Evaluate a range of ways to embed elements of Functional Skills in your specialist area. Functional skills are new qualifications developed to allow people to conduct themselves in a confident and independent manner in life. They are practical skills in literacy, numeracy and information communication technology that provide essential knowledge and understanding. The language courses - in my case Italian - are aimed at widening the knowledge of different people cultures and their ways of expression within community groups and as such embedding functional skills helps to develop intelligence, attitude and behavior in each individual.
These skills allow individuals to make a positive contribution to the community in which they live and work by laying the foundations for development in any further education or training. The language courses incorporate literacy skills through the introduction of the grammar. The learners need to understand grammar well enough to pick out the right words when they are required to do a translation. According to my experience it is a very proficient exercise to pick an article from a magazine or a newspaper and ask each learner to read it out loud and have it translated into the target language.
In this way the principles of knowledge, comprehension and application are put into practice. Another useful exercise can be done by asking the learner to change the verbs in the article from simple present to simple past or to future tense and have them translated into the target language. The language courses also embed some mathematical concepts. An example could be by teaching numbers with dice and make the learners say the sums once the dice are thrown or write on the whiteboard some arithmetical expressions including addition, subtraction, division, multiplication (e. g. 0 + 2 : 6 x 5 ) and ask the learner to make the calculation. Learners are expected to do some homework on the subjects taught and discussed in class. The homework form containing questions, quizzes, and sentences with gaps to be filled is emailed to each of them. This will be completed in computerised format and in this way the functional skill of information and communication technology is incorporated. Another way to embed ICT skills in the session is encouraging the learner to do a research using the internet about a cultural event or a geographic area of the country of interest.
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Things that could develop my skills in embedding Functional Skills in my teaching are the use of some websites – such as BBC Languages and Linguascope in my case – which could provide some new learning activities that can be introduced in class; use of DVDs to record some TV programs like news, cultural events and documentaries in the target language which could provide new subjects for communicaton and listening in class ; set activities that require students to check for their own and each other’s learning errors and check for these myself .
This can be fulfilled with active learning methods and enjoyable tasks like cards, role play, dice that create more participation , concentration and more cognitive engagement. Functional Skills – an Introduction to Functional Skills - 20 August 2008 (online) http://www. qca. org. uk/qca_6062. aspx G. Petty (2004) Teaching today. Nelson Thornes Ltd, Cheltenham
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