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Designing a CPD course

online:
Spanish for Primary
teaching
Tita Beaven,
Department of Languages, The Open
University

April 2009
The challenge:
Our challenge in this CPD course was in designing
an online course to introduce primary school
practitioners to the Spanish language. This
involved:
• Designing a basic curriculum to introduce school
practitioners to basic Spanish vocabulary and
structures, but at the same time designing a
course that would also be relevant to their
classroom context
• Training participants in learning how to learn a
language
• Providing substantial interactive practice online
• Providing support for the course participants
Overall course content
All out CPD courses a 30-hours long, so in terms of
the language covered the aims of the course are
necessarily modest:

Overall course content

This short course gives you some basic


knowledge of Spanish as well as introducing
language and language learning activities
suitable for children at Key Stages 1 and 2. The
aim of the course is to enable Primary School
practitioners to introduce basic Spanish phrases
to their class and to engage children in simple –
but nevertheless lively and varied – interactions
in the target language.
(Extract from the introduction to the course)
Key content
This is an introductory course, but there is an
emphasis on pronunciation, vocabulary, and an
understanding of basic grammar, i.e. the building
blocks of the language.
The course also provides an insight into everyday
life in Spanish
What is thespeaking countries.
key content?

The core content of the course is the development


of your own linguistic skills. The activities are
designed to help you develop excellent
pronunciation, equip you with useful vocabulary
and phrases, and give you an understanding of
the fundamentals of Spanish grammar as well as
insights into aspects of culture and everyday life
in contemporary Spanish-speaking societies.
(Extract from the introduction to the course)
Language functions
covered
The language covered in the course enables
teachers to communicate in predictable everyday
situations in the target language:
Tema 1: En contacto is about greetings,
introductions and giving some personal
information.

Tema 2: Descripciones introduces you to language


to talk about places, objects and people.

Tema 3: Información enables you to find your way


around in Spanish-speaking countries.

Tema 4: Preferencias gives you the opportunity to


talk about your likes and dislikes.
Clear learning outcomes

The learning
outcomes are
clearly stated
at the start of
each new
topic.
Learning how to learn

Language learning
strategies are
introduced
throughout the
course, to ensure
the participants
think about how to
learn a language,
both for
themselves and
for the children
they will be
teaching.
Collaboration

The course
provides
students with a
number of
collaborative
tools such as a
forum, a course
blog and a wiki
so they can
engage with
others course
participants.
Learning support

Students also have


access to a Learning
adviser, an experience
distance teachers of
languages, who can
support students
individually via e-mail
or collectively through
the forum
Situate learning in relevant
contexts

The
introduction
to each
section
situates the
learning in
a context
that course
participants
can
understand
and relate
to.
Focus on pronunciation

It is essential
that
classroom
practitioners
are able to
offer the
children they
teach a good
enough model
when
speaking the
foreign
language, so
there is a lot
Focus on grammar

Rather than just


presenting language
for the course
participants to learn,
we feel it’s important
that they understand
the grammar, so that
they can generate
their own language. A
basic understanding
of how the language
works will also enable
teachers to teach the
language to the
children better.
Focus on listening
The course includes
regular listening
activities, that range
from listening for
gist to more
focussed listening.
In this example,
after listening to the
recording focussing
on the meaning,
course participants
listen again and
focus on the
language by
deciding if the
question is in the
formal or informal
mode of address.
Focus on speaking

In an online
course it is
very important
to give the
learner plenty
of opportunity
to speak.
Interactive
speaking
activities like
this one
simulate real
interaction by
providing a
prompt
students have
to respond to.
Interactive practice

Because it’s
an online
course that
learners study
mostly on
their own,
there are
regular
interactive
activities.
This helps
maintain
interest and
motivation in
the learner.
Relevance to the primary
context
In the design of the course it was important to
include examples of the language used in the
primary school context:

Throughout the course there are


activities labelled En la clase de
español (In the Spanish classroom).
Here you find examples of how to
teach the language you’ve just
learnt yourself. There may also be
additional linguistic content, which
is particularly relevant to Primary
Classroom language

Some of the
activities in this
section provide
learners with the
sort of
“classroom
language” they
can easily
transfer to their
own setting. This
listening activity,
for instance, is
about a teacher
Practical suggestions for the
classroom

The course also


includes practical
suggestions
about how to
present the
language to the
children in class.
Any questions?
For more information on the CPD courses:
http://www.open.ac.uk/cpd/index.php?q=node/104
For information on Spanish at the OU:
http://www.open.ac.uk/education-and-languages/course