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Inez De Florio-Hansen

Teaching and
Learning English in
the Digital Age
utb 0000
4954

Eine Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Verlage

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Waxmann · Münster · New York
After her initial teacher training and a PhD Inez De Florio
worked as a language teacher in different secondary schools
for many years. Having earned the postdoctoral degree of
habilitation she gathered considerable experience of scientific
approaches to teaching and learning foreign languages as a
university professor at different German universities.
Inez De Florio-Hansen

Teaching and Learning


English in the Digital Age

Waxmann
Münster x New York
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Contents

Introductory remarks ................................................................................................9

Part 1: Basic issues of TEFL

1. Introduction:
Fremdsprachendidaktik and Foreign Language Pedagogy ....................11
1.1 The aims of Fremdsprachendidaktik .........................................................12
1.2 The contributions of Sprachlehrforschung to Foreign Language
Teaching .......................................................................................................16
2 Scientific disciplines related to Foreign Language Teaching
(Bezugswissenschaften) ...............................................................................20
2.1 General remarks: Allgemeine Didaktik .....................................................21
2.2 Processes of learning EFL ..........................................................................23
2.3 Processes of teaching EFL ..........................................................................27
2.4 Contributions to content aspects of TEFL ..............................................32
3. Research methods .......................................................................................42
3.1 Research design and research methodology ...........................................43
3.2 A conventional differentiation: qualitative and
quantitative research methods ..................................................................45
3.3 Further approaches: descriptive and explanatory research ..................48
3.4 Evidence-based research and meta-analyses ...........................................53
4 Communicative Competence and Communicative
Language Teaching (CLT) .........................................................................61
4.1 The occurrence of CLT ...............................................................................62
4.2 The development of CLT in Germany ......................................................62
4.3 The development of CLT in the English-speaking countries ................64
4.4 Further influences of CLT .........................................................................66
4.5 Trivializations and misunderstandings ...................................................67
5 Implementing CLT: issues of methodology ............................................73
5.1 Approach, strategy/method and technique .............................................74
5.2 Implementing CLT in TEFL classrooms ..................................................77
6 Contents

6 Official recommendations: Council of Europe and


European Centre for Modern Languages ................................................98
6.1 Relevant aims of the Council of Europe (CoE) and
the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) ..........................99
6.2 Threshold Level, Common European Framework of
Reference and the Companion Volume with New Descriptors ......... 101
6.3 The European Language Portfolio ........................................................ 109
7 Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK)
and affiliated institutions......................................................................... 118
7.1 From PISA to DESI .................................................................................. 119
7.2 KMK-Standards and the Institute for Quality Development
in Education (IQB) ................................................................................. 126
7.3 KMK Strategy-Paper: Education in the digital world ......................... 137

Part 2: Learners and teachers in the context of digitization

8 Successful learners .................................................................................. 143


8.1 Learning styles .......................................................................................... 144
8.2 Learning models....................................................................................... 147
8.3 Motivation and interest ........................................................................... 153
8.4 Digital natives and computer competence ........................................... 157
9 Being a better teacher .............................................................................. 163
9.1 Teaching styles and subjective theories ................................................ 164
9.2 Fundamental preconditions: classroom management
and classroom climate ............................................................................. 170
9.3 A major challenge: inclusion and heterogeneity ................................. 175
10 Teacher education in the digital age ...................................................... 180
10.1 Digital immigrants .................................................................................. 181
10.2 Pre- and in-service training ................................................................... 187
10.3 KMK requirements for teaching in the digital world ......................... 193

Part 3: Practical issues of TEFL

11 The interplay between reliable methods and digital media ................ 197
11.1 Computer, Internet, and digitization: a brief overview ....................... 198
11.2 The integration of digital tools into TEFL classrooms ........................ 201
11.3 The interdependence between analogical and digital
knowledge, skills and attitudes ............................................................... 228
Contents 7

12 From language to literature: Intercultural


Discourse Competence ........................................................................... 230
12.1 Plea for an integrated view...................................................................... 231
12.2 From Communicative Competence to Intercultural
Discourse Competence ........................................................................... 232
12.3 ICD: the power of language .................................................................... 241
12.4 ICD: the power of cultures...................................................................... 243
12.5 ICD: the power of literature.................................................................... 245
13 A teaching model as starting point ........................................................ 250
13.1 The MET – a science-oriented teaching model ................................... 251
13.2 Planning and starting the lesson ............................................................ 255
13.3 Presenting knowledge and skills – assertive questioning ................... 259
13.4 Guided and independent practice ......................................................... 262
13.5 Cooperative and project-based learning ............................................... 268
14 Feedback: formative assessment ............................................................ 275
14.1 Newer research into feedback ................................................................ 276
14.2 Formative feedback given by teachers to students............................... 282
14.3 Formative peer feedback ......................................................................... 288
14.4 Feedback given by students to teachers ................................................ 290
15 Feedback: summative assessment .......................................................... 296
15.1 Formative and summative assessment: common
features of feedback ................................................................................. 297
15.2 Summative assessment: general traits ................................................... 298
15.3 Guidelines, regulations and laws ........................................................... 299
15.4 Suggestions for meaningful summative assessment ............................ 304
Conclusion: simple, unexpected, concrete,
credible, emotional and narrative ....................................................................... 310
References............................................................................................................... 311
Glossary .................................................................................................................. 329
Introductory remarks

The overall aim of this science-oriented introduction to Teaching and Learn-


ing English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is to inform all practitioners and
other education professionals about newer research findings in the field of
Foreign Language Teaching (FLT). Even though guiding positions are em-
phasized, teachers always have to decide for themselves on the basis of their
personality and experience, the needs and interests of their students and the
particular teaching and learning context.
Reading the fifteen chapters of this book, having an attentive look at the
Conclusions and following the tasks and activities of the section Review, Re-
flect, Pratice – at best in small groups of students or colleagues – will help
teachers gain further insights in their (future) profession. Where possible,
the tasks and activities proposed in Review, Reflect, Practice are differentiated
from easier, text-based questions to more demanding practice-oriented tasks
and activities.
At the end of single paragraphs or at least every chapter, the section Re-
view, Reflect, Practice is followed by Recommended Reading. The proposals
for further reading are briefly commented. In general, they refer to short
contributions of educational psychologist, foreign language teaching experts
and practitioners. More detailed bibliographic information is to be found in
the reference list at the end of the book.
This introduction to TEFL considers the main aspects and features which
are relevant for effective teaching and successful learning in today’s class-
rooms, i.e. multiliteracy, multimedia and multimodality with particular ref-
erence to digital media.

The book is divided into three main parts:


Part 1: Basic issues of TEFL (chap. 1 to 7)
Part 2: Learners and teachers in the context of digitization (chap. 8 to 10)
Part 3: Practical issues of TEFL (chap. 11 to 15)
This book is intended as a coherent text in which the most important as-
pects and features are reconsidered several times from different perspectives
and thus in different chapters. Therefore, it is advisable to follow the order
of the chapters. Only the chapters 2 and 3 can be dealt with at an earlier or
a later stage.
10 Introductory remarks

In the text most technical terms of didactics and educational psychology


are translated into German. At the end of the book you find an ample Glos-
sary: Important terms related to digitization.
Many chapters are enriched by concrete examples for TEFL classrooms.
These examples are conceived in a way that pre-service teachers can profit
from the basic ideas. Experienced teachers may adapt or transform the pro-
posals on the basis of their knowledge, skills and attitudes.
1 Introduction:
Fremdsprachendidaktik and Foreign Language
Pedagogy

1.1 The aims of Fremdsprachendidaktik . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

1.2 The contributions of Sprachlehrforschung to


Foreign Language Teaching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

In this introductory chapter important aims of Fremdsprachendidaktik


(Foreign Language Pedagogy) are briefly described referring to histor-
ical approaches (such as Grammar-Translation-Method and Audiolin-
gual and Audiovisual Methods) (1.1). Subsequently, the contributions of
Sprachlehr- und -lernforschung to theory and practice of teaching and
learning English as a foreign language are outlined (1.2).
12 Fremdsprachendidaktik and Foreign Language Pedagogy

1 Fremdsprachendidaktik and Foreign Language


Pedagogy
1.1 The aims of Fremdsprachendidaktik

Most pre- and in-service teachers have more or less the same questions:
1. How can we, my students and myself, reach the general goals and speci-
fic objectives of the curriculum?
2. In what ways should I teach in order to yield the best results for every
individual learner?
3. How can I motivate my students to persist in their learning efforts?
4. What topics should we deal with in order to attain communicative com-
petence? What literary texts might we read?
5. What are appropriate strategies to combine reliable methods with digital
tools?
6. How can I promote the ability of my students to use digital media for
their learning and help them develop a critical attitude toward digitiza-
tion?
7. How can I engage my students to participate in the choice of teaching
content and methodology?
8. What are appropriate methods of classroom management to deal with
challenges like behavioral issues and off-task behavior during class time?
9. How can I build a rapport with students that balances friendliness with
professional distance?
10. What are the best forms of feedback and assessment including
self-evaluation of the learners?

Fremdsprachendidaktik is the major scientific discipline that offers re-


search-based answers to the above questions. In the newest edition of the
Routledge Encyclopedia of Language Teaching and Learning Günter Nold
describes the field of Foreign Language Teaching (FLT) as follows:
Fremdsprachendidaktik (FD) is a term traditionally used in universities
and in-service training in German-speaking countries to refer to the sci-
entific discipline that deals with foreign language learning and teaching in
the context of schooling. As foreign language (FL) learning is not exclu-
sively restricted to this educational context, FD is additionally concerned
with informal ways of FL learning, such as a stay abroad in a country
where the FL is spoken and in content and language integrated learning
Fremdsprachendidaktik and Foreign Language Pedagogy 13

(CLIL) courses where the FL is used as the medium of communication in


non-language related school subjects. (Nold 22017, 253)

Today, the context of schooling reaches from elementary to secondary and


vocational level and comprises institutions of adult education. Recent devel-
opments in the German-speaking and most European countries focus, un-
der the term of multilingualism, on the relationship between different for-
eign languages as well as on migrant languages. Another important field of
research is teaching and learning modern foreign languages with the help of
digital media on the basis of a critical stance toward digitization, i.e. devel-
oping purposeful media competence.
Since the shift from an approach based on structural linguistics to an in-
teractive view of communicative language teaching more than three dec-
ades ago (see chap. 4), research projects of FLT are mainly concerned with
the foreign language learner: language aptitude and predispositions, learner
needs and interests, learning processes, and the participation of the students
in decisions regarding content and methodology. This overall student-cen-
tered approach led in some way to a neglect of the perspectives of foreign
language teachers. It is time to deal with the multiple challenges teachers
are confronted with in an age of increased language learning, especially of
studying English as a foreign language (see chap. 9 and 10).
Nowadays, Fremdsprachendidaktik is a firmly established scientific dis-
cipline that, beside the above mentioned fields, is responsible for foreign
language teacher education. When initial teacher education was first intro-
duced in German colleges of education and universities after World War II,
FLT was more or less an appendix of literary science and linguistics, even
though, since ancient times, there was no lack of approaches to foreign lan-
guage teaching and learning. Best known and frequently mentioned is the
so-called Grammar-Translation-Method.
14 Fremdsprachendidaktik and Foreign Language Pedagogy

The Grammar-Translation-Method is an approach to teaching and learn-


ing foreign languages derived from the classical methods applied to the
study of Latin and Greek. Even though this approach is not based on any
theory or research, it was widely adopted during the past centuries to pre-
pare students for the extensive reading of ancient texts in the original lan-
guage. The main teaching strategies consisted of learning rules of gram-
mar with the aim of translating Latin or Greek sentences as well as entire
texts into the students’ native language.
When modern languages were integrated into the curriculum of pub-
lic schools in the 19th century, the new challenge found most teachers
unprepared. They tried to transfer the Grammar-Translation-Method to
the teaching and learning of modern foreign languages thus neglecting
not only listening and speaking but also excluding any use of English or
French from classroom discourse.

Quite soon eminent scholars gathered arguments against this inappropriate


methodology. Toward the end of the 19th century, when modern languages
where regularly taught and learned in German grammar schools (Gymnasi-
um), the leader of the reform movement (Neusprachliche Reformbewegung),
Wilhem Viëtor (1850–1918), criticized the methodology of teaching mod-
ern languages in the tradition of Latin and Greek. In his polemic pamphlet
entitled Der Fremdsprachenunterricht muß umkehren, first published in 1882
under the pseudonym Quousqe Tandem (literally: Wie lange noch), he opt-
ed for two major changes: Instead of focusing on reading and writing he un-
derscored the necessity of teaching oral competence (including phonetics).
In connection to this claim, he publicized the exclusive use of English in the
classroom opting for a direct method of FLT.
Thus, the two main features of the so-called Direct Method (Direkte
Methode) were the focus on listening and speaking as well as on the use of
the target language for classroom discourse. As professor of English at Mar-
burg University from 1884 until his death in 1918, Viëtor tried to influence
teacher training by transmitting his convictions about FLT to his students so
that the Direct Method, little by little, came into use at the end of the 19th
century (De Florio-Hansen 1996).
In the 1950s and 1960s the teaching and learning of at least one foreign
language, mostly English, was expanded to all school types due to societal
developments which caused major shifts in education policy (see e.g. Ham-
burger Abkommen of 1964). The new challenges called for new approaches,
Fremdsprachendidaktik and Foreign Language Pedagogy 15

which were mostly inspired by behaviorism, a systematic approach to hu-


man (and animal) behavior. Behaviorists consider all behavior as a response
to certain stimuli. Even in the context of schooling, the desired outcomes
are supposed to be caused by reinforcement, mostly praise, or punishment.
Behaviorist psychology, advocated most notably in the 1930s by Burrhus
Frederic Skinner, underscores the importance of context factors like repeti-
tion and drill neglecting the personality of the individual student. Two quite
similar methods that follow the behaviorist perspective are the Audiolingual
Method created in the USA and the Audiovisual Method that dominated in
Europe.

