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bTHE EUROPEAN LANGUAGE PORTFOLIO -

AN OPTION OR A MUST IN ELT?

Objectives:
1. to answer the question: What is quality learning?

2. to raise awareness of the pedagogical functions of the ELP with special


emphasis on the BIOGRAPHY;
3. to raise awareness of the importance of knowing the types of learners

and their learning styles (NLP -building RAPPORT)


4. to provide activities from Longman materials as support of the ELP

SLIDE 3
These days a lot has been said and argued about quality education, quality learning.
What do we really mean by Quality Learning? Are we prepared to put this concept
into practice? Is it too much to ask from an already busy teacher?

Let's see: QL is an approach to improving learning; this approach is learner-focused


and requires some instruments, methods and concepts so that we educators can put it
to good use; what we also need is time and desire to consider the learning process
from the learner's point of view. All these tools, concepts are to b found in the ELP &
CEF.
SLIDE 4

Quality learning IMPLIES a change of roles both for the teacher and the student -
TEACHER - no longer the centre of the lesson and he no longer does things for the
student but he helps the learner do these things all by themselves, he serves as guide.
STUDENT - active, self-confident, self-organised, responsible for his learning process.

The teacher and the learner become partners in the learning process and both parts
need to be trained to that purpose.
SLIDE 6
1
It
 provides an overview of the learner's proficiency in different languages at a
particular time;
 this overview is defined in terms of skills and skills and the common reference
levels in CEF.
 is like a diary - the learners displays their language competences and significant
language and intercultural learning experiences.

It allows for self-assessment, teacher assessment and assessment by educational


institutions and examination boards.

SLIDE 7

What is the Language Biography?


It is a document in which the learners record the answers to 3 big questions:
HOW, WHY, WHERE DO I LEARN ENGLISH?
 they plan - set objectives, reflect on what they have achieved at a particular
moment, and then evaluate what they learnt and how they learnt it;
 It encourages the learners to state what they can do in a language;
 It encourages the learners to include information on linguistic & cultural
experiences gained inside & outside classroom - interview with a native speaker
 It encourages the learners to think about the learning process, to become aware
of their favourite learning activities, environment (PW, GW, individual)
 it promotes plurilingualism - the development of competencies in a number of
languages.

SLIDE 10

2
The norm-referenced approach

 achievement-focused
 there is always failure, good sts and excellent ones
 ability - achievement is distributed in societies with the statistical regularity of a
bell-shaped curve. ---- In every age group there will be a small no. of very good
learners, a rather large number of good learners , a lot of average learners and
some weak learners.

The behavioural approach


 is the one proposed by ELP -language learning objectives are described in
behavioural terms ----- what learners should be able to do with their language
+ the assessment should determine to what extent learners have mastered the
behaviour in question;
 a different attitude to failure - no such thing , everyone can do things in a
language but at different levels
 the focus is on what the learner can do not on how high he can rank in his
class/school, not achievement

SLIDE 11

We teachers are already familiar with the 2 types of assessment: formative &
summative. These 2 types are valid for self-assessment too.
FORMATIVE self-assessment is used during the course of learning and it provides
the learner with feedback on their progress and indicates the areas they need to give
particular attention to. This kind of self-assessment is encountered in THE
LANGUAGE BIOGRAPHY - where the learner records his long-and short- term
objectives and when the deadline for those objectives has been met they go back and
analyses the situation. Another place where this type of self-assessment is seen is
THE DOSSIER- as the learner has to select from among a wide range of materials
after evaluating them - it is constantly under critical review.

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SUMMATIVE self-assessment is used at the end of a course or a phase of learning in
order to determine what has been achieved - the end of semester, the end of the
academic year, school-leaving, degree examinations. This kind of self-assessment is
encountered in THE LANGUAGE PASSPORT - as it represents the statement of the
learner's proficiency at a particular moment in their lives.

Students can be involved in SUMMATIVE self-assessment provided REFLECTIVE


SELF-EVALUATION /FORMATIVE SELF-ASSESSMENT has been an integral part of
their learning process.

SLIDE 12

What can THE LEARNER assess?


1. learners can assess their learning process
2. learners can assess their communicative & linguistic proficiency

THE LEARNING PROCESS


The learners need to be able to assess
 how well they are progressing overall
 how well they are learning at a particular stage
 how successful they are in performing individual/collaborative learning
tasks
 how successful they are in achieving specific learning goals

Examples of what learners may record: I liked working in a group/with my partner. I could not concentrate today.
I have made good progress this term.
Self-assessment is, however highly subjective as it is based on the learner's own
feelings and perceptions.

THE COMMUNICATIVE PROFICIENCY


The learners assess their communicative proficiency using the scales and descriptors
made by the Council of Europe. The descriptors we are talking about are the CAN DO
statements which refer to learners' abilities. However, students should be asked to
demonstrate their communication proficiency as it is in practice that they truly learn if
they really possess the skills they claim they have.

THE LINGUISTIC PROFICIENCY


We refer to the words the learners know, the structures they can deploy, the sounds
they can articulate.It is more difficult for learners to assess their linguistic proficiency
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than the communicative one and they need to e trained to do it. One way to help them
assess their own linguistic proficiency is to give them tasks which they can correct for
themselves - if given the keys/solutions; it can be done individually or in pairs. In pairs
it is more effective for no 2 students possess the same amount of linguistic knowledge
and secondly it is always easier to spot another person's errors than your own.

