Monday, 26 November 2012


This document lays out the English language curriculum for Year 1, 2 and 3. The curriculum content is organised in terms of Content Standards and Learning Standards.
Content Standards specify the essential knowledge, skills, understandings and strategies that pupils need to learn. Learning Standards describe in detail the degree or quality of proficiency that pupils need to display in relation to the Content Standards for a particular year.
In the initial stages of learning English, pupils will have the opportunity to listen to meaningful English input, in the form of stories or oral descriptions by teachers based on graphic texts. Through listening, pupils will become familiar with words that will be introduced in their early reading and writing lessons. The emphasis in the initial stages will be on vocabulary acquisition.

By the end of Year 2, the component on listening and speaking aims at developing pupils’ ability to listen and respond to stimulus with guidance, participate in daily conversations, listen and demonstrate understanding of texts, talk about stories heard; and listen and follow simple instructions. The learning standards for listening and speaking range from the discrete sound, word and phrase recognition to an understanding of chunks of heard texts. Listening and speaking are seen as core skills of early literacy. Pupils should be taught how to listen carefully as well as feel encouraged to speak from the basic level of sound, word, phrase and move on to structural sentences in various situational contexts. At every stage, the stress, rhythm and intonation patterns need to be used correctly. In addition, pupils are also encouraged to recognise, understand and use verbal and non-verbal communication. Oral communication practice by means of repeating, responding, understanding and applying what pupils have heard sensitises their senses to be ready for communication.
Relationships are established through the ability to communicate by listening first, then speaking thoughts, ideas and feelings. It is hoped by the end of primary school, pupils would become confident speakers who can communicate clearly, appropriately and coherently in any given context. Pupils need to listen carefully and respond to what others say and think about the needs of their listeners. Social conventions in listening and speaking such as turn taking, politeness and courtesy need to be observed. These are crucial especially in group discussions where viewpoints and opinions are exchanged. The use of various text types is recommended; ranging from teacher-simulated texts to media broadcasts and authentic dialogues.

The Year 1 and 2 learning standards for reading addresses basic literacy using the strategies of phonics and moves on to enable pupils to become independent readers. In the beginning, pupils’ phonemic awareness will be developed by means of phonics. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate the individual sounds in spoken words. This ability to recognise letter sounds is an essential and useful early reading skill. Pupils should be made aware of the relationship between phonemes (the sounds of spoken language) and graphemes (the letters and spelling that represent those sounds in written language). The ability to recognise letter sounds is further developed by blending individual sounds to build words. After pupils have begun to read words, this ability is furtherhoned by reading rhyming phrases. In order to spell, pupils are taught segmenting, in which pupils segment or break the word into individual sounds.
As pupils begin to read words, phrases and then move on to simple sentences, their reading skills should be supported by appropriate reading materials which will further develop their reading ability. This further enables them to increase the pace of their reading, and equally, enable them to comprehend a text more effectively and efficiently. However, in a second language context, it is appropriate for teachers to begin phonics instruction by first letting pupils listen to rich language input in English. The guiding principle in using phonics to teach reading is for pupils to enjoy the activities selected. Hence the use of songs, rhymes, poems, stories and pictures to make phonics instruction more enjoyable is encouraged.
Teachers are encouraged to gauge the literacy level of their pupils in Year One, if pupils are able to read well, teachers will not have to deal with the phonemes individually. Teachers can then develop challenging language activities and games which will hone their vocabulary development. If pupils have difficulty articulating particular phonemes then teachers will have to deal with problematic phonemes individually although pupils may be reading well.

The learning standards for writing begin with pre-writing skills, which addresses penmanship, the formation of letters, words as well as numbers in clear print. Specific learning standards are attributed to penmanship so that even from a young age, pupils are taught good writing habits. Special attention should be given in order to strengthen the muscles of the hand, develop visual skills, enhance gross and fine motor skills as well as develop hand-eye coordination to help pupils acquire penmanship. Correct formation of letters of the alphabet is important in order to help pupils write neatly and later write words, phrases and sentences legibly. By the end of Year 2, pupils will master the mechanics of writing and then learn to write at word, phrase and sentence levels. Specific writing activities devised during lessons will enable pupils to begin writing for a purpose as stipulated in the learning standards.

