You are on page 1of 21

UNIVERSITATEA PETROL-GAZE DIN PLOIESTI Departamentul pentru pregatirea si perfectionarea personalului didactic Specializarea: LIMBA ENGLEZA

LUCRARE METODICO-TIINIFIC PENTRU OBINEREA GRADULUI DIDACTIC I

ENHANCING MOTIVATION AND DEVELOPING SELF-ASSESSMENT SKILLS BY USING THE EUROPEAN LANGUAGE PORTFOLIO

COORDONATOR TIINTIFIC CONF. UNIV. DR. MARIA-IONELA NEAGU

CANDIDAT PROF. GEORGIANA PUFULETE

Colegiul National I.L.Caragiale Ploiesti

2013

THE PURPOSE OF THIS STUDY IS TO DETERMINE HOW EUROPEAN LANGUAGE PORTFOLIO (ELP) PEDAGOGY IS REFLECTED IN THE BELIEFS AND ATTITUDES OF LOWER-SECONDARY SCHOOL TEACHERS AND LEARNERS. I ORGANIZED A RESEARCH WITH OVER 22 ENGLISH TEACHERS IN PRAHOVA, BUZAU AND DAMBOVITA.
THE INVESTIGATION TOOK PLACE FROM 2012 TO 2013 AND IT HAD THE FOLLOWING OBJECTIVES: - INFORMATION ON THE CONTENT OF THE COMMON EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK OF REFERENCE FOR LANGUAGES AND LANGUAGE PORTFOLIO; - ASSESSING THE POSSIBILITIES OF IMPLEMENTATION OF THE EUROPEAN LANGUAGE PORTFOLIO IN ROMANIA; - IDENTIFYING PRIORITIES AS WELL AS THE DIFFICULTIES AND CONSTRAINTS.
INVESTIGATION METHODS AND TECHNIQUES: THE DOCUMENTARY ANALYSIS THE QUESTIONNAIRE SURVEY TESTS

WHAT IS THE EUROPEAN LANGUAGE PORTFOLIO?


THE ELP IS A MEANS OF APPLYING THE COMMON EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK OF REFERENCE (CEFR).

THE LANGUAGE PASSPORT, WHICH SUMMARISES THE OWNERS LINGUISTIC IDENTITY BY BRIEFLY
RECORDING SECOND/FOREIGN LANGUAGES ACHIEVED, SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCES OF CURRENT PROFICIENCY IN THE

(L2S) LEARNT, FORMAL LANGUAGE QUALIFICATIONS

L2 USE, AND THE OWNERS ASSESSMENT OF HIS/HER

L2S HE/SHE KNOWS;

THE LANGUAGE BIOGRAPHY, WHICH IS USED TO SET LANGUAGE LEARNING TARGETS, MONITOR
PROGRESS, AND RECORD AND REFLECT ON SPECIALLY IMPORTANT LANGUAGE LEARNING AND INTERCULTURAL EXPERIENCES;

THE DOSSIER, WHICH CAN SERVE BOTH A PROCESS AND A DISPLAY FUNCTION, BEING USED TO
STORE WORK IN PROGRESS BUT ALSO TO PRESENT A SELECTION OF WORK THAT IN THE OWNERS JUDGMENT BEST REPRESENTS HIS/HER

L2 PROFICIENCY .

ENHANCING MOTIVATION

SELF-ASSESSMENT

Motivation and affect


Creating the basic motivational conditions Enhancing learners' languagerelated values and attitudes Increasing learners' expectancy of success Protecting learners' self-esteem and increasing their selfconfidence

Coming to terms with selfassessment


Two contrasting approaches to assessment Two types of assessment Three focuses for selfassessment The relation between selfassessment and assessment

Examples of classroom activities that include self-assessment

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS


THE STARTING POINT WAS THE EXISTENCE OF INHERENT DYSFUNCTION ( POLICY GAP)
BETWEEN THE POLITICAL STATEMENTS (INTENDED POLICY), THE CONSEQUENCES OF DECISIONS

(ACTUAL POLICY) AND THAT OF CURRENT PRACTICES (POLICY IN USE) IN MODERN LANGUAGES
NECESSITY AND POSSIBILITY BY IMPLEMENTING

EUROPEAN EDUCATIONAL LINGUISTIC POLICY

INSTRUMENTS ON THE CURRICULUM LEVEL (CURRICULA, TEXTBOOKS, TEACHING-LEARNING PROCESS, ASSESSMENT).

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
THE ASSESSMENT OF THE REAL IMPLEMENTATION OF EUROPEAN EDUCATIONAL LINGUISTIC
POLICY DOCUMENTS IN

ROMANIA (INTENDED POLICY).

IDENTIFYING PRIORITIES MADE IN ROMANIA ON EUROPEAN DIRECTIONS IN FOREIGN


LANGUAGES (ACTUAL POLICY).

