Following the topic of previous months - assessing young learners - I will here discuss a bit some types we can use with this age groups. Effective language assessment provides chances for children to use their abilities to demonstrate what they can do at their appropriate level. It requires acknowledgement of the principles we have already discussed last month and also of the curriculum goals as well as children's cognitive developmental, emotional and psychological stages [as I have briefly discussed even before]. In order to suit young learners’ reality best,...

I honestly believe that learning a language is a lot closer to learning a musical instrument than it is to preparing for a school exam. I also clearly remember the day that I shared with my guitar instructor that I'd finally bought a case for my guitar - surprisingly, he wasn't thrilled and simply asked me why I'd chosen to waste the money on something that would actually hamper my development. The rationale was simple: if the guitar was in its case, I'd have to open the case...

Most language teachers have an operating definition of proficiency, even if it is not a very conscious one. In the first part of this post, three different views of the term came to light. Proficiency can be the last stage in a language acquisition journey, hence “certificate of proficiency”. It can also be a set of stages or degrees, the proficiency levelS. Finally, we talk of proficiency in certain tasks or domains, as ESP practitioners would probably frame the concept: proficient FOR some things or IN some areas, but...

“Proficiency” is a concept that is very dear to us language teachers. As dear as hard to define, perhaps. After all, the term “proficiency” is ambiguous at best. If we consider common uses of the word, there are at least three competing definitions. 1.       PROFICIENCY = A HIGHLY ADVANCED LEVEL Some international exams offer certificates at “proficiency level”, a step up from advanced. In this sense, proficiency seems to be the top end of a scale and it is often compared, more or less implicitly, to the competence/ability/knowledge/performance of an...