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Keynote address by Prof. Dr. David Little at the CEFR Symposium 2013: Towards Language Education Transformation in Malaysia

Keynote address by Prof. Dr. David Little at the CEFR Symposium 2013: Towards Language Education Transformation in Malaysia

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    Common European Framework of Reference for Languages Common European Framework of Reference for Languages Presentation Transcript

    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Purpose, origin, ethos and implications David Little Trinity College Dublin Ireland Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia What most European education systems know about the CEFR Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia Six levels of L2 proficiency C2 C1 B2 B1 A2 A1 Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia Six levels of L2 proficiency C2 − Mastery C1 − Effective Operational Proficiency B2 − Vantage B1 − Threshold A2 − Waystage A1 − Breakthrough Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia Six levels of L2 proficiency C2 − Mastery Proficiente ag user gu s lan erm es ” t rib do esc can d B2 − Vantage F R in “ Independent user CE ncy e Th fi B1 − Thresholdcie pro C1 − Effective Operational Proficiency A2 − Waystage Basic user A1 − Breakthrough Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • A global scale C2 Basic user Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices. Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options. B1 Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. A2 Independent user C1 B2 Proficient user Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations. Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and maters in areas of immediate need. A1 Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
    • Self-assessment grid (CEFR and ELP language passport) the t o ls , ore leve al m ncy de cie lf at se fi re a g ix pro and a e’s n s e r ha le , t g r id ca Th R t al s smen EF glob es C a ass
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia My aim in this keynote • To explain why the Council of Europe developed the CEFR and what the CEFR itself sets out to achieve • To elaborate on the CEFR’s “action-oriented” (“can do”) approach to the description of communicative proficiency • To explore the CEFR’s learner-centred ethos • To consider the CEFR’s implications for curriculum, pedagogy and assessment • To conclude with the CEFR’s single most innovative feature Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia Why the Council of Europe developed the CEFR and what the CEFR itself sets out to achieve Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia The Council of Europe’s agenda • The Council of Europe’s foundational values – Human rights – Democracy – Rule of law • The Council of Europe’s education policies – The individual citizen’s capacity to participate actively in the democratic process – The autonomy of the individual: self-regulation, self-governance • The Council of Europe and L2 education – L2 proficiency as a channel of the learner/user’s agency – Hence the action-oriented approach: L2 proficiency described as L2 use Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia The CEFR aims to … support the implementation of the Council of Europe’s language education policy, which recognises the need to •intensify language learning and teaching in member countries •promote language learning as a lifelong task •facilitate co-operation among educational institutions in different countries •provide a sound basis for the mutual recognition of language qualifications •“assist learners, teachers, course designers, examining bodies and educational administrators to situate and coordinate their efforts” (Council of Europe 2001: 5−6) Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia FR The three main aspects of the E h. e C CEFR f th proac s 1. “An attempt to characterise comprehensively, R’ rs o r ap F tho uact of language cy transparently and coherently the la CE e n au tic the ici communication in the ofar terms p what competentflanguage at pro 9 − competencesth ave y users do and6 and e rs thete an ean (knowledge ot hskills) ivxxxiv)n Chapters 4 pte oca ot m n cat that enable them to act” (Trim i2012: es − ons ha dv n u C 5 a do icati Inand ot es omm use o pl d 2. dosurveyiof methods of learning, al im and A n hs of c guage ic teaching ut t ption lan 6,gog and 9 assessment − Chapters 7, 8 B ri of da c for establishing common reference levels for 3. Ades scheme ms l pe ter communicative proficiency − Chapter 3 rfu specifying in owe p Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia The CEFR’s “action-oriented” approach Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia ive The action-oriented approachcencapsulated at ey h uni comprises the r “Language use, embracing language learning, en t m h bea actions performed by persons who as individuals and o social com ge w s t as a op ua agents develop a range oflcompetences, both general in in e ng nce ith and nd particular communicative language competences. They draw ete a w dev a la s atn disposal in various contextsts a e mp end tex under on the competences i their er co rn cy under variousag a various conditions and ting constraints to engage in on rmanc Le cien is ive t of c rfto produce languagefi activities x language einvolving at seprocesses o e o nic themes eispecific domains, and/orr texts in r p p receiveeir in relation to or th strategies which seemtmost appropriate for mu ext activating those m r h o o be ing the tasks to nt accomplished. The monitoring of br n ito carrying out a c c on r participants leads to the reinforcement or o these actions by la u the so m modification iof theirg rt c in competences” (Council of Europe 2001: 9) pa do in Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia The action-oriented approach elaborated Language use •Context: domains → situations → conditions and constraints •Communication themes •Communicative tasks and purposes •Communicative language activities and strategies → productive (speaking and writing), receptive (listening and reading), interactive (spoken and written), mediating The user/learner’s competences •General competences: declarative knowledge; skills and know-how; existential competence; ability to learn •Communicative language competences: − Linguistic → lexical, grammatical, semantic, phonological, orthographic, orthoepic •Communicative language processes − Sociolinguistic •Texts − Pragmatic Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia The illustrative scales (“can do” descriptors) Language use •5 scales for spoken production •3 scales for writing •3 scales for production strategies •6 scales for listening/viewing •5 scales for reading •1 scale for reception strategies •9 scales for spoken interaction •3 scales for written