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Cambridge IGCSE and AS English Dilemma

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by ntiwari, May 16, 2011.

  1. Hello all,
    I will be teaching the CIE's IGCSE English - First Language and AS English Language course in a month or so now at an international school in
    India. Last year, I taught Cambridge Checkpoint English at the KS3 level
    in a largeish city with students from more... let's say, privileged
    backgrounds - to whom English was a first language, always spoken at
    home and school, etc.
    However, the school I'm headed to isn't
    in a major city, and has students who are first-generation English
    speakers - basically, to them English has been, and currently is,
    decidedly a second language. Although my job is basically to
    raise standards in English at the school, I'm concerned a bit about
    teaching what is essentially a first language course to speakers of
    English as a second language. Have any of you been in a similar
    situation? Can anybody suggest a few strategies to making the best of
    the situation?
    Any help on the issue would be
    overwhelmingly appreciated. The course is just English Language, thank
    God - Literature would have been out of the question. The Head over
    there is very supportive and has VERY reasonable expectations of my
    teaching there - but I wouldn't want to personally feel like a failure
    at the end of next year :/
  2. tica

    tica New commenter

    I love teaching the First lang course. The majority of our students are also 2nd lang speakers but all teaching in the school is in English so they are surrounded by the language all day every day and it is the lingua franca of the playground as we have quite a mix of nationalities. If you are teaching English in isolation this will be a difficult course for your kids although the core alternative is a more straightforward option.
    Are you starting off from scratch? What have they done in Key stage 3?
    Let me know if you need any help/advice/shoulder to cry on.
  3. One of the most useful things you could do right now is to ask your new school to give you access to the CIE teachers support site (presuming the school is a centre...).
    It's packed with info, has a very active dedicated forum which I find invaluable and online CPD too.
    Good luck!
  4. I will actually be starting from scratch; technically they were supposed to be doing Checkpoint English in KS3, but I think for lack of adequately qualified teachers they ended up studying the ICSE (one of the three private boards in India) syllabus, which is rubbish to be honest.
    I was given access to the CIE Teachers' Support website just today - it's quite a help already. There will be some training of course at the school, but it's more likely to be a general "This is how the CIE system works" than specific subject training.
    Tica - I'm about to PM you [​IMG]
  5. I would be interested in sharing IGCSE First language resources/ideas/schemes.
    I would also recommend the online subject specific training with CIE.
  6. Angelil

    Angelil Occasional commenter

    I also teach the IGCSE FLE, but hate the book that comes with it...blech. I'd say it's better adapted to non-native speakers than you might believe, even though plenty of the material overlaps with the GCSE English Language skills covered in the UK. Some of the native speakers in the class tend to get bored with the class, actually, so I'd advise having something else on standby to intersperse with the course and/or to study at the end of the year after the IGCSE exams.
  7. I actually enjoy the book by Marian Cox, though I supplement it with plenty of reading. The AS book isn't very good, though.
  8. tica

    tica New commenter

    I tend not to use the book very much after the first few weeks of year 10 - i think it's very dry. I've built up my own resources over the years and I like penny's idea of sharing. You can upload onto the CIE site or maybe TES could add 1st lang to their resources pages.
  9. hi,

    I have just started at an International school. I am going to be teaching the Checkpoint Syllabus at grade 7 and 8. I am pretty confused as the previous teachers haven't left me or my new colleague any real guidance on how or what to teach. I have also been given four novels, again, with no guidance. I would really appreciate any help that anyone can give.

    Many Thanks,

    teacher in anguish!!

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