CHAPTER VI

SOURCES OF CURRICULUM MATERIALS AND

THEIR GRADE PLACEMENT

 

I. Preliminary Remarks

By sources of curriculum materials is meant storehouses to which the teacher goes from time to time for useful materials so that he can make his teaching as effective as possible and can best fulfill the established aims of a particular curriculum. In this chapter we are especially concerned with the sources of materials for the English curriculum and their grade placement.

Before we enter into full discussion of the subject, one misconception must be removed from the minds of many English teachers of this country. This is the misconception that the so-called gReaderh or school textbook is the only source of English curriculum materials. While a liberal use is now being made in the social studies of non-textbook sources of teaching materials such as maps, diagrams, charts, pictures, lantern slides, and motion pictures, little or no use is made of such sources in the English language curriculum. This situation arises from a lack of clear understanding of the aims of the English language curriculum, from a failure to realize that there ought to be great diversity in teaching methods if the interest of pupils is to be aroused and remain constant, and from a lack of understanding that because of individual differences among pupils a variety of experiences must be provided.

The manifold aims of the English curriculum as a foreign language curriculum demand at this time that the students should be trained in the four major language arts of hearing, speaking, reading, and writing until they can use English as an effective means of international understanding and communication and that they should be introduced through English to the English-speaking nations, their people, their life lands, and achievements (manners and customs, literature, social institutions, etc.).

In order to fulfill those aims effectively, the teacher must seek and exploit far wider and richer sources of curriculum materials than the school textbook. In identifying English words, for instance, with what they actually represent, much liberal use should be made of pictures, models, charts, diagrams, maps, and other non-textbook materials, which too often are absent from the English class in Japan. In acquainting the pupils with the life of the English- speaking peoples, slides and motion pictures should be freely brought into use. In teaching a poem, the teacher would do well to take advantage of a phonograph version of the poem spoken by a competent speaker. If the theme is American Cities, he might take his students on a map tour of the cities by means of maps, pictures, slides, etc. These are but a few cases where non-textbook materials should play an important role.

Although an abundance of curriculum materials is desirable, they should not: be selected indiscriminately. Having and using a great volume and variety of materials is in itself of no consequence, unless the materials selected and used actually result in growth and development of the pupils and help them accomplish the aims of the curriculum. The materials should be such that they will motivate pupil interest in the subject. They should be used at the appropriate grade levels, and at the appropriate time.

Curriculum materials may be said, in general, to be of two types: (1) those for the use of teachers and (2) those for the use of students. If a teacher reads only the textbook in preparation for a class, he will find that his sources of ideas, examples, and illustrations are few, and his pupils will find the work uninteresting.

There are, we must admit, various difficulties, financial and technical, under the circumstances, which are a stumbling to a more liberal use of non-textbook materials, and much of what is to be discussed in this chapter may sound Utopian. But this should not mean that the Japanese teachers of English must confine themselves to the textbook alone for materials and shut their eyes to more useful and effective tools of language teaching. If certain curriculum materials are lacking, one of the most fruitful activities a class can undertake is to work toward bringing them into existence. One of these, for example, might be the drawing of wall charts and maps, while another might be the gradual building up of a library. A great deal can be learned through such activities if they are made meaningful and planned as activities specially designed to help achieve the aims of teaching. Any idea that a course must inevitably suffer because of a present lack of teaching materials in the school is both unsound and untenable. Earnest teachers will not let the present lack of materials become a permanent situation. The misconception that the school text is the only source of curriculum materials should no longer stay in the mind of any teacher.

 

II. Sources of Written Materials

The main sources of written materials are: (1) textbooks, (2) workbooks or guides, (3) side readings, (4) general reading materials, (5) periodicals, (6) pamphlets and bulletins, and (7) reference books.

1. Textbooks

While the textbook should not be considered the only source of curriculum materials, it none the less occupies an important place in the curriculum. In teaching a foreign language there is no substitute for a carefully planned, well-written textbook, edited to the best interests of both teacher and student, and containing carefully graded materials suitable to the grade level for which they are written. The textbook, however, has its limitations, of which for example, space limitation is one. It is difficult under the circumstances for a textbook to have enough space for reading materials, illustrations, and exercises. Any textbook containing enough materials for a year's work would have to be quite voluminous. The greatest limitation of the textbook, perhaps, lies in the fact that it is not edited to meet the particular needs of a particular community, school, or class; it is edited in accordance with the general standards of textbook compilation, by an author or publisher who usually desires national circulation and therefore attempts to meet as many common, general needs as he can.