The Audiolingual Method and the Audiovisual Method are similar ap-
proaches based on the so-called Direct Method invented and applied by
Viëtor. The Audiolingual Method is also denominated Army Method, be-
cause it was widely used in the USA in the 1940s in order to prepare sol-
diers for service all over the world. The Audiolingual Method focuses on
orality with an emphasis on listening and, in the case of the Audiovisual
Method, by adding a visual stimulus as starting point. Excluding the na-
tive language (German) from classroom discourse, communication takes
exclusively place in the target language, e.g. English or French. The main
strategies and techniques of both methods consist of memorization and
pattern drills such as in the following example:
Teacher: There is a pencil on the table. Repeat.
Students: There is a pencil on the table.
Teacher: Sheet of paper
Students: There is a sheet of paper on the table.
Teacher: Book
Students: There is a book on the table.
Teacher: On the shelf
Students: There is a book on the shelf.
16 Fremdsprachendidaktik and Foreign Language Pedagogy

Like already mentioned before, the approach is based on behaviorist the-


ory claiming that language features, especially grammar, could be trained
by reinforcement. Due to new technical devices such as tape recorders,
the training was often transferred to the language lab(oratory). These au-
dio-based approaches were in direct opposition to Communicative Lan-
guage Teaching (CLT). They neglected the skills of reading and writing,
did not focus on meaning and were teacher-dominated. They fell from
popularity in the late 1950s and 1960s. In opposition to the main repre-
sentative of behavioral psychology, B. F. Skinner, linguists and cognitive
scientists such as Noam Chomsky (1959) questioned the theoretical un-
derpinnings of behaviorist approaches.

1.2 The contributions of Sprachlehrforschung to Foreign


Language Teaching

That Fremdsprachendidaktik has reached its present status regarding theo-


ry and practice of foreign language teaching and learning with clearly de-
fined research interests and improved research methods is due to Sprachlehr-
forschung that came to the fore in the 1970s. Frank G. Königs introduces this
discipline in the Routledge Encyclopedia of Foreign Language Teaching and
Learning in the following way:
The term Sprachlehrforschung (literally language teaching research) re-
fers, within the German context, to the scientific investigation of foreign
language learning within institutional contexts. More correctly, the term
should be Sprachlehr- und -lernforschung (‘language teaching and learning
research’, see Koordinierungsgremium, 1983), as this scientific discipline
covers both learning and teaching processes. The term and the discipline
have developed for multiple reasons, and furthermore, the establishment
of this discipline has also had structural consequences for language teach-
er training at universities. If one were looking for equivalents in different
languages, then ‘applied linguistics’ and ‘classroom research’ or ‘education-
al linguistics’ would come to mind in English. (Königs 22017, 655)

The most important aims of Sprachlehrforschung which had a great impact


on Fremdsprachendidaktik are:
Fremdsprachendidaktik and Foreign Language Pedagogy 17

• The focus on the individual learners is emphasized: their interlanguage,


e.g. the proficiency they have reached in the foreign language in compar-
ison to the mother tongue or first language as well as the interplay be-
tween the different languages of the learning individuals and their subjec-
tive theories (including those of teachers; De Florio-Hansen 1998).
• Multiple factors (denominated Faktorenkomplexion) influencing in vari-
ous ways and to different degrees the teaching and learning contexts are
seriously analyzed and taken into account.
• In strong contrast to the system-oriented models of structural linguistics,
the proponents of Sprachlehrforschung advocated pedagogical grammars
(didaktische Grammatik) for learner use including linguistic pragmatics,
i.e. the ways in which the situational context contributes to meaning.
• Whereas Fremdsprachendidaktik deals exclusively with teaching and learn-
ing in institutional contexts, Sprachlehrforschung also focuses on similari-
ties and differences between naturalistic and institutional language learn-
ing and age-dependent learning biographies.
• At a time when Fremdsprachendidaktik quite exclusively followed expert
opinions, scientists of Sprachlehrforschung like Karl-Richard Bausch et
al. (1981, 1984) introduced and applied empirical research methodology,
especially adapted to the different contexts, the multiple influences and,
above all, the characteristics of individual learners and their teachers.

Conclusion
As a scientific discipline Fremdsprachendidaktik deals with the theory and
practice of teaching and learning modern foreign languages in the context
of schooling including institutions of adult education. Furthermore, FLT
is responsible for teacher education, be it initial teacher education (most-
ly) in universities or the second phase in institutions of teacher training.
• In order to provide coherent reality models for classroom practice the
theories are verified by empirical research.
• Under the influence of Sprachlehr- und –lernforschung FLT has devel-
oped a set of valuable research methods yielding considerable results.
• In the aftermath of societal changes, the most important focus today
is on communication leading to a major consideration of all aspects of
language learning in different contexts (Faktorenkomplexion).
18 Fremdsprachendidaktik and Foreign Language Pedagogy

• Multilingualism in the sense of the relationship between the languages


learnt and language knowledge and skills in general, such as migrant
languages, is one of the main research topics.
• In the context of global communication, theory and practice of inter-
cultural learning have become more important than ever.
• Since the beginning of the 21st century scholars have made great ef-
forts to provide practitioners with reliable approaches to digitization.

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. Why is Fremdsprachendidaktik a scientific approach?
2. Which are the two main differences between the Direct Method pro-
pagated by Viëtor and previous methods of foreign language teach-
ing?
3. Why was the learning of at least one foreign language expanded to
the students of all school types?
4. What are the main features of behaviorism?
5. Is automatization of language features as required by behaviorism a
legitimate demand? Why? Why not?
6. Give concrete examples of pattern drill.
7. What does Interlanguage mean?
8. What contributions did Sprachlehrforschung make to Fremdsprachen-
didaktik?

Recommended Reading
In order to get more detailed information about important terms and gain fur-
ther insights into the relationships and links between fields and subfields of FLT
it is advisable to consult manuals such as:

Byram, Michael & Hu, Adelheid (eds.) (22017). Routledge Encyclopedia of Language
Teaching and Learning. New York: Routledge.
This handbook, first published in 2000, is very useful because it offers entries
written by the best-known experts of the Western world, including terms like
Fremdsprachendidaktik and Sprachlehrforschung, Handlungsorientierter Un-
terricht or Task-Based Language Teaching by German scholars. Furthermore,
the encyclopedia contains, beside an alphabetical list, a thematic list of entries
which allows for targeted consultation.
Fremdsprachendidaktik and Foreign Language Pedagogy 19

Surkamp, Carola (Hrsg.) (22017). Metzler Lexikon Fremdsprachendidaktik. Ansätze –


Methoden – Grundbegriffe. Stuttgart & Weimar: Metzler.
In contrast to other German manuals the entries are in alphabetical order what
makes consultation easier than content-oriented indices. Furthermore, there is
coherence between thematic entries as they are often written by the same Ger-
man scientists, e.g. Blended Learning, Computer-Assisted Language Learning,
E-Learning and Lernsoftware by Andreas Grünewald. This manual, too, features
a systematic list of entries subdivided in: Bezugswissenschaften und Teilbereiche,
Ansätze und Konzepte, Fähigkeiten, Fertigkeiten und Kompetenzen, Methoden,
Materialien und Medien, Bildungspolitische und institutionelle Rahmenbedingun-
gen as well as Grundbegriffe (347–349).

For short historical overviews see:


Christ, Herbert (2010). Geschichte des Fremdsprachenunterrichts. In: Hallet, Wolf-
gang & Königs, Frank, G. (Hrsg.). Handbuch Fremdsprachendidaktik. Seelze-Vel-
ber: Klett Kallmeyer, 17–22.
Cillia, Rudolf de & Klippel, Friederike (62016). Geschichte des Fremdsprachenunter-
richts in den deutschsprachigen Ländern seit 1945. In: Burwitz-Melzer, Eva et al.
(Hrsg.). Handbuch Fremdsprachenunterricht. Tübingen: Francke (utb), 625–631.

For a detailed overview see:


Hüllen, Werner (2005). Kleine Geschichte des Fremdsprachenlernens. Berlin: Erich
Schmidt Verlag.
2 Scientific disciplines related to Foreign Language
Teaching (Bezugswissenschaften)

2.1 General remarks: Allgemeine Didaktik . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

2.2 Processes of learning EFL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

2.3 Processes of teaching EFL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

2.4 Contributions to content aspects of TEFL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

In this chapter closely related to the introduction (chap. 1) the scientific


disciplines connected with FLT (Bezugswissenschaften) such as linguistics,
literary science and cultural studies – to mention the best known – are
explained, mostly those which, with multiple adaptations, have a nota-
ble impact on teaching and learning English in today’s classrooms. As a
starting point the contributions of Allgemeine Didaktik are underscored as
this subfield of pedagogy reaches beyond mere communicative language
teaching and learning (2.1). Even though the most important scientific
disciplines are inextricably entwined in practice (see part 2 and part 3 of
this book), for a better understanding of their influence they are subdi-
vided into three blocs: disciplines that focus mostly on the processes of
learning English as a foreign language (2.2), those that contribute to the
improvement of teaching (2.3) and disciplines related to the content of
TEFL (2.4): Linguistics and Communication sciences, Literary Theory, In-
terculturalism and Multiliteracy-Studies.
Scientific disciplines related to Foreign Language Teaching (Bezugswissenschaften) 21

2 Scientific disciplines related to Foreign Language


Teaching (Bezugswissenschaften)

2.1 General remarks: Allgemeine Didaktik

As described in the introductory chapter, Fremdsprachendidaktik covers all


important subfields of teaching and learning foreign languages in institution-
al contexts. Furthermore, this main scientific discipline of FLT is responsible
for pre- and in-service teacher training. It claims to deal with all existing as
well as surging questions and problems of teaching and learning foreign lan-
guages in an exclusive way. Applied Linguistics (AL) (Angewandte Linguistik),
on the contrary, contributes to FLT, but it is a multidisciplinary field related
not only to education, but also to psychology, communication research, an-
thropology, and sociology. Whereas Fremdsprachendidaktik identifies, investi-
gates, and offers solutions to problems of teaching and learning foreign lan-
guages, AL deals with all language-related real-life situations (see 2.4).
Nevertheless, Fremdsprachendidaktik is not self-sufficient; it includes
contributions from related scientific disciplines. However, scientific the-
ories from other disciplines are not simply transferred to FLT, but adapt-
ed and elaborated in various ways. General models of grammar, for exam-
ple, are transformed into concepts of pedagogical grammar in order to help
learners to communicate in the foreign language. In a similar way literature
for classroom reading is not selected only by their literary importance, but
also by their relevance for today’s students. In the following, the most im-
portant fields of scientific disciplines contributing to Fremdsprachendidaktik
are described. Even though they are differently emphasized and interrelated
in multiple ways, their contributions are presented in three separated para-
graphs:
• disciplines that focus mostly on the processes of learning EFL
• disciplines that focus mostly on the processes of teaching EFL
• disciplines that focus mostly on the content of TEFL

Before describing the scientific disciplines related to FLT in the indicated or-
der, it is indispensable to attract the attention to Allgemeine Didaktik, a sub-
field of pedagogy, which has been neglected by FLT in the past decades. It
deals with theory and practice of teaching and learning in a comprehensive
way. As it is not concerned with the problems of a particular subject matter,
it draws on wider perspectives of teaching and learning phenomena.
22 Scientific disciplines related to Foreign Language Teaching (Bezugswissenschaften)

Most general didactic models, such as constructivism (see below) and


other forms of student-centered approaches have a great impact on TEFL,
e.g. Handlungsorientierter Unterricht:
Holistic, action-oriented learning and teaching (in German: Handlungs-
orientierter Unterricht) are principles of schooling that take account of
learners’ undivided physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual pre-
conditions in the learning process as well as their inherent human drive
to be actively and wholeheartedly involved in relevant actions. (Finkbei-
ner 22017, 292)

From this quotation we can deduce that language learning and use are not
only regarded under cognitive and instrumental aspects as it is sometimes
the case with Communicative Language Teaching (CLT, see chap. 4).

Beside other aims, Allgemeine Didaktik focuses on the transformation


of subject matter knowledge and skills, i.e. applying knowledge in deter-
mined fields of reality, into general cultural knowledge. Education, not
mere training, includes subject mastery as well as cultural and personal
maturation aspects. In the sense of academic education and culture, learn-
ing a foreign language helps develop an identity related to that language
and refocus the own self. Furthermore, it contributes to a better under-
standing of others, even in the mother tongue and in migrant languages.
As all subject matters, it should contribute to critical thinking. Michael
Byram (1997, 57ff.) combines this critical language awareness with politi-
cal education and defines it with regards to foreign language teaching and
learning as “an ability to evaluate, critically and on the basis of explicit
criteria, perspectives, practices and products in one’s own and other cul-
tures and countries”.

Conclusion
Undoubtedly the following subfields of scientific disciplines like linguis-
tics, literary science and cultural studies laid the foundations of Commu-
nicative Language Teaching (see chap. 4). But teaching and learning for-
eign languages in school settings do not end with preparing learners for
language use in real life. A substantial aim beyond mere communication
consists in forming the personality of the individual student through con-
trasting and integrating cultural features of all learned languages.
Scientific disciplines related to Foreign Language Teaching (Bezugswissenschaften) 23

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. What does Applied Linguistics deal with?
2. How does Fremdsprachendidaktik relate to other scientific fields?
3. What does Allgemeine Didaktik deal with?
4. In what way does this subfield of pedagogy contribute to FLT?
5. Describe some classroom activities that might involve students “acti-
vely and wholeheartedly” (Finkbeiner 22017).
6. Which features beyond cognitive and instrumental aspects have to be
incorporated into FLT?
7. What is the broad difference between knowledge and skills?
8. Describe critical language awareness with regards to foreign language
teaching and learning in your own words (Byram 1997).

Recommended Reading
Further aspects of this essential approach to today’s practice of TEFL are dealt
with by:
Finkbeiner, Claudia (22017). Handlungsorientierter Unterricht (Holistic and acti-
on-oriented teaching and learning). In: Byram, Michael & Hu, Adelheid (eds.)
(22017). Routledge Encyclopedia of Language Teaching and Learning. New York:
Routledge, 292–296.

For insights into teaching and learning foreign languages as a contribution to


personal growth see:
De Florio-Hansen (2015). Standards, Kompetenzen und fremdsprachliche Bildung.
Beispiele für den Englisch- und Französischunterricht. Tübingen: Narr, 85–99.

2.2 Processes of learning EFL

Up until now, a coherent theory of foreign language learning does not ex-
ist. Why not refer to Second Language Acquisition (SLA)? In the Ger-
man-speaking countries as in Europe in general, learning a foreign language
is not seen as a subfield of SLA, but as a distinct endeavor embracing other
features than natural learning activities. In English-speaking contexts, espe-
cially in the USA, on the contrary, SLA is considered as a research base for
the teaching and learning of foreign languages in educational settings. As
to the particularities and restrictions of SLA Claire Kramsch argues for AL.
In her view, AL is an interdisciplinary and overarching field that mediates
24 Scientific disciplines related to Foreign Language Teaching (Bezugswissenschaften)

between the theory and practice of language acquisition and use (Kramsch
2000, 311; see below).
As described in section 1.1 (see also Review, Reflect, Practice at the end of
chap. 1), it is clear that behaviorist approaches to learning, summarized un-
der the term black box model, are no longer an option. The shift from behav-
iorism to cognitive and constructivist learning theories is mostly caused by
research findings in a subfield of psychology, termed Educational Psychology.

