The expectations. Furthermore, this material aims to promote

The
field of language acquisition has gone through substantial changes in recent
history and it still is the focus of innovative research and development. This
field is highly influenced by the ever-expanding reach of technology and the
growing demands of globalization. In the past couple of decades, many countries
around the globe have been investing on expanding, improving, and viewing education
as a means to reduce poverty, strengthen economic development, and improve
people’s lives. This increasingly globalized economy has produced shifts in the
job market and essentially changed what is required from our education system.
The world economy has also become knowledge based and the need for highly specialized
workers has increased, along with the skill demands within each field.
Therefore, teaching English in this context must move away from traditional and
generalized approaches and head toward a more localized, tailored experience.

Moreover,
we are witnessing the spread of the “global village”, heading toward an
increasingly open and multicultural society in which borders are blurred, and
concomitantly, a culture of self-sufficiency, nationalism, and fear grows, an
aversion toward what is different, foreign, things seen as a danger, a threat, and
a nuisance. It is in this context that education plays a vital role; it is a
process of fostering the acquisition of personal maturity and allowing people
to develop their capacities through the acquisition of knowledge, skills,
virtues and attributes; it promotes the dominion over people’s own actions. Education
develops the individual’s capacity to use their personal freedom effectively
and ethically, participating harmoniously in community life.

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The
English teaching material featured in this paper was developed taking into
account the aforementioned concepts and principles. Its objective is to not
only offer up-to-date and relevant content, but also allow for customization
and welcome creativity. This was a core concept when designing each unit and
its components, considering that teachers have different teaching styles, profiles,
and personalities. Comparably, students also learn differently and have distinct
expectations. Furthermore, this material aims to promote effective and critical
learning, raising awareness about subtle social aspects of our lives and
cultures, and promoting discussions and debates both directly and indirectly
questioning our reality and the pillars of our society. Lastly, I believe an
alliance between critical education, freedom and citizenship will inspire a
meaningful teaching practice and enable teachers to empower students to make a
difference in the world.

This
material is entitled Speak up and Speak
out! and it is designed for teenage and young adult students at B1 level
according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The main
focus of this teaching material is to promote meaningful and plentiful communication,
hence the title. Although the current tendency in the field of language
acquisition is to adopt the Communicative Approach, there is still too much
focus on grammar and structures at this level. Concurrently, I firmly believe
that, given the ideal circumstances, students at this level are not only able
to understand great amounts of input, but also produce language and carry on
tasks that are typically reserved for upper-intermediate students. Consequently,
this material aims at providing teachers with these ideal circumstances to
enable students to produce at the desirable level of performance and achieve
the ideological goals of this work.

The
first unit opens on a lighter note and approaches a popular topic of pop
culture: fantasy and fiction TV series, movies, and games. This unit would be
ideal for providing students with a familiar setting, facilitating the
classroom discussions and contextualizing the grammar beforehand, thus simplifying
the inductive teaching of the Second Conditional. The unit brings tasks that
allow the activation of previous knowledge and the use of familiar information
as a starting point. On the other hand, the second unit tackles a more complex
subject: cultural differences. This unit provides the necessary material to
promote critical education and raise cultural awareness in the classroom in an
informative, non-intrusive way, still keeping things on a light note, so as not
to suppress students’ opinions. As a starting point for understanding the grammar
inductively, the topics will provide context and the modal verb should will be used to introduce must, the new language to be learned.

In
order to embrace creativity and permit customization, these units are, above
all, flexible. All activities can and should be adapted to the specificities of
each group. The choice used for engaging students’ emotions and arousing their
curiosity is suggested in the teacher’s guide, but it is not mandatory. The
teacher’s guide also includes answers for the items that are not open-ended,
and, when applicable, students’ personal opinions are welcome and should be
heard. Ultimately, the teacher is free to teach a lesson best suited for those
specific learners and tailored to his/her particular teaching style and level
of experience.