Textbooks serve the valuable purpose of helping the teacher and the class organize their work. If the textbook is good it provides a sequential outline which may, in general, be followed, with materials from outside the textbook fitted into their proper place in the sequence. The textbook presents basic materials which may not be available from any other source. Especially in the English language course it makes available for ready use a considerable number of drill exercises and applications which the teacher may not readily find elsewhere or is unable to devise. The use of the textbook as the center of a foreign language course, of perhaps one might say its core, is educationally sound. There is no fault in having and using textbooks, for it is likely that they will always have an important part to play in secondary education. The fault lies in the way teachers use them-simply adopting a textbook, making it the entire course, teaching from it page by page throughout the year, and never introducing fresh, interesting, and up-to-date materials from outside. However, no matter how good a textbook is, there always is the necessity of supplementing it from the many available sources of curriculum materials.

Often it is a good idea not to have simply one textbook, but sets of supplementary textbooks. This may not be possible at the present time, because of the shortage of paper, but it would be a good thing if, id addition to each pupilfs having his own copy of the standard adopted textbook, the classroom library contained perhaps ten or twelve copies each of a number of texts of the same grade level and lower and higher grade levels. In the field of English this would give the pupils and teacher a wide selection of stories, poems, and other materials a greater selection and variety of drill exercises, advanced materials for accelerated pupils, and suitable materials for retarded pupils.

Because the central standard textbook which is adopted for a course is of great importance, extreme care should be exercised in its selection. All teachers should be familiar with the standards with which textbooks are compiled and approved, and with good standards of selection. A suggested list of standards for selection is given in Appendix III.

2. Workbooks or Guides

In the English class in this country too much is taught about English; before the student can barely say the line gI am (so and so)h properly, he is told that eso and sof is the Nominative Complement to the Verb am. English, before it can be anything else, is a means of communication, and must be taught as such. In teaching English as a means of communication (English as speech), not as a mass of hard and fast rules of grammar (English as code), the teacher must give his students a series of systematic and well- graded exercises in the four aspects of language arts of hearing, speaking, reading, and writing. It would be ideal if the teacher organized exercises himself based upon the material he is using and according to the special needs of his students; and this should be encourage. At the same time, authors of textbooks should be encouraged to work out series of useful exercises with careful lesson directions based upon the texts and have them published in the form of workbooks or guidebooks or companions, since each author knows best those things requiring extensive drill by students in the lesson units of his book. This will save the teacher much time and energy and give the student a definite and clear understanding of the lesson he is preparing or is reviewing. In the upper grades, where the student is more concerned about comprehension, interpretation, appreciation, vocabulary study, etc., the workbook or the guide is all the more useful. By the help of a workbook or a guide, the student can see clearly the points needing emphasis in the lesson he is preparing, and after the lesson he can test how well he has understood the lesson he has just gone through.

A great deal of English language teaching involves meaningful drill. Perhaps the most important function that the workbook can perform is to furnish a great volume and variety of interesting and meaningful drill exercises.

3. Side Readings

It usually happens that there are several students in the class who show special talent for language, especially for reading. There is no reason why such students should stay at the average level of the class; they should be advised to do side readings according to the level of their reading ability. Or it sometimes happens that the whole class attains a higher level than that of the textbook in use. In this case, too, the teacher should give the class some suitable side readings either for use in the class or for home reading with some definite assignments. Again it may happen that the class finishes the textbook far ahead of schedule. The common practice is to go over the textbook again, but his can be very monotonous and students may lose interest. Of course, it is all right to review the textbook, since review is an essential part of the learning process, but new and fresh materials should be introduced if at all possible. For slow students, reading materials below the average level of the class can be provided. And for the average student, as well as all others, the introduction of new and fresh stories, poems, and other materials from time to time can keep interest alive, whereas endless repetition of textbook stories and poems can become very monotonous and dull.

In all these cases and many others similar to these, the teacher will be greatly helped if he has a wide knowledge of the sources of readings. Every secondary school needs a school library, and every English language classroom needs a classroom library. The classroom library may consist of a shelf, with one or more reading tables and a number of chairs, at the back of the room. The shelf may contain sets of supplementary textbooks, both at the same grade level and at grade levels below and above it. There may be a file of English language newspapers printed especially for English language newspapers printed especially for English language classes, pamphlets, illustrated materials in English, and well-illustrated books of stories, poems, and other materials.

