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Negotiating a Task-based Syllabus

Presentation on using CEFR to negotiate a syllabus for adult English Learners

Laura Edwards

on 18 February 2017

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Transcript of Negotiating a Task-based Syllabus

Negotiating a Task-based Syllabus
Negotiated Syllabus
A 'communicative, action-oriented' approach
In practice
What type of classroom do I want?
What do the experts say?
Population: 630,000
Industries: banking, advertising, fashion, telecommunications
One of Germany's wealthiest cities
Adults learners
Company classes
English for Banking, Advertising, Marketing, Energy Industry
Focus on language for work-related tasks
Level: Minimum B1, though B2 plus more likely
Lifelong learning
My ELT world
'People are more central to the learning enterprise than methods or theories or research findings or systems of education'
Alan Maley
'I work for Deutsche Bundesbank in the banking supervision section. I'm responsible for a bank which is under the supervision of ECB. I work with people from different European countries, each with their own mentality and their own way of speaking English.'
'My job is to provide assurance services in the energy sector. I am responsible for advising electricity-intensive companies on the cost equalization scheme as part of the Renewable Energies Law.'
What do my students want?
'Few learners, indeed, would have any clear awareness of what they need or want to learn, let alone how they would wish to go about it' Clarke 1991
Geoff Jordan www.criticalelt.wordpress.com
Decisions to be made:
the purpose of language learning (Why)
the contents which learners will work upon (What)
ways of working in the classroom (How)
means of evaluation (How well)
Breen and Littlejohn 2000
The Negotiated model ... allows full learner participation in selection of content, mode of working, route of working, assessment, and so on. It should by this means embody the central principle that the learner's needs are of paramount importance. Clarke 1991

Students may be reluctant to participate in negotiation, believing course design to be the teacher's responsibility and even with students who are eager to be part of the decision making process, without guidelines as to which types of skills or tasks are available, their choices may be restrictive from a learning perspective.

Self assessment grid
+ We're a team!
+ Feedback / End of course evaluations
+ Makes ESP easier
+ Can better meet their needs
- Be prepared to repeat regularly
- Must be organised
* Try going digital?
* Introduce student portfolio?
Version 2
Reflection / Assessment
Version 1
- Time-consuming
- New language about learning
+ Discussion is Learning
+ Easier each time it's done
+ Identify underdeveloped competences
+ Tasks suggested are relevant to students
Alternative Ideas
Break CEFR descriptors into micro Can-dos. Decide: I can do this / I need to improve this.

Create survey with Survey monkey. Multiple choice. Do you need X? 'Yes / No / Sometimes'

For further ideas, see Brian North
The CEFR in Practice

'It's fair to say that the resultant scales are probably the best researched scales of foreign language in the world, although not (yet) the most widely used.' Hulstijn et al, 2010
Step 3 / Day 2
Handout with all chosen descriptors.
Students rate / rank and add details.
Negotiation Cycle
Breen and Littlejohn 2010
Students brainstorm tasks for achieving CEFR goal
Students create assessment rubrics based on CEFR and tasks they chose to complete in class
Breen and Littlejohn
'In reality, such explicit evaluation is unlikely to take place after every decision is implemented - this would be cumbersome and most likely extremely tedious. Rather, evaluation may take places at specific moments ...'
Breen and Littlejohn
'A task is an activity in which a person engages in order to attain an objective, and which necessitates the use of language.'
Van den Branden 2006
Laura Edwards
On coursebooks
My team provides services to connect a variety of SAP-systems with other systems, inbound and outbound. Sometimes it's hard to set up the required structure and value mappings in time, due to various release dates of the different applications. It's a challenge to match all expectations and make everybody believe their application is more important than the others.
Different people, different needs
Everyone keeps track of what we cover, to help with assessment and next round of negotiation.
Ordering and sorting
Sharing personal experience
Creative tasks
Willis 1996
TBLT Framework
'The learning context, including learner variables, is the key factor in successful language learning' Bax 2002
'Eh, I dunno. Speaking? And grammar?'
What if we had guidelines?
Listening as a member of a live audience
Understanding a native speaker interlocutor
Listening to audio media & recordings
Reading for orientation
Reading for information and argument
C1 Can follow most lectures, discussions and debates with relative ease.
B2 Can understand in detail what is said to him/her in the standard spoken language even in a noisy environment.
B2 Can understand recordings in standard dialect likely to be encountered in social, professional or academic life and identify speaker viewpoints and attitudes as well as information content.
B2 Can scan quickly through long and complex texts, locating relevant details. Can quickly identify the content and relevance of news items, articles and reports on a wide range of professional topics, deciding whether closer study is worthwhile.
C1 Can understand in detail a wide range of lengthy, complex texts likely to be encountered in social, professional or academic life, identifying finer points of detail including attitudes and implied as well as stated opinions.
STEP 1: Read appropriate level descriptors and discuss
Step 2: Each student chooses 4 descriptors.
With partner, compare and agree on a final 4.
Brainstorm and fill in chart with relevant info.
Example chart completed by students
Students see which topic is coming next, discuss what materials would be useful.
Homework: students send documents, links, videos etc
A rough plan - be flexible
'Der Weg ist das Ziel'
Full transcript