The standards for language arts in Year 1 and 2 will explore the power of story, rhyme and song to activate pupils’ imagination and interest, thus encouraging them to use English language widely. This component will ensure that they benefit from hearing and using language from fictional as well as non-fictional sources. Through fun-filled and meaningful activities in this component, pupils will gain rich and invaluable experiences in using the English language. When taught well, pupils will take pride in their success. They will also benefit strongly from consistent praise for effort and achievement by the teachers with the aim of making their learning as rewarding as possible. Pupils will also be encouraged to plan, prepare and produce simple creative works. In addition, the Language Arts module also provides pupils an opportunity to integrate, experiment and apply what they have learnt in the other modules in fun-filled, activity-based and meaningful experiences.

The learning of grammar is deferred to Year 3. In Year 1 and 2, the emphasis is on developing pupils’ understanding of grammar in their first language and this understanding may then be exploited in Year 3 onwards when English grammar is learnt.

The list of words selected for teaching is based on common words and high frequency words that can be used repetitively in different contexts. The suggested word list can be expanded upon if pupils demonstrate an ability to acquire more words.

The Educational Emphases reflect current developments in education. These emphases are infused and woven into classroom lessons to prepare pupils for the challenges of the real world. In this respect, Moral Education, Citizenship Education, Patriotism, Thinking Skills, Mastery Learning, Information and Communication Technology Skills, Multiple Intelligences, Constructivism, Contextual Learning, Learning How to Learn Skills, Creativity and Entrepreneurship are incorporated where appropriate and relevant in lessons. The educational emphases included are explained briefly below:

-Thinking Skills
Critical and creative thinking skills are incorporated in the learning standards to enable pupils to solve simple problems, make decisions, and express themselves creatively in simple language.

-Mastery Learning
Mastery Learning will ensure that all pupils master the learning standards stipulated in the Standard Based Curriculum. Mastery Learning requires quality teaching and learning in the classroom and teachers need to ensure that pupils master a learning standard before proceeding to the next learning standard.

-Information and Communication Technology Skills (ICT)
Information and Communication Technology Skills (ICT) include the use of multimedia resources such as TV documentaries and the Internet as well as the use of computer-related activities such as e-mail activities, networking and interacting with electronic courseware.

-Multiple Intelligences
The theory of Multiple Intelligences encompasses eight different intelligences human beings possess. These intelligences are essential in order to maximise teaching and learning in the classroom. For example, interpersonal intelligence is reflected when pupils are taught the polite forms of language expression so as not to offend the people they communicate with. In getting pupils to role-play or dramatise sections of a text, their kinaesthetic intelligence is nurtured. When pupils sing songs, recite poems and chant jazz chants either individually or in chorus, their musical intelligence is developed.

Constructivism will enable pupils to build new knowledge and concepts based on existing knowledge or schema that they have. The teacher assists pupils to acquire new knowledge and solve problems through pupil-centred active learning.

-Contextual Learning
Contextual Learning is an approach to learning which connects the contents being learnt to the pupils’ daily lives, the community around them and the working world. Learning takes place when pupils are able to relate the new knowledge acquired in a meaningful manner in their lives.

-Learning How to Learn Skills
Learning How to Learn Skills are integrated in the learning standards and aim to enable pupils to take responsibility for their own learning. These skills incorporate study skills and information skills to equip them to become independent life-long learners.

-Values and Citizenship
The values contained in the Standard Based Curriculum for Moral is incorporated into the English language lessons. Elements of patriotism and citizenship is also emphasised in lessons in order to cultivate a love for the nation and produce patriotic citizens.

-Knowledge Acquisition
In teaching the language, content is drawn from subject disciplines such as science, geography, and environmental studies. Content is also drawn from daily news items as well as current affairs.

-Creativity and Innovation
Creativity is the ability to produce something new in an imaginative and fun-filled way. Pupils in Year 1 and 2 will display interest, confidence and self-esteem through performance and producing simple creative works. Innovation is the process of generating ideas and utilising these creative ideas in relevant contexts.

Fostering entrepreneurial mindset among pupils at their young age is essential in this new world. Some of the elements that are linked with entrepreneurship are creativity, innovation and initiative, which are also attributes for personal fulfilment and success. In Year 1 and 2, elements of entrepreneurship are incorporated in lessons through activities.

In standard-based units of study, pupils’ products and performance are assessed by criteria that are directly linked to the content and learning standards. Multiple sources of evidence like checklists, observations, presentations, quizzes and tests are used to document the attainment of any one standard. Through this process, teachers will build a profile of pupils’ language development and assess them individually. Pupils’ competence in the language is assessed by a combination of formative and summative assessment methods.

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