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The European Language Portfolio in Ireland: two examples of design and implementation David Little Trinity College Dublin Overview Preliminaries Validated ELPs developed in Ireland The educational goal of language learner autonomy The ELP and learner autonomy

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the european language portfolio in ireland two examples of design and implementation

The European Language Portfolioin Ireland: two examples of design and implementation

David Little

Trinity College Dublin

overview
Overview
  • Preliminaries
    • Validated ELPs developed in Ireland
    • The educational goal of language learner autonomy
  • The ELP and learner autonomy
  • Two examples of ELP design and implementation:
    • Post-primary language learners
    • Learners English as a second language in primary schools
  • Conclusion

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

preliminaries
Preliminaries

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

validated elps developed in ireland
Validated ELPs developedin Ireland

10.2001: Post primary language learners (CLCS)

11.2001 (rev 2004): Primary learners of ESL (IILT)

12.2001 (rev 2004): Post-primary learners of ESL (IILT)

13.2001a: Newly arrived adult immigrants (IILT)

13.2001b: Adult immigrants who have already spent some time living in Ireland (IILT)

14.2001: Adult immigrants preparing for mainstream vocational education and employment (IILT)

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

validated elps developed in ireland continued
Validated ELPs developed in Ireland (continued)

29.2002: CercleS ELP − in French and English; translations into Czech, Slovak, Italian (CLCS)

37.2002: Milestone ELP, for adult immigrants learning the language of the host community − versions in English, Dutch, Finnish, German, Swedish (IILT working with institutions in The Netherlands, Finland, Germany, Sweden)

66.2005: Primary foreign language learners (Modern Languages in Primary Schools Initiative)

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

language learner autonomy
Language learner autonomy

In formal contexts autonomous language learners

  • are able to take charge of their own learning (Holec 1981)
  • develop a capacity for detachment, critical reflection, decision making, and independent action (Little 1991)
  • can manage the affective dimension of their learning experience to motivational advantage (Ushioda 1996)
  • become more autonomous in language learning as they become more autonomous in language use, and vice versa (Little 1991)

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

language learner autonomy7
Language learner autonomy
  • The freedom that learner autonomy implies is always conditional and constrained: because we are social beings, our independence is always balanced by dependence; our essential condition is one of interdependence (Little 1991)
  • Like the acquisition of language, the development of learner autonomy depends on social interaction (cf. Vygotsky 1978, 1986)
  • Autonomous learners do things for themselves; they may or may not do things on their own

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

language learner autonomy8
Language learner autonomy

The teacher’s indispensable role in the development of language learner autonomy is governed by three general pedagogical principles (Little 2001, 2007):

  • Learner involvement − we must involve learners fully in planning, monitoring and evaluating their own learning
  • Learner reflection − we must help learners to reflect continuously on the process and content of their learning and to engage in regular self-assessment
  • Target language use − we must ensure that the target language is the medium as well as the goal of all learning, including the reflective component

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

language learner autonomy and the elp
Language learner autonomy and the ELP

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

the common european framework of reference for languages
The Common European Frameworkof Reference for Languages
  • Developed to provide “a common basis for the elaboration of language syllabuses, curriculum guidelines, examinations, textbooks, etc. across Europe” (Council of Europe 2001, p.1)
  • Comprises a complex descriptive apparatus for the specification of L2 proficiency at six levels in relation to five communicative activities: listening, reading, spoken interaction, spoken production, writing

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

the cefr s action oriented approach
The CEFR’s action-oriented approach
  • We use language to perform communicative acts which may be external and social (communicating with other people) or internal and private (communicating with ourselves)
  • Communicative acts comprise language activity, which is divided into four kinds: reception, production, interaction and mediation
  • In order to engage in language activity, we draw on our communicative language competence

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

the cefr s action oriented approach12
The CEFR’s action-oriented approach
  • Language activity always occurs in a context that imposes conditions and constraints
  • Because we must cope with often unpredictable contextual features, our communicative language competence includes sociolinguistic and pragmatic components
  • Language activity entails the performance of tasks, and to the extent that they are not routine or automatic, those tasks require us to use strategies in order to understand and/or produce spoken or written texts