Educational Psychology (Pädagogische Psychologie), a branch of Applied


Psychology, is not only influenced by psychology itself, but also by med-
icine and biology as well as by neuroscience. Among other objectives, it
aims at enhancing educational activities in classroom settings.
The vast research activities of Educational Psychology comprise the
scientific study of human learning dealing with individual differences in
intelligence, cognitive development, affect, motivation, self-regulation as
well as their influence on learning and teaching. As education is consid-
ered a social science, research in Educational Psychology today is mostly
based on quantitative methods, i.e. testing and measurement.
In the past decades, Educational Psychology made major contributions
to the learning sciences (Lernpsychologie). It is to be considered one of
the most influential resources of FLT and especially TEFL. Due to find-
ings in neuropsychology and cognitive science it became possible to dis-
tinguish between the sensory processor (Sensorisches Gedächtnis / Ultra-
kurzzeitgedächtnis), short-term (or working) memory (Kurzzeitgedächtnis)
and long-term memory (Langzeitgedächtnis). This differentiation facili-
tates processes of encoding, storage and retrieval of foreign language re-
lated content.
As Educational Psychology builds on information processing, too, it
has a great impact on educational technology in general and on digitiza-
tion in particular.

Foreign language learning, as all learning, is to be seen as an individual pro-


cess determined mostly by interest and motivation. It is an open question if
a particular disposition for learning (foreign) languages exists. A well-known
approach to language learning is that of Noam Chomsky propagated in the
1960s. Chomsky supposes that a particular Language Acquisition Device
(LAD) enables all individuals to learn languages. The LAD is a hypotheti-
cal module of the mind that creates a predisposition for language acquisi-
Scientific disciplines related to Foreign Language Teaching (Bezugswissenschaften) 25

tion and production. Chomsky’s widely defused concept is part of the nativ-
ist theory of language acquisition and learning. In this perspective, the LAD
consists of an innate instinct for acquiring language. The innate knowledge
of grammar, denominated Universal Grammar, enables children and even
older learners to understand and produce sentences they never heard be-
fore. It is often questioned if something like the LAD is responsible for lan-
guage learning or if the faculty to learn (foreign) languages is part of a gen-
eral ability to learn.
Current approaches to language learning are determined by cognitive,
constructivist and connectionist concepts focusing on the individual acquisi-
tion in relation to the existing knowledge and skills.

Cognitive Science (Kognitionswissenschaft) in a broad sense relates to the


mental processes of perception, memory, and reasoning in contrast to
emotion and volition, i.e. willpower. Cognitive processes comprise acts of
analyzing language phenomena, especially grammatical issues, by formu-
lating and discussing hypotheses about the structure of the foreign lan-
guage. It has nothing to do with former structural approaches as it aims
at conscious language learning that offers new insights into language use
and functions.

Constructivist approaches (Konstruktivismus) are based on insights into


learning processes that vary from learner to learner. Humans do not ex-
perience reality in the same way, but it is constructed in the individual it-
self. Every language learner constructs knowledge – in every day expe-
riences as well as in situations of intended learning – in a unique form.
According to constructivist approaches, impressions are constructed and
de-constructed continuously so that different learners arrive at highly in-
dividual results when learning the same content in the same classroom.
An “objective reality” does not exist, and teachers rarely have access to the
individual constructs of their students.
26 Scientific disciplines related to Foreign Language Teaching (Bezugswissenschaften)

Connectionism (Konnektionismus) is a subfield of cognitive psycholo-


gy that shows in the form of neuronal models what connections between
information are plausible in order to allow for higher-order cognitions.
Drawing on Artificial Intelligence (Kunstliche Intelligenz) it is an impor-
tant field of computer-based information and communication processes.
Under the denomination of Connectivism, a particular learning concept
for the digital age, Siemens (2005) states that behaviorism, cognitivism,
and constructivism are no longer sufficient to deal with the challenges of
the (digitized) future.

Conclusion
The briefly described aspects of learning are nothing more than facets of
the complex phenomena of human learning. Teachers will have to rely
mostly on their own observations in particular classroom contexts in or-
der to find out what works or even what works better with their students.
Insights into the processes of teaching will help them master the challeng-
es of a multifactorial field such as TEFL.

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. Why is FLT in the German context not assigned to Second Language
Acquisition (SLA)?
2. For what reasons are behaviorist approaches to TEFL no longer ac-
ceptable?
3. Describe what Language Acquisition Device (LAD) and Universal
Grammar mean?
4. Explain briefly in your own words what Cognitivism deals with.
5. Which learning theory does mostly focus on the individual views and
results of the students?
6. Read the following general overview of learning theories. Explain
them briefly in your own words and illustrate them with examples
taken from TEFL classroom practice.
Staatsinstitut für Schulqualität und Bildungsforschung München
(2007). Theorien des Lernens – Folgerungen für das Lehren
https://www.isb.bayern.de/download/1542/flyer-lerntheorie-druckfas-
sung.pdf (last accessed July 2017)
Scientific disciplines related to Foreign Language Teaching (Bezugswissenschaften) 27

Recommended Reading
Riley, Philipp & Duda, Richard (22017). Learning styles. In: Byram, Michael & Hu,
Adelheid (eds.) (22017). Routledge Encyclopedia of Language Teaching and Learn-
ing. New York: Routledge, 404–409.
The article gives an overview of supposed individual learning styles. It is a start-
ing point for one’s own observations and verifications in TEFL classrooms.

2.3 Processes of teaching EFL

Many scholars doubt that teaching has a direct influence on learning. A


prove of the individual intake of the learners is to be seen in the fact that
learning results in the same classroom context differ a great deal from stu-
dent to student.
The following comparison helps understand the impact of teaching on
learning. Herzog (2013, 45) compares the influence of teaching on learning
to the use of a coffee machine. When you fill in a certain amount of coffee
and water, you determine the output of the machine. If you add some more
coffee, the machine will put out a stronger coffee. What you cannot influ-
ence is the outcome. The same coffee will have a different effect on the indi-
vidual coffee-drinker. Somehow, the output of the machine has some impact
on the coffee-drinker, but you are not able to condition the exact outcome.
Important in the context of Herzog’s comparison is the distinction between
‘output’ – a more technical term – and ‘outcome’ – the overall effects. Unfor-
tunately, ‘output’ is often used in didactic literature, suggesting a direct im-
pact of strategies and techniques on individual learners.
So, what can we do to improve teaching (and learning) in our particu-
lar contexts? The publications of John Hattie (especially 2009, 2012) give im-
portant hints despite the criticism of many colleagues and education practi-
tioners (including myself). It is obvious that the compilation of thousands of
primary studies cannot lead to clear-cut results. First, there are the limita-
tions of meta-analyses in general that even experienced statisticians cannot
exclude. Second, the predilections of the researcher determine the choice of
the studies to incorporate or to leave out. Hattie only includes scientific re-
sults that influence the cognitive results of student learning. He is interested
in achievement, and particularly in achievement “amenable to quantitative
measurement” (Snook et al. 2009, 95). In the preface, Hattie himself explains
his intentions or rather the most salient omissions:
28 Scientific disciplines related to Foreign Language Teaching (Bezugswissenschaften)

1. This is not a book about classroom life, and does not speak to the nu-
ances and details of what happens within classrooms. […] it is more
concerned with main effects than interactions. […]
2. This is not a book about what can’t be influenced in schools – thus
critical discussions about class, poverty, resources in families, health
in families, and nutrition are not included – but this is NOT because
they are unimportant, indeed they may be more important than many
of the influences discussed in this book. It is just that I have not in-
cluded these topics in my orbit. (Hattie 2009, VIII-IX; emphasis by the
author)

Third, Hattie intentionally does not weigh the research results he includes in
his study. Smaller samples with hundreds of participants have the same im-
pact as large samples with thousands of study participants. With regards to
the factors influencing achievement, Hattie makes no difference between the
importance of ‘pre-term birth weight’ and a teaching strategy like ‘worked
examples’.
Furthermore, he and his team do not always analyze the single studies
with due care. Hattie incorporates results that do not refer to the content he
indicates; in other words: the findings of the respective studies refer to quite
different factors (Arnold 2011, 220). Hattie is well aware of the fact that his
study of 2009 and the resource book for teachers of 2012 are nothing more
than snapshots. Therefore he continues collecting; at the beginning of 2017,
he has arrived at 252 factors influencing achievement whereas the famous
study of 2009 is based on 138. The new results (to be published in the near
future) will lead to major shifts of factors having an impact on achievement
(for more details see 2.4).
Despite the critiques Hattie presents a valuable teaching model which
is comparable to the Model of Effective Teaching and Successful Learning
(MET) described in detail in chapter 13. How can it be that, despite research
shortcomings, Hattie’s model of teaching and learning, denominated Di-
rect Instruction (DI; Direkte Instruktion), is widely approved? DI is not only
based on a series of precursors, but also on Hattie’s experience as a (school)
teacher. Moreover, he implicitly draws on a series of qualitative studies. In
his review of Hattie’s Visible Learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses
relating to achievement Ivo Arnold makes a convincing statement:
Scientific disciplines related to Foreign Language Teaching (Bezugswissenschaften) 29

I find the visible learning story a convincing story. I believe most teach-
ers will agree with the book’s main message that effective instruction can’t
take place without proper feedback from student to teacher on the effec-
tiveness of the instruction. Hattie also convincingly argues that the effec-
tiveness of teaching increases when teachers act as activators instead of
facilitators, a view which I find refreshing in a time when teaching ap-
proaches such as problem-based learning have the effect of sidelining the
instructor. My problem with the book is, however, that I would have been
convinced without the empirical analysis. (Arnold 2011, 219)

What Hattie, in accordance with Anglo-American studies, refers to as DI is


not to be confounded with Frontalunterricht (Didactic Teaching). DI is bet-
ter described as Interactive Whole-Class Teaching (Interaktiver Klassenunter-
richt; see Petty 22009).

Direct Instruction/Interactive Whole-Class Teaching dates back to the


1970s, exactly to the Lesson Plan Design of Madeline Cheek Hunter
(1976). According to Hattie DI involves seven major steps that should be
considered in today’s TEFL classrooms (for further details see De Florio
2016, 95–100):
1. Before the lesson is prepared, the teacher should have a clear idea of
what the learning intentions are. […]
2. The teacher needs to know what the success criteria of performance
are to be expected and when, and what students will be held account-
able for from the lesson/activity. […]
3. There is a need to build commitment and engagement in the learning
task. […]
4. There are guides to how the teacher should present the lesson – in-
cluding notions such as input, modeling, and checking for under-
standing. […]
5. There is the notion of guided practice.
6. There is a closure part of the lesson.
7. There is independent practice. (Hattie 2009, 205–206)

Whereas Hattie draws implicitly on Hunter’s work, he explicitly mentions


the study by G. L. Adams and Siegfried Engelmann (1996). Together with a
colleague Engelmann who is considered the inventor of DI, developed this
model in the 1970s in order to help disadvantaged students to improve cog-
nitive achievement. The detailed program denominated DISTAR (Direct In-
30 Scientific disciplines related to Foreign Language Teaching (Bezugswissenschaften)

struction System for Teaching Arithmetic and Reading) was soon extended
to all students (Hattie 2009, 206–207) and up to now enjoys great populari-
ty in its commercialized form. It was involved in the Project Follow Through
(1968–1977), the greatest U.S. Project in education where it was scored the
most successful approach to teaching among the available programs.
Which teaching strategies (recommended by Hattie) may have a high im-
pact on TEFL? Hattie subdivides all 138 factors scored in the 2009 study
into six categories: contributions from the student, from the home, from the
school, from the teacher, from the curricula and from teaching. The last cat-
egory which comprises teaching approaches, strategies and techniques is
based on 365 meta-analyses (of a total of 816 in 2009). Among the 30 fac-
tors with the highest impact on student achievement 14 refer to teaching.
All these teaching strategies (as well as other ones indicated by Hattie) are
transferable to TEFL although they derive from different subject matters and
school contexts. Beyond DI as well as other approaches, strategies and tech-
niques, the following widely applied factors will be illustrated with examples
of TEFL in the second and third part of this book.
• Reciprocal teaching aims at enabling students to learn and use cognitive
strategies such as summarizing, questioning, clarifying and predicting.
• Feedback is the information provided by an agent about aspects of one’s
performance. Important forms of feedback are provided by teachers to
their learners, by students to their teacher and among peers.
• Spaced vs. massed practice: Exercises and activities spread over time are
more effective than massed practice.
• Meta-cognitive strategies involve ‘thinking about thinking’, i.e. not only
applying a strategy to solve a problem, but selecting and monitoring that
strategy.
• Problem-solving teaching: “Problem solving teaching involves the act of
defining or determining the cause of the problem; identifying, prioritizing
and selecting alternatives for a solution; or using multiple perspectives to
uncover the issues related to a particular problem, designing an interven-
tion plan, and then evaluating the outcome” (Hattie 2009, 210).
• Cooperative vs. individualistic learning: Cooperative learning has a higher
positive impact than individualistic learning on condition it is set up with
high levels of peer involvement.
• Mastery learning means that all children are able to learn and reach the
objectives when they are provided with clear explanations of what it
means to “master” the material being taught.
Scientific disciplines related to Foreign Language Teaching (Bezugswissenschaften) 31

• Worked examples typically consist of a problem statement and the appro-


priate steps to the solution, e.g. providing the learners with a complete
summary when summary writing is the objective.

Conclusion
The above list is nothing else than an invitation to consider some of Hat-
tie’s factors although he does not focus on FLT. All recommendations
based on whatever research have to be thoroughly examined and adapted
in various ways by the teacher in accordance with the multifactorial and
multifaceted contexts in which he or she operates – with particular em-
phasis on the individual learners. Furthermore, there are many findings
of empirical and experimental research (beyond Hattie see e.g. Marzano
1998, Marzano et al. 2001; Wellenreuther 82015) that are worth a try in
the TEFL classroom even though they are not labeled with high effect
scores. Intuition in a science-oriented sense (Gigerenzer 2008) is one of
the most important prerequisites of an expert teacher.

