3 The philosophy of Our World Through English (OWTE)
a The view of language
• Communication and purpose
OWTE is based on the view that we use language for communication. In other words we use it to give and receive "messages" of different kinds. There are different purposes in communication, but the purpose of asking for and giving information is the central one in this course. Many Ecuadorian students want to use English in their higher level education and in their work. For them, the ability to g\e and receive information in English will be extremely important.
Additionally, most learners of a language want to manage the socializing function of language. Expressing likes and dislikes, wants and needs, has been given greater importance in this new edition.
• Syllabus organization
Information can be divided into three types:
Tire syllabus is based principally around the development of the necessary receptive and productive ¡anguage skills to manage these types of information as they are used in a wide variety of spoken and written contexts.
b The view of learners and teachers
OWTE has been written and produced in Ecuador for use in Ecuador's education system. It is written by Ecuadorians with a clear view of learners' and teachers' situations in the classroom, school and wider socio-economic and cultural contexts of the country. It has been written to help teachers and learners make the best use of the limited time available. The course aims to enable students to enter adult life with a firm basis of essential English and language learning skills.
OWTE tries to support the learning process in school by using content from other school subjects and by encouraging the learners to use their knowledge of the world or stimulate them to want to find out about the world around them. The course also helps develop learning skills through the medium of English. These learning skills are transferable to a wide variety of other learning situations. In using OWTE, students are encouraged to look afresh and critically at their own world in a spirit of learning to appreciate all that is good, while not ignoring things that are less pleasing. However the accent is always on the positive. There is much to celebrate in Ecuador and for young people it is
important to point them towards the good things and not dwell too much on what is not so good. This approach is typical of books 1-3. In the second part of the course (books 4-6) students learn to organize knowledge in different ways. They use English to think and learn about new things, how to
w.eigh up alternatives and reach mature, informed decisions.
c Topics and motivation
The topics and the way they have been treated have been chosen to interest, surprise and amuse the learner, starting with their own world in Ecuador in all its diversity and gradually reaching out to the world beyond. The writing team has tried very hard to find something to interest everyone and to represent the different peoples of Ecuador equally.
d Success and motivation
Nothing succeeds better in motivating students at school than success itself. Success here means being able to follow the material, complete the tasks and want to learn more. It includes coming to understand the texts as well as the procedures to follow in doing the tasks. It means knowing what you are trying to learn to do, doing it and understanding the reason for doing it.
Above all, the teacher's job is to encourage and support the learners1 efforts. A positive attitude on your part is vital.
e Teachers and learners
The teacher's aim is to help students to reach the goal of being confident and motivated in using English. The teaching steps in this book guide you in:
• encouraging students to prepare themselves for the topic areas to be introduced
• organizing tasks for students so that they can do them without unnecessary difficulty
• helping students while they are working
• encouraging students to review their work
• using appropriate ways to get feedback on completed work
The materials are designed for teachers who:
• are interested in professional development
• want to understand the reasons for the design of the syllabus and materials
• want to do the best possible Job but often do not have enough time to do it
• want to organize classroom activities effectively so that students take a central, active role in learning
• want to help learners to be more independent in their learning
• want to connect learning English with other learning experiences both inside and outside school
• want their students to learn how to obtain and give Information in English, and consider that learning how to obtain information is more important than the "right answer"
• want to encourage students to think for themselves.
4 The skills cycle
a Language skills in life
When we examine the way that we use different language skills in life we notice two things. F person normally uses language for a purpose. Secondly, there are links between one language and another.
In life, people listen, read or ask questions to find out something. They speak or write to communicate something.
c Links between skills
The language skills are linked. For example, when you answer the telephone, you listen, speak, often write a note. After the telephone conversation you may use the note (read it) to remind ye or somebody else to do something. In the same way, when you study, you may listen, make not ask questions, perhaps discuss the ideas in the notes, read something more about the notes, organize your notes, and then write an essay on the subject. Language skills are linked in these many other ways in life.
The language skills cycle in the revised OWTE is based on the way we use them in life. The cyc t often begins with a receptive experience - either listening or reading, followed by a productive experience, either speaking or writing. In each part of the cycle students have a purpose for us -; their language skills. To develop the speaking skill in this revised edition there are interaction patterns to follow. Questions are introduced to enable students to ask their teacher and their classmates for information in English. Questions, of course, are also an important way to obtain ask for clarification of information in real life.
The skills approach, then, is based on skills used in real life. It is also based on the way that learn, firstly by having a purpose for using the language and secondly by experiencing the language in both written and spoken forms.
Throughout the course students are given tasks while they are listening or reading to focus their attention on the main information and to give them a purpose. In many cases they are firstly as do tasks to activate their general knowledge of a topic. Before reading or listening for more detail information, students are asked to form a general idea of the text. This enables them to anticipate the context of the text before they read or listen to it in detail. They are given an idea of the information they have to find.
Both the listening and reading texts in Our World Through English 4 contain largely ungraded, no English. Tapescripts are also recorded at natural speed. This is because it ¡s important for stu to become accustomed to hearing English as it is used in real life. Increased exposure to natur English will prepare students for situations where English ¡s used outside the classroom. It is advisable to explain this to students and to reassure them by pointing out that it is not necessa understand every single word to complete tasks. In many cases the tasks are graded, where th
In many exercises, the students make notes to be able to access Information for a further purpose. Tables or charts are used for noting down Information in an organized way. In addition to making Information easily accessible these tables heip students to learn how to organlze ¡nformation from listening or reading texts.
5 Grammar and vocabulary
Very few students are motivated by the grammar of a language itself. Learning grammar can, however, be interesting and enjoyable if the language is presented ¡n a lively and engaging context. The grammar in each core unit of Our World Through English 3 ¡s presented in such a way, usually ¡n the form of a listening or reading text. This also means that the students firstly have an opportunity to see the language working in context ¡n order to begin to make deductions about what ¡t means and how it is used.
The steps ¡n the teacher's notes guide teachers to firstly raise students' awareness of the meaning and use of new structures and also encourage teachers to elicit as much as possible from the students, helping them to see patterns and work out rules for themselves. The teacher's notes also consist of clear step-by-step instructions for introducing the form of new language, again incorporating as much student participaron as possible.
Following the grammar presentation ¡n each core unit, there are also practice activities. These aim to practise the new language in natural and realistic situations, which complement the topic of the presentation. Further practice can also be found in the extensión units. In addition, key structures such as present and past simple and the imperative form are recycled in a variety of contexts throughout the book.
Students also experience new vocabulary in a situational and linguistic context. We recommend that you do not explain new vocabulary before it is met. Instead you should encourage students to work out meaning independently using all available resources (including other people). This, of course, includes the possibility for students to ask you or each other in English for help. Training students to solve their own vocabulary problems is an essential part of helping them become active, independent earners.
The design of the course introduces and recycles core vocabulary throughout the book. Students should, then, get enough experience of these Ítems to assimilate them. It also includes vocabulary which is not core or frequent but ¡s important ¡n a topic. Many of these Ítems are illustrated. It is not necessary for students to learn this vocabulary for productivo use. Core vocabulary is usted in the Language Objectives section of the teacher's book and in alphabetical order in Appendix 2. Students should be able to use the core vocabulary ¡n speaking and writing. They are not expected to remember or consciously learn all the words introduced in each unit.
The classroom language included in rnany units in earlier books should be learned as vocabulary or lexical 'chunks' for communicative purposes in the classroom and should not be analyzed grammatically in these levéis. Students should be encouraged to use this classroom language as much as possible as a genuine means of communication in a variety of common classroom situations and as an essential part of the core syllabus.