COMMON EUROPEAN
FRAMEWORK OF REFERENCE FOR
LANGUAGES –
WHAT IS BEHIND IT?
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SESSION OUTLINE
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The need for a change
Basics of CEFR e
Background
The new approach
Competence as the Key Term
Scales and Subscales
Self-assessment and CEFR
Projects within CEFR
Issues and Critique
CEFR and IELTS
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Hands up!
• Who owns a copy of the CEFR – the Blue
Book?
• Who has read it?
• Who is familiar with its contents?
• Who has already heard of the CEFR?
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The World Is Changing
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Traditional Approaches Recent Approaches
• Memorization
• Teaching English as it is
• Teacher-centeredness
• Learner-centeredness
• Rote- learning
• Learning rather than
teaching
• Short term study habits
• Teaching technology and
the internet
• Structures as a course
subject
• Promoting autonomy and
awareness
• Teaching English as a means
of communication
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THE KEY CONCEPTS OF THE NEW CURRICULUM
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Learner Centered Approach
Communicative competence
Intercultural competence
Study Skills
Self-assessment
Four language skills
Cooperative learning
Learning to learn
Learner autonomy
Cross curricular
Socio-affective skills
CEFR
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The new curriculum has been
prepared in the light of CEFR
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What do these initials stand for?
• C…………….
• E……………..
• F………........
• R……………..
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COMMON EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK
OF REFERENCES FOR LANGUAGES
• COMMON
• EUROPEAN
• FRAMEWORK
• REFERENCES
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COMMON EUROPEAN
FRAMEWORK of REFERENCE
(CEFR)
LEARNING, TEACHING,ASSESSMENT
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What is CEFR ?
Common European Framework of References for
Languages: teaching, learning and assessment
 a single framework for all aspects of language
teaching and learning: planning, instruction,
and assessment & a common criteria for a
description of language competencies.
 designed by the Council of Europe
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WHY CEFR?
• Mobility among the members of the Council
of Europe
• Paying respect to other languages and
cultures
• To assist learners, teachers, course designers,
examining bodies and educational
administrators to situate, coordinate their
efforts and cooperate among educational
institutions in different countries
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Council of Europe Policy
The Common European Framework of
Reference for Languages (CEFR) was
developed to support the Council of
Europe policy
How?
“providing a common basis for the
elaboration of language syllabuses,
curriculum guidelines, examinations,
textbooks, etc. across Europe”
(CEFR, p.1)
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Background
1970s work encouraged by the Council of
Europe
Notional-functional syllabus (Wilkins, Morrow)
– Threshold
– Waystage
– Vantage
– Learning target specifications
1986-2001
(European Union Council Resolution)
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Pluralingualism and Pluriculturism
What is important today is
Not only…
But also…
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Council of Europe Policy
The Council of Europe also attaches great
importance to language learning
– To preserve linguistic and
cultural identity
– To improve communication
and mutual understanding
– To combat intolerance and
xenophobia
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Council of Europe Policy
The Council of Europe has
principal ideas
to develop its linguistic policy
Which ones?
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Council of Europe Policy
Plurilingual and Pluricultural competences
Transparency and coherence
Learning throughout life
Mobility and cooperation
So, the CEFR purpose is …
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CEFR: purposes
The CEFR aims are
1. Elaboration
syllabuses
guidelines.
of
and
language
curriculum
2. Design teaching
materials.
and
3. The assessment
proficiency
of
learning
language
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CEFR: characteristics
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Main Factors to Take into Account
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Competences as the Key Aspect
Two main types to
draw on
1. General Competence
2. Communicative Language
Competence
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General Competences
Knowledge (declarative knowledge):
academic and empirical
Skills and Know-how
Existential competence
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Communicative Language
Competence
Linguistic competence (lexical,
phonological, syntactical knowledge and
skills)
Sociolinguistic competence (sociocultural
conditions of language use)
Pragmatic competence (functional use of
linguistic resources – production of
language functions, speech acts etc)
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Practice makes PERFECT!!!
• Being more competent means to be able to carry out more and more
activities
competences
activities
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Level Division
PROFICIENT
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CEFR: levels
Basic User
http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/Source/ManualRevision-proofread-FINAL_en.pdf
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CEFR: levels
Independent User
http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/Source/ManualRevision-proofread-FINAL_en.pdf
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CEFR: levels
Proficient User
http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/Source/ManualRevision-proofread-FINAL_en.pdf
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Subdividing Levels
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CEFR: dimensions
The CEFR is based in 2 dimensions:
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Our communications
Dimensions of our language
1. Reception
2. Production
3. Interaction
4. Mediation
CONTEXT
BODY LANGUAGE
COMMUNICATIVE LANGUAGE
COMPETENCE
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Sub-scale (Conversation)
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Subscale – Turntaking (strategies)
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Subscale – Orthographic Control
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Subscale – Vocabulary range
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Subscale -???
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Subscale - ???
