THE TRAIN IS LEAVING THE STATION: IS OUR LANGUAGE CURRICULUM (IN)ADEQUATE FOR EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES?

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TEXTBOOKS VS CURRICULUM: AN ANALYSIS OF WRITING ACTIVITIES IN PRONI PRE-SCHOOL ACTIVITY BOOKS

by Alejandro Velázquez Elizalde

Speaker 1

Abstract

THE TRAIN IS LEAVING THE STATION: IS OUR LANGUAGE CURRICULUM (IN)ADEQUATE FOR EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES?

The digital revolution from the late 20th century and early 21st century has overtaken educational change (OECD 2020). In this context, the main issue for curriculum design, namely, what should be taught to prepare students for the challenges in the years ahead, has almostbecome an unanswerable question (Harari 2018). Moreover, theCOVID-19 pandemic has added a new layer of challenges for educational systems, since this situation has cast new light upon values such as trust in the expertise of scientific communities and multilateralism (Opertti 2021). Thus, a provoking question arises: to what extent language curriculum is adequate to foster those competencies and skills necessary for students to engage successfully in this new reality brought about by existing and emerging technologies?

In order to answer the preceding question, we aim to: a) give an overview of emerging technologies, especially those related to communication, that are bound to bring about new educational changes; b) characterize some key competencies that have been deemed necessary for interacting with these changes; c) establish a comparison with some language curricula around the world to verify its readiness for these changes; and d) outline some ideas that could be useful for language curriculum designers in order to close the gap between technology and education.

TEXTBOOKS VS CURRICULUM: AN ANALYSIS OF WRITING ACTIVITIES IN PRONI PRE-SCHOOL ACTIVITY BOOKS

Since 2009, when Englishbecame a compulsory subject in the Mexican national curriculum, and in the latest curricular reform, in 2017, one of the main issues has been the comprehension of its pedagogical approach. While “a theoretically sophisticated approach to early second/foreign language teaching”, (Ramírez-Romero& Sayer, 2016:13), it has been criticized on grounds such as its difficulty and lack of differences regarding L1 teaching. This has impacted stakeholders such as publishers, whose books are subject to aprocess implemented by the Secretariat of Public Education (SEP), for receiving approval as textbooks in public schools. Interaction between textbooks and curriculum becomes, then, a contentious issue, since the former tend tobe more highly regarded by teachers, relegating the latter to a secondary position, and rendering moot any benefit offered by the curriculum (Ramírez Romero, Pamplón Irigoyen & Cota Grijalva, 2012).Understanding this situation is of utmost importance for all school levels, but it is even of greater urgency in pre-school,for the ulterior impact outdated teaching practices may have in the learners’ literacy process.

In this presentation, we offer an analysis of writing activities across Activity books aimed to 3rd grade preschoolers in Mexican public schools in which the National Program for English Language (in Spanish, PRONI) is implemented. This aims to examine the extent to which the activities proposed therein are aligned to or differ from those expected by the curricular approach. This will help to understand the kind of changes in classroom practices and educational materials needed for having a best practice approach in English language teaching in Mexican public pre-schools.




About the author

Alejandro Velázquez Elizalde

Alejandro Velázquez Elizalde. Ph. D. in Educational Research (CINVESTAV-IPN), M. A. in Spanish Linguistics, B. A. in Spanish Literature and Language (UNAM). Currently, Deputy Director at the Directorate for Assessment and Distribution (DGME, SEB, Secretariat of Public Education). From April 2020 to June 2021, he was academic coordinator in the national strategy Aprende en casa, leading the team that developed the contents for First Language. Spanish, addressed to junior high school students. He also was in charge of the TV programs developed for the strategy Verano Divertido, on the topic Women in Science, Arts, Decision-taking and Sport, broadcast between June and July 2020.

He worked as advisor for the General Directorate of Curricular Development of the SEP, where he was co-author of the English curricular documents in 2011 and later co-author of English as a Foreign Language curriculum in 2017, for Basic Education. He was also consultant for the University of Cambridge, as part of his activities, he was co-author of the English curriculum for Teaching Training Schools (Normales), as part of the 2018 Curriculum reform.

He was LecturerinEnglish Grammar and Contrastive Grammar (English/Spanish), in the Department of Translation and Interpretation of the National School of Languages, Linguistics and Translation (former CELE), UNAM, between 2010 and 2019; as well as Lecturer inSpanish, for the undergraduate program in Spanish Language and Literature at the School of Philosophy and Literature(UNAM). In addition to this, he participated as the technical reviewer of the curriculum for the undergraduate programin Translation at the ENALLT-UNAM. He was co-author of Foreign Language Grammar Syllabus for the aforementioned undergraduateprogram.

He has participated in many national and international conferences with works on literature, linguistics and education. Also, he has several publications in those same areas in various peer-review publications, the most recent is “Morirá es que de se va a morir. Justificacionesinfantilessobre el significado de la morfología verbal”, soon to appear in the collective workÁmbitosmorfológicos, published by the Institute of Philological Research, UNAM.