THE ASSESSMENT OF THE REAL SITUATION ON FOREIGN LANGUAGES TEACHINGLEARNING AND ASSESSMENT (POLICY IN USE).

THE ASSESSMENT OF THE REAL LEVEL ON STUDENTS ENGLISH LANGUAGE


SKILLS.

DRAWING UP A SET OF SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS TO PROMOTE


MULTILINGUALISM AND TO FIX THE DYSFUNCTION IDENTIFIED THROUGHOUT THE RESEARCH.

RESEARCH PROBLEMS AND LIMITS


EACH QUESTIONNAIRE WAS ACCOMPANIED BY MY OWN MODEL OF ELP IN ROMANIAN. I
CONSIDERED NECESSARY TO TRANSLATE THE ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF ELP BECAUSE NOT PREDICT HOW MANY STUDENTS HAVE MINIMAL KNOWLEDGE TO COMPLETE THE PORTFOLIOS.

I COULD

DISTRIBUTING QUESTIONNAIRES. THE SOLUTION I CHOSE COULD HAVE DETERMINED SOME


TEACHERS TO PROVIDE

"IDEAL" ANSWERS TO SPECIFIC QUESTIONS NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH

THE REALITY OF THE CLASSROOM

DATA ANALYSIS
Questionnaires

Almost 55% of the teachers considered the Portfolio being very good in assessing the language competencies of their learners and only 3 of them thought that it is less useful

Only two teachers were not in favour of the Portfolio as being a useful tool in making their objectives easier to present in front of the class

Learners are taught to be able to assess themselves with the help of the Portfolio about 50% of the time while only one teacher did not believe that because she had to supervise all the students during their self assessment completing grids and setting their objectives

for the whole learning process

Even if not all the teachers see the benefits of the Portfolio, they agreed that it is usually easy to be handled by students as the majority answered.

Questionnaires

The majority of students are able to assess themselves with the use of the Portfolio and the materials gathered in it. As I examined the questionnaires I found out that almost half of the teachers share the same opinion and with a slight difference in numbers.

The ELP is considered to be useful also because of its reporting function which helps students to take stock of the levels of competence they have reached in their learning of a

foreign language in order to enable them to inform others in a detailed and


internationally transparent manner.

Maintaining the ELP is useful because it allows auto-reflection. It makes the language learning process more transparent to learners helping them to develop their capacity for reflection and self-assessment and thus enabling them gradually to assume responsibility for their own learning.

Questionnaires

The self-assessment grid promotes learning, plain and simple. It gives learners training in evaluation which results in benefits to the learning process. It gives both students and teachers a raised level of awareness of perceived levels of abilities. By practicing selfassessment, the students participate in their own evaluation.

Students motivation is first of all related to the desire of success in school. Motivation can be improved by engaging in practices to improve students' self-esteem, such as providing positive statements, assigning classroom responsibilities, and use of classroom peers. Thus the ELP is a useful tool to get familiar to students motivation and to learn more about their potential.

Few teachers stated that the self-assessment grid was a problem because students tend to be subjective; some students find it difficult to correlate their knowledge with the grid,

some difficulties in self-assessment.

Portfolios

In my attempt to implement the ELP to my classes, I encountered some impediments related to the contents of the portfolio and my students capacity of understanding. First, I applied Prof. Giurumescus Portfolio which was the model given to Prahova county as a pattern to be followed. On a quick look it is easy to notice that his model of ELP is a poor example compared to those which have already been implemented in countries like: Montenegro (2010), Estonia (2007), Slovenia (2004) and Turkey (2003), all these models being for the same age/ level.

Although I gave my students some relevant examples when checking their portfolios, I noticed that they all wrote the same language learning experiences that I had mentioned

with no difference. Hence it was that the moment when I decided to make my own model
of portfolio. Being aware of the advantages of using the ELP, I tried to rewrite Prof. Giurumescus model and adjusting it to the level of my students.

Portfolios

The language biography allows students to participate in planning their own learning, in thinking about their learning and evaluating progress; it encourages students to discover what they know in any of the languages, as well as to list their linguistic and intercultural

experiences acquired in school and out of it; it is structured in line with the idea of
promoting plurilingualism.

Errors can indicate progress, too. They often appear when a learner is trying out new grammatical structures. When the focus is on communicating, direct correction of errors can hinder students' efforts and discourage further attempts to express ideas with the language skills they have available.

Chatting on the Internet is not so much used by all my students as their percentages are quite small (20% - 6th, 30% - 7th, 10% - 8th). Singing is still the most wanted activity for adolescents as the figures show: 60% - 6th, 75% - 7th, 60% - 8th.

The second part of the portfolio is the language biography, which is used to set language
learning targets, monitor progress, and record and reflect on specially important language learning and intercultural experiences.

In developing their speaking skills, children need to learn to adapt their talk to the listeners; use a range of ways to express themselves; use talk to clarify their ideas and sustain their talk to develop thinking and reasoning. Speaking should include putting

thoughts into words and sharing in groups; taking opportunities to speak at some length
to explain ideas in different situations; giving a talk or presentation using gestures, aids and rhetorical devices.

