The importance of English Language

Teaching (ELT) in medicine studies
Shifting the Paradigm for Medical English Language Teaching
Summary: Medical English should be taught from the standpoint of medicine and health
care primary and foremost while enhancing vocabulary acquisition, grammar and structure
finally. The traditional view to English language training has done fine to meet the needs of
non-professional students. Todays world wide economy requires career-specific language
that includes wor!place culture and "argon for safe, effective delivery of professional
services and the ability to coordinate research and treatment across borders. The ability of
internationally acclaimed English e#ams of competency to instruct for or measure this is
questionable, Even though, they serve their goal as preparation for advance language
training. $urrent methods of instruction most frequently used today for health professionals
focus mainly on English language while secondarily within health care terminology in the
lessons. These teaching strategies of lessons stuffed with medical terminology and simple
dialogues about visits to the doctors office and minor sic!nesses fail to meet the needs of
the profession. % have developed a new methodology: a paradigm shift. Medical English is
communicated from the perspective of medicine and health care first and foremost while
enhancing vocabulary acquisition, grammar and structure finally. The focus is safety-to-
practice, a central part of international nursing and medical licensing: a standard of
practice. Teacher-tutors are required to be health trained professionals as well as language
instructors in English for Specific &urposes. 'essons, interactions, and case studies
represent simple and comple# medical practices, pharmacology, anatomy and physiology,
pathology, treatment.
(dult education, language acquisition and training are the focus of this paper mainly as
they relate to the teaching of Medical English. % will review core components of theories by
&ratt, )armer, *enner and others as a foundation to the presentation of my own perspective.
The need for changing the paradigm for Medical English language teaching will be central
to this discussion.
The western view of adult education is one of andragogy. This science and art of teaching
adults is based on two concepts: the adult learner is self-directed and autonomous+ the
teacher is a facilitator rather than presenter of content. There is an assumption that the
learner arrives in the classroom with a s!ill set and !nowledge base that will be enhanced
by the new learning e#perience. ,evelopmental learning theory derives from cognitive
psychology and believes that adult students have already developed their own cognitive
maps and strategies to guide their interpretation of the world. They learn by doing and
learning new !nowledge and s!ills which they then associate with previous learning and
e#perience. &rior learning is ac!nowledged as well as assumed. This is a core component of
my methodology for teaching English for Medicine students. %t also forms the basis of
others wor! such as that of ,r. (rsenau of the -aculty of Medicine, .niversity of *ritish
$olumbia /as cited in &ratt, 01102 who utili3es this teaching perspective with medical
students and ,r. &atricia *enner /45672 in her famous wor!s in nursing. *enner e#plores
how teaching and learning occur as both the student nurse and professional career nurse
"ourney from novice to e#pert.
The relevance of andragogy to the teaching of Medical English cannot be ignored. %t is the
writer s belief Medical English cannot be taught at the level of or in the same methods of
basic English language teaching. $areer-specific, highly technical language must be
conte#tually based. %t is advanced English. Students come with a wealth of !nowledge and
s!ills in their career fields. The goal of learning English at this level is not to learn grammar
and structure primarily, but to acquire and use the language of practice and social relations
within the career. $onte#tually based learning is crucial. The research of &ratt and
*roo!field /01102 in $anada, .S(, )ong 8ong, $hina and Singapore identified that trades
people for e#ample, found traditional learning in a classroom to be artificial and devoid of
the realities essential to learning that career-specific language in any way that would ma!e
it meaningful and useful. This most certainly applies to the study of Medical English. 9ften
referred to as English for Specific &urposes, curricula of this sort requires the teacher have
a similar career bac!ground to the student.
Goal of Curriculum
:hen the curriculum designer begins to develop a course or series of courses in Medical
English, he;she must consider who the students are, what their motivations will be, and
identify which perspective they wish their teachers to have. The curriculum framewor!
must be developed to meet the needs of the educational institution, the students, relevant
legislation, and any other sta!eholders such as employers of the students. -undamental to
the curriculum is the legal requirement for the practice and licensing of any and all health
professionals such as in $anada<s pro"ect: safety to practice. This concept includes s!ills
and competencies that promote health and do no harm to patients or clients. %t includes the
ability to do the wor! in the English language, safely and competently.
The language of medicine and health care is rather unique. %t is filled with technical,
academic language and replete with slang, colloquialisms, abbreviations and acronyms.
This paper addresses each of these in its learning activities. The curriculum never loses
sight of its duty to the public to provide safe practitioners.
Student Motivation
=esearch in the fields of adult education and the acquisition of a new language identifies
that students are much more motivated to learn when they find value in the material. :hen
designing a curriculum for Medical English, it is important to survey the motives of the
students. % have found these are not always the same. Some students pursue career-specific
English course for professional development reasons while others ta!e it with the hopes of
immigration. The former is generally more successful than the latter. Students hoping for
immigration to an English-spea!ing country are so burdened with credentialing and testing
that their focus is not on actual acquisition but on scores and recognition of coursewor! by
regulatory bodies. Students interested in professional development seem more committed.
They are less in a hurry to learn: they do not rush. They are more willing to ta!e the time to
practice and use the language with others, and value the importance overall of providing
safe medical-health care when using a foreign language at wor!.
Teacher Motivation
&ratt and *roo!field /01102 firmly state that teaching is guided by the trainer<s perspective
on teaching. They as! the question of what the teacher is trying to accomplish and from
what perspective their commitment lies. -or e#ample, is the teacher of Medical English
committed to teaching English language or is she;he interested in medicine and health care
and promoting the use or acquisition of English as a medium through which one practices
medicine and health care> The viewpoints are quite different and the lessons that flow from
each can be diametrically opposed for reasons to be discussed later in this paper.
Language Acquisition versus Language Learning
$urrently, language learning and language teaching is a combination of behaviorism and
cognitivism. These comprise the audio-lingual method of language acquisition. Teaching
based in behavioral psychology focuses on stimulus-response-reinforcement as the method
for promoting learning. The student is presented with a great deal of material over the
duration of a course, and frequently drilled or given oral;written feedbac! to reinforce
accuracy and s!ill. There is a strong focus on repetition with the belief that this will create a
habit of using language in certain ways: in response to certain stimuli. The drawbac! is that
this does not foster thin!ing, generali3ation, or application of language in other than the
structured, memori3ed stimulus-response form. Many schools around the world are using
this method for teaching Medical English. Their focus is on the presentation of reams of
medical terminology with very little application to the real world of medical practice. %n
effect, it is a method of rote memori3ation, and the actual benefits of acquiring language
that can be used in the career remains questionable.