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. Why does teaching not lead to the same results for every single stu-
dent?
2. What is the difference between output and outcome?
3. Mention at least three shortcomings of the Hattie study of 2009.
4. Subdivide Hattie’s summary of DI into the different steps (the step
‘closure’ is missing) underlining the keywords and writing the respec-
tive number in the margin:
The messages of these meta-analyses on direct instruction underline the
power of stating the learning intentions and success criteria, and then en-
gaging students in moving toward these. The teacher needs to invite the
students to learn, provide much deliberative practice and modeling, and
provide appropriate feedback and multiple opportunities to learn. Stu-
dents need opportunities for independent practice, and then there need
to be opportunities to learn the skill or knowledge implicit in the learning
intention in contexts other than those directly taught – And, as I would
add, to a large extent in cooperation with peers. (Hattie 2009, 207)
5. What are the advantages of spaced practice?
32 Scientific disciplines related to Foreign Language Teaching (Bezugswissenschaften)

Recommended Reading
De Florio, Inez (2016). Effective Teaching and Successful Learning. Bridging the Gap
between Research and Practice. New York & Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 94–100.
The indicated pages contain a brief description of Direct Instruction or rather
Interactive Whole-Class Teaching.

2.4 Contributions to content aspects of TEFL

When teachers or other educational experts think of scientific disciplines re-


lated to TEFL, linguistics immediately comes to their mind.

Linguistics (Sprachwissenschaft) is the scientific study of language, com-


prising an analysis of language form, language meaning, and language in
context. Applied Linguistics (AL) (Angewandte Sprachwissenschaft) is an
interdisciplinary field at the confluence of multiple disciplines. AL is con-
cerned with the application of basic research to language-related prob-
lems, among others to the teaching and learning of foreign languages. As
the number of subfields of Linguistics and AL is rapidly growing, the at-
tempt to comprise them all in their relevance of FLT is not only impos-
sible but also not conducive. As with other scientific disciplines there is a
great difference between linguistic theory and the numerous suggestions
of AL one the one side, and their application to foreign language class-
rooms on the other.

In former decades, mostly due to the influence of Latin and Greek, the dif-
ferent subfields of linguistics such as phonetics, grammar, lexicography or
stylistics were considered separately with regards to language teaching. There
was a clear distinction between declarative knowledge (deklaratives Wissen)
and procedural knowledge (prozedurales Wissen). The first refers to the fac-
ulty of knowing (from a theoretical perspective) how languages function. An
utterance in this context might be: In English verb flection does not distin-
guish between different persons with exception to the third person singular
which takes an –s. Procedural knowledge is concerned with competent lan-
guage use, e.g. how to express dissent in a polite way. In classroom contexts,
some sort of declarative knowledge is seen as a prerequisite of procedural
knowledge. Nevertheless, there is no serious scientific prove that knowledge
Scientific disciplines related to Foreign Language Teaching (Bezugswissenschaften) 33

about the language is an indispensable condition for competent foreign lan-


guage use.
Nowadays a separation of linguistic competence in a strict sense, on the
one hand, and sociolinguistic and pragmatic competences on the other is
widely rejected. In institutional teaching settings, patterns of foreign lan-
guages are often learned as chunks, i.e. as a series of related words or an ex-
pression, in order to prepare students for real-life communication. In recent
times, approaches based on language use came more and more to the fore.

Beside Syntax and Semantic, the third relevant subfield of linguistics is


Pragmatics (Pragmatik, Pragmalinguistik), developed since the 1930s.
Linked to semiotics, i.e. the study of signs and symbols and how they are
used, Pragmatics studies in what ways context contributes to meaning.
In contrast to semantics, which describes conventional or “coded” mean-
ing in a given language, Pragmatics examines the different ways in which
meaning depends not only on the structural and linguistic knowledge
(e.g. grammar, lexicon, etc.) of language users. It also focuses on the con-
text of the utterance, the pre-existing knowledge of and the intention in-
ferred by the interlocutors.

Language competence and multilingualism (under the term of Gesamt-


sprachenkonzept) are seen as a whole including all languages the learn-
er (partly) disposes of. FLT, thus, imports relevant linguistic findings and
adapts them to the needs and interests of the students focusing on commu-
nication in the respective language(s).
The evolution from syntax and structural semantics toward aspects of
language use started already in the 1950s. In the field of pedagogical gram-
mars, for example, adaptations for teaching purposes moved away from the
Latin categories of word-classes and inflectional paradigms toward a phrase-
and-clause approach. Two important steps toward communicative language
teaching and learning (see chap. 4) are the speech-act theory and the no-
tional-functional approach.
34 Scientific disciplines related to Foreign Language Teaching (Bezugswissenschaften)

Speech-act theory is an important step toward an integrated perspective


of language use. A speech act is an utterance with performative function,
i.e. the coherence between speaking and action is emphasized as we “do
things with words” (Austin 1962). An utterance, thus, is an intentional
act to reach a communicative goal. Speech-act theory is closely linked to
the notional-functional approach that structures the curriculum around
“notions”, i.e. real-life situations in which people communicate. These no-
tions are further broken down into “functions”, specific aims of communi-
cation, e.g. notion: customer to shopkeeper, function: negotiating; expres-
sion: It seems a little expensive.
Most textbooks are based on these approaches and indicate them in
some form in their indices, e.g. greeting, ordering, inviting or warning.

As linguistics and especially the subfields of AL have an impact on material


design for foreign language teaching and learning, e.g. textbooks (including
exercises in workbooks), grammars and dictionaries, it is useful to consid-
er the statement of Werner Hüllen about the relevance of particular linguis-
tic subfields:
Obviously, the following subfields of linguistics pertain to language teach-
ing with the material used in the classroom:
• phonetics/phonology for the teaching of pronunciation and also, to a
limited extent, of spelling;
• lexicology and semantics for the teaching of lexis;
• stylistic and idiom theory for the teaching of language performance;
• syntax for the teaching of grammar;
• text and corpus linguistics and conversation analysis for the teaching
of text production and text reception;
• cognitive linguistics for the teaching of meanings
(Hüllen 22017, 422; emphasis by the author)

With this list Hüllen does not intend “this substance be taught as such, i.e.
as a corpus of statements and norms on a linguistic meta-level, but rather as
the stimulation of the mechanism of mental decisions which we must make
in correct language use” (ibid.).
Closely linked to speech-act theory are two interrelated branches of AL
that gained momentum in recent years but are still underrepresented when
it comes to teaching and learning foreign languages.
Scientific disciplines related to Foreign Language Teaching (Bezugswissenschaften) 35

Neurolinguistics, a subfield of neuroscience, studies the neural mecha-


nisms in the human brain that control the comprehension, production,
and also the acquisition of language. It is an interdisciplinary field in-
spired by various branches of linguistics and psychology. As Neurolin-
guistics studies the physiological mechanisms by which the brain process-
es information related to language, in recent decades it is more and more
linked to computer science dealing with informatics and robotics.
Computational linguistics is considered as the interface between lin-
guistics and informatics. It examines in what ways natural language is
elaborated by computers and proposes its theoretical foundations. As such
it aims at dissolving syntactic ambiguity, at determining the semantics of
ambiguous utterances and at recognizing the intention of an utterance in
the sense of pragmatics.

Teaching and learning foreign languages in the digital age cannot do without
taking the results of neurolinguistics in combination with computational lin-
guistics into account.
Teaching materials should be inspired by the theories and the sugges-
tions of related scientific disciplines in an emancipative form. Contributions
of subfields of linguistics and AL, e.g. educational linguistics, interactional
linguistics, neurolinguistics, and computational linguistics, have a great im-
pact on textbooks, workbooks and grammars. For teachers and other edu-
cation practitioners it is not easy to determine the respective contributions
of the different content related subfields of linguistics and AL. All classroom
materials have to be adapted to the individual teaching and learning context:
In what way does the textbook contribute to the learning of English as a for-
eign language? Are the exercises in the workbook and other teaching materi-
als related to real-life communication? Is the grammar structured in a learn-
er-centered way? What transformations and changes should teachers make
in order to improve the learning of their individual students?
Literary Theory, Interculturalism and Multiliteracy-Studies are other im-
portant fields that greatly contribute to TEFL. Literature as well as non-
fictional texts do not only improve foreign language learning, but involve
learners in different ways. Reading foreign literature in today’s classrooms
postpones and exceeds the stylistic analysis of former periods by underscor-
ing aesthetic-pedagogical reasons. Furthermore, the significance of literary
texts for intercultural understanding is of utmost importance. Readers are
36 Scientific disciplines related to Foreign Language Teaching (Bezugswissenschaften)

encouraged to imagine a world different from their own and to respond to


it. The response comprises two directions: the perspective from within, i.e.
to see others with their own eyes; the perspective from without, i.e. to pre-
vent readers from accepting uncritically the others’ views and values and to
enable them to decide whether they approve or disapprove of them. “This
underscores that intercultural understanding is dialogical. Understanding
others cannot be separated from understanding ourselves” (Bredella 22017,
434).
This view of integrating the reading of literary texts in their multiple
forms in TEFL is supported by recent developments in literary theory (Lite-
raturwissenschaft) and regional studies (Landeskunde). In former decades
Hermeneutics and New Criticism prevailed in literary studies and the teach-
ing of literature.

Hermeneutics (Hermeneutik) derived from the study of the Bible and ex-
panded its methodology to the interpretation of different forms of philo-
sophical texts. Before World War II reading and translating texts was in
the focus of teaching literature.
As a reaction to tendencies that overvalued information about the au-
thor, his biography and socio-cultural context as well as philological as-
pects neglecting the text itself, New Criticism (established since the 1920s
in Great Britain and the USA) attracted the attention of the readers to the
literary text itself and its particular aesthetic values.

Literary theory since the 1950s overcame these author- and work-centered
views by perspectives that underscore the relationship between the text and
the reader. In recent years the dominant approach is to be seen in reader-
response criticism. The effects on and especially the acceptations of individ-
ual readers are more and more the subject of empirical research leading to
the interdisciplinarity and multimodality of contemporary literary theories.
Scientific disciplines related to Foreign Language Teaching (Bezugswissenschaften) 37

Reader-response criticism (Rezeptionsästhetik), since the 1970s the dom-


inant approach of literary theory, is widely accepted and adapted to FLT.
Its overall aim is to detect the various ways in which individual contem-
porary readers deal with specific literary (and nonfictional) texts as well
as other works of art. A special focus is on the reception processes dur-
ing and after reading. In recent times the multiple relationships between a
particular literary text, other (literary and nonfictional) texts and various
media attract notable attention. These perspectives do not only comprise
the interplay between the literary texts and genres, but also the adaptation
of literature in other media and art forms.

Views of reader-response criticism are no license to all receptions and inter-


pretations students might come up with. A balance between objective and
subjective paradigms is needed in educational settings. In an interactive and
dynamic process the individual sense is constructed on the basis of possible
interpretations of a particular text. In other words: Teachers and their stu-
dents must pay attention to the particularity of the author’s text and their re-
sponses to it. As with every utterance there is a denotative side – the specific
color denominated ‘red’ – completed and enlarged by connotations – ‘red’ as
expression of danger, passion or love.
The growing role of cultural and media-specific approaches to literature
is based on a wider acceptation of the term text. In TEFL classrooms the
limitation to one medium, e.g. a text in print, or to a single text without
references to related works or other media is no longer acceptable. In or-
der to exhaust the opportunities of literature, teachers contribute to the im-
provement of the following competences through creative text-based and re-
sponse-based tasks:
• communicative competence
• reading and literary competences
• media competences
• narrative competence
• affective and imaginative competences
• intercultural communicative competence
• cultural competences (Surkamp 2010, 138–139)

The aforementioned intercultural aspects, subsumed under the denomina-


tion of Interculturalism, gained momentum in literary theory and in con-
sequence in TEFL school settings in the past two or three decades. In the
38 Scientific disciplines related to Foreign Language Teaching (Bezugswissenschaften)

German-speaking countries the intercultural perspective that dates back to


Herder interprets (national) cultures as spheres which have their very center
in themselves. Therefore a clash of cultures is inevitable. Samuel P. Hunting-
ton, dealing with the interrelated connections of globalization, already in
1997 predicted The clash of civilizations and the remaking of world order (last
edition 2011). In contrast to that, newer intercultural approaches aim at inte-
grating meaningful aspects of foreign cultures into one’s own cultural views
or at least search for a co-existence. A similar distinction is made in the
English-speaking countries too, but there are two different terms. Where-
as a perspective that legitimizes segregated separate communities within a
society is called Multiculturalism, a cross-cultural dialogue that challenges
self-segregation tendencies, is termed Interculturalism.

Interculturalism in the sense of cross-cultural dialogue involves “the rec-


ognition of common human needs across cultures and of dissonance and
critical dialogue within cultures” as Martha Nussbaum (1998, 82) puts it.
Interculturalism opts for a co-existence of different ethnic groups in an
atmosphere of mutual understanding. These cross-cultural views are sup-
ported by a considerable body of research (see e.g. Rattansi 2011) and by
UNESCO which adopted the Convention on the Protection and Promotion
of Diversity of Cultural Expressions in 2005.
For teaching and learning foreign languages, especially for TEFL with
its multitude of English-speaking communities around the world, the
cross-cultural option is considered in pre- and in-service teacher training.
It is realized in most teaching materials (for further details see chap. 12).

It is no question that the briefly described approaches to literary texts and


related forms of art as well as to different representations of cultures and cul-
tural artefacts require particular competences of both teachers and learners.
In the mid-1990s the New London Group (1996) whose best known mem-
bers are Bill Cope and Mary Kalantzis coined the term Multiliteracies to de-
scribe two aspects of literacy: the increasing linguistic diversity in the after-
math of internationalization and globalization and the resulting multimodal
forms of linguistic expression and representation. After carrying out various
bodies of empirical research Cope and Kalantzis in 2009 introduce an article
in Pedagogies: An International Journal by the following abstract:
Scientific disciplines related to Foreign Language Teaching (Bezugswissenschaften) 39

This paper examines the changing landscape of literacy teaching and


learning revisiting the case for a “pedagogy of multiliteracies” first put by
the New London Group in 1996. It describes the dramatically changing
social and technological contexts of communication and learning, devel-
ops a language with which to talk about representation and communica-
tion in educational contexts, and addresses the question of what consti-
tutes appropriate literacy pedagogy for our times. (Cope & Kalantzis 2009,
164)

In their article the authors give a detailed list of the modalities of meaning
which may be considered as starting point for including more representa-
tions than book-printed pages of literature in TEFL classrooms:
• written language
• oral language
• visual representation
• audio representation
• tactile representation
• gestural representation
• representation to oneself in form of feelings and emotions
• spatial representation (idem, 178–179)

It is the merit of Wolfgang Hallet to have adapted the multiliteracies-ap-


proach of the New London Group for TEFL (see e.g. https://dgff2011ag13.
files.wordpress.com/2011/09/dgff_ag-13_praesentation_hallet_multimodale_
romane.pdf; last accessed July 2017).

