Too many questions unsolved after years of spinning around the problem. English teachers(only representatives) from junior high and elementary schools finally have a chance to sit down and talk after years of misunderstanding
and grudge against each other(well, I’m not exaggerating).
The rep from junior high expect 6 graders to posses the following abilities:
1. They should know how to spell words.
2. They should know basic letter names and letter sounds by the time they graduate from elementary schools.
3. They should adapt smoothly from listening/speaking-oriented teaching styles to reading/writing oriented ones.
And one last question they all have:
"Why did 7th graders do so bad in tests?"
The rep from elementary school made some clarification:
1. No, games are not the main teaching activities in most elementary schools.
2. The process from knowing the phonic rules to actually intuitively apply the tool in reading and writing need much more time than current teaching hour (2 40-minute sessions a week max.) .
3. There are just too many phonic rules plus sightwords to cover, again, we just don’t have enough time!
4. It is predictable that students have difficulties to adapt to teaching styles in junior high.
WHAT,YOU EXPECT US TO TEACH THEM LIKE HOW WE WERE TAUGHT BEFORE? Let’s not forget that these two learning stages accommodate different mindsets in children’s developing process!
5. Elementary and junior high have different teaching goals yet you evaluate students with the same method?!
Let’s see how junior high students perform in listening/speaking exam then?
However, I do agree that we should do some bridging class in the 2nd semester of 6th grade. This is probably the best way to improve the situation.
Are we expecting too much from elementary English class? Does anyone still remember the original purpose of starting English education in elementary schools?
The following slide remind us a few obvious yet often overlooked reality in EFL classroom.