4. General Reading Materials

Secondary school pupils study a great variety of subjects, including history, geography, chemistry, physics, social sciences, etc. gWhy should they not study some of these subjects in English as well as in Japanese?h queries the editorial of the Bulletin of the Institute for Research in English Teaching for July-August 1941. It adds, gThe advantages (of studying these subjects in English) would be numerous. Pupils would receive a good preparation for the advanced work that will follow when they enter college or university and are required to read scientific books in a foreign language. They would, during the secondary school course, take more interest in their English reading, because it deals with subjects that are of immediate importance to them. Æsop, Hans Andersen, and Grimm, and even retold tales of Lamb, Hawthorne are very well adapted for children in grades 1 to 6 or the 7th and 8th grades, but to force such children reading materials on older pupils, merely because their linguistic ability in the foreign language is still slight, is a mistake."

Japanese boys and girls, with the exception of some special cases, start learning English in the 7th grade. They are no more children; they have entered or are in, adolescence, and they are rapidly developing different interests from those they had as children. If we give them childish readings all the time, merely because their ability in English is slight, they will soon lose interest in English. Here readings on general knowledge are a great remedy. However, it should not be assumed that they are adults, and have adult interests. They are likely to be interested in reading about the same sort of things they like to read about in the Japanese language. The materials should deal with concepts of the 7th grade level, written in a beginners' English vocabulary.

To finish the pupils with readings on general knowledge may seem to be a digression from the English curriculum, or rather it is a digression according to the conventional interpretation of the nature of a curriculum. But modern educational principles demand that the pupil experiences in the various subjects of the school curriculum should be thoroughly coordinated, to make integration less difficult for the pupil. In the light of the new education, gdigression g should not be deplored; but, paradoxical as it may sound, it should be encouraged in so far as it is not a digression from the aims of education in general and those of the English language curriculum in particular. There are no materials in English which are naturally a part of the English language curriculum. There has been a tendency to think that all of the materials used should be from literature, but it is difficult to defend such a viewpoint.

Sources of reading materials on general knowledge, however, have not been sufficiently explored so far, emphasis having always been on fairy tales or extreme ghighbrowh literary readings. At present, therefore, there are but few books in the field of general knowledge suitable for use in secondary school classes, though it is highly desirable to furnish upper-grade students with some materials on general knowledge (preferably written with a limited, carefully-graded vocabulary) for class use, for home assignment, or for special curricular readings. At least one solution, under the circumstances, seems possible; that is to make a collection of books on general knowledge by picking up American or British elementary or secondary school textbooks on history, chemistry, physics, etc. from among books presented to your school through American or British sources. gThat will make a rich source of curriculum materials on general knowledge.

There are available in America and England hundreds of small, well-illustrated books or pamphlets in simple English, in tended for use by children or pupils of various ages in or out of school. In the shops in America one can select from the shelves booklets on transportation, communication, government, life of people in other lands, farming, the cotton and many other industries, travel stories, and a great variety of other materials for nominal prices. Similar materials in English ought to be available here in great quantities. One important project for English teachers or authors of English textbooks is to develop good but cheap (in price) materials a host of subjects which can be purchased by schools or individual pupils to enrich their teaching and learning.

It must be added that students usually show greater interest in readings on general knowledge than in highly literary readings, especially at this time when the social sciences are given special prominence in secondary education. There is room in the English language program both for materials in the field of genera knowledge and those in the literary field. One reason pupils have often not shown much interest in literary readings is that the grade placement of materials is frequently erroneous. Some teachers base their teaching upon the outmoded concept that pupils learn more if the materials they study are difficult. There is no psychological or educational basis for assigning difficult materials. Selections from Miltonfs Paradise Lost sometimes are assigned to the upper secondary school, a selection which is far above the vocabulary level and level of understanding of all but a very few 12th graders. More attention should be paid to the grade placement of materials, both in the textbooks and in supplementary materials in the field of general knowledge.

5. Periodicals

One of the general aims of education demands that the pupil should be trained to be a good citizen, and a good citizen must be well-informed. In this complicated, world, a man could hardly afford to shut his eyes and ears to daily happenings and their significance. He would go wrong in his judgment. He could not be free from prejudice. He would become narrow-minded. But a man could hardly be called a good citizen, if his judgment were not fair, if his opinion were prejudiced, if his views were narrow. It may be said that the whole system of democratic government depends to a great degree upon an informed citizenry.