Multiliteracies is the answer to the increasing development of diverse


modes of communication in globalized environments. It underscores the
changes caused by communication technologies such as the internet, mul-
timedia and digital media. Furthermore, it responds to the existence of
growing linguistic and cultural diversity due to increased transnational
migration.
Whereas multimedia refers to the use of different medial tools, mul-
timodality is a theory of communication that describes communication
practices in terms of textual, aural, visual or audio-visual resources used
to increase the reception of an idea or a concept. Multimedia and mul-
timodality are connected and often combined regarding the intention of
the message.
40 Scientific disciplines related to Foreign Language Teaching (Bezugswissenschaften)

The following definition by Gunther Kress and Theo van Leeuwen offers use-
ful details for teachers and other education practitioners. Multimodality is
the use of several semiotic modes in the design of a semiotic product or
event, together with the particular way in which these modes are com-
bined – they may for instance reinforce each other […] fulfil complemen-
tary roles […], or be hierarchically ordered, as in action films, where ac-
tion is dominant, with music adding a touch of emotive colour and sync
sound a touch of realistic ‘presence’. We defined communication as a pro-
cess in which a semiotic product or event is both articulated and inter-
preted or used. It follows from this definition that we consider the pro-
duction and use of designed objects and environments as a form of
communication. (Kress & van Leeuwen 2001, 20)

At the beginning of this chapter the interdependence of the contributions of


various scientific disciplines and subfields is emphasized. What makes teach-
ing so interesting and challenging is the fact that there are always different
choices and combinations apt to improve learning even though no particular
context or setting resembles another. It is a question of experience to know
what might work or even what might work better in a particular context (for
practical suggestions for TEFL see part 2).

Conclusion
While planning and preparing a lesson or a teaching unit the first step
is to fix appropriate goals. A further step is to choose content and texts
that can help reach the objectives and, above all, motivate and activate the
particular learners. These choices should include the students so that they
will follow the lesson with interest. Proposals and suggestions of the con-
tent related disciplines – Linguistics, Literary Theory, Interculturalism and
Multiliteracies – will influence the lesson content to a different but inter-
related extent. They have to be thoroughly combined with teaching and
learning procedures in order to involve possibly all students.

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. What is the difference between declarative and procedural knowled-
ge?
2. Why is Pragmatics an important scientific discipline related to FLT?
3. What is meant by Gesamtsprachenkonzept?
4. Why are speech-act theory and notional-functional approaches im-
portant steps toward communicative language teaching?
Scientific disciplines related to Foreign Language Teaching (Bezugswissenschaften) 41

5. Since the 1960s computational linguistics make great efforts to crea-


te computer programs appropriate to converse naturally with humans.
Read the short text by Hans Uszkoreit entitled: What is Computatio-
nal Linguistics?
(http://www.coli.uni-saarland.de/~hansu/what_is_cl.html, last acces-
sed July 2017)
and answer the following questions: Is it useful to communicate with
a computer in English? Why? Why not? Can students improve their
communication abilities by conversing with a machine? In what ways?
Under what aspects?
6. Why is Reader-response criticism an important approach to dealing
with literary texts in TEFL classrooms?
7. What is the denotative meaning of green, which are its connotative
meanings?
8. Read the full text by Surkamp (2010, 138–139). Then explain in what
ways these competences influence the individual personality of for-
eign language learners and their knowledge and skills in English.
9. What are the advantages of newer intercultural perspectives (in Eng-
lish: Interculturalism)?
10. Explain Multiliteracies as well as Multimodality in your own words.

Recommended Reading
Hahn, Angela (22017). Sprachwissenschaft. In: Surkamp, Carola (Hrsg.). Metzler Le-
xikon Fremdsprachendidaktik. Ansätze – Methoden – Grundbegriffe. Stuttgart &
Weimar: Metzler, 328–332.
The article gives a comprehensive and compact overview of Linguistics that al-
lows teachers to get an impression of the numerous important subfields and
their interdependence.

For a useful description of the interdependence between text, media, literature


and culture see:
Hallet, Wolfgang (62016). Fokus: Texte – Medien – Literatur – Kultur. In: Bur-
witz-Melzer, Eva et al. (Hrsg.). Handbuch Fremdsprachenunterricht. Tübingen:
Francke (utb), 39–43.
3 Research methods

3.1 Research design and research methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

3.2 A conventional differentiation: qualitative


and quantitative research methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

3.3 Further approaches: descriptive and explanatory


research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

3.4 Evidence-based research and meta-analyses . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

The overall differentiation explained in this chapter is about what is stud-


ied (design) and how the topic is studied (methodology) (3.1). Most re-
search into education starts by applying qualitative methods. Based on
inductive procedures, they focus on particular teaching and learning be-
haviors asking for general procedures underlying the observed phenome-
na. Their way is from practice to theory. Qualitative research is therefore
often followed by quantitative methods which aim at establishing reliable
results by deduction. They transfer the research findings to practice (3.2).
In today’s multifaceted and multifactorial teaching and learning pro-
cesses further approaches to research are needed in order to provide ro-
bust science-based results. In the context of multimethod approaches,
descriptive and explanatory research are both indispensable – the latter
being based on strong experiments or at least quasi-experimental stud-
ies (3.3). As the results of a single study are not sufficient for application
to and comparison of teaching interventions, evidence-based research –
often in form of meta-analyses – is to be considered a reasonable conse-
quence (3.4).
Research methods 43

3 Research methods
3.1 Research design and research methodology

Among the various ways to improve teaching and learning in the EFL class-
room, it is of utmost importance to consider the respective results of scien-
tific research. For this reason, education professionals, especially pre- and
in service-teachers, should have basic knowledge of and gain further in-
sights into research methodology. As every single teacher has to decide on
the validity and applicability of a learning strategy or any other interven-
tion, sufficient knowledge of research methodology is a prerequisite of effec-
tive teaching and successful learning. Are the research findings reliable? Is
the learning strategy or technique compatible with what I intend when using
the same term? To what extent is the context of my class or course compara-
ble with the conditions in which the study was carried out? Are the research
results gained in other subject matters transferable to teaching and learning
English in German-speaking countries?
In order to better prepare teachers and education practitioners to eval-
uate research results, an important distinction is to be made, i.e. the differ-
entiation between research design and research methodology. Quite often,
practitioners as well as scientists, overemphasize research methodology. A
useful simplification to underscore the difference between research design
and research methods is that of an architect who decides on the materials to
be used before knowing what type of building is to be constructed (De Flo-
rio-Hansen 2016, 33; for the following see also De Florio-Hansen 2014a).
Furthermore, the differentiation between design and methods is some-
how valuable for teaching and learning itself. No expert teacher should de-
cide on teaching and learning procedures – the construction materials –,
before fixing the standards and objectives to aim at – the building to be con-
structed (see e.g. Klafki 21991). Referring to the introductory questions at
the beginning of chap. 1, especially question 1 and 2, teachers are not fixat-
ed on one single procedure after having chosen valuable goals and particular
objectives in accordance with their learners (see question 7). Following the
needs and interests of their individual students with regards to topics and
content (see question 4), they recur to special strategies and techniques that
promise the best results. That does not exclude to give priority to strategies
and techniques the students prefer, but always in compliance with the ‘scaf-
folded’ building.
44 Research methods

You may ask: But what about all these method guides (e.g. Lütge 2014)? The
statement: objectives and content before teaching and learning procedures is
not invalidated by these publications. On the contrary, ‘methods’ are exem-
plified in these guides on the basis of knowledge and skills such as grammar,
listening comprehension or intercultural learning. They allow for an up-to-
date overview of existing teaching and learning practice. Consulting these
manuals, pre-service teachers get acquainted with the numerous methodo-
logical procedures for TEFL classrooms. In-service teachers quite often re-
cur to these collections when looking for alternatives of strategies and tech-
niques that better fit the aimed at objectives and topics.

Research design is the overarching framework that specifies the cases to


be studied and their attribution to subgroups. When it comes to mea-
suring and analyzing the results research methodology helps establish the
particular tools and procedures to be used in the research process. Ade-
quate methods of data collection and analysis are fixed. Research meth-
odology is, thus, responsible for the steps in the research process which
should lead to the most ‘objective’ results. In newer international research
the overemphasis on qualitative or quantitative methods has been aban-
doned in favor of multimethod approaches (De Florio-Hansen 2014a, 34).

Conclusion:
This comparison is useful to grasp the main differences between research
design and research methodology, but it should not lead to an underesti-
mation of the difficulties of empirical studies into education and FLT. As
with the differentiation between instructional design on the one hand and
teaching and learning strategies on the other, the overlapping of research
design and research methods is commonly occurring.

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. Why is it useful to distinguish between research design and research
methodology?
2. In the following overview Brian van Wyk of the University of Wes-
tern Cape confronts the main differences between design and me-
thods: (www.uwc.ac.za/Students/Postgraduate/Documents/Research_
and_Design_I.pdf; last accessed June 2017)
Summarize the short document in your own words.
Research methods 45

Research design vs research methodology


Research design Research methodology

Focuses on the end-product: What kind Focuses on the research process and the
of study is being planned and what kind kind of tools and procedures to be used.
of results are aimed at.
Point of departure (driven by) = Point of departure (driven by) = Specific
Research problem or question. tasks (data collection or sampling) at
hand.

Recommended Reading
Even though the first edition of the following manual dates back to 1989 it is
somehow still up to date. Especially enjoyable is chapter 1: What is research?
because it starts from reality considering research as a natural process. Scien-
tific research is confronted with common sense, so that everyone who wants to
know what scientific research is all about finds plausible answers.
Selinger, Herbert W. & Shohamy, Elana (1989, 31995). Second Language Research Me-
thods. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

3.2 A conventional differentiation: qualitative and quantitative


research methods

Introductions to research into the social and educational sciences insist on


the distinction between qualitative and quantitative research (e.g. Bortz &
Döring 42006). This opposition is also to be found in manuals of foreign lan-
guage teaching and learning, even though it was criticized already decades
ago (see e.g. Grotjahn 1993).

In this perspective, qualitative methods should help gain insights into


the reasons and motivations underlying certain phenomena. Qualita-
tive research, thus, allows for understanding classroom procedures and
processes from a closer perspective advancing by induction, i.e. from
the particular to the more general. The main methods are unstructured
or semi-structured techniques, e.g. observation and participation, fo-
cus groups (group discussions), and individual interviews comprising
open-ended questions. They help identify new phenomena and develop
ideas for potential quantitative research. As they are limited in general to
46 Research methods

a small number of non-representative cases, their findings cannot be used


to make generalizations. Furthermore, it is often difficult to assess the re-
lations between characteristics.

Many researchers (e.g. Shavelson & Towne 2002, passim) call for long-term
partnerships between scholars and teachers with the aim to accomplish sci-
entific research directly applicable to TEFL classrooms. One particular ap-
proach based on qualitative methodology is Action Research. It is part of
a broader movement in education that underscores concepts such as the
Teacher as Researcher and the Reflective Practitioner (Schon 1983).
Education practitioners who want to engage in Action Research have
to take critical distance to their own teaching and be willing to reflect – at
best on equal terms with the help of researchers – their own classroom prac-
tice. In order to provide informed developments in practice, the main top-
ics of Action Research are teacher talk, problem- or project-based teaching
and learning as well as classroom discourse. Research methodology includes
classroom observation and learner journals. Further characteristics of this
approach are small-scale samples, evaluation to bring about continuing
changes in practice, collaborative investigation, a critical attitude of the Re-
flective Practitioner and the application of democratic principles. The main
phases of Action Research are planning, action, observation and reflection.

In contrast to that, quantitative research methods provide the recognition


of overall patterns as they elicit numerical data transformed into statistics.
Quantitative research is mostly deductive, as it starts on a conceptual lev-
el and proceeds to particular observations. By appropriate statistical pro-
cedures patterns are identified and used to recommend a final course of
action. Quantitative research focuses on larger sample populations, com-
monly a number of groups allowing for comparison. Quantitative stud-
ies often use systematic observation as well as various forms of surveys,
e.g. online questionnaires. Quantitative procedures are essential for exper-
imental research (see 2.3)

Beside points of criticism many researchers underscore the fact that qual-
itative and quantitative scientific approaches might be more informative if
used in combination. This research strategy is called triangulation. It com-
Research methods 47

bines different research methods and/or collects and analyzes different data
about the same research topic.
One main problem with the two approaches is the equation of qualita-
tive methods with text-based findings and that of quantitative methodolo-
gy with number-based results (Grotjahn 2003, 495). The following example
from teaching practice casts doubts on this distinction.

TEFL Example
A teacher would like to know how much time his students spent with so-
cial networking every day, because he supposes that lower-performing stu-
dents do not dedicate sufficient time to home study of English. With the aid
of a (written) questionnaire he finds out the exact amount of time each stu-
dent spends with smartphone activities. His qualitative procedure results in
numbers and may be only the first step to a deeper investigation. Even if
he finds out that the higher-performing students spend less time with social
networking activities, he has not identified the causes of their better achieve-
ments. And what if these students spend much more time with their smart-
phones than their lower-performing classmates?

Conclusion
The above comparison of qualitative and quantitative methods may pro-
vide useful insights for practitioners. When it comes to results to be ap-
plied in science-oriented classroom practice further research designs and
research methodologies are essential.

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. What are the major differences between qualitative and quantitative
research methods?
2. Why should the two approaches to research be used in combination?
3. What are the benefits of Action Research? What are its limitations?

Recommended Reading
Nunan, David (22017). Research methods. In: Byram, Michael & Hu, Adelheid (eds.)
Routledge Encyclopedia of Language Teaching and Learning. New York: Routledge,
593–598.
Nunan’s arcticle gives a succinct overview of different approaches to research
methods and their practical application.
48 Research methods

For a detailed critique see:


Grotjahn, Rüdiger (1993). Qualitative und quantitative Fremdsprachenforschung:
Eine klärungsbedürftige und unfruchtbare Dichotomie. In: Timm, Johannes-Pe-
ter & Vollmer, Helmut Johannes (Hrsg.) Kontroversen in der Fremdsprachenfor-
schung. Bochum: Brockmeyer, 223–248.

You find more about Action Research in the following informative article by:
Riemer, Claudia (2010). Empirische Unterrichtsforschung und Action Research. In:
Hallet, Wolfgang & Königs, Frank G. (Hrsg). Handbuch Fremdsprachendidaktik.
Seelze-Velber: Klett Kallmeyer, 359–363.

