Public sector primary schools
|Is EYL taught
as an official part of the curriculum in public sector primary
|At what age
do students begin EYL?
significant changes in teaching EYL taken place since 1980?
other than those stated here
any widespread teaching of English before the official starting
age for compulsory EYL?
hours a week/school year are officially allocated for EYL?
8-12: 3 x 1hour sessions a week (90
hours per school year)
EYL teachers and students are there in the public education system?
the EYL teaching?
A specialist teacher who works in only one school
A specialist teacher who works in several
schools (rare except in some country areas)
|Who is eligible
to teach EYL in the public education system?
A graduate of a primary school teacher training
A secondary teacher who is willing to work
in a primary school³
There are at present 94 British trained infant
and primary teachers working in public infant
schools on a bilingual education project.
are schools able to recruit enough EYL teachers?
the present yes, but supply would not be enough
to keep up with demand if English were to be
introduced at age 6 and made more widely
available at age 3. (There is a programme of
language improvement offered to teachers, but it
guidelines exist for EYL teaching?
is a general description of aims for EYL but no
specific advice about content. There is also a
general guideline laid down for all primary
schools and this contains a chapter on foreign
language teaching (e.g., that the methodology
should focus on teaching communicative skills,
that the topics should be linked to those
normally studied in primary schools, that the
classroom should be activity-based).
|Do EYL teaching
materials have to be approved?
||There is an officially
approved list of both locally and internationally produced material.
The head of department chooses the books to be used, within budget
limitations. Generally a series of coursebooks will then be in
use for 4-5 years.
are typically used?
and local published coursebooks (though the
latter are less common now than they were in the
mid 1990s). Teachers seldom have the level of
English and knowledege of method required to
produce their own materials and to adapt lesson
materials adapted from published sources
foreign languages are taught at primary level?
theory schools can choose between English and
French, but in practice most parents insist that
English be taught.
|Are any changes
in the provision of EYL planned or anticipated?
are plans to reduce the official starting age to
6, and to extend the InglÚs precoz (Early
English) programme. The main problem this will
present will be finding teachers with a
sufficient knowledge of English to teach this
age. There is a generally held belief that the
younger the child, the lower the level of English
the teacher needs.
Note¹ Several years ago Spain introduced an
Education Reform Act redefining the ages of primary school education.
Children were to make the transfer to secondary schools at the age
of 11+ instead of 14. This left schools with the problem of what to
do with primary teachers and 'specialists' who were not qualified
to teach in secondary schools. One of the measures adopted was the
InglÚs precoz programme whereby many of these teachers were
retrained to teach English in infant classes. There are now many schools
where infants are having between 1 and 3 hours of English a week.
addition, the British Council signed an agreement with
the Spanish Government 3 years ago whereby 47 (now 98)
British teachers were contracted to teach in Spanish
infant state schools, the idea being that they would
follow the British Council school bilingual curriculum.
The project is proving very successful.
Note ² Teachers
are trained at primary school teacher training colleges,
and those who choose the speciality of English are in
theory trained to teach English in primary. There is no
language exam as such. However, in order to become what
is known as a functionario (civil servant) and
have a job for life, teachers need to sit an official
state exam (Oposiciones). This takes place every
year or second year. It is a theoretical written exam.
Those teachers who pass go to the practical exam where
they are given the choice of 2 themes chosen at random
from 25. They have to demonstrate the practical
applications of the themes to the classroom. The third
part of the exam is the accumulation of points that
teachers get from attending recognised MEC methodology
courses. The number of teachers who pass the Oposiciones
each time is dependent on the number of places that
officially are considered to be available in each area.
Teachers who get the highest points are able to choose
the school they work in.
Note ³ A teacher
qualified to teach English at secondary school, but who
is willing to work in a primary school, must do the Oposiciones
to get a place in a primary school.
Private sector primary schools
a significant number of these schools?
private or semi-private (i.e., grant-aided)
schools run by religious orders
of primary age children attends them?
in EYL provision exist from public sector primary schools?
is offered on and outside the curriculum. English
used to be offered at an earlier age in private
schools. Now that the starting age for EYL in
public schools has been set at 8, the private
sector is seeking to maintain its lead by
introducing English even earlier.
do they use for EYL?
a significant number of these schools?
Young Learners take private language school classes?
hours of English is typically offered?
||3 per week
any perceived conflict between public school and private language
school provision in EYL?
||For children attending
(for example) the British Council evening school the methodology
is different with a greater focus on learning the language for
communication purposes, less translation, no direct focus on teaching
grammar, and very little importance placed on exams for 8-11 year
do they use for EYL?
the better schools much of the material is
produced in-house. In private academies, where
many of the teachers may be non-qualified native
speakers or Spanish-trained teachers with poor
English or Spanish speakers with good English but
little classroom competence, standard
commercially available materials are used. The
ease of use of the teacher's book often
determines which coursebook is selected.
Private tuition for Young Learners
private tuition for primary age children?
Young Learners are involved?
|What is the
typical starting age for private tuition?
often 6, and nearly always with a native English
speaker chosen by the parents
|Why do parents
use private tutors?
because they want their children to learn
English; partly because they want them to get
ahead; and partly because it is the 'Úlite'
thing to do.
Date information collected:
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