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					                                   Coping with the changes!
              A seminar for teachers of scuola secondaria di primo grado

Thank you for attending this talk by Sue Tremenheere of Burlington Books. We hope that you found it
interesting.

With the changing school environment, it is essential that any new teaching material is flexible enough
to respond to a variety of different needs thereby allowing the teacher to reconcile successful, tried and
tested teaching methods with the apparent limitations imposed on the teaching profession by the present
school reform.
Preconditions
Amid the current confusion regarding the scuola superiore di primo grado, there are certain basic
preconditions of which we can be sure:
 Students in Transit
When students come to scuola secondaria di primo grado, they are on their way from scuola primaria
towards scuola secondaria di secondo grado, just as they have always been, so it is not new for you to be
involved in accoglienza from what has gone before and orientamento towards what is to come.
 Language Learning Backgrounds
As in the past, each new class will be full of students who have come from a variety of language learning
backgrounds whether they have done 3 or 4 or 5 years of English at scuola primaria.
Teaching Objectives
Like the preconditions, your basic teaching objectives have changed very little:
 A2 in 3 Years!
You are still expected to get students up to the Common European Framework of Reference level of A2 in
the three years of scuola secondaria di primo grado.
   National Indications
Though there are new national indications for your programmazione, the contents of the basic language
syllabus are almost unchanged: for example, you are still expected to cover structures such as may/might,
the Present Perfect, reported speech and passives. And, though the focus has slightly changed, you are still
expected to give students a good deal of up-to-date information regarding civiltà.
Constraints
There are however new constraints imposed on teachers:
 Time!
You still have to cover an extensive language programme in three years, but you now have a reduced
timetable. Or is it reduced? There are many questions that can be asked regarding this new Quadro Orario:
Will you really only have one and a half or two hours per week with each class?
Or will your school take into account the loss in hours for English teaching and add an hour or more from
the available ore facoltative?
And if you have a third hour, when will it be?
And will you have the same students or different ones?
And what will you be teaching?
Will you have to spend every evening at home preparing material from scratch for the extra hour? Will you
be forced to ask parents to spend money on extra material for this hour?

Of course, the answers to all these questions depend on the Piano di Offerta Formativa of, and decisions
made by, each individual school, but what does seem obvious is that whatever the decisions made by each
individual school, every teacher will ideally need a highly flexible course at an acceptable price.



 B Burlington Books Italia, via A. Meucci 2, 50015 Grassina (FI), tel: 055 6491217 - fax: 055 6491423 -
                                    e-mail: italy@burlingtonbooks.com
                                                     1
                                    Coping with the changes!
                 A seminar for teachers of scuola secondaria di primo grado

A Flexible Course for a New Teaching Environment
ENGLISH LINKS was written especially for the Italian scuola secondaria di primo grado taking into
account the Common European Framework of Reference and the new indicazioni nazionali.
     Flexible Routes
ENGLISH LINKS allows teachers to follow one of three pedagogically valid routes through the course
depending on time limitations, each of which leads students to level A2. The Teacher’s Book gives
programmazione for teachers who, one way or another, find themselves with 3 hours of teaching time, for
those who have less time and for teachers who only have the basic one and a half hours a week. Whichever
path you choose through the basic course, you can be sure that you will be following a solid, well-balanced
language syllabus which will lead the class towards the objectives and competences laid out in the Common
European Framework of Reference.

 Flexible Options
The course also provides the user with a series of optional materials which can be used in a variety of
situations, depending on the POF of each individual school and on the needs of individual students.
Teachers do not need to look elsewhere or spend extra money on further English Language Teaching
material.
Optional Mixed Ability Links
The problem of mixed abilities and students with different levels of knowledge of the English language
within the same class has always been present and will not disappear. If you find you have a problem with
mixed abilities you may decide, along your chosen route, to make use of the mixed ability material
provided for teachers in the Mixed Ability Pack:

     Worksheets for “fast finishers” (extra photocopiable material for use with stronger students, linked to
      each unit of the basic course)
     Worksheets for recupero (extra photocopiable material for use with weaker students, linked to each
      unit of the basic course)
     Worksheets for Students with Special Needs (portatori di handicap) (extra photocopiable material,
      completely independent of the course but linked to each unit through topic vocabulary so that the
      sostegno or class teacher is able to help these students to integrate with the class.

