages more successfully in a risk free environment where the focus is on communication and not solely grammar drills of form and function. Language curriculum must allow a significant amount of time for target language practice in an authentic situational context. Grammar should be covered, but a balance must be struck between its explicit and implicit instruction. The instructor’s objective is to create conditions where grammatical awareness becomes a product of language development and not solely the means.

The curriculum guidelines are based upon a communicative model where spoken language takes precedence over written language. While oral proficiency is the objective of most programs currently in use, it is the means towards such proficiency that is problematic. This project’s guidelines direct instructors to create authentic situations relevant to students' experience where they are immersed in a spoken English environment, free of stress and arduous grammar drills, much like a child learns his or her first language. Language is learned through association to actual events and ample time is given to process input and to practice the language structures orally before any orthographic component is stressed.

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