Pedagogy and Assessment of English in the Primary Classroom: Language Awareness and the Teaching of the Four Skills

ECTS Value: 2 ECTS

Contact Hours: 10

Self Study Hours: 24

Assessment Hours: 16


Overall Objectives and Outcomes

This module will introduce participants to the methodologies and pedagogies of teaching English to young learners. Through discussions, interactive activities and practical readings, participants will explore various approaches for teaching English which are both effective and engaging.


In this module, participants will be given the opportunity to examine and analyse second language acquisition theories for young ESL learners together with their classroom application.  They will also be introduced to ELT resources and activities, whilst being given the necessary tools and skills required for planning and evaluating Schemes of Work and Lesson Plans.   Participants will be introduced to techniques for teaching new vocabulary and grammar that encourage student participation.  A variety of approaches to the teaching of the four skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) which develop and strengthen students’ English language abilities in a meaningful context will be explored.


Participants will also be encouraged to adopt a critical approach to the teaching of English as a second language at primary school level whilst reflecting upon their own pedagogical and identity engagement.  Student teachers will have the opportunity to reflect and critically analyse their own language awareness together with perceptions about language learning and teaching within Malta’s bilingual situation.   This module will also create awareness about the importance of adapting instruction for diverse students in bilingual and multilingual classrooms, and how plurilingual practices can be effective pedagogical tools in ways which strengthen language practices.

 By the end of this programme, participants should be able to:


a. Support learners’ the development of the four skills in English through appropriate reading, writing and spelling strategies;

b. Objectively interpret learners’ strengths and needs in order to apply appropriate teaching intervention strategies;

c. Develop a research-based approach to embed materials across a literary-rich environment;

d. Creatively develop classrooms that allow for increased interaction with print and literacy learning for learners in the primary sector; 

e. Provide children with authentic and functional literacy resources to support them when applying English language skills in context;

f. Promote and embrace the concept of diversity where all student are given multiple opportunities to gain the necessary skills to reach their full potential.


a. Detail important aspects of language teaching with particular emphasis on the four skills and language development theories such as Vygotsky, Piaget, Chomsky and Skinner;

b. Outline a range of aspects of systematic phonics teaching linked to current research on early reading and phonics;

c. Outline the key components of several reading and writing strategies to support children’s language development including the developmental stages of reading and writing, modelled and shared reading and writing, guided reading and writing, and independent reading and writing.;

d. Identify the principles of second language learning and analyse their application within local educational settings including main theories of second language acquisition (such as nativist and behaviourist theories), bilingual language acquisition, language mixing and language transfer;

e. Identify plurilingual practices and how these may be implemented within the primary classroom including the judicious use of flexible language pedagogies with bilingual and multilingual students such as codeswitching and translanguaging;

f. Determine appropriate authentic and functional literacy resources and methods of how these can facilitate language development through visual, audio, gestural, tactile and kinaesthetic means;

g. Identify formative and summative assessment practices in order to evaluate learners’ performance and support them with explicit intervention when necessary;

h. Explore how bilingual teachers’ identities and language backgrounds with particular focus on personal attitudes, believes and perceptions related to language use and proficiency may impact their pedagogical practices.


a. Critically apply a systematic teaching programme for the teaching of four skills in the English Language;

b. Design appropriate activities and resources that are explicit to specific English language skills;

c. Create sound literacy rich environments where a love for language is transmitted through interest-based and fun learning opportunities;

d. Make use of classic literature, fairy tales, nursery rhymes and songs to foster language development;

e. Utilise multimodal texts, combining both written and spoken language to cultivate learning development through visual, audio, gestural, tactile and kinaesthetic means;

f. Create independent and directed activities which enhance learners’ understanding of print and word, linguistic and phonemic awareness, and vocabulary development. 


Assessment Methods

This module will be assessed through: Practical Assignment Tasks and Write-up.

Suggested Readings

Core Reading List
  1. Baker, C., & Wright, W. E. (2017). Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
  2. Genesee, F. (2010). Dual language development in preschool children. Young English language learners: Current research and emerging directions for practice and policy, 59-79.
  3. Isbell, R., Sobol, J., Lindauer, L., & Lowrance, A. (2004). The effects of storytelling and story reading on the oral language complexity and story comprehension of young children. Early childhood education journal32(3), 157-163.
  4. Jolliffe, W., Waugh, D., & Gill, A. (2019). Teaching systematic synthetic phonics in primary schools. London: Sage/Learning Matters.
  5. Logan, J. A., Justice, L. M., Yumus, M., & Chaparro-Moreno, L. J. (2019). When children are not read to at home: The million word gap. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics40(5), 383-386.
  6. Medwell, J., Wray, D., Minns, H., Griffiths, V., Coates, E., & Coates, L. (2017). Primary English: teaching theory and practice. Learning Matters.
  7. Micallef Cann, S., & Spiteri, D. (2014). Through their eyes and with their words: an exploration of the immigrant students in Malta and their perceptions of Malta’s two official languages. Malta Review of Educational Research, 8(1), 1-32.
  8. Mohr, K. A. (2017). Using modelled writing to support English-only and English-learner second-grade students. The Journal of Educational Research110(6), 619-633.
  9. Panzavecchia, M., & Little, S. (2020). The Language of Learning: Maltese teachers’ views on bilingual and multilingual primary classrooms. E-JournALL, EuroAmerican Journal of Applied Linguistics and Languages, 7(1), 108-123
  10. Waugh, D., Warner, C., & Waugh, R. (2019). Teaching grammar, punctuation and spelling in primary schools. London: Sage/Learning Matters.
Skip to content