EUROCALL 2014

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Creating Tasks in a Less-Commonly Taught Language for an Open Educational Resource: Why the CEFR is important for Irish

If teachers of Less-Commonly Taught Languages (LCTLs), such as Irish, are to make use of Open Educational Resources and many other CALL tools then there must be an appropriate adaptation of the CEFR in that LCTL. The need to be “Bolonga-compliant” has seen language courses and syllabuses in Ireland being set out according to Common Reference Levels of the CEFR. An awareness of the benefits of CALL has simultaneously resulted in national and institutional pressures on the language teaching sector to integrate CALL in their courses. Many CALL tools and resources which have been developed in a European context, such as OERs, are underpinned by the Common Reference Levels of the CEFR. This symbiosis means that, in many cases, making use of one cannot be done properly without due regard to the other. In Ireland however the applications of the CEFR and CALL have been separate issues. As the demand for CALL grows in Ireland the lack of an Irish language adaptation of the CEFR has become more problematic. This paper presents a case study on the Irish language partner on the SpeakApps project. One aspect of the SpeakApps project is that tasks are designed with reference to the CEFR by teachers, piloted in various blended learning settings and then made available through an Open Educational Resource. The paper will begin with a brief literature review on i) implementing CALL principles in LCTLs ii) application of the CEFR to LCTLs. It will then examine the experiences of the Irish partner designing on-line oral production and interaction tasks according to the CEFR to be used on language courses that have not previously used CEFR learning goals or reference levels. In this paper we conclude that adaptation of the CEFR’s Common Reference Levels with clear illustrative descriptors are needed before teachers of LCTLs can optimize OERs and other CALL tools.

Author(s):

Colm Ó Ciardubháin    
Fiontar
Dublin City University
Ireland

Colm Ó Ciardúbhain is a Lecturer in the Irish Language and Academic Programme chairperson for Fiontar’s undergraduate programmes. He is Dublin City University’s representative on the task force for the inter-institutional Meitheal um Theagasc na Gaeilge (Task force for the Teaching of Irish), an all-island initiative of Higher Education Institutions to establish an agreed curriculum and subject benchmark with associated learning outcomes for the teaching of Irish in third level. In 2012 Colm was awarded the DCU President’s Award for Innovative Assessment techniques.

Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl    
Fiontar
Dublin City University
Ireland

Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl is the Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in DCU. Researcher in the SpeakApps project 2011/12 and Principle Researcher 2013/14. She is a Lecturer in information technology in the Irish-medium School of Fiontar (meaning innovation) and holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in finance, computing, enterprise and e-commerce and education

 

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