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

the cefr and learner autonomy
The CEFR and learner autonomy
  • The CEFR’s action-oriented approach assigns a central role to language use in language learning:

“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” (Council of Europe 2001, p.9)

  • Thus the “I can” descriptors of the self-assessment grid (ibid., pp.26-27) and the “can do” descriptors of the illustrative scales focus on the autonomous L2 user, but also on the autonomous L2 learner

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

the elp and learner autonomy
The ELP and learner autonomy
  • The ELP is rooted in the Council of Europe’s commitment to learner autonomy
  • It reflects the Council of Europe’s concern with (among other things)
    • The development of the language learner
    • The development of the capacity for independent language learning
  • It is (among other things)
    • The property of the learner
    • A tool to promote learner autonomy
  • It encourages self-assessment(ELP Principles and Guidelines, Council of Europe 2006)

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

learner autonomy and the elp
Learner autonomy and the ELP

In principle the ELP can support the exercise and development of learner autonomy in three ways:

  • When “I can” checklists reflect the demands of the official curriculum, they provide learners (and teachers) with an inventory of learning tasks that they can use to plan, monitor and evaluate learning over a school year, a term, a month or a week
  • The language biography is explicitly designed to associate goal setting and self-assessment with reflection on learning styles and strategies, and the cultural dimension of L2 learning and use
  • When the ELP is presented (partly) in the learners’ target language, it can help to promote the use of the target language as medium of learning and reflection

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

two examples of elp design and implementation
Two examples of ELP design and implementation

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

1 post primary language learners
1. Post-primary language learners

The context

  • CLCS Learner Autonomy Project (1997-2001)
  • Research goals:
    • to stimulate pedagogical experimentation in a number of post-primary French and German classrooms
    • to use various empirical means to explore the impact of experimentation on teachers and learners (Little et al. 2002)
  • Pedagogical aims:
    • to get learners to accept responsibility for their learning
    • to foster the use of the target language in the classroom
    • to help teachers to develop their planning skills
    • to look for a new way of “teaching for the exams”

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

1 post primary language learners18
1. Post-primary language learners

ELP design considerations

  • Promote greater learner involvement and responsibility
  • Focus attention on the development of communication skills: language learning through language use (rubrics in six languages: English, Irish, French, German, Spanish, Italian)
  • Facilitate teacher planning
  • Stimulate a positive interaction between teaching-learning processes and syllabus/ examination objectives

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

1 post primary language learners19
1. Post-primary language learners

The language passport

  • Introduction (English and Irish)
  • The standard adult passport (for school leavers)
  • The interim (process) passport:
    • personal information
    • profile of L2 skills (self-assessment)
    • summary of language learning and intercultural experiences, including certificates and diplomas

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

1 post primary language learners20
1. Post-primary language learners

The language biography

  • Introduction (English and Irish)
  • My general aims and reflections
  • My checklist of target skills (in five languages: Irish, French, German, Spanish Italian)
  • Setting goals and thinking about learning
  • Things I notice about language and culture
  • How I solve communication problems
  • Methods I use to learn languages
  • Intercultural experiences
  • Heritage languages

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

1 post primary language learners21
1. Post-primary language learners

The dossier

  • Introduction (English and Irish)
  • Each learner must decide, in consultation with the teacher, what to put in the dossier, how to structure its contents, how often to review the contents, etc.