For a broader perspective of Action Research see the publications of Liesel


Hermes, for instance:
Hermes, Liesel (1999). Learner Assessment through Subjective Theories and Acti-
on Research. In: Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education 24/2, 197–204.

3.3 Further approaches: descriptive and explanatory research

The starting point of empirical research, especially of experimental studies,


is the triad theories, hypotheses and models.
In everyday language, theory is often opposed to practice. This oppo-
sition is insufficient and even misleading when research into teaching and
learning EFL should generate reliable results in order to improve practice. In
general the term theory is used to qualify an understanding gained through
mere thinking in contrast to knowledge based on experience. In this per-
spective, a theory is a system of statements aiming at the description and the
explanation of an excerpt of reality. In former times, suggestions in the con-
text of Fremdsprachendidaktik resulted mostly from the intuitions of didac-
ticians gained through reflection and not through empirical or even experi-
mental investigation. This does not mean that their ideas and proposals were
automatically false, but it was not clear if the replication of their proposals
in another context would guarantee the same or at least comparable results.
What we need are definitions of theories, hypotheses, and models that
stand the test of experimental research or that of robust empirical studies. In
a recent publication, Stephan Gorard, whose overall focus is on Creating ro-
bust approaches for the social sciences, defines the triad in a way applicable to
TEFL:
Research methods 49

Theories are types of abstract or generalizing thinking. A scientific theory


is a tentative explanation. It provides an explanatory framework for some
observation. Theory does not equal hypothesis.
From the assumptions of a theory follow a number of possible hypotheses
that can be tested in order to provide support for or challenge the theory.
Thus, a hypothesis is a supposition to be tested.
Theories are often viewed as scientific models. A model is a logical frame-
work intended to represent reality, for example a geographical map. Mod-
els are created to show the particular, whereas theories refer to more
general conjectures. Although they try to come as close to the truth as
possible, models do not represent reality.
Only if theories, hypotheses, and models are falsifiable, that is to say if
they can be proven as false, they are considered scientific ideas. (Gorard
2013, passim)

In order to obtain more valuable and reliable scientific results, we distin-


guish mainly between two strands of research. Even though terms vary, the
distinction followed by most scientists today is between descriptive and ex-
planatory research (see also for the following De Florio-Hansen 2014a,
2016). Other terms for the descriptive approach are naturalistic or explora-
tory-interpretative research. Explanatory research is also denominated as hy-
potheses-testing (for further explanations see Grotjahn 1993).

The main questions descriptive research methodology tries to answer are:


What is going on? What is happening? In cases of new fields of FLT de-
scriptive research is sometimes preceded by exploratory studies. But as
already a great number of theories exist, descriptive studies mostly start
with identifying hypotheses to be tested in further research.
Explanatory research which quite often is the logical consequence
of descriptive findings, answers questions of causal relationship such as:
Does x cause y? Is there a systematic effect of x on y? In what ways does
x lead to y? Or is x only in correlation with y, i.e. is there an increase of x
when y comes into play without being the cause of the observed process-
es?

The above definitions show that classroom observation, even guided by lead-
ing questions, is a valuable starting point, but in no way sufficient. At the
most, it leads to a tentative explanation but not to a scientific model. The
50 Research methods

most important research question goes back to Karl Popper: Is there is a bet-
ter theory than the existing ones? This question is always open to investiga-
tion. To underscore the importance of rival plausible hypotheses D. de Vaus
explains the Provisional nature of support for theories:
Even where the theory is corroborated and has survived attempts to dis-
prove it, the theory remains provisional. […] There always may be an un-
thought-of explanation. We can’t anticipate or evaluate every plausible ex-
planation. The more alternative explanations that have been eliminated
and the more we have tried to disprove our theory, the more confidence
we will have in it, but we should avoid thinking that it is proven. (de Vaus
2001, 15)

In other words: Serious research efforts should always persist when doubts
arise about the validity and the reliability of a scientific theory or model.
Consider the following example:

TEFL Example
One of the objectives a teacher has put together with his students in the con-
text of reading non-fictional texts is summary writing. In interactive whole-
class discourse they have dealt with the approximate length of a summary
in comparison to the original text, the specific structure of summaries and
the affordance to concentrate on the most important content. At that point,
in the opinion of the teacher, the students are prepared well enough to write
a summary of a short magazine article dealing with youth unemployment.
Reading parts of the study by John Hattie (2009) and the respective teach-
er guide (2012) our teacher is impressed by the results of worked examples.
He exchanges opinions with colleagues and they come to the conclusion that
worked examples are worth a try. So he decides to withdraw the summary of
the text about youth unemployment and to introduce another non-fictional
text with a similar structure handing out to his students a summary of this
text. In home study the students apply the before mentioned explanations
about summary structure to this worked example and in one of the next les-
sons they write the summary about youth unemployment which they have
to submit to their teacher for feedback. If the teacher repeats the interven-
tion several times he gets an impression of the potential of worked examples
in the form of summaries.
A researcher who wants to find out if students, in the case of summa-
ry writing, really profit from a worked example and to which degree, has to
Research methods 51

choose a sufficient number of learners of the same age or better the same
year of learning English, e.g. six classes of the same school type. In an ide-
al project, these students are divided at random, i.e. by chance, into two sub-
groups of the same size. One group, the experimental group, is exposed to
the worked example whereas the second subgroup, the control group, sum-
marizes the text about youth unemployment only on the basis of the expla-
nations elaborated in interactive whole-class discourse. A pre- and a post-
test measure the achievement of all students, those of the experimental
group(s) and those of the control group(s). At the end, the researcher com-
pares the outcomes of both tests in order to make valid and reliable state-
ments about the potential effect of the intervention.
This ideal research project points out that mere observation of classroom
actions will not provide science-based results. What is needed, instead, is ex-
perimental research that follows the quality criteria of validity and reliability.

A scientific experiment is a systematic procedure to measure the effect


of an independent variable, for example a special strategy or intervention
program, on the dependent variable, in our case the learning outcomes. A
valid experiment measures what it pretends to measure without being bi-
ased by other variables. It is considered a reliable experiment if the mea-
sured effects are exactly the same when the experiment is replicated. (De
Florio 2016, 39)

It is quite clear that even valid experimental research into foreign language
teaching and learning is rarely reliable because of the multiple factors that
influence every special context of schooling. Furthermore, experiment does
not equal experiment. We can differentiate between two main types of ex-
perimental research:
The above described experiment, called Randomized Control Trial
(RCT), corresponds to what is appraised as the gold standard of research fol-
lowed by quasi-experiments (De Florio 2016, 40–41).
52 Research methods

Quasi-experiments share with experiments in general and RCTs in par-


ticular the aim to measure an intervention’s causal impact on a specific
population. Quasi-experiments lack randomization, namely the random
assignment to an experimental and a control group. There are different
ways in which researchers try to control interfering variables.

The main problem of RCTs consists in the fact that school classes rarely can
be freely chosen so that randomization is not feasible. As Shavelson and
Towne point out, in these cases quasi-experiments are a good option:
In some settings, well-controlled quasi-experiments may have greater “ex-
ternal validity” – generalizability to other people, time, settings – than ex-
periments with completely random assignment. […] It may be useful to
take advantage of the experience and investment of a school with a par-
ticular program and try to design a quasi-experiment that compares the
school that has a good implementation of the program to a similar school
without the program (or with a different program). (Shavelson & Towne
2002, 114)

Correlation studies try to explore whether two variables are correlated, i.e.
whether they increase or decrease contemporarily in a sample under in-
vestigation. Correlations do not imply causal relationships. They are noth-
ing else than requests for further investigation.

Conclusion
The further distinction between descriptive and explanatory research goes
beyond the opposition of qualitative vs. quantitative methodology, espe-
cially when taking the differentiation between experiments (in the form
of RCTs) and quasi-experimental research into account. But these days,
even this typology is not elaborated enough “to capture the complex-
ities of mixed methods research where qualitative and quantitative data
are collected, and both statistical and interpretative analyses are deployed”
(Nunan 22017, 594).

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. What are the aims of descriptive research? Which results does expla-
natory research at best achieve?
Research methods 53

2. What does validity mean? Why is it in TEFL research often difficult


to guarantee for reliability?
3. What does falsifiability mean?
4. Why are quasi-experimental designs more appropriate for TEFL class-
room research than RCTs?
5. Why are correlation studies often rejected? Why are they useless
when we want to establish science-oriented TEFL?

Recommended Reading
A detailed introduction to descriptive studies and research aiming at canvassing
hypotheses is to be found in:
Wellenreuther, Martin (82015). Lehren und Lernen – aber wie? Empirische-experi-
mentelle Forschungen zum Lehren und Lernen im Unterricht. Baltmannsweiler:
Schneider Hohengehren (see chap. 2 Methoden empirischer Forschung, 2.2 For-
schungstypen (1) Deskriptive Forschung, pp. 14–20; (2) Hypothesenprüfende
Forschung, pp. 20–25.

Dedicated to the benefits and limitations of experimental research in FLT is the


article by:
Marx, Nicole (2012). Experimentelle Fremdsprachenforschung. Grundlagenbeitrag.
In: Doff, Sabine (Hrsg.) Fremdsprachenunterricht empirisch erforschen. Grundla-
gen – Methoden – Anwendung. Tübingen: Narr, 51–70.

Dörney, Zoltán (2003, 22009). Questionnaires in Second Language Research. Construc-


tion, Administration, and Processing. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum.
This guide to constructing questionnaires is not only indispensable for research-
ers but also useful for pre- und in-service teachers. A checklist of items about
Constructing the questionnaire is to be found on pp. 132–134.

3.4 Evidence-based research and meta-analyses

A direct consequence of privileging empirical studies and especially experi-


ments in form of RCTs is the so-called evidence-based approach. The over-
all appreciation of experimental research followed by quasi-experiments and
correlation studies leads to the following grading:
54 Research methods

I.
I. RCTs
II. II. Quasi-Experimental Studies
III. Correlation Studies
III.
IV. Descriptive Studies
IV. V. Expert Opinions

V.

Figure 1: Grades of evidence (De Florio 2016, 50)

Evidence-based results of educational research offer an additional possibility


of improving teaching and learning in the EFL classroom. Besides the above
grading, they are based on an accumulation of findings with regards to the
same research questions respectively to comparable hypotheses.

TEFL Example
Why is there a need for systematic research reviews? Imagine a colleague
tells you that she read an interesting article in an educational journal which
propagates cooperative learning and reports on an experiment conducted
with great success. How can be excluded that the positive outcomes were
due to other factors, e.g. the commitment of the teacher, the positive atti-
tudes of the students toward learning, or the inspiring activities discussed
during the group work? Wouldn’t it be better to compare other results of co-
operative learning to the outcomes described in the article? What if a sys-
tematic review of more or even all results of group work were available? (see,
also for the following De Florio 2016, 45–62)

Empirical evidence is reached when the research endeavors, using what-


ever systematic type of scrutiny, come as close to the truth as possible.
There are grades of evidence favoring experimental research, especially
RCTs. Even though the results of strong experimental research are impor-
tant, they tend to abstract from concrete aspects of teaching and learning,
making it difficult for teachers and other practitioners to draw on these
findings.
Research methods 55

In a multilayered complex field such as educational research, a varie-


ty of research designs and methods can produce valid and reliable results.
Whereas effectiveness is the principal aim of teachers, policy makers
often base their decision on efficiency. They look for unambiguous results
promising the highest outcome combined with low cost.

Even though we should take the limitations of evidence-based research into


education and above all into a multifactorial and complex field like TEFL
into account, we cannot turn back to opinion-based teaching. If not evi-
dence-based at least evidence-informed or evidence-aware teaching and
learning are indispensable.
A far-reaching development of evidence-based research is the compila-
tion of meta-analyses. A meta-analysis is a form of scientific review that pre-
sents possibly all available results of a special research question. Long before
the elaboration of meta-analyses, systematic reviews of research were com-
piled. As they follow a narrative form and quite often reflect the personal
preferences of the respective author(s), there was a claim for greater impar-
tiality represented by numerals. Furthermore, numeric results allow educa-
tion practitioners to compare results and answer the question: What works
better?

In most cases the compilation of a meta-analysis follows six steps:


1. The starting point is a research question: for example, how effective is
homework? As it is impossible to analyze the effects of homework in all
school types, grades, and subject matters, the research topic is restricted
to particular learning contexts.
2. The second step, as with systematic research reviews, consists of finding
all studies on a subject consulting bibliographies and other means of lit-
erature research. In our case, dealing with the effects of homework, the
reviewer tries to find all quantitative studies in the defined learning con-
text.
3. The purpose of the following secondary analysis of all existing studies is
to order the studies applying the research criteria, such as validity and
reliability. With the aim to sort out primary studies of less rigor, the ear-
lier discussed grades of evidence play a crucial role.
56 Research methods

4. The publications chosen by the reviewer for the meta-analysis, at best


only RCTs and quasi-experimental studies are coded and electronically
elaborated.
5. What follows is a statistical analysis of the data.
6. Finally, the results of the statistical analysis have to be thoroughly pro-
cessed and adequately interpreted with regards to the research question
(De Florio 2016, 64–65).

It goes without saying that only very few researchers, especially in the field
of education, dispose of the sufficient knowledge and skills to carry out the
statistical procedures necessary to elaborate a consistent meta-analysis.
What about the aforementioned results in numbers? How do researchers
that engage in meta-analyses arrive at numeric indications about the bene-
fits and limitations of the scientific subfield under scrutiny? How can teach-
ers deduce recommendations for their classroom practice from these results?
The so-called effect size is calculated on the whole (without entering in
further details) by comparing the mean of the experimental group to the
mean of the control group divided by the standard deviation (see Wellen-
reuther 82015, 29ff.). Why is the calculation of the standard deviation neces-
sary? Imagine that the researcher wants to compare tests written by different
numbers of students. In that case he recurs to the standard deviation, a par-
ticular statistical procedure, to reduce possible inconsistencies.

EFFECT SIZE
CONTROL GROUP
EXPERIMENTAL
GROUP

AVERAGE AVERAGE
CONTROL EXPERIMENTAL
GROUP GROUP

0% 50% 100% ACHIEVEMENT


Figure 2: Effect sizes in experimental research (De Florio 2016, 66)
Research methods 57

A meta-analysis comprises the aggregation of possibly all (published or


unpublished) primary studies dedicated to the same type of education-
al intervention, e.g. worked examples. The findings of a meta-analysis are
summarized in a standardized statistical measure. The so-called effect size
quantifies the size of the difference between two groups, at best between
the experimental group and the control group.

