Sunday, 4 June 2017

Our Activities and the CEFR

When I first described the "Box of Lies" activity to a colleague, she was a bit alarmed, concerned that the activity was more of a "B1" skill than a "A1" or "A2" skill according to descriptors in the CEFR (Common European Framework). You can find the lesson plan here. However, the strategies that we target in that activity in speaking and listening are definitely in line with our curriculum.

A sample of an appropriate Ontario Curriculum Expectation from Core French Grade 7:

Listening to Interact:
A2.1 Using Interactive Listening Strategies: identify and use interactive listening strategies to suit a variety of situations while participating in social and academic interactions (e.g., list key ideas from an oral text and confirm them with peers; provide relevant feedback when appropriate and/or requested; know when to interrupt politely to offer an additional point of view; use respectful body language when participating in a discussion; use appropriate vocal prompts to signal empathy, interest, and personal regard in dialogues and conversations)
“Je suis d’accord”, “Tu as raison”, “Tu l’as dit!”, “Tout à fait!”, “Tu as tort”, “D’après moi”, “Selon moi”, “À mon avis”. (2) Teachers can demonstrate the use of “pouvoir” to indicate possibility and phrase questions and interruptions courteously (e.g., “Peux-tu expliquer…?”, “Peux-tu répéter…?”).

Speaking to Interact:
B2.1 Using Speaking Interaction Strategies: demonstrate an understanding of appropriate speaking behaviour in a variety of situations (e.g., speak clearly; look at the listener/audience; demonstrate an understanding of when to speak and when to listen; take turns; ask questions and paraphrase information to confirm understanding; request repetition and explanation from peers when meaning is unclear; acknowledge the contributions of others before stating their own views; show respect for different points of view) Teacher prompts: “Quelle stratégie est efficace pour confirmer ta compréhension pendant une interaction (p. ex., une discussion, une présentation)?” “Quelles sont les stratégies que tu trouves les plus utiles pour encourager les autres à participer à une conversation?” “Avant de parler devant un groupe, pourquoi dois-tu penser aux stratégies qui seront utiles pour retenir l’attention de ton auditoire?” “Pourquoi est-il important de s’exprimer clairement lorsqu’on demande ou donne des instructions pour se rendre à un endroit?”

To me, these are skills that someone would use in A2 for sure.  But as soon as you get into points of view, you are edging into B1.  If you are new to CEFR levels, a friend recently explained them as this.

A1 - They are in their "house" talking about familiar things that are close to them.
A2 - They start moving beyond their house and into familiar community things.
B1 - They are able to express a point of view on a familiar topic.

B1 and B2 gets to where they are able to express their thinking more abstractly.

I love the CEFR levels, but we cannot let them limit our students because a certain grade should be contained in the "A2" box for instance.  I feel that a lot of the activities we have done through this project have pushed our students beyond their expected CEFR level.  In fact, in some cases, they have been self-motivated to go further than their curriculum expectations for their grades.

This year I had the opportunity to be certified as a DELF correctrice.  It was an amazing and challenging 4 days of training.  And while I can't use the resources in my teaching practice.  I know my knowledge will have an impact on my classroom next year.  Are you thinking of being certified too?  I highly recommend the experience!  Find some training near you this summer!

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