The appendix

  • An English version of My Checklist of Target Skills
  • A photocopiable version of each page of the language biography

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

1 post primary language learners22
1. Post-primary language learners

The ELP and the post-primary curriculum

  • At the core of the Language Biography are the detailed Checklists of Target Skills
  • The Checklists were derived from
    • the illustrative scales in the Common European Framework
    • the communicative objectives of the official curriculum for Junior and Leaving Certificate

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

1 post primary language learners23
1. Post-primary language learners

Curriculum topics and exam tasks

  • One teacher created a simple grid to keep track of her learners’ coverage of curriculum topics and examination tasks

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

1 post primary language learners25
1. Post-primary language learners

Curriculum topics and exam tasks

  • One teacher created a simple grid to keep track of her learners’ coverage of curriculum topics and examination tasks

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

1 post primary language learners26
1. Post-primary language learners

Curriculum topics and exam tasks

  • One teacher created a simple grid to keep track of her learners’ coverage of curriculum topics and examination tasks
  • This was used together with the checklists to devise projects based on curriculum topics and communicative skills

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

1 post primary language learners27
1. Post-primary language learners

Curriculum topics and exam tasks

  • One teacher created a simple grid to keep track of her learners’ coverage of curriculum topics and examination tasks
  • This was used together with the checklists to devise projects based on curriculum topics and communicative skills
  • Examples: poems, texts on The Simpsons

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

target setting and self assessment example 1
Target-setting and self-assessment: example 1

Ushioda and Ridley 2002, p.38

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

target setting and self assessment example 2
Target-setting and self-assessment: example 2

Ushioda and Ridley 2002, p.38

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

how does the elp help you learn french
How does the ELP help you learn French?

Ushioda and Ridley 2002, p.40

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

why is it good to set your own targets
Why is it good to set your own targets?

Ushioda and Ridley 2002, p.42

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

2 esl in irish primary schools
2. ESL in Irish primary schools

The context:

  • Since the 1990s large numbers of immigrants have come to Ireland
  • Whatever the status of their parents, all children and adolescents resident in the state must attend school
  • There are currently some 12,000 pupils in primary schools whose L1 is not English or Irish
  • The Department of Education and Science funds ESL support on a withdrawal basis − usually one class per day for two years per pupil (1,450 teaching posts by the end of the current school year)
  • Integrate Ireland Language and Training is responsible for curriculum, learning/teaching supports, assessment, and in-service seminars for teachers

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

2 esl in irish primary schools35
2. ESL in Irish primary schools

Basic considerations:

  • The primary ESL curriculum must
    • clearly reflect the purpose of ESL support: to give ESL pupils access to the mainstream curriculum
    • describe learning progression in a way that corresponds to teachers’ experience
    • be presented in a form that encourages and facilitates frequent use
    • support a communicative pedagogy and the development of communicative learning materials
    • foster the development of learner autonomy (a general goal of the Irish primary curriculum)
  • The CEFR as an obvious model and source (Little and Lazenby Simpson 2004)

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

2 esl in irish primary schools36
2. ESL in Irish primary schools

A curriculum based on the CEFR:

  • English Language Proficiency Benchmarks − a reworking of the first three levels of the CEFR to make them age-appropriate and domain specific
  • Part I comprises two grids:
    • Global benchmarks of communicative proficiency (listening, reading, spoken interaction, spoken production, writing)
    • Global scales of underlying linguistic competence (vocabulary, grammar, phonology, orthography)
  • Part II comprises thirteen grids:
    • Units of work (the global benchmarks restated in terms of recurrent curriculum themes)

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

2 esl in irish primary schools37
2. ESL in Irish primary schools

The ELP as a key learning support:

  • Language passport
    • Focuses on the ESL pupil’s linguistic identity

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

2 esl in irish primary schools39
2. ESL in Irish primary schools

The ELP as a key learning support:

  • Language passport
    • Focuses on the ESL pupil’s linguistic identity

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

2 esl in irish primary schools40
2. ESL in Irish primary schools

The ELP as a key learning support:

  • Language passport
    • Focuses on the ESL pupil’s linguistic identity
    • Provides for regular summative self-assessment

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

2 esl in irish primary schools42
2. ESL in Irish primary schools

The ELP as a key learning support:

  • Language passport
    • Focuses on the ESL pupil’s linguistic identity
    • Provides for regular summative self-assessment

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

2 esl in irish primary schools43
2. ESL in Irish primary schools

The ELP as a key learning support:

  • Language passport
    • Focuses on the ESL pupil’s linguistic identity
    • Provides for regular summative self-assessment
  • Language biography

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

2 esl in irish primary schools44
2. ESL in Irish primary schools

The ELP as a key learning support:

  • Language passport
    • Focuses on the ESL pupil’s linguistic identity
    • Provides for regular summative self-assessment
  • Language biography
    • Focuses on the pupil’s daily exposure to language in the environment and learning how to learn

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

2 esl in irish primary schools46
2. ESL in Irish primary schools

The ELP as a key learning support:

  • Language passport
    • Focuses on the ESL pupil’s linguistic identity
    • Provides for regular summative self-assessment
  • Language biography
    • Focuses on the pupil’s daily exposure to language in the environment and learning how to learn

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

2 esl in irish primary schools47
2. ESL in Irish primary schools

The ELP as a key learning support:

  • Language passport
    • Focuses on the ESL pupil’s linguistic identity
    • Provides for regular summative self-assessment
  • Language biography
    • Focuses on the pupil’s daily exposure to language in the environment and learning how to learn
    • Provides detailed goal-setting and self-assessment checklists for the 13 units of work

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

2 esl in irish primary schools49
2. ESL in Irish primary schools

The ELP as a key learning support:

  • Language passport
    • Focuses on the ESL pupil’s linguistic identity
    • Provides for regular summative self-assessment
  • Language biography
    • Focuses on the pupil’s daily exposure to language in the environment and learning how to learn
    • Provides detailed goal-setting and self-assessment checklists for the 13 units of work

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

2 esl in irish primary schools50
2. ESL in Irish primary schools

The ELP as a key learning support:

  • Language passport
    • Focuses on the ESL pupil’s linguistic identity
    • Provides for regular summative self-assessment
  • Language biography
    • Focuses on the pupil’s daily exposure to language in the environment and learning how to learn
    • Provides detailed goal-setting and self-assessment checklists for the 13 units of work
  • Dossier

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

2 esl in irish primary schools51
2. ESL in Irish primary schools

The ELP as a key learning support:

  • Language passport
    • Focuses on the ESL pupil’s linguistic identity
    • Provides for regular summative self-assessment
  • Language biography
    • Focuses on the pupil’s daily exposure to language in the environment and learning how to learn
    • Provides detailed goal-setting and self-assessment checklists for the 13 units of work
  • Dossier
    • A table of contents page

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

2 esl in irish primary schools53
2. ESL in Irish primary schools

The ELP as a key learning support:

  • Language passport
    • Focuses on the ESL pupil’s linguistic identity
    • Provides for regular summative self-assessment
  • Language biography
    • Focuses on the pupil’s daily exposure to language in the environment and learning how to learn
    • Provides detailed goal-setting and self-assessment checklists for the 13 units of work
  • Dossier
    • A table of contents page

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

2 esl in irish primary schools54
2. ESL in Irish primary schools

The ELP as a key learning support:

  • Language passport
    • Focuses on the ESL pupil’s linguistic identity
    • Provides for regular summative self-assessment
  • Language biography
    • Focuses on the pupil’s daily exposure to language in the environment and learning how to learn
    • Provides detailed goal-setting and self-assessment checklists for the 13 units of work
  • Dossier
    • A table of contents page
    • “Open” pages related to the Units of Work

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

2 esl in irish primary schools56
2. ESL in Irish primary schools

The ELP as a key learning support:

  • Language passport
    • Focuses on the ESL pupil’s linguistic identity
    • Provides for regular summative self-assessment
  • Language biography
    • Focuses on the pupil’s daily exposure to language in the environment and learning how to learn
    • Provides detailed goal-setting and self-assessment checklists for the 13 units of work
  • Dossier
    • A table of contents page
    • “Open” pages related to the Units of Work

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

2 esl in irish primary schools57
2. ESL in Irish primary schools

The ELP as a key learning support:

  • Language passport
    • Focuses on the ESL pupil’s linguistic identity
    • Provides for regular summative self-assessment
  • Language biography
    • Focuses on the pupil’s daily exposure to language in the environment and learning how to learn
    • Provides detailed goal-setting and self-assessment checklists for the 13 units of work
  • Dossier
    • A table of contents page
    • “Open” pages related to the Units of Work
    • Additional work sheets

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

2 esl in irish primary schools59
2. ESL in Irish primary schools

The ELP as a key learning support:

  • Language passport
    • Focuses on the ESL pupil’s linguistic identity
    • Provides for regular summative self-assessment
  • Language biography
    • Focuses on the pupil’s daily exposure to language in the environment and learning how to learn
    • Provides detailed goal-setting and self-assessment checklists for the 13 units of work
  • Dossier
    • A table of contents page
    • “Open” pages related to the Units of Work
    • Additional work sheets

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

2 esl in irish primary schools60
2. ESL in Irish primary schools

The ELP as a key learning support:

  • Language passport
    • Focuses on the ESL pupil’s linguistic identity
    • Provides for regular summative self-assessment
  • Language biography
    • Focuses on the pupil’s daily exposure to language in the environment and learning how to learn
    • Provides detailed goal-setting and self-assessment checklists for the 13 units of work
  • Dossier
    • A table of contents page
    • “Open” pages related to the Units of Work
    • Additional work sheets
    • A place to keep completed work

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

2 esl in irish primary schools61
2. ESL in Irish primary schools

Advantages of using the ELP:

  • It embodies the dynamic nature of the ESL curriculum, making it visible to ESL teachers, learners, class teachers, principals, parents, and school inspectors
  • It also makes clear to all these stakeholders an approach to L2 learning that emphasizes learner involvement, learner reflection, and communicative use of the target language
  • It places at centre stage a version of the CEFR’s action-oriented approach to language use and language learning, capturing the evolving features of autonomous learner-users of English L2

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

conclusion
Conclusion

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

the good news
The good news
  • Both of my examples confirm that the ELP can foster the development of language learner autonomy
    • by supporting learners in goal setting, self-assessment and other forms of reflection on language learning and language use
    • by supporting teachers, including those who are new to the concept of learner autonomy and (especially) its implementation in the classroom
  • Both examples also confirm that the ELP can help to make visible the process and content of L2 learning that is shaped by the principles of learner involvement, learner reflection and target language use

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

the good news64
The good news
  • The ELP for primary ESL learners in Ireland is widely used because it is fully embedded in curriculum and assessment
    • It mediates the curriculum to learners
    • It is the foundation for a substantial array of teaching and learning resources that are related directly to the English Language Proficiency Benchmarks (Up and Away, IILT 2007)
    • It supports forms of peer and self-assessment that are fully harmonious with the official tests (also developed by IILT; see Little 2005)

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

the bad news
The bad news
  • Although the ELP for post-primary language learners was the focus of the most exhaustive empirical evaluation of any ELP implementation project to date (Sisamakis 2006), it is now hardly used at all
    • It never enjoyed any kind of official backing
    • Despite reflecting closely the communicative goals of the official syllabuses, its relation to the curriculum is indirect because the curriculum itself is not founded on the CEFR’s action-oriented approach
    • It is not related in any way to the public exams
  • A similar fate may well await many more validated ELPs that are not appropriately embedded and supported

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007

three web addresses
Three web addresses

www.coe.int/portfolio

  • For everything to do with the ELP

www.tcd.ie/slscs/clcs/research

  • To access a large range of materials related to the implementation project coordinate by Sisamakis, including examples of students’ work and interviews with students and teachers
  • To download Ushioda and Ridley 2002

www.iilt.ie

  • To find out more about the work of IILT
  • To download the English Language Proficiency Benchmarks (primary and post-primary versions), the ELPs for primary and post-primary ESL learners, the Milestone ELP
  • To access a wealth of additional teaching materials for adults

CercleS ELP Seminar, Applied Language Centre, UCD, 7-9 June 2007