In previous blog entries, I’ve looked at various aspects of planning English lessons. In terms of long-term planning for instance for the coming half a year or so, I’ve written about writing semi-annual plans based on lines of language development.
All good and well for the individual teacher looking for inspiration on a classroom level. However, as every teacher is aware, teaching is a team sport. At the end of the year, the class often moves on to a new teacher, and then it’s up to the new teacher to pick up where the other left off, and we pick up where the previous teacher left off.
When teachers work together towards common goals, they need to insure the continuity of the program. When there is continuity, teachers can build upon what was already taught in prior years, and move steadily forward towards a long-term goal. When there is no continuity, the language program may make a significant development in one year, only to have the entire thing dropped in the year that follows, resulting in loss of learning and, effectively, wasted time. After all, language is one of those skills where the adagium “use it or lose it” holds.
This is when a school-wide language policy plan comes in handy. A school-wide policy plan is a document in which the long-term goals are laid out. The present situation is described, along with the desired situation. The differences between the two becomes the basis for a plan of action, so that everyone knows what he needs to do, in order to work towards the long-term goals.
In the coming blog entries, I plan to work out each of these aspects in greater detail so that schools without such a policy plan can learn to develop one of these on their own.
Important note: many schools already have a language policy plan which helps them work with children in multi-lingual environments. Schools around the world, for instance in Canada, Africa, south-east Asia, Australia, and even in the United States, have written excellent, useful plans based on years of experience. Therefore I cannot claim that the information I give will be new or innovative. I do hope, however, that it will be useful to schools who don’t yet have access to these policy plans, or who would like to try their hand at writing their own.