Primary text books in the Basque Country reflect new procedures for learning Spanish very well

December 02, 2009

This research shows how the Articles laid down in the Primary Education curriculum reflect the framework of the Ley de Ordenación General del Sistema Educativo (LOGSE) for the Spanish language in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country (C.A.P.V.) and thus verifies that the targets of the communicative approach present in these Articles are also reflected in this teaching material.

The author of the thesis is Ms Carmen Camps Pemán and her work is entitled The communicative approach in Spanish Language text books at Primary School. Analysis of material used in the C.A.P.V.

The concrete aim of this study was to analyse the Spanish Language text books used in the second and third year in Primary School Education in the latest period of operation (06/07 academic year) of the LOGSE (Constitutional Legislation on Education) in the C.A.P.V.

It should be taken into account that the subject area curriculum of the language, as laid down in the official provisions within the remit of the LOGSE, underwent considerable changes compared to the previous educational legislation. Targets involving a communicative focus were incorporated, which meant a new concept in the teaching and learning of the language. This implied that certain activities still applied in Primary classrooms, such as memorising grammatical paradigms or dictation as methods for the evaluation of orthography, were substituted by task and project work involving communication-orientated speaking and writing, as in real life. It is in carrying out these tasks when more attention is paid to the use of a more formal oral language, to the development of strategies of reading comprehension, and to the different moments of the processes in the composition of written texts.

Spanish Language text books

The research analysed various educational material produced in the latest period of operation of the LOGSE. Once this material was analysed, Ms Camps put forward the hypothesis that not all the material would clearly reflect the communicative proposals or protocols. As regards this, Ms Camps confirmed what she had expected, given that not all the text books incorporated these communicative targets of LOGSE.

It was clearly shown that these communicative targets are well reflected in the C.A.P.V. school texts and other material, and the basic proposals of the texts are directly related to the principles of these communicative approaches. According to Ms Camps, the school materials produced in the C.A.P.V., being in harmony with the protocols laid down by the Department of Education of the Basque Government, prove to be highly communicative.

The material published in and for the C.A.P.V. by Elkar and Erein incorporate these communicative proposals in which texts from various situations of common use are taken into consideration. In this way the communicative needs and interests of pupils are considered and the development of communicative skills contributed to.

With regards to Plural, from Santillana publishers, it was observed that, despite being a text presented as being suitable in a bilingual educational context, it cannot be said that it clearly adopts a communicative focus, given that the proposal on reflection about the language is not linked to communicative use of the same.

Entre Amigos (Amongst Friends) presents less features than Plural as regards the communicative approach. According to Ms Camps, interaction is more poorly attended to and also the proposals for oral production are totally incongruent with the LOGSE communicative targets.

Finally, in Deja huella (Leave Tracks), it appears to totally ignore the aims of what is laid down in the curriculum.

Ms Camps concluded, on the one hand, that the books of the C.A.P.V. are suitable for the Basque curriculum and coherent with the concept of the teaching of the language common to all languages on the curriculum; on the other hand, the material conceived for use in a bilingual educational context (Plural), although the desired level of suitability is not present, it comes near to the parameters of the C.A.P.V. texts more than others

It can also be concluded from this study that, although many and varied factors bear on drawing up a school text, more specific curriculum protocols have given rise to more coherent and more clearly defined materials in terms of a communicative educational option.
-end-
Information about the author

Carmen Camps Pemán is a doctor in Philosophy and Educational Sciences (Psychology Section). The leader of the thesis was Ms Elisabet Areizaga Orube, from the Department of Education of Language and Literature at the School of Education of the UPV/EHU. She is currently working as a senior lecturer at the School of Education.

Elhuyar Fundazioa

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