Since information on current affairs and problems, from murder to astronomy, is chiefly carried in periodicals, daily, weekly, and monthly, it is necessary, in educating the pupils to be well-informed citizens, to teach them to read periodicals. To teach the students how to read Japanese periodicals may be primarily the concern of the social studies and national language teachers, although all teachers of all subjects ought to use periodicals in their work; to teach them how to read English periodicals, through which foreign affairs can be better approached, must be the concern of the English curriculum. Through English periodicals, the teacher can teach (1) everyday English, which is live and vivid, and (2) how to approach the study of foreign affairs.

Through English periodicals, moreover, the teacher can introduce his students to the study ad application of English and American journalism. Journalism as an art of communication gives us many hints and expressions in written English. It teaches us how to turn a dull and difficult subject into an interesting and readable story. It teaches us how to attack a current problem. Thus journalism, if wisely studied, would greatly help pupils express themselves in written English.

The English periodical, with its merits enumerated above, constitutes another important source of regular and special curricular materials (e.g., the pupilsf school journal) and here again the teacher would do well to have a good knowledge of the important and useful source of curriculum materials.

There are some periodicals in English which are published specifically for the use of pupils at various grade levels. Some of these are highly useful.

It is suggested that the school regularly subscribe to a number of periodicals in English including both newspapers and magazines. These should be kept on a table or in a table or in a file near a table in the greading cornerh of the classroom. If some periodical published in English specially for a certain age-level of pupils is considered suitable for regular use, then the pupils might subscribe for it themselves, each pupil providing his own copy for classroom use.

6. Pamphlets and Bulletins

In America there are available for school use thousands of bulletins and pamphlets on a vast variety of subjects, printed by government agencies, railway companies, steamship companies, aviation concerns and advertisers in every field of work. Much of this material serves an educational purpose; even much of the advertising is educational in nature. It is easy for a school, even without much money, to amass a collection of a few thousand bulletins and pamphlets at a nominal cost and file and classify them for ready use.

No such profusion of bulletins or pamphlets is found in our country, not even in Japanese, much less in English. Whatever are available and suitable should be used. One series of pamphlets that comes to mind is the series of fifty or so guidebooks in English published by the Japan Travel Bureau. These are meant primarily for foreigners touring Japan, but the level of English used is such that they ought to be of considerable use to upper secondary school students, both as a means of learning English and at the same time of increasing their knowledge of their own country.

7. Reference Books

By reference books we mean that class of books which consists of dictionaries, encyclopedias, yearbooks, atlases, etc. to which we occasionally refer for linguistic information or for facts and figures. Efficiency in English teaching will be greatly increased if these reference books we wisely brought into use.

Among them, the one that has the most important and direct bearing on the English language curriculum, as a foreign language curriculum, is the dictionary. A good dictionary, together with a good dictionary habit, would lead the students, after the first stage of linguistic training, to that important phase of language learning, the pleasure of reading in a foreign tongue by oneself. Once the students are successfully launched on this new venture, the teacher will certainly find his later work much easier, for the simple reason that they now begin to learn the language by themselves; they are motivated to do so by the pleasure they get from reading.

After the first one or two years of fundamental training in English, the use of an English-English dictionary should be encouraged. Through a bi-lingual dictionary (i. e., English-Japanese dictionary) wrong notions of meanings are often gotten by the pupils. A great deal of incorrect, or often comical, use of words and phrases in the pupil's English speaking and writing is due to misidentification as a consequence of using a bi-lingual dictionary. Bi-lingual dictionaries, moreover, can hardly help the pupil in getting at shades of meaning, nor can they help him much in approaching the genius of the language. Translation and equivalents in a bi-lingual dictionary may serve as memoria technica, but they cannot be fully trusted if a thorough study of the language is to be attempted. The pupils should be directed, so far as possible, to a good English-English dictionary.

It is characteristic of a good dictionary to have sentences showing how words are actually used. A dictionary which gives nothing but near-synonyms (for there are no pure synonyms) neither gives a satisfactory idea of the meaning of a word nor how it is used by English-speaking people, because it is only by being put in a context that the meanings of words come to life. It is also through such illustrations that appropriate or concrete constructions are gathered.

The place of such reference books as encyclopedias, yearbooks, atlases, etc. is clear. For the dates of the birth and death of Lincoln, for instance, we go to an encyclopedia. For contemporary names, we go to a Whofs Who. For the number of electoral votes for President Truman in the 1948 election, we go to a yearbook or an almanac. For the location of Lake Sucoess, N.Y., we go to an atlas. For information on Niagara Falls, we go to Baedekerfs travel guide or some other sources of reference. In language teaching, linguistic information alone will not do; the teacher should also have access to wide sources of information to make his teaching as interesting and effective as possible, and after pupils have attained a certain degree of proficiency in reading, reference books will be quite useful to them.

