English has become the most spoken language because it is used, as an international “lingua franca”. The Ministry of Education (MEN) published in 2006 the document “Estándares básicos de competencias en lenguas extranjeras: Inglés”. It promotes the learning and the usage of English inside the Colombian schools. Having this in mind, we will discuss if this proposal has been effective. Taking into account aspects such as the student’s realities, socio-economic strata, and teachers’ methodologies. Giving a developed perspective about how it has been developed.
One ideal of the Standards is that English is a universal language, which offers benefits with its learning (MEN, 2006). Every year countries as Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom put on scene programs in order to get Colombian youth for studying and working there. The professor Perez said something like the thing studying English is that today we can practice it around the world and it is easy to travel, to study and to work abroad just speaking English. Furthermore, speaking English develops many skills which not only are reflected in the Spanish language like being conscious about some structures of it but also that can be used in that language exclusively like the use of certain expressions such as look and see. Consequently, the learning and the usage of English creates and develops skills that can be used in this age which offers the possibility of traveling and living in any part of the world. This sounds very well; but does it work in the practice?
Standards proposes a bilingual country with a higher level of proficiency in English but, it is difficult in Colombia where we have places where people cannot study not only English but Spanish. In Bogotá, there are neighborhoods where children are involved in violent situations and people who are in gangs and drugs (a hard environment). In those cases they are more interested on surviving and working than in learning English (Gil, 2013). Not only in Bogotá is the situation hard but also in the rest of the country. It is important to mention that there are students who are not interested in their study, people who do not have government’s coverage, and people who neither study English nor Spanish. As a conclusion, Standards does not take into account the different population of the country and the environment where they live, leaving its aim of helping Colombian education; in fact, it sounds like a program that idealizes.
There is a pit between teachers’ methodologies and what does Basic Standards propose. Reading the document we realize that it promotes a uniform English teaching method. When we go inside classrooms it differs. Because there is difficult that all the Colombian teachers follow the same class plan, and it is harder to make it effective in the entire national environment. For example, the current method that is necessary to improve the school problems could be solved by PPA (Giraldo, 2013) but, teachers have not realized it. Besides, teachers are not prepared for the scale that this system proposes (MEN, 2006). For instance, teachers do not separate children according to their level of English proficiency or the same teachers are promoted having a low level of the same category. Then, this proposal was not though taking into account the situation of English teaching in Colombia.
As a conclusion, we can state that Standards is not effective in order to solve the demands of English language in Colombia. Government’s proposal could work with a little group of students but it is not enough to accomplish with national needs. We do not need a proposal which promote a massive thought but a person who has the ability of build knowledge by his own, taking into account the environment, the resources of the country, and what do we really should learn.
Gil, Luis Alejandro. 2013. Personal communication. Institución Educativa Distrital Juana Escobar.
Giraldo, Olbers. 2013. El pedagogo de lenguas. Universidad Pedagógica Nacional.
Ministry of Education (MEN). 2006. Estándares básicos de competencias en lenguas extranjeras: Inglés. Ministerio de Educación Nacional, Colombia.
Ministry of Education (MEN). 2009. Lineamientos curriculares de lengua castellana. Ministerio de Educación Nacional.
Perez, Doraluz. 2011. Lengua y cultura anglófonas I. Universidad Pedagógica Nacional.
Bustamente Zamudio, Guillermo. 2006 Sobre los estándares para educar en Colombia In: Pedagogía y Saberes Magazine. Facultad de Educación. Universidad Pedagógica Nacional.