English-Introduction

SNC-English-Required Standards and SLOs (Download)

SNC-English 1-8 -Suggested Guidelines (Download)

 

    1. Vision for the Review of the English Curriculum

 

Language is a medium of communication used to convey feelings, express opinions, gain knowledge and maximise potential to promote inquiry. Strong literacy skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing are essential in developing responsible and self-motivated learners. English is both a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching for other disciplines as well; for pupils, understanding the language provides access to the whole curriculum. Fluency in the English language is an essential foundation for success in all subjects.

 

English Language learning is an important skill when it comes to education at all levels, personality development, global communication, and making better professional choices. It is important to teach language learners to communicate their ideas effectively both orally and in writing. Reading, in particular, helps broaden students’ horizons, by exposing them to a wide range of cultural, emotional, intellectual, and social realities, which can act as a foundation for building a more tolerant and multicultural society.

 

According to the National Policy Education Policy Framework (MoFE&PT, 2018) a review and revision of curriculum framework across the country was done. This included revising common national teaching and learning standards along with identifying common standards applicable across provinces and school systems. It was also agreed that Pakistan will have a multi lingual policy, with the English to be taught as a second language. Keeping this in mind, the National Curriculum for English Language 2006 was reviewed in multiple phases, to national and international requirements. In 2019, a review was conducted for the Primary (I-V) grades in line with the national vision for the elaboration of a Single National Curriculum (SNC) for all streams of education in the country.

 

As a result of these rigorous rounds of review, two major areas were identified for improvement: pedagogical practices and assessment procedures. Teachers are required to focus on enhancing language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) in an integrated manner, and be equipped with the requisite skills for utilising the textbooks and relevant resources to the fullest. The assessment procedures previously lacked a focus on the above-mentioned skills; therefore, the desired objectives laid out in the curriculum were further reviewed to bridge this gap.
 

The curriculum emphasises innovative student-centered activities to be planned, to inculcate the above-mentioned values in the learners within the different social contexts of different parts of Pakistan.
 

Themes and sub-themes that promote values of peace and social cohesion are embedded in the English Curriculum. These cover ideological attributes and religious values of patience, tolerance, making friends, sharing, respect for self and others. It also highlights respect for Pakistani and international norms, equity among groups and nations, learning to live together in an extended society across the cultures and conflict resolution. ‘Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)’ and ‘Global Citizenship Education (GCE)’ are the two key concepts explicitly built into the curriculum to be eventually included in textbooks. The rationale is to empower learners of all ages to become proactive contributors to a fair, peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and sustainable world. In compliance with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG 4.7[1], certain values were highlighted in the curriculum under themes and sub-themes for different classes including global citizenship, sustainable development, gender equality, diversity of cultures, languages and religions, countering terrorism , risk reduction awareness about traffic education, health hazards of tobacco and other drugs, avoiding social evils (plagiarism, falsification, aggression, deception, greed, violent protests, etc.) and propagating sports and adventure. Moreover, the suggestions shared by Traffic Police Islamabad, Rahnuma-family Planning Association of Pakistan (FPAP), Ministry of Narcotics Control  and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) were incorporated in the curriculum for grade VI-VIII as well.

 

The revised English curriculum 2021 propagates a holistic approach for language development to equip the students with the skills they need for effective communication in social and academic contexts at the national and international levels. The curriculum is multidimensional and incorporates all components of language, i.e., phonology, grammar, vocabulary, discourse, language functions and skills. During the review the following amendments were made:

 

  • The sequence of the four English language skills has been revised in order to follow the natural acquisition of language and to enhance the oral communication skills of the learners. Therefore, oral communication comes first in the progression of SLOs.  
  •  
  • Comprehensive guidelines for textbook/content writers are added including a six-point criterion for maintaining quality standards.
  • Some English teaching and learning web-based resources are included.

 

1.2. Statement of Philosophy

 

In the context of Pakistani students, learning the English language is rarely a subconscious process, for a vast majority. Learners have few opportunities to absorb the English language from their environment to acquire a natural flair for appropriate linguistic structure, i.e. vocabulary and style in varied contexts of use, both in academic and social settings. There is room for improvement in the learning environment and academic setting. Learners have to be provided with formal opportunities to learn the language in an instructional setting through the implementation of a well-thought-out and organised curriculum. The current curriculum aims to serve as a guide for teachers, learners, textbook developers, assessors and anyone else interested in benefitting from it.