It is the merit of John A. Hattie (2009, 2012; for criticism see 2.3) to have
attracted attention to meta-analytic studies all over the world, especially in
Europe and the German-speaking countries. Hattie’s work is not based on
his own meta-analyses, but on those elaborated by other researchers going
back to the 1980s and 1990s. A main source of Hattie is the work of Robert
Marzano who presented a precedent-setting meta-analysis on the effective-
ness of teaching and learning strategies with a particular focus on (pre- and
in-service) teachers:
The effective teacher is one who has clear instructional goals. These goals
are communicated both to students and parents. Ideally, the instructional
goals address elements of the knowledge domains as well as the cognitive,
metacognitive, and self-system. Even if the instructional goals focus on
the knowledge domains only (as it is frequently the case in public educa-
tion), the teacher still uses instructional techniques that employ the cog-
nitive system, the metacognitive system, and the self-system, and uses the
understanding to make the myriad of instructional decisions that occur in
a single lesson. (Marzano 1998, 135)

The most effective strategies and techniques which reach the highest effect
sizes (of 0.80 and more) are the following three:

1. Identifying Similarities and Differences (average effect size: 1.61)


In order to understand complex problems by analyzing them in a more sim-
ple way, students should break a concept into similar and dissimilar charac-
teristics. Teaching and learning aids regarding ways to represent similarities
and differences are graphic forms.

2. Summarizing and Note Taking (average effect size: 1.00)


These essential skills consist of students finding the important features of a
subject and putting them in their own words. In this context it is very use-
58 Research methods

ful to provide rules for summary-writing and offer worked examples of ef-
fective notes.

3. Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition (average effect size: 0.80)


As not all students immediately recognize the relationship between effort
and achievement, teachers can share stories of people who succeeded by not
giving up. Recognition has to be personalized and specified.

Further medium sized strategies and techniques (of 0.50 and more) are 4.
Homework and Practice (0.77), 5. Nonlinguistic Representations (= 0.75), 6.
Cooperative Learning (= 0.73), 7. Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback
(= 0.61), 8. Generating and Testing Hypotheses (= 0.61), and 9. Cues, Ques-
tions, and Advance Organizers (= 0.59) (Marzano et al., 2010, sections 2–10)
(for details see De Florio 2016, 73–77).
As above mentioned (see 2.3), the limitations of Hattie’s study are mostly
determined by his research interests. His study is inspired by psychometrics,
especially the statistical measurement of psychological phenomena. Applied
to education, the results of these psychometric analyses are often too broad
and not transferable to practice. Nevertheless, Hattie spreads optimism and
does not mention problems occurring when synthesizing a great number of
meta-analyses into mega-analyses. His aim is to provide teachers and edu-
cation practitioners with a list of factors that might have the greatest impact
on student achievement in comparison to other factors. Hattie’s research de-
sign, thus, consists to a large extent in calculating effect sizes.
In order to be able to evaluate a teaching strategy or another factor that
may influence learning, a threshold level is needed. Hattie fixes the “hinge
point” (Hattie 2009, 17–18) at an effect size of d = 0.40. Sizes between
d = 0.20 and d = 0.40 are indicated as being small, whereas effect sizes
above d = 0.60 are to be considered as large. For Hattie, the zone of de-
sired effects starts at d = 0.41. (De Florio 2016, 81)

Hattie’s ranking of the more or less determining factors is based on the re-
sulting effect sizes which he visualizes through stylized barometers accompa-
nied by brief texts.
Research methods 59

DESIRED EFFECTS
0.4

0.2

0.0

H AT T I E ’ S B A R O M E T E R

Figure 3: Barometer (Hattie 2009, 82)

Hattie nowhere explains why he fixes the “hinge point” at d = 0.41, whereas
Marzano and other researchers fixed the starting point of the zone of desired
effects at d = 0.50. In his conclusion (chap. 11: Bringing It All Together, 237–
261), Hattie tries to construct a relationship between separate factors and to
integrate very different ones into a teaching model being well aware of com-
paring apples to oranges – a frequent research pitfall. He tries to resolve this
research problem by summarizing both under the broader term fruit (Hattie
2009, passim). For the above points of critique we should consider Hattie’s
research findings as the evidence-informed opinions of an expert, but not as
evidence-based research.

Conclusion
Evidence-based research and meta-analyses can offer further insights into
TEFL. In order to improve classroom practice they have to be taken as
hints and not as irrevocable truth. As meta-analyses accumulate a great
number of studies conducted in different countries, school systems, sub-
ject matters as well as teaching and learning contexts they have to be eval-
uated with the necessary caution before being transferred to the particular
context of an individual classroom. Nevertheless, evidence-based findings,
especially when derived from robust empirical research, are essential in
an age of internationalization and globalization of teaching and learning.
60 Research methods

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. What is the difference between research-based and evidence-based
education?
2. Why is evidence-based research important? What are its limitations
for education practitioners?
3. What are the main differences between (narrative) reviews of research
and meta-analyses?
4. Find useful examples of identifying similarities and differences in
TEFL.
5. Why is Marzano’s no. 2 (Summarizing and Note Taking) to be taken
with caution?
6. Describe in your own words what Marzano means by: “Recognition
has to be personalized and specified”. Give an example.
7. What are the three greatest limitations of Hattie’s study?

Recommended Reading
A good overview of evidence-based teaching partly based on research by Hattie
(before his spectacular study of 2009) is the reader-friendly book by:
Petty, Geoff (22009). Evidence-based teaching: A practical approach. Cheltenham,
U.K.: Nelson Thornes.

Two important critical reviews of the evidence-based approach are:


Biesta, Gert J. J. (2010). Why ‘what works’ won’t work. From evidence-based educa-
tion to value-based education. In: Studies in Philosophy and Education 29, 491–
503.
Oakley, Ann (2002). Social science and evidence-based everything: The case of
education. In Educational Review 54/3, 277–286.
4 Communicative Competence and Communicative
Language Teaching (CLT)

4.1 The occurrence of CLT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

4.2 The development of CLT in Germany . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

4.3 The development of CLT in the


English-speaking countries. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64

4.4 Further influences of CLT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

4.5 Trivializations and misunderstandings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

In the first section of this chapter (4.1) the occurrence of CLT on the basis
of multiple societal and related pedagogical changes is briefly explained.
The development of CLT in Germany (Habermas, Piepho) (4.2) is com-
pleted by a description of the development of CLT in the English-speak-
ing countries (Hymes; Austin, Searle) (4.3). The widening from Discourse
Competence to Intercultural Discourse Competence as the overall aim of
FLT leads to the main features of CLT. They are to be seen in a paradigm
shift from structural, teacher-dominated approaches to learner-centered
perspectives. Further influences of CLT (4.4) focus on different aspects
of teaching and learning content exceeding cognitive strategies. Triviali-
zations and misunderstandings (4.5) such as individualized/autonomous
learning and the changing role of teachers as activators to teachers as fa-
cilitators or learning coaches is completed by a detailed description of the
challenges teachers have to correspond to in today’s communication-ori-
ented TEFL classrooms.
62 Communicative Competence and Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)

4 Communicative Competence and Communicative


Language Teaching (CLT)
4.1 The occurrence of CLT

Since the 1970s Communicative Language Teaching is the dominant ap-


proach of FLT not only in the German-speaking countries but in Europe
and all over the world. Several disparate societal developments, such as in-
ternational trade relations and globalization, contributed to changes in ed-
ucational policies. Migration in its multiple forms caused further shifts in
modern societies underscoring the importance of migrant languages and,
above all, the needs and interests of learners who grow up with German and
the mother tongue of their parents.
The widening of the curriculum in German schools in the 1950s and
1960s was also supported by pedagogical aims to offer equal opportunities
to all students, especially in heterogeneous classes composed of dissimilar
learners. The extension of teaching and learning at least one foreign lan-
guage to all students in whatever type of school made a change of paradigm
inevitable. There was a need for integrative communicative tasks. The multi-
ple and interrelated developments led to what is called the Communicative
Turn (kommunikative Wende).
Teaching and learning foreign languages could no longer be based on
structural approaches that allowed at best for prefabricated utterances or
memorized patterns with minimal reference to real-world communica-
tion. What is true for all foreign languages learned in instructional settings
is of particular importance for English because of its growing role as lin-
gua franca used for communication between people who speak different lan-
guages. New forms of individual and mass communication determined by
the upcoming information and communication technologies (e.g. CD-ROM,
E-Mail, Internet) further contributed to new inductive and discovery-orient-
ed approaches of TEFL.

4.2 The development of CLT in Germany

In Germany the Communicative Turn is inextricably linked to the name of


Hans-Eberhard Piepho and his perennial publication Kommunikative Kom-
petenz als übergeordnetes Lernziel im Englischunterricht (1974). Piepho’s ap-
Communicative Competence and Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) 63

proach is based on the work of Jürgen Habermas, one of the most impor-
tant social philosophers of the 20th century. At the beginning of the 1970s,
Habermas published an influential article entitled Vorbereitende Bemerkun-
gen zu einer Theorie der kommunikativen Kompetenz (1971) which he elab-
orated and propagated years later in his two-volume opus Theorie des kom-
munikativen Handelns (1984; A theory of communicative action 1985).
Communicative action can be summarized as one of the main objectives of
a utopian society. With this vision Habermas propagates an ideal situation
where all society members are equal and open, i.e. they communicate with-
out representing their individual power interests. According to Habermas
the broad term of communicative action is composed of two interrelated do-
mains: communicative action in the sense of interactional practices and dis-
course, i.e. the metacognitive negotiation of meaning. This distinction has a
great impact on FLT. Communicative competence is more and more extend-
ed leading to Intercultural Discourse Competence (see chap. 12).
Piepho adapted, transformed and enlarged the claims of Habermas for
the TEFL classroom. Overall aspects of the CLT approach are three shifts:
First, language seen as an abstract system in former times is now consid-
ered as human action. Second, the focus on the language system is complet-
ed by the valorization of language use. Communication in the target lan-
guage gains at least equal importance. Third, instead of the exclusive focus
on teaching, the processes of learning and their evaluation become more
and more important. The new approach, beside other sociolinguistic aspects,
builds on pragmatics, speech-act theory and the notional-functional sylla-
bus (see 2.4).
In accordance with Habermas, Piepho presented a concept of commu-
nicative action and discourse competence for TEFL. The implementation of
his approach should enable students to participate as individuals with par-
ticular needs and interests in all forms of intercultural situations in the target
language. In 1978, the Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Englisch an Gesamtschu-
len (BAG) under the leadership of Christoph Edelhoff and in collaboration
with Christopher N. Candlin, professor at Macquarie University, Australia,
presented practice-oriented materials based on the concept of CLT.
64 Communicative Competence and Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)

Today, Communicative Competence comprises at least four competences:


• It is important to underscore linguistic competence to avoid the fre-
quent misunderstanding that CLT neglects correctness. The ability to
participate in target language communication means to be able to pro-
duce (mostly) correct (oral and written) texts with regards to lexicolo-
gy, grammar, semantics and phonology.
• Sociolinguistic competence implies to be able to establish social rela-
tionships and shape them adequately. Furthermore, it comprises the
faculty to choose the appropriate speech register and to recognize lan-
guage varieties in communication.
• Pragmatic competence refers to knowledge and skills which are nec-
essary for an adequate and functional discourse in order to reach the
own communicative goals and to understand those of others.
• The ability to plan, carry out and evaluate interaction and to possibly
remove communication obstacles, e.g. misunderstandings, is denomi-
nated strategic competence. (adapted from Canale & Swain 1980)

Even though these competences, to a certain amount, can be trained sepa-


rately, CLT aims at integrating them in tasks and activities apt to promote
intercultural discourse competence. The above mentioned changes of per-
spectives did not only radically transform procedures of teaching and learn-
ing, but caused major changes in the content of teaching and learning mate-
rials, such as textbooks, workbooks and grammars which revealed ineffective
for learner use (see part 2 of this book).

4.3 The development of CLT in the English-speaking countries

Contemporarily, similar changes as in Germany are observed in the Eng-


lish-speaking countries internationally interrelated, mainly between Ger-
man and English scholars. The most prominent representative that conceived
language no longer as an innate and mostly invariable system, but connect-
ed it to social action was Dell Hymes in the USA. He propagated his ap-
proach in contrast to the LAD and the Universal Grammar of Noam Chom-
sky (see 2.2). Hymes drew on the results of pragmalinguistics, especially
on speech act theory in the form of John L. Austin’s How to do things with
words (1962) and further elaborations by Searle (1969). Hymes focused on
the importance of performance (in opposition to an uncontrollable compe-
Communicative Competence and Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) 65

tence) and of sociocultural factors. Canale and Swain adapted Hymes’ model
for the language teaching classroom, more or less equalizing pragmatic com-
petence with discourse competence.

Discourse competence comprises the ability to produce – exceeding the


sentence level – correct, appropriate and understandable texts. The lan-
guage user has to take principles of coherence and of cohesion into ac-
count. Whereas coherence refers to aspects of text content and their in-
terdependence, cohesion underscores the necessity of paying attention to
formal aspects of the relationship ‘sentence to text’. With regards to the
multiple intercultural connections in a world of internationalization and
digitization the concept is widened to Intercultural discourse competence,
the overall objective of teaching and learning foreign languages. FLT con-
tributes to the improvement of intercultural communication: “The study
of discourse is the study of the creation of cultural worlds. […] When
people from distinct cultures come together, they will bring with them
separate styles of discourse and sociocultural assumptions with complex
grids of power relations” (Monaghan 2016, 53f.).

CLT is a broad approach to TEFL characterized by a wide spectrum of


teaching methods and learning strategies (see 2.4). Beside its focus on the
learner from different perspectives, CLT aims at establishing connections be-
tween the language taught in the classroom and its use outside the class-
room in real-life situations. One of the best known and still most recognized
lists of principles and features of CLT was conceived by David Nunan:

Five main features characterize Communicative Language Teaching


(CLT):
1. An emphasis on learning to communicate through interaction in the
target language.
2. The introduction of authentic texts into the learning situation.
3. The provision of opportunities for learners to focus not only on lan-
guage but also on the learning process itself.
4. An enhancement of the learner’s own personal experiences as impor-
tant contributing elements to classroom learning.
66 Communicative Competence and Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)

5. An attempt to link classroom language learning with activities outside


the classroom. (Nunan 1991, 279–295)
The focus, thus, is on interaction, authentic materials, learning process-
es, learners’ experiences, and links to language use outside the classroom.

