3. - THE CEFR (Common European framework)
The common European framework of reference for languages: Learning, teaching, assessment. The common European Framework provides a common basis for the elaboration of language syllabuses, curriculum guidelines, examinations, textbooks, etc. across Europe. It describes perfectly, what language learners have to learn to do in order to use a language for communication and what knowledge and skills they have to develop so as to be able to act effectively. The description also covers the cultural context in which language is set. The framework also defines levels of profiency which allow learners’ progress to be measured at each stage of learning and on a life-long basis.
Aims and objectives of CEFR
- To promote the national and international collaboration of governmental and non-governmental institutions engaged in the development of methods of teaching and evaluation in the field of modern language learning and in the production and use of materials, including multi-media materials.
- To take such steps are necessary to complete the establishment of an effective European system of information exchange covering all aspects of language learning, teaching and research, and making full use of information technology.
- In addition to that, each European country offers curricular designs that set the objectives, contents and methodological principles to be followed locally.
- It adopts an action-oriented approach, as it considers users and learners of a language primarily as social agents.
- Language use and language learning is described as follows:
- 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 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.
Competences: sum of knowledge and skills that allow a person to perform actions.
Two types of competences:
- General competences: (knowledge, facts, concepts, principles, rules…)
- Skills, procedures and strategies (procedural knowledge: knowing how to use declarative knowledge).
- Attitudes and values.
- Ability to learn
- Communicative language competences empower a person to act using linguistic means.
- Linguistic competences, which include lexical, semantic, phonological, syntactic knowledge and skills.
- Sociolinguistic competences to do with the social conditions of language use: rules of politeness, gender, social groups, etc.
- Pragmatic competences: These are concerned with the functional use of linguistic resources. They refer to language functions and speech acts.
Language activities: exercise of one’s communicative language competence in a specific domain. It involves:
- Reception (listening, reading)
- Production (speaking, writing)
- Interaction (e.g. listening-speaking; reading-writing)
The context of language use: the events and situational factors in which communicative acts are embedded.
Domains: are spheres of action that contextualize language activities. They may be public, personal, educational and occupational.
Language tasks: Language tasks involve the reception, production, interaction or mediation of oral or written texts. If you have a definite propose you will probably reach it. When performing these tasks, the use of strategies is needed.
Situations may be described in terms of the locations and times at which they occur, the persons involved, the events that take place, the actions performed by the persons involved and the texts used in each situations.
A task refers to any purposeful action as necessary in order to achieve a given result in the context of a problem to be solved, an obligation to fulfill or an objective to be achieved. This definition would cover a wide range of actions such as moving a wardrobe, writing a book, obtaining certain conditions in the negotiation of a contract, playing a game of cards, ordering a meal in a restaurant, translating a foreign language text or preparing a class newspaper through group work.
The level of profiency
The Common European Framework divides learners into three broad divisions, divided, at the same time into six different levels.
A Basic user
A1 Breakthrough or beginner
A2 Waystage or elementary
B Independent user
B1 Threshold or intermediate
B2 Vantage or upper intermediate
C Proficient user
C1 Effective operational profiency or advanced
C2 Mastery or profiency