Students who have been trained in the behavioral method of language learning tend to do
very well on written e#ams of language proficiency. That is because, in this writers
opinion, the e#am format is quite similar to that of the language classroom. The stimulus is
familiar. The appropriate response is triggered. Success on written e#ams does not
guarantee success with language in the wor!place. The writers e#perience with medical
and nursing students studying English for ?urses and Medical &urposes supports this.
Some arrived in the class as a direct result of action by the professional practice committees
of local registering bodies concerned with that professionals ability to safely practice in
health care in the English language /ie: the =egistered ?urses (ssociation of *ritish
$olumbia, the =egistered &sychiatric ?urses (ssociation of *ritish $olumbia, the 'icensed
&ractical ?urses (ssociation of *ritish $olumbia2.
$ognitivism is another theory which is based on the audio-lingual method of language
acquisition. (lso based in psychology, this theory asserts that people acquire language by
learning and internali3ing the rules of that languages structure /)armer, 455@2. The
assumption is that if a student is given sufficient vocabulary they will be able to create their
own sentences, convey messages, and ma!e meaning. %n this method, rules become
paramount and it is possible to teach language lessons based solely on rules and formulae.
)ence, this is a very popular practice today. 'essons are created with a focus on the rule or
structure for the day, ie: the sub"unctive clause. (ny new vocabulary or e#ercises are
designed around identifying and using the rule correctly.
The cognitive approach is in opposition to my theory related to acquisition of career-
specific language. Students of Medical English should begin these studies only after the
foundations of the language have been laid. The writer appreciates the importance of that
fundamental learning and has the e#pectation that students have achieved this. The goal of
Medical English should be acquisition and application of language, not rote memori3ation
or direct focus on vocabulary, grammar and structure.
(cquisition is a process that occurs subconsciously and results in the actual !nowledge of a
language. )armer /455@: AA2 points out that acquiring language is more successful and
longer lasting than learning. )e also notes that currently -oreign 'anguage /E-'2 teaching
seems to concentrate on getting the adult student to consciously learn items of language in
isolation: the classroom rather than the real life environment. )armer claims that language
acquisition is the theory of choice for teaching English for Specific &urposes. % agree with
them. (cquisition means that vocabulary and language are acquired through a multitude of
means, the most importance of which is access to the language in use: in conte#t. $ertainly
this is the basis of immersion courses in foreign languages. %t is neither essential to !now
the rules of the language nor to be drilled on it prior to actually learning it. E#posure is
critical. Similarly to the popular methods of instruction li!e those found at *erlit3 schools,
it is not necessary for the teacher to !now the students< language. Thus, it is not even seen
as particularly beneficial to the learning needs of the student. 'anguage and culture cannot
be separated. :hen teaching Medical English, the very career-specific content is designed
and delivered by those familiar with that career, with adult teaching and learning principles,
and training as an English Second 'anguage or English -oreign 'anguage instructor.
Methodolog! the ne" paradigm
'anguage acquisition must be a combination of academic preparation that includes
behavioral and cognitive approaches that are secondary to the focus or conte#t of the
lesson. The design of this paradigm reflects this. 'essons are conte#tually and
e#perientially based to provide hands-on opportunities to apply or use the language
immediately. $lasses are interactive and promote e#ploration and discovery of language
through discussions and e#ercises based on the focus of the lesson. The curriculum design
is based on health care, not English language structure or rules. %t follows an ( - * format.
'esson ( finds its focus on vocabulary presentation and acquisition. 'esson * to follow
provides opportunities to apply learning from the previous lesson into conte#t. 'earning
activities in 'esson * can include using actual hospital charts and forms, role-playing
assessment, use of medical equipment, open e#ploration of treatments and interventions
related to the main sub"ect. .nderstanding that all students have medical bac!grounds,
discussions are enhanced as health professionals attempt to confer and consult+ sometimes
debate medical-health conditions and best practices. The structure of language acquisition
is less acute. *ro!en English is accepted.
Students are encouraged to try to use language to search for synonyms, abbreviations, and
alternative ways of e#pressing meaning to communicate with each other. Students are
encouraged to support and encourage each other in language correction. The %nstructor
becomes the facilitator or guide. 9nce the message is communicated and the entire
interaction is complete, the %nstructor will review with the students as a group, strengths
and wea!nesses of that e#ercises. %f corrections need to be made in structure and form, it is
done in the feedbac!, debriefing session following each e#ercise if and when peers have not
assisted each other with this during the activity. This is supported by the wor! of 8rashen,
&rabhu B (llwright /$ited in &ratt, 01102 who spea! to the importance of comprehensible
input: acquisition occurs from hearing or needing language to communicate. This paper
appreciates the importance of an immersion or pseudo-immersion e#perience for the
language learner. Structure is incidental to the focus of the lesson. %t is a subset of the
learning.
This paper aims to e#tend its resources to E-learning, such as the use of moodle to carry out
several online tas!s such as the creation of a mind map about the treatments of a possible
disease, also provides an opportunity for self-directed learning and is based on the
principles of autonomy. Students can set their own goals and pace for learning. 'ocal
classes in non-English spea!ing countries can be greatly enhanced by this type of access.
&ratt B *roo!field /01102 identify a number of perspectives on teaching in adult education.
The Transmission &erspective is the stereotypic view of the teacher in the classroom in
which he;she imparts information in a top-down method of dissemination of material. This
perspective is not used as such in this paper. %nstead it is used as a technique. %n this model,
teachers are e#pected to be content e#perts in what they teach. This is important to the
teaching of Medical English: students e#pect content credibility. % believe that the teacher
should be a content e#pert in medicine and health care, first and foremost.
