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Chapter 1.


The first step in research is to find a problem, describe and delimitate it. In this chapter it is possible to find also the context in which this research is done, so reader can locate the initial teaching situation to comprehend the way this pedagogical proposal can help.

Problem contextualization

Toms Carrasquilla I.E.D. is a public school located in Barrios Unidos locality, in Bogot. Students who attend it come from this locality as well as Suba and Engativ. Its P.E.I. Institutional Educative Project- is based on communication, technology and quality of life, so the whole curriculum is planned having those three aspects in mind. Nevertheless, students learn reading and writing using old methodologies (phonics-based methods) and they are taught English as soon as there is any practice teacher available (many times after second or third grade). The school does not as much technological equipment as they are supposed to use it in the classroom. In this sense, there is a contradiction between documents and acts.

At the same time, as in many public schools, in Toms Carrasquilla I.E.D. teachers teach English using old methods. Traditional approach is the most common method in the classroom; audio-lingual and communicative approaches are also used because of the different activities, suggested in the schoolbook. Because of that, they use to favor grammar and vocabulary acquisition to the detriment of the development of language skills.

Even when homeroom teacher in 5th grade have innovative ideas about education and knows English better than her workmates, she continued teaching the language with these methods, affecting her students learning. Despite her efforts and the focus on certain linguistic aspects of her strategies, the pretest exam showed that they ignored basic vocabulary and grammar structures, indicating strong difficulties in learning process. At the same time, students are creative, full of energy and passion for learning. Old methods not only destroy these attitudes, but also limit them to repeat what teachers say, even when they do not like or comprehend the language.

Analyzing some documents of the school1, it is possible to find the great importance that humanity and technological education has in the different activities made in this school. Nevertheless, it is contradictory the lack of contact of students at school with technology; it is said because children in Elementary grades have no computing laboratory in their wing of the school building, nor enough technological equipment for their classes.

Also, teaching of languages has a central place in education in this institution, taking communication as a primary necessity in the construction of a better society, beginning in little groups and teams. Even so, teaching of English starts in primary school, but using books, with teachers who are neither very competent nor prepared for teaching the language and without using other resources.

Such as mission, vision and principles, which can be read in Appendix A

Both situations make a few more difficult learning English to students because, on one hand, technological equipment is not enough to include more significative learning activities with native speakers such as music, recorded conversations, videos and games. On other hand, it is too difficult to reach a level B2 at the end of the secondary school if learning starts after 8 years old and the English intensity in the week schedule is so low maximum two hours a week.

It is necessary to promote among students and teachers other teaching methods to foster language skills and learning strategies as well as social abilities and new ways to take advantage of their attitudes for learning, to help them to improve the academic processes at Toms Carrasquilla I.E.D.

Problem delimitation

Some important difficulties when applying the proposal here presented. First of them is the management of resources, because they are few and usually are not available to be used, mainly with primary school. This situation is seen with technological equipment and sceneries for presenting the work of children.

Another limitation is the learning qualities and the contextual characteristics of students. In this sense, it is seen that they are not enough responsible with their homework, and most of them have no help or assistance from their relatives in those activities. Children study in the afternoon shift, so they spend the morning in sleeping, doing some academic activities and getting ready for school, and they watch TV until all hours of the night. They live in Spanish native contexts, where no one speaks English in front of them. All these aspects difficult the learning process

of students because do not promote the strengthening of language skills, but permit the forgetfulness of new knowledge.

A last limit is time, because most part of public schools has short shifts (25 hours a week, only 2 hours for English classes) and many times children have activities related to sports, health, standardized exams and other institutional events that impede the normal realization of the classes.

It is expected that these difficulties can complicate the implementation of this pedagogical proposal, so it is important to plan some strategies to manage their impact on the final results and wait for the inevitable effect on them.

Chapter 7.


Creative writing and drama improved the written and oral skills in students of 5th grade of Toms Carrasquilla I.E.D. in a Cooperative Language Learning environment thanks to the different situations created for students to interact while sharing information, ideas and knowledge. The children had the opportunity of creating and representing their own stories, facing their difficulties in writing and speaking and in their social interaction, with the aim of accomplishing the final project.

Language skills of learners improved when facilitating spaces for interaction among them in a Cooperative Language Learning environment because they could share their difficulties, doubts and knowledge with their classmates and teachers and correcting their mistakes according to the feedback received. This situation

was not only seen in English but also in Spanish and other non verbal systems, improving the communication among students

Students and homeroom teacher comprehended that literary creation is a funny and useful way to learn expressive skills writing and speaking in English and other languages. It was possible through exercises related to creative writing and the feedback given to students about their mistakes and doubts.

