The purpose of this chapter is to relate the general principles discussed elsewhere in the book to the specific needs of the secondary school. In part, this means relating principles to the adolescent language learner’s needs, and in part to the administrative constraints imposed by educational systems at secondary level.
Broadly, English is likely to be taught in three types of situation at secondary level. The teacher may be dealing with a class of students who are learning English solely because the school system demands it, with anything between one and five periods a week to contend with, and very little strong motivation. Alternatively, students may be quite strongly motivated in a foreign language situation, perhaps because they see themselves as specialists in English, or because they anticipate having to use it for university level work, or because there is an obvious role for English to play in the community outside school. Usually with classes of this kind the teacher has quite a number of periods, between three and eight, say, to use every week. Finally, there is the situation in which English is a medium for all or part of the instruction in the school. In circumstances like this the teacher is obviously able to develop more advanced work than in the other two situations. In classroom management and organisation the same principles apply to all three types of situation, but the appropriate goals for each course will vary according to its type.