The (pprenticeship &erspective /&ratt, et al., 01102 reflects teaching outside of the
classroom. %t is a process of acculturating the learner into a specific community. This is
paramount in the design of any Medical English course. 'anguage in conte#t cannot be
ignored in this highly speciali3ed, career-specific focus. The main course of English for
Medical &ersonnel is taught in immersion but the curricula have been e#panded to include
e#posure and e#perience in health care settings for the student. 9nce again, the belief that
acquisition occurs from hearing or needing language to communicate is supported by this
delivery model.
(ccording to &ratt B *roo!field /01102, the ?urturing &erspective is the philosophical
underpinning for adult education in the .S( for at least the past 0C years. This perspective
theori3es that self-concept and self-efficacy are fundamental to the ability of the learner to
learn or to even believe he;she can learn. The learner wants to become confident that they
can learn the material and that learning the material will be useful and relevant to their
lives. /&ratt, et al., 0110: 752 The teaching of Medical English can most certainly include
this perspective when the instructor encourages, supports and mentors their peers into the
acquisition and use of English. They have vested interest in the career as well as in teaching
the student.
Argument
% agree with Swan /455D2 that some styles of speech and writing have their own rules and
structure. This is most certainly the case in the Medical English. )ealth<s professionals
must read, write, interpret, and give directions, using a wide, wide variety of abbreviations
and acronyms that are e#tremely career-specific. .nless one has spent time wor!ing in this
field, it is almost impossible to understand this career-specific "argon. Medical English is
also conte#tual. %t is a language of its own. ,octors and nurses use academic and technical
language interspersed with common speech and wor!place "argon. %t rarely focuses on
complete or proper sentence structure. Thus, charting is e#pected to be brief and in cryptic
form.
% have had the opportunity to consult with English language schools and nurse recruiters
from around the world. Time and again, the development of curriculum for Medical English
is being developed by individuals with different levels of e#pertise in the teaching of
English, minimal e#perience in any type of curriculum design, and limited or no !nowledge
of the language of health care. :ithout a doubt, most schools tend to use medical
dictionaries and stress the acquisition of complicated medical terminology without being
able to use this language in any meaningful way in the classroom. These curricula are
limited by their traditional approaches to the teaching of the sub"ect matter. They are
hindered by the belief that anyone can teach career specific language. ,esigners and
instructors seem unaware of or unconcerned that an error in language can have serious life-
threatening implications for a patient. (dmittedly, there are some schools that do have
insight into the need to consult with members of the medical community. )owever,
consultation does not necessarily signify insight or e#pertise and does not guarantee to
enhance the actual learning e#perience for students. % claim that what is needed is to reverse
this thin!ing. $onte#t e#perts need to consult with language e#perts to develop appropriate,
purposeful curricula.
%t is my contention that medical professionals interested in learning Medical English are
more motivated to learn, acquire and use language when the entire conte#t of the learning is
within the field of their interest, medicine and health care. (lready well-educated, these
professional people bring with them a wealth of !nowledge and s!ills in medicine and
health care. (ll learning activities are greatly enhanced by the opportunities provided by the
%nstructor and within the classroom to enter into e#changes of ideas and health care
practices while using new language. % state that this ability to wor! through language, add
vocabulary and, to coin a term from nursing, thin! on your feet in an e#periential way will
establish a much stronger base of learning and recall.
(ll in all, the method of curriculum design and delivery for Medical English needs to shift
from the traditional audio-lingual method to being conte#tually-based and e#periential. %t
needs to be delivered at the level of advanced English training where focus can be
dedicated to the language of the career rather than the structural foundations and rules of
learning a new language. The provision of this type of course or curriculum will improve
the student s motivation to learn and participate in learning activities. %mmersion activities
and e#posure to non-native English spea!ers who are also health professionals are crucial
elements in acculturating the Medical English student into the way career-specific language
is actually used. -oundational underpinnings of the curriculum and overall course goals
should be lin!ed to legal and ethical parameters for the health professions to provide
credibility for the course provider and value for the health profession, the student, and the
public. ,esigners and teachers need to be cogni3ant of the purpose and philosophy of the
curriculum, and the goals of their students. $onte#t of lessons needs to be relevant to the
wor! the health professionals are doing and will be doing in the future to ma!e it valuable
to them.
#$AP English as a %oreign Language programs for medicine
(s far as the ultimate programs of English 'anguage Teaching /E'T2, !nown as Elengua
e#trangera ingles %, %%, %%%, %F< were coined following the $ommon European -ramewor! of
=eference for all 'anguages /$E-=2 levels and its corresponding Ecan do<
statements;descriptors, a huge epistemic gap is found. %n this vein the $E-= strongly
suggests as a language policy the use of the action communicative approach. $onversely,
the rubric that is being followed by teachers to assess students learning is not in accordance
with it. They are giving by far too much weight to the online test, and diminishing any
other dimensions such as the spo!en production, spo!en interaction and written production
which are core issues when certifying students via $ambridge or Trinity $ollege. %n this
respect 'ong /455@2 clearly states that significant acquisition is achieved through constant
interaction amongst students and teachers, this in turn leads to assessing through a rubric
that ta!e the missing aspects into account to enhance students< language capacity to the
fullest. %n the following headings a thorough analysis of 'anguage programs will be
accurately presented.
Mar&ee's frame"or& of program analsis
%n the light of these events, Mar!ee /01102 holds the view that program implementation
process might be analy3ed through his Enegotiated model of curricular innovation< applied
as the $ollege and the $enter for (dvanced Technologies and %nnovation /$(T%2 pro"ect
based on $andlin<s /45672 two folded basic model: Gstrategic /or curriculum2 planning and
tactical /or syllabus2H /p. DD2. )e also adds a third aspect that is Ethe operational planning<
which in turn draws on teacher day to day pra#is. %n addition, $andlin /45672 ,ewey
/45412 Stenhouse /45DC2 cited in Mar!ee /01102 posit that Gthe $(T% pro"ect<s ideology
draws on a critical, negotiated approach to pedagogyH /p.DD2. (ccording to Mar!ee, in the
rationale given for the $(T% pro"ect four reasons are given for using the English as a
-oreign 'anguage /E-'2 courses as a laboratory for curricular innovation: /42 the quality of
E-' instruction would be enhanced and Teaching (ssistants would develop e#pertise in
curriculum development that would be professionally useful to them in their subsequent
careers+ /02 this solution addressed faculty and Teaching (ssistant dissatisfaction with the
quality of these courses that e#isted before the $(T% pro"ect was instituted+ /A2 it facilitated
the development of ban!s of in-house materials that were specially tailored to meet the E-'
needs of international students+ /72 it offered pro"ect participants opportunities to
understand the process of educational change.
