By Nabila Boukri : curriculum and textbook writer, inspector of English and teacher trainer
In Algeria, we consider English as a foreign language (EFL) unlike French, which is considered as a second language. While French is taught in primary schools, English is rather taught in middle ones.
As far as the middle school is concerned, since their first year middle school, the learners study EFL three times a week with a specialized teacher in EFL. They take two tests and one exam each trimester.
As a matter of fact, the new English curriculum fully agrees with the official Algerian educational regulations. The four years of the middle school are considered important foundation years for the development of the child intellectually, emotionally, physically and socially. The curricula of those years will help them gradually become proficient in all levels of school education and consequently continue learning even afterwards.
Teaching English in Algeria should follow the below-mentioned objectives :
- Helping our society to live in harmony with novelty by providing the learner with some linguistic tools that are essential for their efficient communication;
- Endorsing national and common values;
- Developing critical thinking, tolerance and worldliness;
- Contributing to the defining of a good citizen who must be aware of the changes and challenges of today and tomorrow;
- And then giving every learner the opportunity to have access to science, technology and world culture while avoiding the dangers of acculturation (Algerian Curriculum, p. 4).
The Algerian learner should attain some communicative competence, which will enable them to interconnect efficiently. The teacher should by no means neglect any of the four linguistic skills. Since their first year, the very teacher train their learners on listening and speaking, including articulating all the different English phonemes.
They also expose their learners to written texts, in which they explore different functions and different linguistic forms, which they should reproduce later. The learners will become responsible for their own learning in order to manage how to learn on their own (Benadla, 2013).
As far as the English teaching-learning methods are concerned, we as teachers of EFL have shifted from a paradigm of accumulation and transmission of linguistic knowledge and ideas to a paradigm of interaction and integration, all within a social constructivist view of learning. In fact, focusing on the learner will enable them to be actively engaged in deeper cognition, acquisition of knowledge and development of a number of competencies.
The teachers of English are supplied with official course-books; they translate faithfully the principles of the curriculum. Each book is accompanied with a teacher’s guide and a CD. The aim of the guide is to help the teachers prepare their lessons and the empirical use of the course-book. The CD contains the listening scripts that the teacher will work with. It also contains a wide list of the different websites, which contain extra material and supports that might help the teachers.
All the Algerian schools, whether the state or the private ones, had been closed since March, 12th till November, 4th 2020. The Ministry of National Education has charged many teachers to record audio and video lessons and even online lessons to be able to finish the syllabus.Yet, some lessons are left behind due to some circumstances.
Hybrid-learning is considered as one of the keys to facilitate the teaching/learning process; however, many drawbacks have been noticed (lack of parents help, slow internet connection, some learners don’t have computers or Facebook accounts, and others don’t use other platforms such as google meet and zoom). It is most effective when it occurs before, during and after class.
When planned well, hybrid-learning tools combine the best aspects of in-person and online learning while making education more attainable for many learners. In order to be successful, the elements of your hybrid course need to be personalized to the learning format, whether it be in-person or online.