III. Audio-Visual Aids as Curriculum Materials

The principal kinds of audio-visual aids which are useful in language teaching are (1) objects, (2) models, (3) flat pictures and illustrations, (4) maps, charts, and graphs, (s) phonograph records, (6) recording equipment, (7) radio programs, (8) motion pictures, (9) slides and film strips, (10) opaque projector, (11) equipment for dramatic production, (12) various institutions, agencies, and establishments in the community, classified as community resources, and (13)other audio-visual aids.

1. Objects

In identifying a new word with the object it represents, the best way, especially with young people, is to actually show the object or point to it. The student learns the word by actually seeing the object. Many of the words used in the initial stages of English teaching are names of objects, and the teacher should whenever possible identify these words by showing, touching, or pointing to the objects. To give Japanese translations or equivalents without showing the objects is hardly half as effective. The teacher should try to procure as many objects as possible for use in the class, and compile a list of such objects.

Gradually the teacher should attempt to build up a considerable collection of objects. These can be stored, for permanent use, in a convenient storage place in the classroom. Every classroom ought to have built-in storage places, perhaps located under the windows.

There are many objects which may be pointed out during a planned field trip or excursion, which cannot be brought into the classroom for use.

2. Models

It is not always easy to procure actual objects because of their size and weight, and often because objects given in the text are not found in this country. In such cases, models are the second best thing. It is usually possible to have the pupils make a model after the picture or plan in an encyclopedia or other sources of reference. The students would find delight, for instance, in making a model of a typical Western-type house, with which, when completed, the teacher can teach many valuable things, from the door-bell to how to visit an American or British home.

Unless pupils actually see an object or at least a model of it, it is often very difficult for them to visualize it in their minds and in many cases they get a totally incorrect impression. For example, a teacher may talk a great deal, in the upper secondary school, about the sort of stage or theater in which Shakespearefs plays were initially presented, and students may read a great deal about it without ever getting a clear concept of how the theater actually looked. From pictures, however, they might be able to make a model of a Shakespearian theater. There is a tendency to think that models are all right for elementary grades but too childish for the secondary school grades. However, the rule that the names of unfamiliar objects are likely to remain meaningless and only names until the object or good representation of it is seen holds true throughout the secondary level, and for that matter throughout life.

3. Flat Pictures and Illustrations

There are cases where objects or models are difficult to procure. In such cases, pictures, illustrations, and diagrams should be the teacher's next choice. gFor hundreds, perhaps thousands of nouns, the use of illustrations and diagrams is probably preferableh, says the editorial of the bulletin of the Institute for Research in English Teaching for July-August 1939, gchiefly because definition in simple words of the kind likely to be known to a beginner is difficult or impossible, and also because the use of such illustrations and diagrams helps in the formation of that direct linking or fusion-no word in the native language intervening-that is important, if these new words are to be learnt in the right way.h

The editorial, however, warns: gThere are immense possibilities in illustration for language learning. The majority of the Readers published in this country are well provided with pictures-often with beautiful colored plates. In too many cases, however, the illustrations have been chosen to make the book attractive rather than because they are informative and useful from the linguistic point of view.h The warning is primarily meant for textbook editors, but it also gives useful hints on the types of pictures that are suitable for class use.

The teacher should know where he can find useful pictures. As in the case of models, he can get his students to draw pictures for use in the class. Artists are always found in any class. If artists are not available in a certain class, the teacher can cooperate with the art teacher, who knows of talented pupils in other classes.

It is suggested that each school ought to build up a collection of flat pictures, mounted on card board. These pictures can be secured from magazines, newspapers, and other sources. These can include pictures of common objects, buildings, persons, animals, plants, foods, and a host of other subjects. As the pictures are collected, they should be classified under topics for ready reference, be indexed and filed. Ideally these should be kept in the school library, available for the use of all classes. When the teacher of English has need for pictures, he can check the files under the topics that seem most suggestive of the sort of pictures needed. Over a period of a year or so, a school can build up a considerable collection of pictures, and over a period of several years a very large collection. If these pictures are kept in the library, the teacher-librarian should send to each teacher a list of the topics under which pictures are filed. If for some reason this is not attempted as a school-wide library project, each English teacher can begin to build up such a collection. The National Geographic Magazine, for example, is a very valuable source of pictures.