Strategic Planning
Mar!ee /0110: D52 argues that Gstrategic curricular planning is the responsibility of the
pro"ect director or change agent, who supplies !nowledge about IJK Ithe suggested
teaching approachK to teachers and gives the pro"ect its overall directionH. )e also posits
that Gthe pro"ect director<s responsibilities include: /42 specifying the pro"ect<s aims, goals
and criteria for evaluation+ /02 identifying the change strategies used to implement the
pro"ect<s aims and goals+ /A2 stating the purposes and the content of the pro"ect<s E-'
instruction+ /72 clarifying the developmental function of the pro"ect<s ban!s of in-house
materials+ /C2 naming the attributes that affect the implementation of IJK Ithe suggested
teaching methodology, see appendi# (K in the pro"ect+ /@2 laying out the characteristics of
IJK Ithe $ommunicative 'anguage Teaching and Tas!-*ased (pproachKH /p.61+ my
additions2. %n this conte#t curricular innovation seems to be promoted by the managerial
staff /coordinators and the director2 with the purpose of implementing top-down decisions.
-urthermore, they decide upon the language approach teachers are going to wor! with
following bureaucratic establishing protocols /for a complete description see Santos, 011C2.
The pro(ect's aims) goals) and criteria for evaluation
This evaluation is based on Stenhouse /45DC2, $rac!nell and =ednall<s /456@2 adapted
&ro"ect -ramewor! Gwhich is widely used by (merican, (ustralian, European and .nited
?ations aid agenciesH /Mar!ee, 0110+ p.612. %t can spell out a program<s aims and
ob"ectives and also s!etch the criteria used for evaluation in a single, integrated pac!age
/see table 42. %n a similar vein, (lderson /45502 states that Gthis pro"ect framewor! can help
language teaching professionals to understand the consequences of their decisions such as
managerial top down implementation and actions which is view as the operational
componentH /p.61+ my additions2. Table 4 consists of two parts. The first part sets out and
summari3es the most common &rograms< contents /'engua e#tran"era ingles %, %%, %%%, %F2,
ob"ectives and outputs as hierarchically organi3ed statements that range from the general to
the specific. The second consists of inputs required to achieve the program<s contents,
ob"ectives and outputs. The third one copes with important assumptions ta!en by the sta!e
holders Idirectors, teachers and studentsK based on operational issues /(lderson, 45502.
*+Pro(ect
structure
,+-ndicator of
achievement
.+Means of
verification
/+-mportant assumptions
To comprehend
the functional and
grammatical
differences of
simple tense and
future
To pose questions
about the possible
consequences of
determined actions.
To loo! after the
ecology
(lthough the ob"ective seems a mi#ture of
functional structural content, it only deals
with grammar. =egarding point 0, the
indicator of achievement is rather vague and
imprecise. =egarding point A, student might
be involved in tal!ing about how to care for
the ecology in a communicative or tas! based
activity. % might argue that it depends on the
teacher<s operational planning. /Saslow
B(scher, 011@2
To identify cause
and effect clauses
in conditional
sentences.
To apply these learnt
structures to the
analysis and solution
of problematic
situations
To loo! after the
ecology
?umber 4 is structural+ but number 0 seems
to promote functional and notional issues as
the student might use 4
st
, 0
nd
or A
rd
conditional
in a communicative or tas!-based activity. %
might argue that number A is concerned with
s!etching a writing or conversational activity
about discussing true or hypothetical
ecological situations.
%dentify the
simple tense of
most verbs as
well as used to, to
state a habitual
action in past.
To describe past
habitual action of
learner<s childhood
To describe and
state a point of
view about the
social movements
in the @1<s
?umber 4 is structural in nature. $onversely,
number 0 encourages learners to tal! about
past e#periences form their childhood.
?umber A could be carried out by designing a
tas! which might involve the analysis of a
specific situation /Martin 'uther 8ing,
Fietnam war2 in the @1s.
To comprehend
the interrogative
structure in
English
To pose questions
which allow to get
specific info from
past epochs.
To state a point of
view about the
magnitude and
influence of some
social events.
?umber 4 is structural and vague. ?umber 0
might be frame on a tas!-based reading
activity which has students solve a "ig-saw
reading about 8ennedy<s murder+ with a
question and answer follow up. ?umber A
could be carried out similarly. /Saslow
B(scher, 011@2
To distinguish
passive and
active voices in
sentences.
To apply this
structural !nowledge
/heuristics2 with the
purpose of
comprehending
process and
procedures of the
target language
To comprehend
the process,
efforts and facts
to the
consolidation and
development of
an enterprise
?umber 4 is rather structural. ?umber 0
seems heuristics since it has learners analy3e
form and meaning within sentences. This is
nevertheless the operational appreciation of
this practitioner. ?umber A might be carried
out through a tas!-based activity which let
students measure the impact when creating
and developing an enterprise.
%dentify the
structure of the
perfect tenses
To comprehend
the uses of
modals within the
content and form
of a sentence.
To describe the late
action of two
sequence actions in
the past.
To value the
loyalty, friendship
and love
This ob"ective is structural in nature as well
as point 0. =egarding point A, learner may be
involved in tal!ing about past e#periences
dealing with these values, but it depends on
the teacher<s operational planning. /Saslow
B(scher, 011@2
*+Pro(ect
structure
,+-ndicator of
achievement
.+Means of
verification
/+-mportant assumptions
Ferbs follow by
infinitives and;or
gerunds
-ing B -ed
ad"ectives
To comprehend
readings and fol!
tales which describe
facts in the past
To value the fol!
legends and tales<
importance and
their influence on
people<s lives.
&ersonal
e#periences
?umber 4 is rather structural. ?umber 0 B A
can be carried out through tas!-based
activities such as discussing the weeping
woman legend with a follow up description in
writing about specific details.
