Dear Bennett - Ministry of Education English Reforms V
Dear Mr. Bennett,
It's Gaila Cohen Morrison from A.H.A.V.A. again. Last week I shared with you my amazing experience of multilingualism in Belgium. You say you want every child to know how to speak English. Well, from much experience, this is what needs to change:
First of all, make the classes smaller! Children don't get a chance to practice speaking in a class of 40 students. In many European countries that successfully produce multi linguists, the children study in groups of 10-15.
Smaller groups give the teacher a chance to focus on individual students. Successful language learning demands modeling – so they hear teacher speaking and get to practice it relatively immediately. The small groups allow opportunities to speak through games such as "go fish", "memory", etc. which simulate natural settings for successful language learning. Furthermore, it's easier for the students to listen and speak to others as they work on dialogues and short plays. Perhaps the smaller groups can be implemented by having a teacher and 2-3 students teachers or volunteers who can break the class down to smaller groups of children.
Another point, If parents, such as English speaking parents, wish to pay for extra classes – don't make it illegal! Even the students who are not gaining the extra lessons will gain a smaller class and learn better.
I'll be back next week with more ideas on how to make sure that every child in Israel can speak English.