The Self-Study Sections of ENGLISH LINKS also provide students with a series of graded grammar
exercises and materials for use with the Student’s European Language Portfolio.
Through the use of the above Mixed Ability material within and alongside the basic course, students
are helped to reach their own personal level of achievement.
Optional Testing and Exams Links
Testing has always put a strain on teaching time, but a certain amount of testing is both useful and
necessary. ENGLISH LINKS offers teachers a series of optional testing materials for different teaching
situations:
 Trinity and NEW KET 2004: Preparation and Practice for International Examinations is presented as
    an optional International Exams Module in the Self Study Section of each level of the course, and
    teachers are also provided with a full photocopiable test for the New (2004) KET exam.
 Progress Tests: The course provides a series of test di verifica, all in two versions to help reduce the
    risk of students copying each other. These include:

    B Burlington Books Italia, via A. Meucci 2, 50015 Grassina (FI), tel: 055 6491217 - fax: 055 6491423 -
                                     e-mail: italy@burlingtonbooks.com
                                                      2
                                    Coping with the changes!
               A seminar for teachers of scuola secondaria di primo grado



           Unit Tests
           Module Tests
           Prova Sommativa (to assess students’ language acquisition at the end of the first biennio)
           Esame di Stato: Activities aimed at helping students to prepare for the written part of the
            Esame di Stato are highlighted throughout the course. Special importance is given to this
            exam on the final page of each Module and the Self Study Section of ENGLISH LINKS 3
            also includes an optional section which contains advice, models and activities for specific
            exam practice. In addition, the course provides the class with practice for the oral part of the
            exam through the Culture Links Booklet, described below.
Optional Civiltà Links
Civiltà remains an important aspect of language learning in the scuola secondaria di primo grado.
ENGLISH LINKS Student’s Book and Self Study Section provide a variety of civiltà material (specific
civiltà pages in each unit, selected reading texts, the presentation dialogues and so on). In addition, students
are provided with the following flexible options free of charge:
 Culture Links: a booklet including extra optional texts and activities on different aspects of civiltà of a
    highly cross-curricular nature. Speaking activities are designed to help students to prepare for the
    Esame di Stato and aspects of convivenza civile are also included.
 CD-Rom: The Interactive CD-Rom, described below, which all students receive with ENGLISH
    LINKS includes aspects of civiltà.
Optional Technology Links
CD-Roms and Internet are extremely motivating and can be used successfully alongside a language course.
ENGLISH LINKS provides students with:
 A FREE Interactive CD-Rom. Almost unlimited material can be contained on a CD-Rom and the one
   which students receive with ENGLISH LINKS is in fact no less than FOUR CDs in one:
    The English Links CD-Rom. This includes enjoyable and motivating interactive vocabulary and
       grammar games at two levels of difficulty for every module of:
        English Links 1
        English Links 2
        English Links 3;
    Burlington Interactive. This self-standing, modern and highly interactive CD-Rom includes an
       enjoyable civiltà-based animated video in episodes, dialogues (where students can adjust the speed
       with no adverse effect on the sound quality), and abundant exercises and activities at two levels of
       difficulty focussing principally on functional language. The scoring system will also allow students
       (and their teachers!) to participate in The Burlington Interactive Competition!
 Burlington Books website. A visit to www.burlingtonbooks.com will open up a whole new range of
   possibilities to ENGLISH LINKS users. By entering the site and simply clicking on the photograph of
   the book, both teachers and students can access an up-to-date series of external websites linked to the
   theme of each Unit of the course. These sites provide the user with an excellent font of material for
   research, project work and additional information and, though Burlington Books cannot accept any
   responsibility for their content, they are regularly checked and updated by our staff.




 B Burlington Books Italia, via A. Meucci 2, 50015 Grassina (FI), tel: 055 6491217 - fax: 055 6491423 -
                                     e-mail: italy@burlingtonbooks.com
                                                       3
                                   Coping with the changes!
               A seminar for teachers of scuola secondaria di primo grado




Conclusion
ENGLISH LINKS is a highly flexible course: each of the three routes through the basic teaching material
gives students a solid basis of language which allows you, as experienced teachers, to continue using the
tried and tested teaching methodology that you have found successful in the past.

Alongside the basic syllabus, ENGLISH LINKS offers a range of optional flexible extras which will provide
teachers with material that can be used in class, as extra homework material or in an eventual laboratorio
depending on each individual teaching situation.

Making choices regarding this material will allow you to create a real piano di studio personalizzato at
class level, and even at individual student level (by making use, for example, of the photocopiable material
for “fast finishers”, the recupero material and even the material for portatori di handicap). This last is
designed to permit the inclusion of even the most challenged students in the activity of the whole group,
allowing them to work on the same topic as all their companions. This pedagogically sound concept of
inclusion is, we feel, emblematic of what ENGLISH LINKS offers teachers of English in today’s rapidly
changing school environment: a stimulating range of materials which can be tailored by the teacher to cover
the many needs of the students of each individual class. It is the teacher who has to guide her students from
the point of entry towards the esame di stato; ENGLISH LINKS provides her with a series of coherent
choices that allow her to use her professionalism to the full within the constraints of the riforma.




 B Burlington Books Italia, via A. Meucci 2, 50015 Grassina (FI), tel: 055 6491217 - fax: 055 6491423 -
                                    e-mail: italy@burlingtonbooks.com
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