interaction •3 scales for interaction strategies •2 scales for handling text The user/learner’s competences •One scale each for – – – – – – – – – – – – – General linguistic range Vocabulary range Vocabulary control Grammatical accuracy Phonological control Orthographic control Sociolinguistic appropriateness Flexibility Turntaking Thematic development Coherence and cohesion Spoken fluency Propositional precision Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia Progression • The CEFR’s common reference levels are not points on a linear scale, but increasingly broad bands of proficiency Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • A summary of CEFR levels C2 Learners can communicate with a high degree of precision, appropriateness and ease C1 Learners have good access to a broad range of language that allows fluent, spontaneous communication B2 Learners can engage in sustained and effective argument and have an enhanced language awareness B1 Learners can maintain interaction in a range of contexts and cope flexibly with problems in everyday life A2 Learners can cope with a basic range of social interaction and make simple transactions in shops, post offices or banks A1 Learners can interact in a simple way rather than relying purely on words and phrases
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia Progression • The CEFR’s common reference levels are not points on a linear scale, but increasingly broad bands of proficiency Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia Progression • The CEFR’s common reference levels are not points on a linear scale, but increasingly broad bands of proficiency • The purposes of language use change as the user/ learner moves up the proficiency scale: self-identification and survival → transaction and interaction → L2 as medium of academic and/or professional activity Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • A shifting focus of communication C2 Proficiency develops as a Proficiency develops as a result of sustained result of sustained academic, professional or academic, professional or vocational engagement vocational engagement with the target language with the target language C1 B2 B1 A2 A1 Interaction (social) and Interaction (social) and transaction (getting things transaction (getting things done) done) Physical and social survival Physical and social survival
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia Progression • The CEFR’s common reference levels are not points on a linear scale, but increasingly broad bands of proficiency • The purposes of language use change as the user/ learner moves up the proficiency scale: self-identification and survival → transaction and interaction → L2 as medium of academic and/or professional activity Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia Progression • The CEFR’s common reference levels are not points on a linear scale, but increasingly broad bands of proficiency • The purposes of language use change as the user/ learner moves up the proficiency scale: self-identification and survival → transaction and interaction → L2 as medium of academic and/or professional activity • Progression is both horizontal and vertical Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia Progression • The CEFR’s common reference levels are not points on a linear scale, but increasingly broad bands of proficiency • The purposes of language use change as the user/ learner moves up the proficiency scale: self-identification and survival → transaction and interaction → L2 as medium of academic and/or professional activity • Progression is both horizontal and vertical • The image of the cone, used by the CEFR itself (Council of Europe 2001: 18), is seriously misleading because it blurs the distinction between communicative activity and the user-learner’s competences Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia The CEFR’s learner-centred ethos Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia Some preliminary considerations • The Council of Europe’s earliest modern languages projects were conducted under the aegis of the Committee for Out-of-School Education, which believed that – Adult education should develop skills of lifelong learning while meeting learners’ immediate needs – Learners themselves have much to contribute as agents of their own learning and self-assessment should play a central role (Oscarsson 1978, Holec 1979) • Key report: Organization, content and methods of adult education (Janne 1977) – Democratization of education: “From the idea of man ‘product of his society’, one moves to the idea of man ‘producer of his society’” (Janne 1977: 15) Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia Some preliminary considerations • The action-oriented approach is concerned with the individual language learner viewed as an autonomous social agent, and the second half of the CEFR’s title puts learning before teaching and teaching before assessment • The CEFR notes that relatively few learners “learn proactively, taking initiatives to plan, structure and execute their own learning processes. Most learn reactively, following the instructions and carrying out the activities prescribed for them by teachers and by textbooks” (Council of Europe 2001: 141) • The CEFR continues: “However, once teaching stops, further learning has to be autonomous. Autonomous learning can be promoted if ‘learning to learn’ is regarded as an integral part of language learning …” (ibid.) Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia The action-oriented approach interpreted “Language use, embracing language learning, comprises the actions performed by persons who as individuals and as social agents develop a range of competences, both general and in particular communicative language competences. They draw on the competences at their disposal in various contexts under various conditions and under various constraints to engage in language activities involving language processes to produce and/or receive texts in relation to themes in specific domains, activating those strategies which seem most appropriate for carrying out the tasks to be accomplished. The monitoring of these actions by the participants leads to the reinforcement or modification of their competences” (Council of Europe 2001: 9) Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia The action-oriented approach interpreted • L2 proficiency develops from sustained interaction between the learner’s competences and the communicative tasks whose performance requires him or her to use the target language • Language use is autonomous behaviour • As a variety of language use, L2 learning should also be rooted in autonomous behaviour Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia The action-oriented approach interpreted “Language use, embracing language learning, comprises the actions performed by persons who as individuals