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Our English Curriculum: It speaks for Itself.

25 May 2018

In my stars I am above thee but be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them. – Malvolio, Twelfth Night. William Shakespeare

We provide, in our English language learning, the essential elements needed for all our children to achieve. This is made possible through a vibrant, engaging and rigorous English environment where children will learn and develop their English language skills. We know that the majority of our families want the opportunity to choose an overseas university to continue their child’s education. We have built our curriculum that does just that. Our children will become fluent in English in order that they can access international exams which are recognised around the world that will give them such an opportunity. Of course the academic aspect of this is vital however, we know that for our children to flourish they must also be able to operate socially so we ensure that every opportunity is given for our pupils to develop their speaking and listening skills too. Our English curriculum is based on the English national curriculum and covers the requirements of the Shanghai government’s model. It is split into four strands; phonics, reading (comprehension), writing and speaking & listening. All are equally important and combined together to produce a truly bilingual user of English. 50% of a child’s learning will be delivered in English usually by a native English speaking full qualified teacher and even when the children are in, say, a science lesson which may be led by a Chinese teacher, co-planning between our Chinese teachers and international staff will ensure there is an English language aspect here too. All our Chinese staff are bilingual so the day to day school environment will be rich with English both spoken and written.

Phonics

The building blocks of any language. We have chosen what we believe is the best phonics scheme available, Read Write Inc. Published by the Oxford University Press, Read Write Inc (RWI) develops children’s understanding of English and ensures rapid progress in reading decoding, (being able to understand what the ‘sounds’ are and what symbols/letters represent them and then building these letters into words, sentences etc.), reading comprehension, (understanding the meaning of the text) and writing. Don’t worry if your child has experienced a different phonics approach. RWI is very flexible and will take every child from their current knowledge level and quickly move them forward.

Reading

RWI gets the children going and once they’ve mastered the basics a whole world of English written text will open up to them. The children will study fiction, non-fiction texts. Plays, poems and prose. Newspapers, websites and film. If it’s written in English our children will read it for meaning and not forgetting, pleasure. Nothing fires a child’s imagination like a good book. They will develop critical thinking and analytical skills. They will learn to read for a purpose. When we open we will have two libraries with fully qualified library staff containing thousands of English titles covering all ages, interests and genres. Every class has timetable library time where our librarian will teach library skills and help foster the love of words. In Primary, each class will also have a small class library, so children can quickly choose a book and settle to reading. There are also guided reading sessions. A small group of students, all reading the same, ability levelled book, sit with a teacher to read, listen to others read, discuss the text, understand the meaning and develop those thinking skills. These guided reading sessions not only build reading proficiency but also confidence in the readers

Writing

From RWI onwards children are encouraged to write. From simply forming letters correctly to writing a critical analysis of a Shakespearean quotation in older years. Simple letters become words which in turn become sentences, paragraphs and whole texts. As with writing, children will develop skills in all form of the written word; prose, poetry, scripts, investigative articles, the list is seemingly endless. Of course, such use of writing is not limited to a pure English lesson. Children will write reports in science, produce written work in history and geography and so it goes on. The opportunity for children to practice their written skills are great. We will be teaching the children a cursive script. Not only does it make handwriting look neat and presentable, the joining of letter makes such activities as note taking much faster. A great skill to have when in a lecture at university!

Speaking and listening

Often an overlooked skill. We plan for this. Every child will be encouraged to speak in public. Starting with perhaps just a talking partner in class this will grow as their confidence grows, to speaking to the whole school in assemblies and performing in large productions. Younger children will sing songs and recite poems and older children will take-on acting parts in plays or perform their own composition. Our native English speaking teaching staff will model and develop clear pronunciation alongside vocabulary growth and a discerning listening ear. Our English learning environment brings rich experiences to our children. They will become confident, fluent users of English in all forms. They will have the critical thinking and social skills to enable them to successfully achieve in the wider world. They will be ready to be global citizens and leaders, all being essential elements of ‘greatness.’

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Safeguarding
The Huili School Shanghai Community is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of its pupils.