SLIDE 14
The instruments used for both self-assessment and assessment by the teacher are the
ones present in the COMMON EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK OF REFERENCE OF
LANGUAGES.

The scales are a vertical tool -

The self-assessment grids and checklists are horizontal. The checklists down page on
your handout an example of the Swiss version of the ELP. The checklists are based on
the Common Reference Levels elaborated in the CEF.

The checklists can be used


1. to monitor one's learning progress maybe with special focus on a
particular skill - short term goals
2. to review one's overall proficiency prior to updating one's Language
Passport at the beginning or end of a along period of learning - long
term goals

The global scale - THE COMMON REFERENCE LEVELS


 long term objectives for end of course /year

SLIDE 17

Learner Independence
 sts need to know what type of learners they are - what goes on in their
mind when they learn, why there are things they learn easily/with difficulty,
in order to be able to become independent learners, to set their own
learning objectives, to reflect on their progress and last but not least to be
able to assess themselves.
 It is the teacher who has to help them know themselves and also the
course books used.

How can the teacher help the learners know themselves? With the help of NLP.
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SLIDE 17

 relatively new discipline - dates back to the mid-70s & originated from several
different disciplines: linguistics, computer science,psychology
 founders: 1. Richard Bandler - computer science student
2. John Grinder - professor of Linguistics - TRANSFORMATIONAL

GRAMMAR
 instructs us to achieve excellence in communication, teaching, learning
 NEURO - nervous system/mind and how it processes and codes information/our
reality experiences in terms of pictures, sounds, feelings, tastes and smells.
 LINGUISTIC - the language gives meaning to this neurological process if
ordering and coding information ( grammar, words, icons)
 PROGRAMMING - our ability to organise this information within our mind to
achieve desired outcomes.
..........................................................................................................................................
 We use senses to gather info about the external world. The senses (pictures,

sounds, feelings, tastes and smells) are called in NLP representational systems.
 Language is the key to learn how people perceive reality - predicates match to
build rapport ( to understand them better, to respond in the same manner for an
efficient communication)
 representational systems → 4 learning styles/4 learner types → suitable
activities for autonomous learning & self-confidence
 NLP → Identify each child’s unique learning style
→ To demonstrate to students their own inner learning processes.
→ To manage their own rich internal software: their images, sounds and
feelings. Bit-by-bit they will come to understand and even learn how to control the
way they think. In short they will learn how to learn.

SLIDE 20

WALL DISPLAYS
 assessment grids - checklists - scales
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 whole class long/short term objectives

REALIA & FLASH CARDS


 pre-primary + primary levels

LISTS
 irregular verbs ( similar forms - 1st+3rd; all 3 forms)

CHARTS
 tenses and adverbials
SLIDE 22

PW/GW

 hearing listening to peers - self confidence, English spoken, closer relations,

DRILLS

 repetition as a memory aid


 lower levels

SONGS, CHANTS

 associated with visual material created by students + other extra sources


 while-listening activities for tactile learners
SLIDE 23

These activities are suitable for all types of learners as they combine all senses.
Movement activities + tactile activities + visual activities

SLIDE 25

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CREATIVITY
 students find themselves in the position in which they are invited not only to write
in order to practice writing skills but also to create, design their own learning
activities - for themselves and for their classmates. They are not only receptors
of information but also its creators. This new position boosts their self-
confidence, provides them with a better image of themselves and feeds their ego
as well and thus prepares them to become reliable adults.
SELF-CONFIDENCE
 they gain self-confidence in their capacity to learn English all by themselves
under the guidance of their teacher, in their speaking skills due to working in
PAIRS and GROUPS.
SELF-MANAGEMENT SKILLS & LEARNER AUTONOMY
 they are encouraged to know themselves as humans first and then as learners;
in this way they learn to manage their time and learning process; find out how
they remember things easily, what kinds of activities they like more, what area
(grammar, writing skills, listening skills, reading skills) they need to work more
on;

LEARNER RESPONSIBILITY
 they are in charge of their own learning in the sense that they set their own
individual objectives and have to achieve them using their own activities and
those designed by their peers besides the ones present in course books and
proposed by the teacher.
 go back to the Language Biography to reflect on their learning process &
progress focusing on each skill and then evaluate the progress made, decide on
the steps to take for further improvement.

SLIDE 26

In the countries where different versions of the ELP were used it proved to be a
reliable source of knowledge for teachers as well because
 they improved their time & class management skills for they became more
organised, more forward-thinking;
 they reconsidered their view of teaching-learning-assessment process in
terms of
1. new role assumption for both teachers and students,

2. course book use alternatively with extra materials (mostly student-

designed activities) to meet curriculum requirements, of

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3. combining self- and peer assessment with teacher assessment - the

responsibility did no longer stay with them but it was shared with
learners - as learners have proved to be trustworthy assessors
4. awareness of the mental processes involved in the learning process -

they learnt about how the human mind works and how learner
excellence can be promoted for there is no such thing as failure, every
individual can do lots of things if encouraged, (CAN DO STATEMENTS)
trained how to do them. - a change in the attitude to failure-
In other words learning should be BEHAVOUR-focused and not
ACHIEVEMENT-focused. Our purpose as educators is to shape our
learners' minds and behaviour in order that they become reliable, self-
confident members of society who are aware of the crucial role that
learning plays throughout life and therefore should consider it a spring-
board for self-development and self-improvement.