Officially in their teens and with adolescence kicking in, the middle school years are CHALLENGING to both teachers and parents. We try to keep our teens engaged with well-designed programmes that appeal to their interests and daily life as well as their individual learning styles.
Technology plays an even greater role in the classroom to keep students attentive and focused. From group projects to videos from presentations to debates from TED talks to online games and quizzes we keep our students constantly stimulated with never a dull moment. Although we introduce class reading from the very beginning it is at this stage we spend time on a class reader to show students the benefits of reading. Introducing them to the world of books increases their vocabulary, broadens their knowledge of the language and develops their critical thinking and creativity.
Our aim is to encourage our students to become independent learners, cultivate their critical thinking skills and expose them to real-life situations and current affairs. These are the years where they learn more complex aspects of grammar and practice different writing genres.
Our middle school students are able to speak and converse only in English throughout the lesson and therefore English is the only medium used for instruction. Teamwork is enhanced so that a lot of interaction takes place amongst the students, allowing them to further practice their English through a more hands-on approach. Therefore, the older the students get, the focus shifts from the teacher to the students. The communicative and task based approach continues to prevail in our middle school curriculum. Whether we are teaching grammar, practising reading or learning new vocabulary, movement and action continue to be an essential teaching tool. Assessment is carried out through weekly vocabulary quizzes, grammar quizzes or games as well as monthly unit tests.
Finally, at the end of the year we design our own exam which is benchmarked against our standards and based on our carefully and expertly designed curriculum. Middle school students have the opportunity to take the Cambridge English Exams: KET and PET exams they have been preparing for as part of the curriculum. We strongly advise our students to take them as they are motivational factors giving students a recognition that they have mastered the basics of English and have practical language skills for everyday English.