Australians Brendan Sparks and Darran Daido are men with a mission to make teaching English more effective and learning it result oriented. How can two Aussie blokes rewrite the rules of the world’s second oldest profession? Well it starts with the cards…
Cards you may ask? What about the books? Well basically there are no books! They have developed a systemized approach that involves an entire lesson which is clearly presented on one piece of paper. The A3 laminated cards are organized into a series of 10 units per year from age 4 to 11.
But that is simply format. The real magic is that they have built lessons that can be reviewed easily by both the student, and their parents. The progress made is recorded in a specially designed “passport” that charts the journey taken towards a rounded and flexible understanding of the vocabulary and grammar of the English language.
The end result of their work is the Eco Learning System, a complete EFL and ESL curriculum for English language schools teaching young students.
Anyone who has taught English is more than familiar with the “curriculum” that seems to go nowhere, material that is not only never reviewed but forgotten by everyone in the room (including the teacher). Both existing schools and those who are starting up their very first classroom have increasingly been drawn to Eco’s methods and materials which encourage review of what has been taught and finding successful ways to motivate students and have them wanting to come to class.
If you are an English teacher, planning to start your own school or hoping to encourage the one you are working for to update their materials then consider the following:
Eco’s “Rainbow Pack” is not a textbook. Instead, the core curriculum of their “Rainbow Pack” consists of engaging A3 laminated cards depicting colorful scenes which are the setting for the material being taught. The other side is divided up into four segments:
1) A list of ten words related to things happening in the picture side of the card (part of the “100 Word Challenge”)
2) Q&A related to the picture and student.
3) Age appropriate phonics that are introduced with letters, sounds, pictures and short stories.
4) “Total Physical Response” or (TPR), where students learn through actions and become physically involved in the lesson. The older students learn through chants and are exposed to opposites, word associations, idioms and phrases.
In an actual lesson situation, the 100 Word Challenge card activities are followed by students taking out their own folder and completing a worksheet, then most importantly are tested on 1 of the 4 sections.
This approach makes tracking students’ progress and keeping their parents in the loop a simple task – teachers and parents can follow students’ progress over time, with a simple glance at their “Passport”. Eco’s system focuses on what students are actually learning and achieving, keeping them motivated, as opposed to the ‘turn and burn’ textbook system – which does not.
Basically their integrated and consistent approach sets their system far apart. Anyone who has done it knows that the biggest headache to starting a new school, or invigorating an existing one is coming up with a curriculum that works. Why spend hours trawling for material on the internet when Brendan and Darran have, through their own experience teaching for over 12 years, come up with a comprehensive system that is a breeze for teachers, staff, students and parents.
If you would like to know more about Eco Learning Systems’ Curriculum, please request a Sample Pack or simply visit www.ecolearningsystems.com. Brendan and Darran are also more than happy to visit your school and let you experience it firsthand.