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The Framework and Language Portfolio (FLP) SIG: News and upcoming can do publication

Writer(s): 
Fergus O’Dwyer, Momoyama Gakuin University

 

The FLP SIG was established at JALT2008 to gather interested individuals to garner ideas, discuss developments, and coordinate efforts concerning the use of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) and the European Language Portfolio (ELP), and other such frameworks. These can be used in curriculum planning and reform, assessment, and other related language-teaching matters.

2009 activities opened with a 2-day Spring Seminar held in Osaka. The first day was mostly concerned with can do statements and the workshops encouraged the participants to specify class content in their upcoming classes in terms of objectives/can do statements, achievement scales, and assessment. The second day focused more on the ELP and reflection in the classroom. The seminar wrapped up with participants discussing personal action plans for use of the CEFR and LP in upcoming classes. This discussion was helpful as it is not often that we get the chance to share ideas about such topics.

The Spring Seminar was quickly followed by the publication of the bilingual “Language Portfolio for Japanese University” (LP). After steady progress was made by a project team of content decision makers and translators,this tool for implementation of the CEFR was made available to download for free to those who registered at the SIG Moodle (<kurse.o-daf.org>) in April 2009. In time it is hoped the LPcan be further distributed, but we feel that we should require registration on the SIG Moodle as this is designed to be a space for like-minded educators to discuss and share ideas. A protected version of the LP can be viewed on the SIG website (<sites.google.com/site/flpsig>). This site also serves as an introduction to activities and pedagogic tools.

The June Summer Seminar held in Tokyo was made up of workshops dealing with the learning cycle of self-assessment, goal-setting, and reflection. After first discussing self-assessment and goal-setting using the CEFR grid and can do checklists,participants used specific information (e.g.,defining the important skills associated with a learning stage and can do statements) for assessment and for informinglearners what is expected of them. The SIG participated in the Nakasendo conference the following day, and also participated in the Pan-SIG and CUE conferences.

The FLP SIG then jointly convened with Cambridge University Press and Keio University Research Center for Foreign Language Education a workshop on the uses of the CEFR and English Profile project (<www.englishprofile.org>), welcoming Tony Greenof the University of Bedfordshire as guest speaker and leader. The aim of the English Profile project is to create a set of reference level descriptions for English linked to the CEFR. The event began with an introduction to the English Profile project, followed by a workshop where delegates viewed samples of speaking test performances, considered how they link to the CEFR, compared each other’s judgments, and discussed some of the questions that the process raises. Participants took away a better knowledge of the CEFR and in particular an idea of some of the implementation challenges.

TheJALT2009 Forum in Shizuoka featured presenters from universities around Japan outlining issues and practices regarding use of the CEFR and ELP. A recurring theme was that people are not aware of how to use these resources, particularlycan do statements, effectively in classes. It is important to be aware that these can do statements must be adapted and changed to suit the specific context they serve. This led to the discussion at the SIG AGM where the main focus was the related idea of creating a volume of papers, tentatively titled “Can dos in language education in Japan,” which will outline how practitioners have used can do statements in class to give specific ideas and resources for educators to bring into classrooms. The publication will include electronic resources from all writers that readers can use and adapt to their own context. It is anticipated that this publication process will involve much collaboration,and writers and others involved will be expected to attend meetings at the Pan-SIG event in Osaka in May and the Nakasendo conference in Tokyo in June. The volume will be published before the JALT2010 conference and a tentative idea is to have contributors present at this conference so the papers and pedagogical tools can be explained to a wider audience. Abstracts and enquiries should be submitted by 31 March 2010 (to <flpsig@gmail.com>) and up-to-dateinformation about this publication can always be found at the FLP SIG website <sites.google.com/site/flpsig>.

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