( tas! based activity such as describing your
own personality or describing of someone
you !now well /Saslow B(scher, 011@2
Second
conditional
Might B would to
state unreal events
,escribe the
dreams B ideal
one possesses
?umber 4 is rather structural. ?umber 0 BA
can be carried out through tas! based
activities such as writing an article about
appropriate appearance in your country
and;or narrating a true story about an ethical
choice /Saslow B(scher, 011@2
&resent perfect
simple B
continous
To use the present
perfect to lin! an
event that began in
the past with the
To describe
emotional or
scholar
e#periences
?umber 4 is rather structural. ?umber 0 BA
might be carried out through a tas!-based
activity such as writing a movie review page
and;or e#pressing opinion about violence in
present media /Saslow B(scher, 011@2.
%dentify the
perfect tense
sentences
Two order two
events
chronologically
To apply the
present perfect to
sequence some
stories< facts
?umber 4 B0 are very structural. ?umber A
may be carried out through a tas!-based
activity such as e#pressing opinion about
violence in media /Saslow B(scher, 011@2.
Table 4
%n this vein, =ichards /01142 posits that G&eople are generally motivated to pursue specific
goals+ the use of goals in teaching improves the effectiveness of teaching and learning+ and
a program will be effective to the e#tent that its goals are sound and clearly describedH
/p.4402. (lbeit this quotation+ the ob"ectives of this program are li!ely vague and it might
require lots of effort from the part of a teacher to consolidate them /Stenhouse, 45DD2.
-urthermore, ?unan /45672 has "ustified =ichards<s /01142 curriculum development in
language teaching as Ga set of process and procedures which are both systematic and
interrelatedH /p. 462. This set has been Gprofessional-orientedH and comprises these
elements: Gneeds analysis, ImaterialsK, ob"ectives setting Ito address the learners needsK,
content and methodology, and evaluationH /p.46+ my additions2. =ichards also posits that
GIcKurriculum development is a more comprehensive process than syllabus design. %t
includes the processes that are used to determine the needs of a group of learners, to
develop aims or ob"ectives for a program to address those needs, to determine an
appropriate syllabus, course structure, teaching methods, and materials, and to carry out an
evaluation of the language program that results from these processesH /p. 02.
-dentif the pro(ect's change strategies
(ccordind to Mar!ee /01102 Gthe $(T% pro"ect employs a lin!age model of change which
promotes IJKIprogram developmentK by using top down and bottom up strategies of
change on a contingent basis Isee Te#t 'in! 67K. The model is top down in that the pro"ect
director uses authority in two ways: /42 as a faculty member using the hierarchical position
of director I...K, /02 as a curriculum specialist, using academic authority to set out the
general parameters within which innovation in the $(T% pro"ect occursH /p.6D+ my
additions2. =egarding the $ommon framewor! of languages at a *.(&, the programs
framed by this paper was coined in the 51<s which in turn was supposed to be a top-down
innovation
i
/&royecto -Lni#, 4557-4556+ cited in $atMlogo de programas del Tronco $omNn
.niversitario *.(&. ,OES, 455C2. %t is now consolidated by Modelo Educativo Minerva
/M.M by its captions in Spanish2 so as to propose innovation as a permanent issue which
might enable students to acquire a foreign language /Santos, 011C2. 'earners might then
have the necessary s!ills to interact in international and national professional conte#ts.
?evertheless, M.M /011D2 proposes that the transversal a#is
ii
is different from the current
operation of the 'anguage framewor! so as to let any other faculty either choose to ta!e the
four courses /basic and pre-intermediate2 or up to for the certification process.
-dentif the purposes and content of instruction
The layout of these programs seems to have a multilayered syllabus which integrates
notional-functional and structural units of analysis. %t is an integrated-s!ills course which
aims to improve students< oral and written communication. Similarly, Mar!ee /01102 holds
the view that Gstudents must be able to communicate successfully via both oral and written
media IJKThey must be able to communicate through different channels IJKsuch as face
to face oral discourse, writing, for instance, and electronic mail IJK the procedural content
of these courses /i.e., the !inds of learning activities with which students engage in their
E-' classes2 can be appropriately derived from the academic tas!s that students accomplish
in their day to day livesH /p. 662.
:ith the advent of adopting the $ommon European -ramewor! of =eference<s /$E-=+
$ouncil of Europe, 01142 descriptors as curricular guide-lines /see appendi# *2, spo!en
interaction and spo!en production are strongly enhanced+ “face-to-face interaction may of
course involve a mi#ture of media: spo!en, written, audio-visual, paralinguistic IJK and
para-te#tual IJKH /$ouncil of Europe, p. 662. %n addition, the $E-= /ibid.2 suggests
interaction through the medium of written language which includes such activities as: /i2
passing and e#changing notes, memos. when spo!en interaction is impossible and
inappropriate+ /ii2 correspondence by letter, fa#, e-mail+ /iii2 negotiating the te#t of
agreements, contracts, communiquLs, by reformulating and e#changing drafts,
amendments, proof corrections+ /iv2 participating in on-line or off-line computer
conferences. %n the ne#t section the author will discuss how the adoption of materials has
permeated the foreign language learning process.
The developmental function of in0house materials
Mar!ee states that Gthe decision to use an ES&;EO& /English for Specific &urposes; English
for Oeneral purposes2 inspired course design solution naturally suggests that teachers
should develop in-house materials IJK )owever, the decision to rely mostly on in-house
materials is motivated by the more important aim of promoting teacher developmentH /p.
652. (s a matter of fact, *.(&<s 'anguage -aculty prefers adopting materials to promoting
the development of in-house ones /a top-down policy2. ?ot only does this policy apply to
the $ommon -ramewor! of 'anguage /English2, but it also permeates the other language
cohorts /$E'E, -O.M2. %n the light of these events, a new te#t-boo! is being implemented
GThe Prime time series /Evans B ,ooley, 01412H+ ?unan /45542 hence gives advice on
what appears to be the most common reason for course-boo! adoption:
G:hen selecting commercial materials it is important to match the materials with the goals
and ob"ectives of the program, and to ensure that they are consistent with one<s beliefs
about the nature of language and learning, as well as with one<s learners< attitudes, beliefs
and preferences.H /p. 0152.
