Sessions / CEFR and Language Portfolio
The overwhelming majority of K-12 and universities are lead by people without explicit leadership training, other than the occasional seminar. For Japan to progress and join the global ranking of schools, leadership must be considered as an integral aspect and this leadership must adhere to a set of standards that are both student focused and measurable (Green, 2016). This push for leadership is also an integral part of the adoption and implementation of CEFR or CEFR-J standards in Japan. The earliest call for educators to play a role in leadership in the implementation of CEFR was made by Nagai (2010) in the Japanese context and sequentially again by O’Dwyer and Nagai (2012) and O’Dwyer (2015), but since then, it has been largely absent. Nonetheless, with the push to bring the CEFR-J to public schools in Japan much work remains to be done, and a significant aspect of that work lies in the adoption of educational leadership standards and practices.
The JALT CEFR & LP SIG is currently supporting teacher-researchers through a collaborative Kaken research project entitled “Language Education reform using action research: Putting CEFR’s educational principles into practice”. During the Forum, project participants will share the research plans they designed using Stage 1 of a CEFR-focused Action Research Model (CARM) developed by the SIG. These plans were designed in part through collaboration facilitated during workshops held in the first year of the project. The SIG forum will be an opportunity to discuss Stage II, the implementation of the research plan which involves two aspects: the participants’ plan to (1) trial proposed solutions to their teaching-learning dilemma (i.e. the focus of their research plan), and (2) collect data to critically examine the effectiveness of this solution. Forum participants are encouraged to contribute to this ongoing collaborative process to help move these research projects forward, as well as reflect on their current practice and consider how the CEFR and CARM might be utilized in their own contexts. The forum will conclude with a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the CARM model and the goals for the second year of the KAKEN project.
Do our students write more than students used to 25 years ago? The internet and smartphones have changed the way that we communicate and interact in our daily lives - even with foreign languages. CEFR offers some insights into how we learn and can teach languages. The presenter will outline the changes in the CEFR Companion Volume (2020) descriptors and suggest practical ways to integrate them into teaching L2 writing. The Companion Volume updates and extends the original CEFR with new descriptors relevant to teaching writing - especially for the lower levels (pre-A1 to B1), as well as for online interaction, plurilingual/pluricultural competence, and mediation. The new descriptors for mediation offer insights into ways to use students’ L1 or other languages (L3, L4 . . .) in target language learning and assessment. The Companion Volume also continues to view students as active social agents in their own learning, to encourage an active learning approach, and to focus on what language learners "can do" - not on what they cannot. In particular, the presentation will focus on CEFR as related to CALL and extensive writing task design.
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) describes a six-point scale for language abilities/competencies as can-do statements. According to the University of Cambridge (2011), CEFR is frequently used as a planning tool for development of language learning textbooks, examinations, syllabuses and curricula. As well as allowing comparisons of different contexts and programs, when adapted, the can-do statements can clarify the goals and objectives of language curricula into clear and achievable competencies. This presentation will describe a process of aligning existing self-access centre (SAC) facilities to CEFR by adapting can-do statements. Facilities included multi-lingual conversation lounges, an English writing centre and a test-preparation consultation service staffed by students and faculty. I will explain the selection and adaptation of can-do statements and how this process led me to reconsider whether the SAC provided learners the best opportunities to develop their language skills and autonomy. While the pandemic prevented the project’s on-the-ground implementation in 2020, the planned next steps for dissemination of the can-do statements will be described. The presenter will also address the general benefits and challenges of aligning language learning curricula and self-access programs to frameworks like the CEFR.
There is a dearth of literature on CEFR adoption case studies in the junior high school and high school contexts here in Japan; moreover, the available case studies from the Japanese University context tend to give the impression that such endeavor would be quite an undertaking. Nevertheless, our school, a Japanese private secondary school, took on the challenge of adopting the CEFR as the framework for our English Communication curriculum. This presentation will discuss the process and visualizations that we used, and show how the seemingly disparate ideas of inventor Nikola Tesla and economist Adam Smith provided us with the inspiration to implement the framework in our organization.
Recommending that students watch TV shows and films in their second language has long been common practice among educators. While all L2 exposure is to be encouraged, not all content is created equal. We may suggest that students watch a particular show or movie for a variety of readily apparent reasons such as general suitability, subject matter, and entertainment value while perhaps the most important factor that should be considered, the true level of language input, often remains oblique. This presentation will examine the results of a text analysis of a variety of television shows and films that are typically available to students in order to determine which content contains the most comprehensible input for learners across each level. Moreover, an explanation of the methodology behind the analysis will be presented, giving educators the tools to conduct similar analyses and to provide better-informed future recommendations.