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Subscale (substr.)- ???
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CAN DO STATEMENTS
The levels are described in the form of Can Do
statements
e.g. “Can give directions” or “Can introduce
him/herself”
AND
This gives teachers and students concrete goals
from real life situations.
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Self-assessment checklist
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Teaching or Learning?
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Sample Descriptors (Basic User-A1)
GLOBALLY:
Can understand and use
familiar everyday expressions
and very basic phrases
Can introduce him/herself and
others
SPECIFICALLY
Can understand instructions
addressed carefully and
slowly to him or her and
follow short simple
directions
Can ask and answer questions
about personal details
Can understand short simple
messages on postcards
Can interact in a simple way
provided the other person
talks slowly and clearly and is
prepared to help.
Can ask people for things and
give people things
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Sample Activities - Learning to Learn
(Cooperative Learning)
Speaking production:
B. 1. Can initiate, maintain, and close simple face to face conversation
on topics that are familiar or of personal interest.
Types of Holiday
Activity.3. Work in pairs and talk with your partners and use the
prompts in the box.
I would prefer….. because
I wouldn’t prefer….. because
e.g. What kind of holiday would you prefer? Why/Why not?
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Sample Activities –
Communicative Competence
Speaking production:
A.2.3: can handle very short social exchanges
even though they don’t understand enough to
Keep the conversation going themselves.
A.2. can express himself/ herself understood in
short contributions, even though pauses, false
starts and reformulation are very evident.
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Sample activities - Speaking Interaction:
A.2.3.exchange infromation about society and
social life.
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CEFR: purposes
The CEFR aims to develop 4 projects
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CEFR: purposes
The Portfolio
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CEFR: purpose
The Dialang Project
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CommonCEFR:
groups
of exams
purpose
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Specific documents
CEFR: purpose
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USE of CEFR
in international practice
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• levels for school-leaving (A2,B1, B2),
for University graduation (C2!),
for migration (A1 minus to B1),
for citizenship (A1 to B2)
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Possible Issues
• Terminology problems: synonymy or not?
• Inconsistency?
• Lack of definition
• Gaps
Inconsistency?
• I can understand familiar names, words and
very simple sentences, for example on notices
and posters or in catalogues” (page 26)
• “Can recognise familiar names, words and
very basic phrases on simple notices in the
most common everyday situations” (page 70)
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Some Issues
• Lack of definitions:
Simple, the most common, everyday, familiar,
concrete, predictable, straightforward, factual
complex, specialised, highly colloquial, short,
long
• Ambiguity:
Is a short text necessarily “easier” than a
longer text?
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Some Issues: synonymy
Operations at A2
• Understand
• Take
• Get
• Follow
• Identify
• Infer
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Operations at B2
Understand
Scan
Monitor
Obtain
Select
Evaluate
Locate
Identify
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Some issues - FAQ
1. How can we ensure that we elicit target
language features?
2. How can we check both what the learners are
able to do and also what they freely choose to
do?
3. How can we ensure that tasks at a given CEFR
level are parallel? Is my B1 your B1?
4. We need banks of validated reading and
listening tasks to illustrate CEFR levels
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Limitations of the CEFR
• Not enough information for test development
– DIALANG experience
• Lack of specificity as to how language
• proficiency develops
• No reference to specific languages - but see
reference level descriptions:
www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/DNR_EN.asp
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CEFR and IELTS
• “As we grow in our
understanding of the
relationship between
IELTS and the CEFR
levels, so the frame of
reference may need to
be revised accordingly.”
Taylor, L (2004a) 'Issues of test comparability',
Research Notes, 15, 2-5.
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CEFR vs IELTS - FAQ
*Has the IELTS changed?
No,it hasn’t.
*Some IELTS band scores are shown as borderline (e.g. it is not clear
whether band 6,5 is B2 or C1). How should institutions and
organisations interpret this?
Our research shows that a C1 minimum threshold would fall between the
6.5 and 7 bands on the IELTS scale. Therefore, whilst many 6.5
candidates would be at C1, a number will be marginally below.
*Does IELTS differentiate at C2 level?
Band scores of 8.5 and higher are recognised as C2. Band 8 is borderline.
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References
• A Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
Learning, Teaching, Assessment. — Strasbourg, 1986.
• Common European Framework of reference for languages //Council of
Europe:
http://www.coe.int/
and
http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/Source/ManualRevision-proofreadFINAL_en.pdf
• IELTS (official site) http://www.ielts.org
• Общеевропейские компетенции владения иностранным языком:
изучение, преподавание, оценка / Департамент современных языков
Директората по образованию, культуре и спорту Совета Европы;
Перевод выполнен на кафедре стилистики английского языка МГЛУ
под общ. ред. проф. К. М. Ирисхановой. — М.: Изд-во МГЛУ, 2003
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Thank you
very much
Council of Europe and…
Elena Golubovskaya,
Associate Professor,
English Language Department
Higher School of Economics
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Learner autonomy