Reprinted with permission from the Focal Skills FB page:
Applying the FOCAL SKILLS Approach in Valdivia has been a tremendous challenge for all FS researchers in Valdivia, Chile! We designed and implemented, through a classroom research, an adaptation of the FS Listening Module in four public schools with elementary school students at social risk. Through surveys, questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, pictures, video recordings and pre and post FS tests, we could prove that students, parents, school teachers and administrators highly appreciated FS methodological innovations and students’ level of interest increased to a great extent. Academically speaking, children amazingly improved their listening and oral skills. On the other hand, students who attended English lessons under traditional methodologies in other schools showed very low scores in their pre and post tests and did not show much improvement.
We are analyzing our findings and hope to publish a second paper on the implementation of the FS approach in Valdivia very soon!
Comments from interviews:
a) Children’s comments:
– “We enjoy English more than other subjects at school”
-“Activities were fun and games, songs, and dances made activities more interesting”
– “We learnt more using these kinds of strategies rather than the ones we had used in the past, which consisted mainly on worksheets and activities on the whiteboard”
b) Parents’ comments:
“Our children have shown high levels of motivation”
” These methodological innovations are key to reach a better educational system and a better country”.
Best wishes in your conference!
María Paz Díaz
PD: María-Paz, Catherine, Javier and Sebastián wrote their theses on the impact of the FS Approach on elementary school children’s acquisition process. All of them did an excellent job. They graduated and are now helping me with my doctorate research.
Pedagogía en Comunicación en Lengua Inglesa
Instituto de Linguística y Literatura
Universidad Austral de Chile