Clifford School’s Western English language curriculum for grades 7- 12 is designed to meet our students’ academic, social, and cultural needs in the English language. This curriculum is aligned with Clifford’s Chinese English language curriculum and the Clifford School Mission Statement. Care has been taken to conform also to the China Ministry of Education’s vision for English language instruction within Chinese schools.
Using the Four Strands structural model of instruction and selected content resources of the Core
Knowledge Sequence, this curriculum represents a research-based, world-class innovation in the integration of English language learning and content instruction.
The Four Strands
The Four Strands model of language instruction is a model developed by Paul Nation. Mr. Nation was a
Professor in Applied Linguistics at the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies (LALS) at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand (retired). He supervised MA and PhD research on vocabulary, and is still recognized as a world leader
in the field of applied linguistics.
The Four Strands model is a framework for instruction based on the latest research on language acquisition. “Opportunities for learning language can be usefully divided into four strands: meaning-focused input, meaning-focused output, language-focused learning and fluency development. These are called strands because they can be seen as long continuous sets of learning conditions that run through the whole language course.”
(Nation, I.S.P. (2007) The four strands. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching 1, 1: 1-12.)
The Core Knowledge Sequence
The Core Knowledge Sequence is a detailed outline of specific content and skills to be taught in language arts, history, geography, mathematics, science, and the fine arts. As the core of a school’s curriculum, it is intended to provide a coherent, content specific foundation of learning, while allowing flexibility to meet local needs.
The Sequence represents an effort to describe and state the specific core of shared knowledge that all children should learn in U.S. schools, and that speakers and writers assume their audience knows. The Core Knowledge Sequence is a guide to coherent content from grade to grade, designed to encourage cumulative academic progress as children build their knowledge and skills from one year to the next. (From, The Core Knowledge Sequence, 2010. The Core Knowledge Foundation)
Language Proficiency Standards, WIDA
This curriculum uses the standards of English language proficiency developed by WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment, a consortium of 25 states housed at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin, USA) and adopted by TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc., a global education association).
The Oxford Bookworms Reading Program
The Oxford Bookworms series is graded at seven language stages from beginner (Starter) to advanced (Level 6). Vocabulary and structure are carefully controlled. Equal care is given to grammar, the balance of given and new information, and style. The books levels are matched to develop reading strategies of the learner. The student goals are one book every two weeks for grades 7 and 8 and one book every four weeks for grades 9 and High School. Once students have read five books from their level, they can take the next level test. A passing grade of at least 80% allows the students to continue to the next level or, if lower than 80%, students can read three more books from their level before testing again. The tests do not assess reading comprehension but grammatical elements such as verb tenses, prepositions, articles, etc. which the students learn through their reading.
The secondary bilingual program continues to be focused on English as a foreign language (EFL) prioritizing vocabulary instruction and using the story of Western civilization as the text for language instruction. The disciplines of Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science and the domains of listening, speaking, reading and writing remain intact.