Smart Planetis a method for teaching English designed for Compulsory Secondary Education (ESO – Educación Secundaria Obligatoria), achieving the objectives established by the curriculum for and preparing students for the Cambridge Preliminary English Test (PET). Bearing these objectives in mind, it is important to underline the practical nature of this method, allowing students to complete 1 this academic stage having learned enough to be able to take an internationally recognised exam previous to the First Certificate. In this way, the method meets a double objective: for one thing, giving students training about indispensable and practical strategies, skills and abilities for learning a foreign language, and, for another, allowing them to study for an internationally accepted exam, PET. Bearing in mind the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages(CEFR), the method's objective is that students finish ESO with almost B1 standard language competence and, specifically, Smart Planet 2 has been drawn up to cover A1+ up to A2 level.
Smart Planetis designed to cover both students' and teachers' needs in a complete, dynamic, entertaining and rigorous fashion. The aim is not just to consolidate already acquired knowledge but also to be aware of it practical use. In the same way, the method has been written in such a way that students can understand and accept the fact that learning a second language, in this case English, is a continual process to be carried out over time, which is one of CEFR's basic principles. In addition, Smart Planethelps students to prepare each exam strategy gradually and in depth, which allows them to develop a full, rigorous view of the linguistic characteristics of English by using the four skills.
The teaching approach guarantees learning, the revision and consolidation of different aspects of oral and written language using carefully prepared material which, for example, encourages an approach to grammar based on deduction. As mentioned above, this method provides teachers with the material they need to help and direct students to obtain a consolidated intermediate level in line with terms established by CEFR. In order to do this in a dynamic, attractive way, the topics which the units are based around have been carefully chosen to be interesting for the students, connected with their surroundings and/or real life. Carefully prepared, attractive presentation, combined with the use of strategies, activities and various different approaches, contributes towards students' motivation.
Thanks to the method's methodological guidance, students will study the curricular contents in a simple, effective and gradual way, following a clear structure and a variety of activities which will consolidate practical as well as theoretical knowledge. The four skill are developed in this method in such a way that students can understand (using the deductive approach already mentioned) and assimilate contents not only to study for PETbut also to use English in a practical way in real situations.
Linking contents and activities with key competences.
Choosing topics carefully in order to motivate students and, at the same time, make learning meaningful for them.
Providing many opportunities for paying attention to diversity.
A natural way to use what is learned about the four language skills.
Encouraging students to be able to work by themselves.
Emphasis on the deductive method as a mechanism for students' learning and assimilating grammar contents.
Making extensive, well programmed use of videos as a teaching resource.
Special attention to Spanish speakers' typical mistakes when learning English.
There are nine units in Smart Planet, each of them centred around topics which, as mentioned above, help to motivate students thanks to their current relevance, because they are connected with students' interests or because they deal with daily life and, as such, are relevant. Specially attention is paid to revision as a learning strategy. To start with, students revise contents which they have learned in the previous Starter Units. There is also a Review section at the end of each unit. Finally, there is a Unit Review… every three units whose objective is to reinforce the objectives studied in those units. There is also a Get it right! section every three units. These deal with the typical mistakes which Spanish-speaking learners of English as a second language make and which have been examined during these units.
Each unit includes specific sections for developing each of the language skills. There are also two grammar sections: Grammar 1 and Grammar 2, whose contents are the theoretical basis for the method and make it easier to revise the Grammar Reference at the end of the book.
Smart Planetis designed to make it possible to incorporate new grammar concepts gradually, increase vocabulary and consolidate better language abilities. The method also makes sure that learning is meaningful, which means that students are motivated by seeing how important English is and, consequently, how important learning it is, bearing in mind both personal factors (full personal development, as described by the legislation) and work-related factors (for example, the key competence "Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship": see below).
As we have said, this method's objectives are to cover students' real, objective needs in terms of CEFR parameters. The objective is to stimulate continual, practical learning which also stimulated students (at the current time and for the continual learning involved in acquiring a second language). This method also helps students to study for PET, as we have said, an internationally recognised exam which is preliminary to Cambridge First Certificate.