FUNDAMENTAL TEACHING PRINCIPLES

– The arrangement in school of a wide space developed for alphabetization that will resemble the environment in which the child lives.

– The elaboration of institutional projects that promote significant acts of reading and writing and that also meet children’s various interests and skills.

– Starting from the children’s previous knowledge for initiating the process of teaching and learning, also considering the widespread nature of their knowledge.

– Respecting the differences between students and being aware of their developmental processes. “A didactic plan that takes into account the children’s developmental processes doesn’t involve the principle of laissez-faire, and appreciating their thoughts doesn’t mean that there’s no need to plan, intervene and evaluate.”

– Scaffolding the process of teaching and learning, by focusing on the children who encounter the biggest problems, but without neglecting the rest.

– Making interventions that stimulate learning and interaction between children.

– Encouraging children’s interest towards the written text.

– Creating contextualized situations.

– Ensuring a permanent connection between reading and writing.

– Offering each child the opportunity to choose the materials and make recommendations about them, which stimulates the children’s development of autonomous criteria of selection.

All these situations must include collective systematization. However, didactic studies have revealed the impossibility to reproduce in the school environment the exact reading and writing conditions that students encounter outside school: students read and learn in order to attain certain aims, but at the same time they read to improve their reading and write to improve their writing. This is why the situations created at school do not always match those encountered in other social contexts; therefore, it is necessary to accept that in some cases, the situations staged in school may not happen outside of it, and their only purpose is to provide a way to communicate the children certain information (systematization activities).

To conclude, we quote Graciela Montes’s words: “The issue of reading must not be raised in connection with childhood, but rather with the society and its environment. We should determine the exact place of reading in the life of people today. (…) A society of readers is difficult to tame and control. Moreover, as dictatorships have always sensed, a critical reader is a dangerous thing. A book in the hands of such a reader (…) can make a significant change. Does this society want to be changed? Does it want to have dissatisfied, nitpicking, reflective critics? Does it really want people who think?  Does it want readers, or it only needs people that purchase books?…”

GUIDE ON HOW TO DESIGN AN ESSAY

The essay is a text written as a prose that describes, analyzes or comments with a certain depth on a historical, scientific, literary or political subject, among others. It shows the following characteristics:

– Liberty: this characteristic is reflected not only in the choice of the subject, but also in the structure of the essay.

– Shortness: since it’s only one subject, the essay tends to be brief.

-Personal interpretation: usually, the essay contains the author’s subjective nature, and the way in which he treats the subject reflects his personal critical judgment.

– Pleasant style: the presentation of a subject should be made in a pleasant, active and attractive way for the reader.

 

 

TYPES OF ESSAYS

According to the author’s communicative intentions, essays can be classified as expository, argumentative, critical and poetic.

The expository essay, as its name says, exposes ideas on a subject, presenting information around it and putting into context this information along with the author’s interpretation and his interesting personal thoughts about the subject matter.

The argumentative essay defends a thesis with arguments that can be based on citations or references, concrete data from research, history, politics or other epistemological bases.

The critical essay describes or analyzes a fact, event, work or situation, issuing a judgment.

The poetic essay expresses the author’s sensitivity, using literary language.

What characterizes an essay is that its interpretation can be: psycholinguistic, with elements like: analysis, hierarchy, macro-propositional and semantic models. And, sociolinguistic elements such as: author (source and filters), and text (linguistic keys, fingerprints and superstructure).

EVALUATION

  • Mention the main characteristics of an essay.
  • Write down the different types of essays and explain each one.
  • Why is it said that the essay is a type of argumentative text? Explain.
  • Mention the way in which the essay is structured, according to the explanation given in class by your teacher.
  • Write a critical essay about the image that alludes to deception and time.

How the process of alphabetization has changed in time

Before the current didactic practice took shape, there were four methods through which people were alphabetized: the alphabetic, phonetic, syllabic and psycho-phonetic methods.

  • The alphabetic method: It was the first method that was used to teach reading.

First, the capital letters, then the small letters were taught, in alphabetical order, each with its correspondent name.

Example:

[es] – S

[em] – M

Then, meaningless combinations of two letters were practiced (like “ba”, “be”, “bi” etc.), followed by combinations of three, four or five letters.

The next step was to make more complex combinations: to use syllables in order to form words, and words to build short sentences.

This method of learning was in itself a process of repetition and memorization.

“Letters were associated with images of objects that began with the letter that had to be taught. This method was abandoned because it was considered inefficient, and there were no rational or scientific arguments that justified it.”

  • The phonetic method: This method, unlike the previous one, taught letters by associating them with their corresponding sound.

First, the sound was taught (the phoneme), then the symbol (the grapheme); vowels were taught first, then consonants, without a fixed order, and then the sounds were combined together.

Example:

ma me mi mo m

pa pe pi po pu

Once the sounds were learnt, letters were combined together to form syllables, then words, and finally sentences.

  • The syllabic method: This method would start just like the previous one, by teaching the sound and form of vowels, but, in contrast to the phonetic method, it didn’t teach the sound of consonants. It skipped directly to teaching the form and sound of syllables, that were associated with an image of an object that began with that syllable.

Example: ki! (kitten)

  • The psycho-phonetic method: It consists in comparing the syllables from different words and using them in order to build new words.

Example:

Butter: bu-tter

Narrow: na-rrow

Using the syllables “bu” and “rrow” we obtain burrow.

This method was not efficient because not all monosyllabic units could be combined in words, like in the example above.

All these methods can be observed in the examples included in the annex at the end of the document, (before the conclusion).