It all started in February 2013. After passing a public contest in 2012, I had to choose the school I was going to work at. Among the possibilities was a school which had never offered English as a modern language before. I ended up choosing this school because I would have the chance to start from scratch with its students.
Since the school did not have any English textbooks to serve as the backbone of the syllabus, the first thing I had to do was design a syllabus. I am referring to the textbook as the backbone of the syllabus because I truly believe that it is one of the tools we have to teach, not the only one. In order to design the syllabus and create the modules for the syllabus I had designed, I used several textbooks I had from different publishing houses. I created six modules for each grade. First graders, for instance, study Greetings, Numbers, Colors, School Objects, Fruits and Pets in this order. The resources I use to help me teach are picture and word flashcards, videos, realia, songs, games, PPT presentations, CDs, posters, etc. The next choice I had to make was which skills I would work with in each grade. Table 1 shows what my decisions were and Table 2 exemplifies Table 1.
Then, I came up with at least one function and one exponent for each module and made sure students would not use vocabulary in isolation. Let me take first graders as an example once again. When I work with the module Numbers (0 – 10), I teach two functions – asking someone’s age and saying your age. The exponents taught to express these functions are “How old are you?” and “I’m 6.” respectively. By doing this, students do not learn numbers for the sake of learning without any context and vocabulary is not used in isolation.
Although it was really tiring and hard-working to design the syllabus and create the modules, it is extremely rewarding to see how good my students are at using the language they are exposed to and more importantly, to see that they find it meaningful to study English.