*y using Mc,onough and Shaw<s /455A: @6-@52 two-stage model for course-boo!
evaluation the curriculum designer can notice two important issues such as e#ternal
characteristics of evaluating a boo!: how the language has been presented and organized
into teachable units/lessons: there are C units in both Student *oo! /S*2 and :or!boo!
/:*2 and a claim of @1-51 hours of class time. Are the subjects and contents relevant to
your syllabus? &rime Time contents nearly fit the ob"ectives and goals for this level. (s far
as the units of (nalysis are concerned, a @1 P match is correlated with the contents in the
boo! /used to, second conditional2, Ithe correlations are also indicated in Stenhouse /45DC2,
$rac!nell and =ednall<s /456@2 adapted &ro"ect -ramewor! analysis on section 0.4.0K.
Attri1utes affecting the adoption of tas&01ased language
teaching
Mar!ee claims that Ginnovation has attributes that either facilitate or inhibit their adoption+
these can be used to analy3e the factors that potentially affect the adoption of tas!-based
teaching IJKH /p. 652. These programs do not e#plicitly address any approach or
methodology, but it suggests the acquisition of communicative competence. Thus, teachers
seem to be using eclectic methodologies or in a large e#tent the methodology that the boo!
suggests. %n this vein, Saslow and (scher /011@2 claim that their particular eclectic method
is one third based on 8rashen<s iQ4, Gthe reason for this is to e#pose students to the
authentic language they will encounter in the world outside the classroom and to familiari3e
them with it IJK Oreat care has been ta!en to ensure that iQ4 language is comprehensible
IJK 9ne of the purposes of including a piece of realia with iQ4 language is to teach
students find meaning in te#ts that contain some un!nown languageH /p. T#i#2. 9ne third
on the (udio-lingual method since there is plenty of conversation pair-wor! through the
units. 9ne third on the tas!-based approach since it engages students in negotiating,
problem-solving Eauthentic< situations. % might argue that it is too much audio-lingual.
Saslow and (scher state that its multilayered syllabus is in accordance with the $E-= /see
appendi# $2.
Tactical Planning
Mar!ee /01102 argues that Git is in the model<s tactical level of planning that the teaching
assistants< tas!-based language teaching syllabus design and materials development
activities are conceptually located. %f the pro"ect<s model of curricular innovation is to
wor!, teaching assistants must understand the theoretical principles upon which tas!-based
language teaching syllabus design and materials development activities are conceptually
located. %f the pro"ect<s model of curricular innovation is to wor!, teaching assistants< must
understand the theoretical principles upon which tas!-based language teaching is founded.
They must also !now how to select te#ts, grade and sequence, pedagogical tas!s. -inally,
they must decide how to select appropriate methodological procedures. This section
e#amines how one teaching assistant interpreted tas!-based language teaching in his
materialsH /p.552. The $(T% pro"ect is quite clearly embedded in a ?orth (merican conte#t
of implementation. %n this section, it is argued that the point of telling the story of the $(T%
pro"ect is not to generali3e the solutions that have been developed in this pro"ect - which
will be highly conte#t-specific - but to develop a grounded understanding of the issues and
problems that are inherent in trying to ma!e educational innovation happen.
Mar!ee /01102 posits that Ggood communication among pro"ect participants is a !ey to
successful curricular innovationH /see Te#t 'in! 4@42. $onsequently, the programs
curricular innovations are top-down implementations which ta!e into account teachers
points of view. Teachers< meetings are r carried out to openly discuss an innovation such as
the adoption of new materials or the adoption of new standards+ in this vein, teachers might
be active recipients to run a given program.
Mar!ee also posits that Gthe successful implementation of educational innovations is based
on a strategic approach to managing changeH /see Te#t 'in! 4@02. %n this vein, early
adopters are "ust a few groups of teachers implementing the innovation preceded by
innovators /the director<s staff2 so as to produce the typical s-shaped curve that describes
the diffusion of innovation. (nother three types of adopter can be superimposed on this
curve: early ma"ority, late ma"ority and laggards. % shall hence comment that the European
'anguage &ortfolio<s /E'&2 innovation is still in the la3y slope of this curve. Then %
outlined the E'& as a proposal of innovation due to the fact that it could not only enhance
the learners< autonomy but it also serves as a means of carrying a needs analysis. )owever,
if % were to measure it as a value laden on this curve % might argue that the innovation is
still in its infancy /see figure 42.

-igure 4
(dopted and ta!en from :itten, $asteneira, *renes, &reciado, Tapia, SMnche3 /011D2
2perational planning
Mar!ee /01102 posits that Goperational planning is the responsibility of teachers and
students and involves the short-term planning and e#ecution of lessons by teachers. This
level of planning is also a locus of innovation in that teaching involves negotiation between
Innovators/Early
adopters
Early Majority/Late
Majority
Laggards
% of adopters who implement innovation
over a specifc time period often form a
typical S-shaped difusion curve
teachers and learnersH /p.01D2. %n this vein, lesson plans can be negotiated with learners so
as to implement some activities rather than others. ?evertheless, in this program teachers
have got a fi#ed administrative schedule to accomplish determined units in a given time
span. This is not an e#cuse to avoid innovating though. (s a matter of fact, % might argue
most of teachers< pra#is of this language department is permeated by different beliefs and
theoretical assumptions according to the comple# socio-cultural conte#t we are wor!ing
with.
The European Language Portfolio (ELP)
%t has been developed as a pedagogical language learning companion piece to the $E-=
/$ouncil of Europe, 01142. %t consists of either an electronic or paper version where
students !eep trac! of their language development. %t is designed /i2 to encourage the
lifelong learning of languages, to any level of proficiency+ /ii2 to ma!e the learning process
more transparent and to develop the learners ability to assess his;her own competence+ /iii2
to facilitate mobility within Europe by providing a clear profile of the owners language
s!ills+ /iv2 to contribute to mutual understanding within Europe by promoting
plurilingualism /the ability to communicate in two or more languages2 and intercultural
learning. )ence, it consists of three parts: the &assport, the 'anguage *iography /'*2, and
the ,ossier /'ittle, 011D2.