Another source of pictures for use in class is for the pupils and teachers to take snapshots on field trips or on their own individual trips, and make them available for class use. This might be attempted in connection with a Camera Club.

4. Maps, Charts, and Graphs

Maps, charts, and graphs constitute another important source of visual aids. If for instance, the lesson unit were gFacts about the United States,h a map of the country would help the teacher and the student immensely. All maps, it must be noted, should be strictly up-to-date as to the matter they present, and should be corrected or replaced when necessary. There should be no excuse for inaccurate maps just because they are used for language courses.

If, again, the unit refers to such items as the American Government or the respective areas and populations of the forty-eight States, an organizational chart of the American Government or a graph showing the areas or the populations at a glance is a great help. In presenting many kinds of facts and information such as are mentioned above, few visual aids are as important and useful as charts and graphs. Through them, facts and information are understood readily and clearly.

In procuring maps, charts, and graphs, the teacher should cooperate with the geography teacher or the social studies teacher. Or else, he can have his students draw maps and charts and graphs. Just one or two maps of the world or the United States or Britain put up on the wall, changed once in a while, if necessary, would serve not only a decorative purpose but also valuable educational purposes.

 

5. Phonograph Records

In teaching poems or oral reading or when the lesson unit has a close connection with famous music (e. g., Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata), phonograph records should be brought into use. The students would find pleasure in listening to the rhythm of poems by competent speakers; they would learn to appreciate good prose reading; they would long remember the lesson unit together with the beautiful music of Beethoven. These are but few cases; there are many cases where phonograph records are a great help in making English teaching effective, if only the teacher is well aware of the importance of auditory aids. Here again the teacher should be well informed of the treasures of auditory aids.

Records of dramas, short stories, and orations also are available. Then there are some records planned specifically for English teaching purposes, in which a good speaker gives correct pronunciations of words and uses correct intonations, rhythms, accents, and stresses. Some records contain interesting drills in English.

6. Recording, Equipment

This may not be practical at the present time, but the place of recording equipment in language teaching should be mentioned. Many schools in the United States use wire and tape recorders in their language classes. With these recorders the voice and speech of each student may be recorded, then played back. No person hears his own voice as it sounds to other people, and most people are quite surprised to hear their own speech played back to them. Records of speech will reveal deficiencies to the pupil in a way that nothing else will.

Recording equipment also is useful in making records of radio programs. The greatest difficulty in using radio broadcasts in the school program is that programs are likely not to fit into what the class is doing at the time, and once used they can never be used again. This can be avoided by making records of good programs which will be of use later, then taking them from the files when they are needed. This is too expensive for most schools to afford at the present time, but is a possibility to be kept in mind for the future. The wire recorder, although expensive in its initial cost, is inexpensive to operate, because the recorded speech or music on the wire can be automatically erased arid the same wire used over and over again. For keeping records in a semi-permanent form, the tape recorder is the best.

7. Radio Programs

The Bulletin of the Institute for Research in English Teaching for January 1937 took up in its editorial the problem of broadcasting language lessons. After giving various suggestions as to how English lessons, in accordance with the principles of the direct method, should be broadcast and used as part of the regular school curriculum, the editorial further suggests: gMay we urge the broadcasting authorities to consider whether they would not be well advised to claim and ask for the help that science and methodology are able to give?h

Unfortunately the suggestion thus advanced by the Institute has not until recently received much attention. While educational programs on other school subjects have been taken well into the regular curriculum, the English program until the last year or so had been directed toward helping the individual learner. Beginning in September of 1949, an English language program intended for regular classroom use was being broadcast once a week, and it was planned that the series would extend through the school year 1950-51. Much experimentation, however, will be necessary before the most effective possible use is made of this medium.

Pupils should be encouraged to listen at home to one or both of the two English programs now broadcast over the national network for the general public. This will help them in many ways in heir study of English. Advanced students should be encouraged to listen to AFRS (Armed Forces Radio Service) programs though they are primarily meant for servicemen and women of the United States Forces.

Full use should be made of the English language program which is a part of the regular Pupilsf Hour. In order to keep up with these programs, teachers should consult copies of the BCJ Quarterly Bulletin which is printed and distributed regularly to schools. This bulletin gives a list of the topics of forthcoming programs, suggestions for preparing to listen in the broadcast, and suggestions as to follow-up activities.

8. Motion Pictures

Motion pictures prepared purely for language teaching are as yet little known in this country. Abroad in Britain and America, motion pictures intended for use in language classes are planned, experimented with, and produced, based on sound linguistic principles. Owing to financial and technical difficulties, it may take time before motion pictures are generally available in this country for the purpose of language teaching.