When generating opportunities for creative writing in the English class, students take advantage of their creativity for expressing themselves about their feelings, emotions, believing and knowledge. It helped them to know each other better, to tolerate differences and to improve other social skill, such as empathy, responsibility and cooperation. It also permitted them to share information about English and to advance in their language process. These opportunities for creative writing motivated children because they liked to express their feelings, believing, knowledge and problems while sharing them with their classmates to find finally one or more ways to overcome those situations. They felt happy, free and with few addictions or submissions to express, while exploring different ways to communicate and permitting them to be more extrovert and self-confident. Additionally, discipline conceptions in students and homeroom teacher changed from a perspective related to silence to another related to dedication to labor.

Creative writing exercises were useful as a strategy to guide the learning of grammar, vocabulary and pragmatics of this language because students felt motivated to participate in the process. At the same time, formal and non-formal aspects of language were neither a series of difficult rules to learn nor a repetition of decontextualized exercises, but a subject that every speaker needs to know to express in an adequate way in a language. Even when children had not learnt

everything about English, during the few months of intervention they advance in a considerable way in vocabulary, grammar in use, pragmatics (tools for expression of figurative language), and pronunciation in a slower way. All these successes are due to the necessity of using English vocabulary, grammar and structures and the desire of expressing themselves in a so prestigious language (students feel that communicating in English is more prestigious than in Spanish).

Students improved their pronunciation and listening comprehension thanks to the exercises of dramatization of the stories created by them, because they wanted to show their creations to their classmates and to demonstrate their abilities for communicating in English. Nevertheless, it was complicated by scene panic and other fears of children. The lack of autonomy also affected this process in some cases, even when they had many resources to improve their performance as well as their comprehension. Difficulties in mother tongue also influenced the whole process of writing and speaking because children sometimes were ignorant about spelling and semantics in Spanish, causing confusions in different stages.

As conclusion, creative writing and drama in a CLL environment permitted to these students of the 5th grade to advance in their knowledge of English, to improve their social skills and to discover new more exciting ways of learning languages, even while exploring their mother tongue in contrast to EFL.

Chapter 8.


In order to improve this kind of proposals, there are some important recommendations to propose:

Related to practicum As student researcher, the author consider important to start this process in more stable conditions. To permit assessor and practice teachers to know each other and the research subject from the beginning is essential to develop in a correct way this kind of works. It is also very relevant that institutions could be involved with practice teachers work, facilitating the opportunities to develop their research without difficulties such as changing of group class or limitations respect to methodologies except when integrity of children could be in risk.

Related to this research This kind of research demands a lot of time and efforts. Sometimes it is too difficult to assist students almost individually when correcting their works. Comparing with other researches, it was evident that a rise in the practice time of oral performance meant a great difference in its quality not only in the pronunciation but also in non-verbal aspects.

At the same time, this kind of research requires huge resources in time and thinking to analyze each one of the evidences and extract all the information it is supposed to. In this sense, this subject for the research is not recommendable to be solved in an individual way or with these limitations of time.

In addition, technological resources could favor this process, having in mind that teacher is not always present to help students to improve their writing and speaking and that there is a huge quantity of materials to be used via Internet or with other equipment, for example, TV and music player.

Finally, at the beginning of the intervention children were in level A or (maximum) A1, according to Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. When students are another age or in level, results of this kind of research can vary and, even, it can be analyzed in other aspects, for example, in the use of non-verbal communication in relation with English.

Related to topic Because of lack of time, this research was based only in the process of writing and performance of one play per group. This same situation has been seen in other many research experiences. Nevertheless, it is possible that a bigger number of productions could increase the learning; it could be interesting to see it in other researches.

At the same time, it is important to admit that students did not have enough time to practice their dialogues nor autonomy and responsibility to do it by their own. Results could vary in conditions of longer time and greater learners autonomy and responsibility.

Respect to Cooperative Language Learning, there is a huge range of activities that are possible to be applied in EFL classes. It would be interesting a further exploration of this approach because it is very little-known in local context

in undergraduate thesis at the Universidad Pedaggica Nacional and in Colombia, with different possibilities of activities and products.

Related to degree course Even when graduated language teachers from Universidad Pedaggica Nacional are well-known thanks to their quality at work in terms of teaching, pedagogy classes and opportunities of practice are not enough. It was perceived not only by the author but also by other practice teachers. The theoretical and practical bases are still poor to face the research and prepare an undergraduate thesis. It is important to admit that, despite the excellent work done by Professor Ricardo Leuro in Methodology of Teaching of Foreign Language assignment, the time was not enough to learn about as many approaches as practice teachers could apply in their classes. This ignorance makes the planning of pedagogical proposals more difficult and limited it is possible to see it when looking through old undergraduate thesis and most part of proposals are based in communicative or task-base approaches.Increasing the pedagogical instruction is an important part for obtaining better proposals in the undergraduate thesis of practice teachers.