4. The &assport is used to build up a cumulative record of the owner<s language
learning and intercultural e#perience. (t its centre is the owner<s own assessment of
his;her achieved proficiency in '0;-'s, underta!en on the basis of the so-called
self-assessment grid.
0. The '* provides a reflective accompaniment to the ongoing process of learning and
using '0;-'s, and engaging with the cultures associated with them. %t supports the
setting of learning targets and the process of self-assessment by e#panding the
descriptions of proficiency in the self-assessment grid into chec!lists of
communicative tas!s.
A. The ,ossier is the least defined part of the E'&Rin many models it consists of no
more than an empty table of contents for the owner to fill in. %ts purpose is to
provide a space in which E'& owners can show what they can do in the various
languages they !now and illustrate their intercultural e#perience, usually in written
te#t but sometimes also in audio and;or video recordings. %n some implementations
the dossier is also a place where owners !eep materials relevant to their current
learning+ for e#ample, vocabulary or grammatical rules they !now they need to
master, plans and drafts of pro"ects they are wor!ing on, and newspaper or
maga3ine articles that are relevant to their learning goals.
Conclusion
(s the improvement of a program is an ongoing process /Mar!ee, 01102 trying a
constructivist approach should be e#ercised. )owever, new materials and the E'&
innovation must be run. (daptations of the $E-= descriptors which thoroughly match our
specific socio-cultural conte#t need to be run as well. %n the light of these events, different
versions of the E'& ought to be developed to match specific classroom<s necessities to
foster learners< autonomy.
Throughout this paper % attempted to answer two questions: /i2 to what e#tent are the three
levels of planning /strategic, tactical and operational planning2 discernible in the way this
specific program organi3es foreign language instruction> (s we have already seen through
the different subheadings of this paper the strategic component reveals that old-fashion
programs were a top-down innovation proposed by &royecto -Lni# in the 51s with a
multilayered syllabus /functional and structural2. Thus, the dissection of the most important
features of the programs G'engua e#tran"era inglesH /M.M2 depicts a new epistemic
hori3on for researchers to enhance English acquisition. =egarding the tactical plane, the
$(T% pro"ect was proposed and clearly defined as a ?orth-(merican innovation which
could be used as a model to contrast against this program. %n this vein, % argue that teachers
seem to follow their own idiosyncratic methodology that might be an eclectic one, although
the program is suggesting a communicative approach which integrates the four s!ills, the
goal and specific ob"ectives seem rather vague. % then analy3ed the contents of the syllabus
according to Stenhouse /45DC2, $rac!nell and =ednall<s /456@2 adapted &ro"ect -ramewor!
matri#. % also argued that teachers are as!ed to give their point of view within the process
of curricular innovation. This produces active participants that enact;carry out top-down
decisions from directors and coordinators. Similarly, Mar!ee /01102 argues that Gin terms
of understanding the !ey elements of the $(T% pro"ect, and which of these elements can be
reproduced in other conte#ts of implementation IJK the point of studying the $(T% pro"ect
IJK is to gain a grounded understanding of the problems that are involved in managing
curricular innovationH /p.4412.
(s far as the operational plane is concerned, the daily teachers< pra#is was framed within a
spectrum of different beliefs and theoretical assumptions. % also argue that innovation might
occur. % suggested piloting the E'& as a pedagogical tool which might promote learners<
autonomy.
To what e#tent does the model of curriculum design used by this cohort either encourage or
discourage the negotiation of syllabus content between different participants> % might argue
that % could not obtain all the necessary information /needs analysis, specific documents of
teachers< meetings, the curriculum designers< point of view2 from the different sta!e holders
so as to reach a valid conclusion about the effectiveness of communication among them.
%diosyncratically, % might claim that any possible change /innovation2 in curriculum-
syllabus design is a top-down process which is negotiated by educational authorities. %n
short, it is a top-down administrative process, although some teachers are promoting some
bottom up innovation.
Mar!ee accurately posits that Gthe $(T% pro"ect has developed an empirically based
methodology to illuminate how teachers interpret policy made at the strategic level of
curricular planning and how they implement these decisions through a process of
adaptation and modification at the tactical level of syllabus planning and at the operational
level of planningH /p. 4412. More adaptation is needed in the light of the M.M
implementation so as to appropriately revise and propose new tendencies in curricular
innovation
iii
.
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/02, 7D-C@.
Appendi4 A
(dopted from Mar!ee /01102
Appendi4 #
3eception -nteraction Production
Listening 3eading Spo&en -nteraction 5ritten -nteraction Spo&en Production 5ritten Production
C, % have no difficulty in
understanding any !ind
of spo!en language,
whether live or
broadcast, even when
delivered at fast native
speed, provided % have
some time to get
familiar with the accent.
% can read with ease
virtually all forms of the
written language,
including abstract,
structurally or
linguistically comple#
te#ts such as manuals,
specialised articles and
literary wor!s.
% can ta!e part effortlessly
in any conversation or
discussion and have a
good familiarity with
idiomatic e#pressions and
colloquialisms. % can
e#press myself fluently
and convey finer shades of
meaning precisely. %f % do
have a problem % can
bac!trac! and restructure
around the difficulty so
smoothly that other people
are hardly aware of it.
% can e#press
myself with clarity
and precision,
relating to the
addressee fle#ibly
and effecively in an
assured, personal,
style.
% can present a clear,
smoothly-flowing
description or argument
in a style appropriate to
the conte#t and with an
effective logical structure
which helps the recipient
to notice and remember
significant points.
% can write clear,
smoothly flowing te#t
in an appropriate
style. % can write
comple# letters,
reports or articles,
which present a case
with an effective
logical structure,
which helps the
recipient to notice and
remember significant
points. % can write
summaries and
reviews of
professional or literary
wor!s.
C* % can understand
e#tended speech even
when it is not clearly
structured and when
relationships are only
implied and not
signalled e#plicitly. %
can understand
television programmes
and films without too
much effort.
% can understand long
and comple# factual
and literary te#ts,
appreciating
distinctions of style. %
can understand
specialised articles and
longer technical
instructions, even
when they do not relate
to my field.