In introducing students to the English-speaking people, their lands, their life, their achievements, motion pictures are a powerful source of materials. This is particularly true of what are known as gdocumentaryh films, which are produced to portray factually some event or series of events, institutions, etc. Teachers ought to point out to pupils that commercial films do not and are not meant to give a factual treatment of their subject. Commercial films are made primarily to serve the purpose of entertainment. They tell a story, and in most cases the story is fictional. Much misunderstanding of other countries arises because commercial films are thought to present an accurate view of a country. For example, many people in the West enjoy detective or mystery films, the plots of which are in almost all cases fictitious. This sometimes leads to the impression that crime is much more prevalent than it actually is, because people in other countries often take the films as portraying exact truth.

There is a type of motion picture which is quite useful in the English language program, particularly on the advanced levels. This is the type which presents a screen version of a well-known drama, novel, or short story. Examples are two of Shakespeare' plays, Henry V and Hamlet, recently produced in England. Many of the famous modern plays in the United States and many novels of high quality often reach the screen. Even for students who are not very advanced, there may be some value in listening to the flow and rhythm of the language as spoken among the English-speaking nations.

Aside from the films produced for entertainment and those produced for use in teaching language, there are produced regularly in the United States educational films for use in science, social students, art, music, and almost every other subject. There are now thousands of such educational films available. These films, unlike entertainment films, make a direct attempt to be factual and to interpret historical, economic, social, and political events to pupils. Although these educational films are not now generally available here, the possibility of their in the future should not be forgotten.

9. Slides and Film Strips

The principal shortcoming of flat pictures is that one can be viewed by only one pupil at a time. This can be overcome by using slides. Slides are available now in Japan on a considerable variety of subjects. Although they do not have English captions, they can be flashed on the screen for all pupils to see, and the teacher, or in advanced classes a pupils or pupils, can give an explanation in English. They can also be used in the same way that objects and models are used. Teachers and pupils can make their own slides from photographs or drawings. They can arrange slides in such a way as to tell a story they have read.

10. Opaque Projector

With the opaque projector, which often is combined with a slide projector, any non-transparent picture can be flashed onto a screen. The teacher or pupils can clip pictures, maps, or charts from magazines or newspapers and reproduce them easily on the screen for all to study, or a page of a book or portion of a page can be projected without removing it from the book. The uses of this device are almost unlimited.

11. Equipment for Dramatic Production

Almost every class, at one time or another, will want to present a play in English. Such plays may range from the simple gThe Sun and the Windh from Æsop in the 7th or 8th grade to productions of Shakespearefs plays, or parts of them. There is a place in the classroom for frequent dramatization of stories and poems. The classroom and school should be equipped with some basic materials for putting on plays. This type of activity might very well include puppet plays.

12. Community Resources

It is a sound educational principle that in every subject the maximum use should be made of resources existing in the community. However, the availability of suitable community resources varies with the subject. There are likely to be almost unlimited resources for use in social studies, but the resources available for a foreign language are likely to be limited. In general they will be confined to persons residing in the community who speak the language as a native language, or Japanese who speak the language with great fluency and who have visited English-speaking nations.

It may be possible, if there are American or British people residing in the community, to arrange for the class to visit a home. Or some person who has been abroad and who speaks the language well might be invited to come to the school to talk about his experience, and to answer questions that the pupils might have.

13. Other Audio-Visual Aids

The use of the blackboard should not be forgotten as an important visual aid. It is indispensable in teaching a language, as it is for other subjects. The blackboard may be used for illustrations about which the teacher and the pupils will talk. It may be used to write words, phrases, and sentences for reading recognition. It may be used for indicating pronunciation of words through use of some system of phonetic notation. Its uses are very great, but are so well known that no long discussion of the possibilities is necessary here.

The English language classroom ought to be equipped with a great deal of bulletin board space. It is suggested that a blackboard be provided at the front of the room, and where possible a bulletin board covering the entire length of the rear wall and as much as possible of the inside wall. The pupils and the teacher can collect pictures with English captions underneath, charts, maps, work prepared by the pupils, drawings, and all other types of things which it is useful to show the pupils. There may be a display of jackets from books with English titles. There may be pictures showing buildings, scenery, and persons from English-speaking nations. Selections from English language newspapers may be posted. A well-kept bulletin board, with frequent changes of materials, can not only make the room very attractive but create to some extent what might be called an gEnglish language environmenth.