Portfolios

Students are often passive in their approach to learning, and may become demotivated if they cannot see any clear progress. Self-assessment produces learners who are more active and focused, and better placed to assess their own progress in terms of communication.

In my research I examined the effectiveness of self-assessment among my students. This research looked at 6th, 7th, 8th grade students, who were asked to perform self-

assessments on a regular basis for a whole school year during their English classes. The
students improved their ability to self-assess their performance over time.

Self-assessment proved its usefulness completely with my 6th Grade students as it made them aware of the language levels they have achieved so far and it has also increased their motivation in participating in as many class activities as they could, and not only. Their materials added in the Dossier show that.

Tests

Administrating tests loses its significance if the items do not pose a real challenge to the learners. It is low test scores that disempower students most. However, there is a big difference between constructing a test that tries to detect the areas that learners do not know and a test which has been designed to emphasis what learners are able to do with the L2.

My students were more familiar with the traditional methods of teaching and learning as translation was their main activity during classes and grammar exercises came in addition to that. They used to keep a record of their materials but these were only grammar and some vocabulary worksheets. Due to the ELP, now they keep record of all their activities concerning English, including tests. Keeping records of all their progress in learning English and setting objectives increased their motivation and awareness in self-assessment as they were able to estimate their marks in the next tests.

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION

The European Language Portfolio reflects all of the major concerns of Council of Europe modern languages projects since the 1970s.

It is based on the belief that language learning should have a communicative purpose;

it provides a means of reporting L2 proficiency that transcends the limitations of national systems of grading;

it encourages learners and authorities of all kinds to value partial competences and it emphasises the importance of plurilingualism and cultural exchange;

and it supports the development of learner autonomy, partly out of a commitment to


democracy in education and partly because learner autonomy is the most likely guarantee of lifelong learning.

The ELP helps make progress visible and increases satisfaction. The descriptors are relatively easy for learners to understand, so they can both see what theyre aiming at and when they have achieved it.

Students' motivation and affect improve when they set goals for themselves and monitor their progress toward meeting these goals

Teachers and students perceived the effectiveness of self-assessment differently depending on their teaching/learning contexts. Individual teachers views towards assessment also influenced their perceived effectiveness in implementing the new self-assessment practice.

Self assessment promotes learning, plain and simple. It gives learners training in evaluation which results in benefits to the learning process. Secondly, it gives both students and teachers a raised level of awareness of perceived levels of abilities.

Recommendations for decision-makers

Allot hours for the ELP implementation in the language syllabus in secondary and higher

education institutions.

Train teachers how to integrate ELP into the study process. Include the ELP in language teacher training programmes. Encourage integrated teaching based on ELP. The Process-oriented portfolio functions as an effective non-traditional teaching or learning method and as a tool for documentation of the whole teaching/learning process as well as for recording students progress and achievements.

The Result-oriented portfolio in higher education may be used: for assessment of acquired
competences and study programmes and for assessment and acknowledgement of informally and non-formally acquired competences and their accreditation.

Recommendations for teachers and school administrators


What is important when implementing ELP?

While implementing the ELP it is recommended to involve school teams, learners,


parents; it will facilitate the process and make it more effective. The Portfolio is also a tool for development of teachers competences.

Organise training seminars for teachers. Establish work groups to handle the process in schools and other educational institutions and teacher training centres.

Disseminate good practices via the Internet, seminars, research, publications, and open

lessons.

It should be noted that the ELP work must help the learner but not make learning more complicated, it should not create an extra work-load.

A Digital Portfolio instead of a paper one is an objective for the future.

Benefits of Implementing the ELP


For language learners

Learners can benefit from using the ELP in many ways. Learners develop their learning
skills along with developing language skills and competences. Learners can assess their skills in ELP with help of the European Framework of Reference. They gather the previous learning, formal and non-formal, in their language passports. The ELP dossier enables learners to display their skills with concrete samples. The portfolio can also be used to seek acknowledgement of prior learning.

For language teachers

Teachers become aware of their learners and learn to know them better through the language biographies. This helps the teacher to plan her/his actions and thus support the learning process. The use of language biographies also signals that the teacher cares about the students. The language passports and biographies can also be used to develop and document learning of different competencies in different levels of education. Sharing ideas and experience with colleagues should be taken into consideration.

Meet regularly with colleagues in your institution who also use the ELP

Meet regularly with colleagues in other institutions in your locality who also use the ELP

Get your teachers association to establish a special interest group to focus on the ELP

Prepare a joint presentation on the ELP with one or more colleagues

Make a presentation at a staff meeting, a regional teachers meeting, or a parents meeting

Prepare an exhibition of your learners work

Write about the ELP for your school bulletin, a teachers journal or a local magazine or newspaper.