English Horizons teacher’s book
Horizons has been specifically designed for Grade 7 in the National Curriculum. It has four aims: (1) to help the learners to develop such competencies as interpersonal communication, interpretative communication, presentational communication, and cross–cultural communication, (2) to contribute to reinforcing values pertaining to character, civility and citizenship, (3) to raise their consciousness as to global issues‘ and (4) to give them a feeling of success and achievement in language learning.
The competency–based approach to language teaching
Horizons uses a competency–based approach to language teaching. It focuses on the competencies that are required in (i) interpersonal interactions, such as using greetings,
farewells, and expressions of courtesy giving personal information (ii) interpretative situations such as demonstrating understanding of spoken and written words in a variety of texts (e.g., rhymes), (iii) presentational situations such as naming people, places and things using simple words, phrases and formulas, and (iv) cross–cultural communication; that is, comparing their language( s) and culture(s) with other languages and cultures. It is hoped that Horizons will reflect the view that sees culture as being a way of looking at the world and that no culture is superior to another. The principles underlying the methodology that Horizons adopts are as follows:
- Language learning is holistic in nature;
- Language acquisition is fostered by engaging in real
tasks(e.g., projects, surveys, etc.);
- Learners need an acquisition–rich environment in
which they receive comprehensible input‘ (clear
messages) in low–anxiety situations.
This communicative methodology is manifested through listening, speaking, reading and writing activities whereby the students apply competencies in a variety of modes and in meaningful and realistic situations. Throughout Horizons, the learners have the opportunity to put language to immediate use in both speaking and writing.
The gains of adopting a competency–based approach to language learning are worthwhile in themselves. Horizons views the classroom as being a real world context, where language in use is to be prioritized and banks on the students transferring competencies they
acquire in the classroom to the world outside.
Organisation of the Student’s Book
The Student’s Book consists of 14 units. Each unit centers on a set of competencies. The topics and subtopics, language functions, grammatical structures and vocabulary areas are all a means to an end; that is, competencies development (see Map of the Book). One of the distinguishing features of each unit is that it integrates the four skills. The high priority given to both listening and speaking is pedagogically justified at this stage. Every two units are followed by a review, the aim of which is to give the students further practice in language, skills, and strategies.
The aim of the listening component is to train the students to extract both the gist and specific information from spoken texts. Great care has been taken to adjust the language to the students’ linguistic ability. Spoken texts are also used to give the students practice in pronunciation, stress and intonation.
The aim of the speaking component is to train the students for ‘real–life’ communication. The speaking activities incorporated in Horizons are all fluency based. Reading The reading component aims to help the students develop skills and strategies that will enable them to
extract the message of the written text.
The purpose of the writing component is to train the students at this stage to write simple texts following a model. The projects give them further practice in writing. However, it is left up to the teacher to apply process writing and to set more demanding written assignments
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