There are various other audio-visual methods. Pupils may draw pictures, either on the blackboard or paper, and label or title them in English. They may draw sketches of the human body and label the principal organs. They may draw sketches of American homes, and label the rooms and the furniture. They may draw cartoons, and write the sentences spoken by the cartoon characters. They may place signs in English above the doors of all the classrooms in the school, showing what each room is for, and also on furniture and objects in the classroom.

 

IV. Other Sources of Curriculum Materials

-Conclusion

There are other sources of curriculum materials than those enumerated in the previous sections. Songs constitute a useful material source. Games (e.g. spelling bee) constitute another. Songs and games, especially in the lower grades, are useful means of arousing pupils' interest in English.

Besides songs and games there must be many other useful sources of curriculum materials that can be exploited. But it is feared that if too much detail were included here, this Course of Study would include materials intended to appear in Volume II, The Teaching of English. Moreover, the chief aim of this chapter is not to exhaust the sources of curriculum materials, but to direct the teachers' attention to richer and more useful sources of materials than the school textbook, which is too often considered in this country the only source of curriculum materials. The sources so far enumerated in this chapter, therefore, may suffice for the present purpose. In concluding this chapter on the study, application, and use of curriculum sources, much depends, as in other educational problems, on the teacherfs originality and resourcefulness.

 

V. List of Curriculum Materials

1. Preliminary Remarks

A necessary part of a Course of Study is a list of all types of curriculum materials which may be useful in teaching the subject with which the Course of Study is concerned. No list of materials will be recommended by the Ministry of Education for two reasons:

(1) Publication of such a list would almost inevitably lead to charges of favoritism by a government agency,

(2) Under the present situation in the publishing field, there are not many books and materials which are nationally available.

From every viewpoint it is desirable that lists of curriculum materials be compiled in each prefecture, city, gun, or some other subdivision. Such lists can be compiled by prefectural education organs or by private groups and associations of teachers.

Here is given a list of materials which has been gotten up by the Association of Lower Secondary School English Teachers of Tokyo-to and the Association of Upper Secondary School English Teachers of Tokyo-to. This list is included here for whatever use it may be to English teachers over the rest of the nation. The Ministry of Education does not specifically recommend the materials listed here, but is reprinting the study by the Tokyo-to Associations for information purposes.

It is strongly recommended that in each prefecture some group, public or private, compile and distribute its own list of curriculum materials which will be useful in the teaching of English, in such from that the list may be inserted in this Course of Study.

2. Remarks by Compilers

A. This list is the combined work of the Tokyo-to Association of Lower Secondary School English Language Teachers and the Tokyo-to Association of Upper Secondary School English Language Teachers. The responsibility for the list, therefore, rests entirely with these two Associations.

B. Precedence has given to materials on the market, so that those outside of this category are those believed to be obtainable second-hand.

C. In the work of compilation, subcommittees were established within the respective Associations to make a study of supplementary teaching materials.

D. These subcommittees worked independently in the work of compilation.

E. Necessary materials were gathered from over a wide area.

F. Letters requesting recommendations were sent out to the English teachers in the lower and upper secondary schools of Tokyo-to.

G. The materials in hand were studied and comparisons made among the different lists.

H. After careful deliberations a list was compiled by the subcommittees and this was submitted to the two Associations for further study.

I. Some of the materials appear in both lists, but this was done because some of them belong to both the lower and the upper secondary school levels.

J. Additions and revisions are contemplated for the future, this list being that of materials regarded as suitable at the present time by the said two Associations.

K. Criteria for selection were as follows:

(1) Are the materials suitable to pupil interests?

(2) Do the materials instil desires to learn?

(3) Are the materials conducive to pupil development?

(4) Are the notes and comments helpful?

(5) Is the printing clear?

L. The materials were classified under the following nine headings:

(1) Reading materials (poetry, drama, stories, essays, supplementary reading materials)

(2) Workbooks

(3) Compositions

(4) Grammars

(5) Materials for hearing and speaking

(6) Materials for handwriting

(7) Reference books (dictionaries, encyclopedias, pamphlets)

(8) Periodicals (dailies, weeklies, magazines, bulletins)

(9) Audio-visual aids (pictures, slides, projectors, cards, phonograph records, radio programs, scenarios)

M. Under each heading, materials selected the Tokyo-to Association of Lower Secondary school English Language Teachers are placed first, and those selected by the Tokyo-to Association of Upper Secondary School English Language Teachers second. The dotted lines mark the divisions. The titles are arranged in an alphabetical order.

For the List, see the Japanese version.