English in our school is not only a taught subject, but also a commonly used language. Pupils acquire knowledge not only through teaching, but also in common situations. They acquire an open attitude towards foreign culture and foreign language, its use is natural for them; they do not translate, but gradually master smooth communication abilities without the need to translate. For pupils, the presence of native speakers is not only a language model but also a great motivation for learning.
The allocated time for teaching English is at least 5 hours per week in each grade; in addition, this is further supplemented by 8 hours per week in the Conversation Club. The club is led by native speakers and is focused on the development of pronunciation, broadening vocabulary, support in teaching reading and work on whole-school projects.
We have been achieving for a long time excellent results when taking international language exams. Pupils in the 4th year take YLE tests at least at Movers level. The success rate of our pupils in these tests is 86%, in the area of SPEAKING, we have been achieving as high as a 100% success rate for a long time.
The small number of pupils in classes allows educators to apply a personal approach to each pupil, ensuring the pupil adequate space, thereby achieving personal maximums.
In our school, teaching consists of such activities which will enable all pupils to work towards achieving educational goals through individual learning styles. The small number of pupils in the class ensures that all children have the opportunity to participate in a common theme through activities appropriate to their abilities. At the same time, classes are rich enough for group work, promotion of social contact and building friendly ties.
There are also pedagogical assistants, who enable support of pupils with special educational needs or for extremely gifted students. For children with special educational demands we create Individual education plans.
MODERN TEACHING METHODS – we prepare students for the future
As a pilot partner school of the Microsoft Corporation and the The 21st century Learning Design project, we focus on the teaching methodology on strengthening these skills:
Cooperation – In our school, pupils work in pairs and small groups, which share responsibility for the result and make key decisions together.
Building knowledge – Memorisation of information does not in itself lead to the ability to think. Information is and will be readily available and the ability to link information, draw conclusions, critically evaluate will be crucial to the future success of our pupils. Therefore, we teach students in our school to come up with new ideas, place them in context and think critically.
Problem solving – At our school, we often want children to come with their own ideas and alternatives so as to review procedures and improve them. The aim is to encourage the children’s ability to face obstacles, handle problems and search for new solutions.
Communication – At our school we require children to communicate in different ways, from group discussions in class through a written speech to a Skype conference. We focus on activities that require children to articulate their own ideas, defend them, present facts and evidence and to choose appropriate tools, content and style of communication.