and as social agents develop a range of competences, both general and in particular communicative language competences. They draw on the competences at their disposal in various contexts under various conditions and under various constraints to engage in language activities involving language processes to produce and/or receive texts in relation to themes in specific domains, activating those strategies which seem most appropriate for carrying out the tasks to be accomplished. The monitoring of these actions by the participants leads to the reinforcement or modification of their competences” (Council of Europe 2001: 9) Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia The action-oriented approach interpreted • In a classroom that seeks to promote autonomous learning, monitoring begins as a conscious process of selfmanagement • But using the TL as the channel of that explicit monitoring helps to develop the capacity for involuntary and implicit monitoring that is fundamental to spontaneous/autonomous language use Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia Implications of the CEFR for curricula, pedagogy and assessment Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia Curricula • According to the CEFR’s summary of its action-oriented approach, spontaneous, authentic use of the target language (TL) is a precondition for effective learning • In formal contexts the site of learning is the classroom, which must therefore become a community of TL speakers • Spontaneous use of the TL entails that learners have an equal right to take discourse initiatives − i.e. to manage their own learning • Authentic use of the TL entails that learners focus on the here-and-now of their own learning, not on the as-if of communication in the “real world” outside the classroom Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia Curricula • The CEFR identifies four domains of language use: personal, public, occupational, educational • My interpretation of the action-oriented approach requires that educational use of the TL frames public, personal and occupational use (e.g., CLIL) • This challenges us to rethink the CEFR’s interactive routines and scenarios in terms of the language classroom, using its descriptive apparatus to explore implications for classroom discourse (cf. Little 2011) • We mistake the nature of the CEFR if we imagine that language teaching should progress steadily up the ladder, starting with A1 Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia Pedagogy • If spontaneous, authentic use of the TL is a precondition for effective learning, our first task as teachers is to engage our learners in interaction in the TL • This means that we do not set out to teach them A1 tasks: they rapidly acquire them by being thoroughly engaged in A2 interaction • Similarly, we do not teach them A2 routines: they gradually acquire them by being drawn into B1 interaction … and so on • Note that B1 descriptors already include activities that can be mastered only via sustained TL use Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia Assessment • In parallel with the CEFR the Council of Europe developed the concept of a European Language Portfolio (ELP) • The ELP is intended to promote autonomous learning by helping learners to – identify learning targets – monitor progress – self-assess learning outcomes • The ELP helps learners to monitor their actions as learners and users of the TL and thus to reinforce or modify their competences (cf. Council of Europe 2001: 9) Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • How self-assessment is meant to work Language passport •Summarizes owner’s linguistic identity and experience of learning/using L2s •Records owner’s self-assessment Language biography •Accompanies learning and use of L2s •Encourages reflection on learning styles, strategies and intercultural experience •Supports goal-setting, monitoring and selfassessment Dossier •Collects evidence of owner’s L2 proficiency and intercultural experience •May be used to store work in progress Periodic updating of overall (“summative”) self-assessment against CEFR’s self-assessment grid Checklists of “I can” descriptors arranged by communicative activity and scaled according to the levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR; Council of Europe 2001) Periodic selection of work that reflects the owner’s current level of proficiency
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia Assessment • My interpretation of the action-oriented approach implies the need for a new assessment culture that brings formative and summative assessment into a new relation • Tools for formative and summative assessment should be informed by the CEFR’s understanding of language learning as language use • Assessment tasks should be continuous with the tasks that shape learning environments framed by the CEFR’s actionoriented approach • Rating criteria should be continuous with the reflective processes by which the implications of descriptors are explored − and should be used to support and inform that exploration Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia Conclusion Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia The CEFR’s most innovative feature • The Council of Europe’s L2 education projects have always aimed to – “make the process of language learning more democratic by providing the conceptual tools for the planning, construction and conduct of courses closely geared to the needs, motivations and characteristics of the learner and enabling him so far as possible to steer and control his own progress” (Trim 1978, p.1; emphasis added) • It is no accident that – The Council of Europe first introduced the concept of learner autonomy to L2 education (Holec 1979/1981) – Learning precedes teaching and assessment in the CEFR’s sub-title – The European Language Portfolio was developed as a means of mediating the CEFR’s ethos to L2 user/learners and helping them to take control of their learning Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013
    • CEFR: Towards language education transformation in Malaysia The CEFR’s most innovative feature • The action-oriented approach brings curriculum, pedagogy and assessment into closer interaction than is traditionally the case: each “can do”/“I can” descriptor may be used to – specify a learning outcome – provide a learning focus – imply an assessment task • The CEFR challenges us to attempt the “democratization” of L2 education by – Developing curricula that reflect learner needs and accommodate learner initiative and control of the learning process – Implementing curricula in ways that foster learner autonomy (the learner’s exercise of agency through the TL) – Working towards an assessment culture in which external tests and exams exist on a continuum with teacher assessment, peer assessment and learner self-assessment Putrajaya, 29−30 October 2013