% can e#press myself
fluently and spontaneously
without much obvious
searching for e#pressions.
% can use language fle#ibly
and effectively for social
and professional purposes.
% can formulate ideas and
opinions with precision
and relate my contribution
s!ilfully to those of other
spea!ers
% can present clear,
detailed descriptions of
comple# sub"ects
integrating sub-themes,
developing particular
points and rounding off
with an appropriate
conclusion
% can e#press myself
in clear, well-
structured te#t,
e#pressing points of
view at some length. %
can write detailed
e#positions of
comple# sub"ects in an
essay or a report,
underlining what %
consider to be the
salient issues. % can
write different !inds
of te#ts in a style
appropriate to the
reader in mind.
#, % can understand
e#tended speech and
lectures and follow even
comple# lines of
argument provided the
topic is reasonably
% can read articles and
reports concerned with
contemporary
problems in which the
writers adopt particular
stances or viewpoints.
% can interact with a degree
of fluency and spontaneity
that ma!es regular
interaction with native
spea!ers quite possible. %
can ta!e an active part in
% can write letters
highlighting the
personal
significance of
events and
e#periences.
% can present clear,
detailed descriptions on a
wide range of sub"ects
related to my field of
interest. % can e#plain a
viewpoint on a topical
% can write clear,
detailed te#t on a wide
range of sub"ects related
to my interests. % can
write an essay or report,
passing on information
familiar. % can
understand most TF
news and current affairs
programmes. % can
understand the ma"ority
of films in standard
dialect.
% can understand
contemporary literary
prose.
discussion in familiar
conte#ts, accounting for
and sustaining my views.
issue giving the
advantages and
disadvantages of various
options.
or giving reasons in
support of or against a
particular point of view.
#* % can understand the main
points of clear standard
speech on familiar matters
regularly encountered in
wor!, school, leisure, etc.
% can understand the main
point of many radio or TF
programmes on current
affairs or topics of
personal or professional
interest when the delivery
is relatively slow and
clear.
% can understand te#ts
that consist mainly of
high frequency everyday
or "ob-related language.
% can understand the
description of events,
feelings and wishes in
personal letters
% can deal with most
situations li!ely to arise
whilst travelling in an area
where the language is
spo!en. % can enter
unprepared into
conversation on topics that
are familiar, of personal
interest or pertinent to
everyday life /e.g. family,
hobbies, wor!, travel and
current events2.
% can write personal
letters describing
e#periences and
impressions.
% can connect phrases in a
simple way in order to
describe e#periences and
events, my dreams, hopes
B ambitions. % can briefly
give reasons and
e#planations for opinions
and plans. % can narrate a
story or relate the plot of
a boo! or film and
describe my reactions.
% can write
straightforward
connected te#t on
topics, which are
familiar, or of
personal interest.
A, % can understand phrases
and the highest
frequency vocabulary
related to areas of most
immediate personal
relevance /e.g. very
basic personal and
family information,
shopping, local
geography,
employment2. % can
catch the main point in
short, clear, simple
messages and
announcements
% can read very short,
simple te#ts. % can find
specific, predictable
information in simple
everyday material such
as advertisements,
prospectuses, menus
and timetables and %
can understand short
simple personal letters
% can communicate in
simple and routine tas!s
requiring a simple and
direct e#change of
information on familiar
topics and activities. % can
handle very short social
e#changes, even though %
cant usually understand
enough to !eep the
conversation going myself.
% can write short,
simple notes and
messages relating
to matters in areas
of immediate need.
% can write a very
simple personal
letter, for e#ample
than!ing someone
for something.
% can use a series of
phrases and sentences to
describe in simple terms
my family and other
people, living conditions,
my educational
bac!ground and my
present or most recent "ob
% can write a series of
simple phrases and
sentences lin!ed with
simple connectors li!e
GandH, GbutH and
GbecauseH.
A* % can recognise familiar
words and very basic
phrases concerning
myself, my family and
immediate concrete
surroundings when
people spea! slowly and
clearly.
% can understand
familiar names, words
and very simple
sentences, for e#ample
on notices and posters
or in catalogues.
% can interact in a simple
way provided the other
person is prepared to
repeat or rephrase things at
a slower rate of speech and
help me formulate what
%m trying to say. % can as!
and answer simple
questions in areas of
immediate need or on very
familiar topics.
% can write a short,
simple postcard, for
e#amples sending
holiday greetings. %
can fill in forms with
personal details, for
e#ample entering my
name, nationality and
address on a hotel
registration form.
% can use simple phrases
and sentences to
describe where % live
and people % !now.
% can write simple
isolated

phrases and
sentences.
Appendi4 C
i
se propuso la creaciVn de un Tronco $omNn .niversitario /T$.2 con cursos de naturaleza interdisciplinaria y compleja
<ue desarrollar4an en el estudiante procesos de pensamiento cr4tico y anal4tico- tambi=n incentivar4an la creatividad y la
apropiaci>n de )ormas mucho m?s )le0ibles de pensar acerca de c>mo concebir el mundo- lo <ue ayudar4a a los egresados
a seguir aprendiendo durante toda su vida pro)esional/ /$atMlogo de programas del Tronco $omNn .niversitario *.(&.
,OES, 455C2.
ii
Este currWculo presenta tres componentes: 4. M(TE=%(S ,E -9=M($%X? OE?E=(' .?%FE=S%T(=%(. Se orientan
al cumplimiento de ob"etivos bMsicos para el desarrollo del e"e transversal en forma de materia con crLditos, entre las cuales
pueden ser obligatorias y optativas+ 0. ES$E?(=%9S ,E ,ES(==9''9. Se orientan por los ob"etivos particulares del e"e
transversal y se concretan mediante la reali3aciVn de eventos acadLmicos, ambientes institucionales y actividades tutorales+
A. ($T%F%,(,ES %?TEO=(,9=(S. Se orientan por los ob"etivos particulares del e"e transversal y se concretan
integrados a materias del currWculum correlacionado. $aptan crLditos integrados en las materias disciplinarias del currWculo
correlacionado /Modelo .niversitario Minerva+ p.AA2.
iii