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Principles


Principles Underlying Language Learning

The following principles underlie language learning.

Language learning is facilitated when pupils:
have developed literacy skills in their first language
have maximum exposure to the target language and opportunities for using it
are motivated and are willing to invest the effort and persistence needed for foreign language learning
develop a positive self-image in the target language
develop confidence in their ability to use the target language
build on their prior language and world knowledge
have opportunities to learn by doing
use language as a means for gaining information in other areas
are conscious of how they learn and how they can constantly develop better ways of learning the language
are aware of the learning objectives
use learning strategies effectively
take responsibility for their own language learvning
analyze and reflect on their learning
interact, share information, exchange ideas and opinions and work together
have opportunities for problem solving in the target language
have the opportunity to choose texts and tasks according to individual preferences
are encouraged to experiment with their growing control of the language and are not afraid to make errors
feel challenged within the range of their possible performance
feel that they are making progress
can see the usefulness of what they are learning
have opportunities to develop independent reading habits
have opportunities to use the target language outside the classroom
are motivated to continue finding out about people, cultures, music and literature related to the target language

Principles Underlying Language Teaching

The following are principles of language teaching, in light of the guidelines presented for language learning.

Language teaching is more effective when teachers:
create a language-rich environment, one that provides pupils with ample opportunities to encounter a variety of verbal and visual stimuli and use the language in different contexts and registers
encourage the development of a positive self-image by providing success-oriented tasks and positive feedback
create a supportive environment, one that allows pupils to take risks, to make errors and experiment with the language
activate and build on pupils' background knowledge
take pupils' level of cognitive and linguistic development into account
are aware of and sensitive to pupils' diversity and cater to it
encourage pupil autonomy
help pupils become aware of using appropriate learning strategies
allow pupils to find out what they know or do not know by themselves
create problem-solving contexts
provide feedback that is on-going and formative
provide opportunities for peer interaction
incorporate task-based activities
allow pupils to make choices
encourage pupils to use English outside the classroom
stimulate pupils to broaden their horizons through the use of English

Principles Underlying the Choice of Materials

Teaching materials are any resources (traditional, electronic or digital) used for language learning and teaching purposes, including coursebooks, newspapers, recordings and videos. The following principles underlie the selection of materials.

Materials selected:
are appropriate to pupils' interests, experiences and knowledge
provide opportunities for meaningful communication
enrich pupils' general knowledge
expand pupils' world knowledge by exposing them to relevant and current events
are compatible with pupils' level of proficiency
serve as resources for projects
stimulate pupils to seek further information
are presented in a variety of text types and media and are used for different purposes
provide opportunities for contextual language use and practice

Principles Underlying the Choice of Content

The following principles underlie the selection of the content of materials.

The content of materials:
is unbiased, unprejudiced, inoffensive and non-stereotypical
caters to the variety of backgrounds - religious, cultural and ethnic - and varying interests of Israeli pupils
stimulates pupils' interest in extensive reading, in the pleasures of literature and in out-of-class usefulness of English

Principles Underlying the Choice of Tasks

The following principles underlie the designing of tasks.

Tasks:
are transparent to the pupils in terms of goals and process
focus on both the on-going process and on the product
link to pupils' prior experience
include opportunities for peer interaction, such as pair and group work
generate a variety of outcomes
encourage divergent thinking
encourage multiple modes of expression
encourage problem-solving and critical thinking skills, such as analyzing, comparing, generalizing, predicting and hypothesizing at all levels of language learning development
provide pupils with opportunities for reflection, self-evaluation and peer assessment
encourage pupils to use English as a means for gaining information in other subject areas
broaden pupils' horizons and motivate them to continue finding out about people, cultures, music and literature connected through English
give real-world opportunities (or simulations) to apply or adapt new knowledge
combine focus on form with meaningful content

Principles Underlying Classroom Assessment

Assessment is viewed as an integral part of the teaching-learning process. It involves collecting evidence of learning over a period of time, using a variety of assessment methods. The goals of assessment are to provide feedback on both the on-going progress and the end-product in achieving the standards. Formative (on-going) and summative (end-product) assessment are carried out using both traditional tests and alternative methods of assessment. Since both traditional and alternative methods of assessment each have their own respective advantages, they are used as complementary components in the assessment process.

The focus of assessment is on pupils' ability to apply their skills and knowledge of English to meaningful situations. The following are principles underlying classroom assessment, divided into four categories: formative and summative assessment; alternatives in assessment;
assessment requirements and criteria; and the role of pupils.

Formative and Summative Assessment
Assessment focuses on both the on-going process and on the product.
Assessment allows for different levels of progress in pupils' language development.
Assessing attainment of the standards is carried out by collecting and recording information in a variety of ways.

Alternatives in Assessment
Multiple methods of assessment are applied in measuring language ability.
Feedback is based on a collection of evidence from a variety of sources.
Group processes and products are included in classroom assessment.
Assessment should include tasks, such as thematic projects, that promote pupils' involvement and reflection on learning and require pupils to use a variety of learning strategies and resources.

Assessment Requirements and Criteria
A wide range of opportunities for assessment is necessary.
Pupils are assessed at various stages of the learning process.
Criteria for assessment represent all areas of language ability.
The type of task and content of task to be assessed should be made clear to pupils.
Criteria for assessment are known to pupils prior to the assessment.
Criteria for assessment can be negotiated between pupils and teacher.

The Role of the Pupils
Pupils take an active part in the process of assessment.
Pupils learn how to set their own goals and assess their progress.
Pupils are given ample time to think about and revise work to be assessed.
There are opportunities for peer and self-assessment.