 

It is recognised that the instructional settings vary greatly in Pakistan in terms of teachersand studentsbackground, their proficiency in English, opportunities for exposure, use of English at home and in the community outside the school and classroom. Similarly, the resources available for teaching and learning of English also vary to a great extent. However, it is expected that the competencies and standards defined in this curriculum will provide a roadmap for the provision of both human and financial resources in schools for quality teaching and learning of English for children in Pakistan.
 

The curriculum is designed to promote high standards of literacy and competency in the English language. It is designed to equip learners with the language skills they need to excel in any field, not only for the purpose of achieving further education, but also for future employability and becoming productive members of society. The curriculum promotes equal opportunities for all and helps students to understand the world in which they live and the interdependence of individuals, groups and communities, including awareness of economic and environmental issues.
 

08The content and process of learning are structured and integrated to realise the standards for key competencies through spiral progression with a major focus on the development of language skills. Functional, literary and everyday texts[2] provide a context for the teaching of the micro-skills and strategies used in listening, speaking, reading and writing. The teaching strategies ensure the integration of the above-mentioned language skills. Students learn to acquire knowledge and ideas through listening and reading and to effectively communicate their ideas through speaking and writing.

 

To rectify the relatively narrow focus on building learners’ listening and speaking skills in the previous curriculum, the Single National Curriculum 2021, for English emphasises the development of these skills through interactive teaching and learning practices in the classroom. In order to practice these oral communication skills, interactive and collaborative activities have been suggested for incorporation in textbooks. This will expose learners to the English language as it is spoken around them in media and offices, etc. Use of CDs, online resources, radio and sound-enabled multimedia can be employed for practicing intensive and extensive listening for wider language exposure and enhancement. These skills would be tested through test items embedded in the examination and assessment system.

 

The curriculum places emphasis on the understanding and use of the English language in different academic and social contexts. Such an approach acknowledges the importance of knowledge about the language system and emphasizes its use so that students’ ability to communicate in real-life situations is enhanced and made effective for various purposes.

 

1.3. Process of Curriculum Development

In the light of the International curriculums of Singapore, U.K, Cambridge International, collective experiences of national curriculum developers and teachers of the English language, there was a need to prioritise the development of the following competencies in learners:
 

• Oral Communication Skills (listening and speaking)

• Reading and Critical Thinking Skills

• Vocabulary and Grammar

• Writing Skills


Students’ learning outcomes (SLOs) were developed grade-wise for different stages of schooling. A learner will only be able to meet the SLOs specified for his/her level if the skill is first introduced, explained and then reinforced through practical activities. To achieve this, it is essential that all the major skills identified be taught in spiral progression. Such activities are to be incorporated at each grade and cater to progressive cognitive development from the level of intellectual skills of simple knowledge and comprehension to higher-order skills of analysis, synthesis and evaluation. This will nurture the ability of reasoning, problem-solving, critical thinking and creativity.

 

The designed curriculum is divided into Standards, SLO’s, Knowledge and Skill based outcomes. To achieve the spiral learning process, it is recommended to teach all learning competencies in integration. Language is best learnt when used with immersive method of learning. While immersive language experiences are effective in students of all ages, they can bear remarkable results in children.

 

In second language acquisition research, there is something called ‘the critical period hypothesis’ (CPH). It holds that all humans have a period (usually at a young age) during which it is possible to achieve full native competence when learning a language in a linguistically rich, immersive environment – something that has not been observed with adults. CPH is not universally accepted and has been contested (e.g., Vanhove 2013). There are numerous studies that support the notion that children are known to be more open to learning a language intuitively, through communication, rather than through learning a set of strict rules, and that early language exposure sets learners up for success and confidence later in life (e.g. Abrahamsson and Hyltenstam 2009, Birdsong 2009, DeKeyser 2012).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

 

Abrahamsson, N and Hyltenstam, K (2009) Age of onset and nativelikeness in a second language: Listener perception versus linguistic scrutiny, Language Learning 59, 249–306.

Birdsong, D (2009) Age and the end state of second language acquisition, in Ritchie, W C and Bhatia, T K (Eds) The new handbook of second language acquisition, Bingley: Emerald, 401–424.

Cambridge International Assessments (2022). The benefit of immersive language-learning experiences and how to create them. Retrieved from https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/blog/the-benefit-of-immersive-language-learning-experiences-and-how-to-create-them/

DeKeyser, R (2012) Age effects in second language learning, in Gass, S M and Mackey, A (Eds) The Routledge handbook of second language acquisition, London: Routledge, 442–460.

Vanhove, J (2013) The critical period hypothesis in second language acquisition: a statistical critique and a reanalysis, PLOS ONE 8 (7): e69172, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069172.

 

 

[1]1By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development

[2] Everyday text refers to magazine cuttings, realia, pictures with captions, text messages, blurbs, comics etc.