EUROCALL 2014

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Designing a task based curriculum for intensive language trainings

In this paper, I will report on the progress made over the last five years in designing and fine-tuning a curriculum for intensive language trainings, in which one-on-one instruction is combined with online exercises and drills to achieve an optimal blend of expertise and technology enhanced language learning.
The Common European Framework for Reference (CEFR) has become a crucial tool for assessing language skills as well as for developing courses for our course members.
Working with a target group consisting of highly educated, international professionals, studying seven different languages in a 5-day full immersion setting, it is crucial to continuously focus on the language tasks our course members need to perform in their target language. Since the target group is as heterogenous as possible, in terms of linguistic, cultural, educational and professional
backgrounds, designing a single learning path is simply not an option.
A task-based approach, in which language tasks are matched with their corresponding level according to the CEFR and categorised for industry specific domains was designed and implemented for the development of new course materials.
These course materials focus on combining receptive and productive language skills in realistic contexts, and are made available in an LMS as well as through authentic materials (audio, video, articles) with assignments to promote a thorough understanding and the use of advanced language skills.
Moving towards a more task centred approach for language teaching has a strong impact on the way we look at suitable materials and assignments for our course members. This approach also enables them to achieve the results required within a relatively short period of time, since courses designed with this framework focus on the course member’s specific needs and contexts, while keeping in mind the CEFR level before, during and at the end of the program.

Author(s):

Joost Elshoff    
Language Institute Regina Coeli

Joost has been a language trainer for nearly seven years, teaching Dutch as a foreign language during intensive individual five-day trainings. He normally works one on one with his students, focussing on teaching specific language tasks and needs of his students. He is also involved in the development of both online and offline course materials for the Dutch department and is often consulted on issues regarding technology and pedagogy/didactics. In 2012, he participated in the Utrecht Summer School course 'Methodologies and technologies to promote oral communication in language education' hosted and presented by Ton Koenraad.
He consults on the project presented in the abstract, providing a framework for developing an engaging environment for asynchronous oral communication (CMC).
Interests: Moodle, learning management systems, 21st century skills, gamification, game based learning, foreign languages

 

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