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English Language Learners’ Blog Project

8 Apr

English Language Learners’ Blog Project

This is a proposal for a pilot project for classes of English Language Learners (ELLs) of mixed nationalities on residential or home-stay summer schools learning English as a Foreign Language (EFL). It includes a combination of in-class, online and possibly out of class activities where groups of ELLs collaborate to compose blog articles focusing on their respective cultures and daily lives, experiences at the summer school, and experiences in the country or region where they are studying. With this combination of classroom, online and out of class activities, the hope is to provide a framework for ELLs to develop their proficiency and competencies in English, improving their linguistic fluency and complexity while ensuring that their immediate language learning needs are met and that the subject matter and linguistic forms studied are meaningful and relevant to them.


CEFR – Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

7 Sep

Tell me what your B2 is like

Windy Wellington hosted a wonderful workshop on CEFR on Thu 5th September 2013 – many thanks to English New Zealand (for organising), The Campbell Institute (for hosting), Cambridge English (for providing all the ‘loot’) and last but definitely not least Mary Jane Hogan (for presenting). I really love (and get excited about) workshops that ‘hit it on the nail’ when it comes to delivering the essence and the whole picture of the actual topic, the raison d’etre. Especially when it’s done so swiftly and smoothly. I got a real buzz from this workshop as it made so much sense. Although I need to do a lot of reading (a comprehensive list of resources were provided) I feel confident enough to apply my newly acquired knowledge to my current role of developing a new programme as part of the new NZCEL, from NZQA. This post is simply to gather my thoughts, in point form, so that I can re-visit them when I need to.

What have I discovered at the workshop? (emphasis on the ‘point form’)

  • CEFR is not a rating scale (as rating scales describe performance)
  • CEFR is a process not a product
  • the purpose of CEFR is to ‘reflect on current practice to meet the needs of the learners’
  • CEFR is designed to ask questions, not making rules
  • CEFR is flexible (I really like this aspect)
  • CEFR is action-oriented
  • language learners are ‘actors’ in society, they aim to accomplish tasks in a speech community

The 2 aspects of CEFR:

6 vertical levels (the C levels are less developed)

  • Common Reference Levels: GlobalSelf-assessment grid: Reception, Interaction, Production; Qualitative aspects of spoken language use “this is what matters to employers”


The areas of competence: General & Communicative
Communicative language activities & strategies

In summary:

CEFR Design Principles:

  • reflect on your teaching practice
  • meet learners’ needs
  • is action-oriented in its approach
  • regards language learning as a life-long process
  • expects the learners to take responsibility for their own learning

If you wish to read any further, grab yourself a cuppa (colloquial NZ English for a ‘cup of tea/coffee) and find a comfortable corner 🙂 The full presentation for the workshop will be made available from Mary Jane Hogan shortly but you may wish to get a glimpse of it from the following link (from another workshop)

European Language Portfolio (ELP) [the acronym is a nice coincidence since I teach at ELP (English Language Programme]

Here’s a sample portfolio [it was the first one I clicked on and by pure chance I discovered that I can understand the two languages it’s written in – another nice coincidence]



 English Profile Project 

The following image says it all I think – you can type a word in the search field, and the clever      database tells you whether it’s an A1 or B2 item (or any CEFR level for that matter)

But you’ll need to register on the site first – here’s the link


Reference Level Descriptors

Common European Framework


Corpus and English Profile

Aligning Assessment to the CEFR

The Manual for Language Development and Examining can be found at this link

Aligning existing tests:

  • familiarisation
  • specification
  • standardisation training & benchmarking
  • standard setting
  • vetting

Bringing CEFR into ELT

  • mapping = keep your levels & indicate matching features
  • alignment = your levels are CEFR levels
  • linking = a generic term (for referencing)
  • claiming does not equal demonstrating!

Curriculum Guidance

CEFR: Learning, teaching, assessment – the link

Introductory Guide to the CEFR for English language teachers – the link to the site / the link to the document

Teacher’s Guide to Common European Framework the link

Using the CEFR: Principles of good practice – the link

EAQUALS – the link site

English Australia Resources

Design for Learning

11 Jul

aka DTLT611

This is the first blog post for the new DTLT course I’ve just started, which happens to be the last paper required for the Certificate in Adult Teaching! Yay!

From what I gathered so far, I’ll need to design and develop a programme/course. Hmm, this may sound an impossible task but as part of my role, I’ve just been assigned to design a new course, called “English for the Workplace“. This course is expected to go ‘live’, i.e. delivered, in Feb 2014.

So, what a great opportunity to use my new (and last) paper for DTLT to develop a new course!

But wait, there is a catch!

As you can imagine, the course can be developed in any shape or form. I’ve got almost no restrictions. Actually, I don’t have any restrictions at all as the Programme Development is taking place as we speak (well, as i write). So I’ll need to wait for a while to see the Programme Regulations.

I’m sure it’ll come around very quickly so I’d better put on my thinking caps.

I’m open to all suggestions so please keep them coming.

Sentimental Sort of Teacher

1 May

Today I’m feeling poorly – Ahhhh, I hear you say. Well, thank you. 🙂

As a result, I missed out on being with my students this afternoon. [Insert more sympathy sounds here].

Anyway, I’m sure they were fully engaged, learning and teaching each other (thanks to the great bunch of people I work with. One of the tutors stepped in literally 10 mins before the class!) Continue reading

The IELTS Class – on Twitter & Paperli

3 Apr

Well, we did it! The Intermediate IELTS has class joined Twitter at last! I managed to create the class paper at to and we’ll be away when the students start curating their own class paper.

Here’s the link to the class paper –


Here’re the links to the student accounts (so far):

Puti –

Doreen –


More students to come once they send me their twitter profiles 🙂

If you’re really keen to have the lesson plan, let me know 😉

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