The Our World series reflects key concepts and principles of English language teaching and learning.
- Students learn through a process of constructing meaning. They are active learners who try to make sense of their world through interaction in personal, social, and academic contexts. As they do, they gradually modify their understanding of how both the world and language work.
- Activities designed for young learners must provide multiple opportunities for understanding and construction of meaning at a level appropriate to the emotional and intellectual stages of the students’ development.
- Students learn effectively when they are challenged just one step beyond their current stages of cognitive and language development. They most often need support from a knowledgeable person at this time to successfully understand and incorporate new information.
- Goal-oriented learning contributes to young learners’ success. In addition to the larger goals of educating children to be responsible global citizens in the 21st century and to be knowledgeable and caring stewards of our planet, providing explicit language learning goals helps learners understand the purpose of the activities they carry out. Young learners then have the opportunity to compare their outcomes to the original goals, important in judging their own progress.
- Learning about the world through theme-based teaching benefits young learners, as different topics provide informational structure and a meaningful basis for exploration through a variety of language learning tasks. Learning is enriched through activities that expand knowledge of the world and its cultures, people, and places.
- Addressing the needs of the whole child in the language class includes attention to learning styles, learning strategies, critical thinking skills, 21st century skills, and universal cultural values.
- In order to accurately evaluate progress, assessment of young learners must go beyond traditional paper-and-pencil tests. Multiple opportunities for concept checking and performance assessment provide different ways to determine students’ depth of learning. Young learners also benefit from peer- and self-assessment.