4.4 Further influences of CLT

CLT means even more: Beside the above mentioned aspects a further focal
point is the use of appropriate teaching and learning materials (for textbooks
etc. see chap. 11). To reach the intended objectives of CLT it is important to
take all relevant facets of the individual students and the various forms of
classroom discourse into account. Therefore another crucial option of CLT is
on content proposed by teachers in accordance with the students.

Of equal importance for reaching the overall aims of CLT are emancipa-
tory, cognitive, affective and social aspects of content. Not only teaching
approaches and learning strategies are to be based on the needs and inter-
ests of the learners. The choice of teaching and learning materials is wide-
ly influenced by the personality of the individual students (and that of
their teacher).

TEFL Example
One of the first documented teaching and learning experiences based on
the CLT approach is the airport project of Michael Legutke. Even though it
dates back to 1983 it is still valuable.
The respective film documents this project of action-oriented teach-
ing and learning (handlungsorientierter Unterricht see 2.1) of 6th grade stu-
dents of a comprehensive school after learning English for one and a half
year. They explore the use of the target language outside their school in a
real-world context. At the airport of Frankfurt, they interview voyagers in
English, native speakers as well as those who use English as lingua franca. In
classroom activities (8 lessons of 45 minutes) before and after the visit to the
airport, they prepare and simulate the interviews in all necessary details and
gather and evaluate them after the visit. Moreover, these communication-ori-
ented activities in- and outside the classroom serve as a starting point for
evaluating their knowledge and skills in the target language (for further de-
Communicative Competence and Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) 67

tails see the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N1U2sqdU1M, last


accessed July 2017; Legutke 2006).

4.5 Trivializations and misunderstandings

There have been and there are still nowadays many types of trivializations
of CLT. Quite often communication-oriented utterances are nothing more
than an artificial appendix to a mainly structural approach. In the mid-1970s
the Council of Europe has provided a syllabus for learners based on notion-
al-functional concepts of language use. This document called Threshold Lev-
el indicates quite clearly what learners should be able to do with language
(van Ek 1975) (for further official documents such as the Common Europe-
an Framework of Reference, PISA, DESI and the various papers of the KMK
see chap. 6 and 7). Despite many useful guides and relevant examples pub-
lished in journals such as Der Fremdsprachliche Unterricht Englisch or Pra-
xis Fremdsprachenunterricht Englisch, even today an unmotivated alternation
between form-focused drill and meaning-focused communication occurs in
many TEFL classrooms.
Another pitfall detected by Ton van Hattum are TEFL settings where
teachers are not native-speakers of English, but share the mother tongue of
the students (as for example in Germany) (http://www.tonvanhattum.com.
br/comreth.html; last accessed July 2017). The author has observed that
teachers in these contexts often understand and accept formulations that are
not native-speaker conform. A main default is idiomacy. Teachers have to at-
tract the attention of their students especially to idiomatic mistakes. Further-
more, van Hattum opts for native-speaker like pronunciation, standards of
politeness and good simulations of real-life communication with regards to
the teaching personal. In general, research and scientific evaluations demon-
strate that students with the opportunity to participate in appropriate CLT
have better communication skills without any lack of lexical or grammatical
correctness (Savignon 22017, 137).
Beside the briefly mentioned trivializations, there are two major mis-
understandings inextricably entwined: the claim for individualized, auton-
omous learning and the change in teacher roles from teacher to coach. In
opposition to didactic teaching (Frontalunterricht) that dominated structural
approaches to FLT, the approach of CLT was soon related to learner-focused
forms of teaching. In the German-speaking countries individualized learning
68 Communicative Competence and Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)

(individualisiertes Lernen) is up to nowadays propagated as one of the best


ways in order to reach Intercultural Communicative Competence. More-
over, for many education practitioners there seems to be an inseparable con-
nection between CLT and individualized learning (see e.g. Schumann 2010,
2
2017).
First of all, we have to consider that all learning is individual. How stu-
dents deal with the same input depends on many factors, e.g. their previ-
ous general and linguistic knowledge as well as their motivation and volition
(Willenskraft). What they really learn, i.e. what they can recall and even ap-
ply after a longer period, depends on a myriad of details. Falko Peschel pre-
sents a model of open instruction (offener Unterricht) quite often equated
with so-called individualized forms of learning:
• The prestage: “opened instruction”: Student-centered forms such as in-
dependent learning at different stations (Stationenlernen) are included in
traditional procedures of classroom teaching. This pre-stage aims at a cer-
tain methodological variation, but it is the teacher who decides on con-
tent, methods and forms of learning.
• Stage 1: Opening of methods: Many teachers are convinced that learn-
ing is an individual process in the above sense and that the students have
to find their own ways of learning in order to solve a task or a problem.
Based on constructivist views (see 2.2), they present aspects of content or
define a problem, whereas it is up to the individual learners to choose for
themselves the most appropriate forms to reach the objective.
• Stage 2: Opening of methods and content: At that stage, teachers give
their students not only the opportunity to find the best learning proce-
dures, but encourage them to opt for the appropriate content in order to
reach the pre-established objectives. This further “liberalization” aims at
better corresponding to the needs and interests of the single student, but
may lead to the false impression that content is interchangeable.
• Stage 3: Social-integrative opening: The teacher does not present rules or
norms, but serves as role model and expects an adequate behavior of the
students. This stage is often considered as a form of grassroots democracy
(Basisdemokratie) where much learning-time is consumed with the nec-
essary consultations and adaptations (Peschel 2002).

This quotation from Peschel demonstrates that individualized learning in


open instruction is an inappropriate approach for FLT not only because the
teacher – even assisted by digital tools – models and furnishes the necessary
Communicative Competence and Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) 69

language input. In his study of 2009, Hattie compares individualized instruc-


tion to programmed learning which in fact was one of the consequences of
a misinterpreted individualization of foreign language learning in Germany
and many other countries. Individualized instruction means “an individual-
ized program for each student” (Hattie 2009, 198) which reached in Hattie’s
mega-analysis only an effect size of d = 0.23 (rank 100 of 138 factors). Fur-
thermore, individualization neglects helpful contacts between students and
may lead to an isolation of the single learner. The above rejection of individ-
ualized learning, however, has nothing to do with the requirement for the
individualization of teaching processes in order to best reach every individ-
ual student.
In adult education independent and self-directed language learning with-
out a teacher is termed autonomous learning. Foreign language teaching in
a school context cannot be autonomous, but it has to prepare students for
self-directed language learning through activities and arrangements that pro-
mote responsibility for oneself and social competence in order to further ex-
pand one’s linguistic and cultural limits.
The fact that CLT is a learner-centered approach does not mean at all
that the teacher is no longer in the role of an activator. In the German
school context the teacher is often seen as a facilitator or coach (Lernberater)
(for an opposite position see e.g. Felten & Stern 22012, 144ff.).

Beside the fact that the responsibility rests always with the teacher, his or
her tasks are considerably increased in classrooms practicing CLT. For-
eign language teachers have to plan and prepare the lessons with regards
to the needs and interests of their individual students. It is by no means
sufficient to reopen the text- or workbook at the pages dealt with in the
last lesson. Teachers’ knowledge of and their experiences with their par-
ticular learners enable them to choose desirable and reachable objectives.
With the participation of and in accordance with the students, content
and texts, learning strategies and techniques as well as arrangements such
as tandem learning or small-group work are conceived. Furthermore,
forms of feedback are established in order to obtain the best results for
every single student. It is up to the teacher to present, explain and mod-
el new or unknown content in a way that allows for the greatest participa-
tion of all students in Interactive Whole-Class Teaching (see 2.3). A very
70 Communicative Competence and Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)

demanding task of the teacher is to find appropriate activities for guided


and independent practice and ulterior forms of rehearsal tailored to the
students. The so-called ‘with-it-ness’, i.e. the unobtrusive omnipresence of
the teacher, improves learning (www.marzanocenter.com/ Link: with-it-
ness; last accessed July 2017).

Beside the fact that the challenges and requirements of teachers are nota-
bly increased with the advent and the further developments of CLT, no reli-
able scientific research results demonstrate that teachers are more successful
in the role of coaches. You may object that there are excellent students who
can do without a teacher. That is true. But they are more efficient, i.e. they
need much less time to reach the same goals, with the help of a sympathet-
ic teacher. Hattie found for the teacher as activator an average effect size of
d = 60, whereas the teacher as facilitator scores only an effect size of d = 17.
Similar and even clearer findings in favor of the teacher as teacher are to be
found in the publications of Wellenreuther (e.g. 82015, 378ff.)

CLT has been and is influenced by many different societal developments


which had a notable impact on pedagogical norms, education policies and
the practice of TEFL. Beyond lexical and grammatical correctness stu-
dents have to be aware of the fact that not only their mother tongue(s),
but also foreign languages have to be appropriate for social contexts.
Thus, their use of English is to be linked to communication outside the
classroom, i.e. teachers prepare their learners for the observance of so-
ciolinguistic norms. As it is rather impossible of authentically represent-
ing real-communication situations in a classroom of non-native speak-
ers, the claim of native-speaker-like competence is inappropriate. To be a
competent user of English as a foreign language is not synonymous with
native-like. At best, teachers provide their students with a variety of lan-
guage experiences, a task that has become easier with the help of digital
media.
Communicative Competence and Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) 71

Conclusion
There is still a long way to implement real CLT in TEFL classrooms. Per-
haps it will always remain a vision (see Legutke’s title of 2008a). In a ret-
rospective article published in 2001 Piepho himself states that basic prin-
ciples of Communicative Competence have had only a low impact on
school life in general and TEFL in particular. He has to admit that CLT
is still and perhaps will remain a utopian objective offering nevertheless
valuable impulses for TEFL in the future. Anyway, communication in the
form of CLT is a principle of learning and language growth bringing to-
gether different competences based on content, activities and projects that
enable students to discover, reflect and verbalize what is really relevant,
worth discussion and controversy (Piepho 2001, 13).

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. Summarize the developments that led to the Communicative Turn.
2. What are the main features of CLT?
3. Legutke, Michael (2010). Kommunikative Kompetenz und Diskursfä-
higkeit. In: Hallet, Wolfgang & Königs, Frank, G. (Hrsg.). Handbuch
Fremdsprachendidaktik. Seelze-Velber: Klett Kallmeyer, 70–75. Read
the whole entry and summarize the section entitled: Entwicklungen
und Trivialisierungen (p. 73) in your own words in English.
4. Summarize and exemplify the following paragraph taken from Felten
& Stern 22012, 144f. in English:
Gute Lehrpersonen ziehen sich niemals aus dem Unterrichtsgesche-
hen heraus, sondern sind hochgradig steuerungsaktiv.
Lange Lehrermonologe bewirken Apathie bei Schülern, aber auch
schlecht organisierte oder ausgewertete Gruppenarbeitsphasen hinter-
lassen kaum Lernzuwachs. Gute Lehrpersonen können abwechslungs-
reiche Lernsequenzen organisieren, vielfältig veranschaulichen und
flexibel erklären, spannend Wissen präsentieren sowie angemessene
Hilfen geben. Gruppenarbeitsformen sind nur dann sinnvoll, wenn
dabei jeder Beteiligte dazulernt.

5. Why do Piepho and Legutke call CLT a vision?


72 Communicative Competence and Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)

Recommended Reading
Legutke, Michael (2008a). Kommunikative Kompetenz. Von der Übungstypologie
für kommunikativen Englischunterricht zur Szenariendidaktik. In: idem (Hrsg.).
Kommunikative Kompetenz als fremdsprachendidaktische Vision. Tübingen: Narr,
15–42.
Piepho, Hans-Eberhard (1974). Kommunikative Kompetenz als übergeordnetes Lern-
ziel im Englischunterricht. Dornburg-Frickhofen: Frankonius.
5 Implementing CLT: issues of methodology

5.1 Approach, strategy/method and technique . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

5.2 Implementing CLT in TEFL classrooms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77

This chapter deals with issues of methodology when implementing CLT.


After a clarification of the difference between approach, strategy/meth-
od and technique (5.1) the most influential strategies (and implied tech-
niques) of CLT are illustrated (5.2):
Pair and small-group work,
Reciprocal Teaching (RT),
Task-based Language Teaching (TBLT) /Task-supported Language Learn-
ing (TSLL),
Problem- and project-based learning,
Post-method theories as well as
Scaffolding, a comprehensive strategy of eminent importance.
74 Implementing CLT: issues of methodology

5 Implementing CLT: issues of methodology


5.1 Approach, strategy/method and technique

The overall aim of TEFL from elementary to secondary level and higher ed-
ucation is to find ways that lead to the best learning results for every indi-
vidual student (see 1.1 introductory question no. 2). What methods should
be applied? The allover term method or methodology is convenient when
summarizing classroom procedures. In an introduction to foreign language
teaching the above question needs to be specified. What does methodology
mean? Friederike Klippel describes a teaching method as a planned way of
doing something, a series of steps leading toward a conceived goal (Klippel
2
2017, 707). She enlarges her own definition by that of Diane Larsen-Free-
man, who sees methodology in a wider sociocultural and educational con-
text as ‘a coherent set of links between principles and certain techniques and
procedures’ (Larsen-Freeman 2000, XII).
During the past two centuries the term method has been used for gen-
eral approaches such as the above mentioned Grammar-Translation-Meth-
od or the Audiolingual and the Audiovisual Method. Teaching and learning
strategies, such as worked examples, i.e. task solutions elaborated and pre-
sented as models by the teacher or more knowledgeable peers, are also often
headed under the general denomination method. What is true for compre-
hensive approaches and medium-ranged strategies can equally be stated for
techniques, e.g. how to use an online dictionary. These three teaching and
learning procedures – approaches, strategies and techniques – have a quite
different range and extension. Their overall classification as methods does
not allow for a differentiated view when it comes to classroom practice. Fur-
thermore, the term method focuses exclusively on the teacher excluding the
perspectives and contributions of the learners. For these and other reasons
(see below) it is more appropriate to use the term method, if at all, only for
teaching and learning strategies. Since decades scholars make the following
distinction (Burnham 1992, 3–26):

Approach

Teaching and learning strategies/methods

Teaching and learning techniques
Implementing CLT: issues of methodology 75

TEFL Example
An English teacher has had several signs that her students of 8th grade are
too careless in exposing details of their private lives in the social media. Fol-
lowing the CLT approach the overall objective of her planned teaching unit
is to sensitize the students for the risks of tools like Facebook, Twitter, Insta-
gram etc. without provoking inadequate reactions or even a negative stance
toward digitization. In order to know the attitudes of her students and to
make them known by their classmates the teacher has prepared and distrib-
uted a short questionnaire with the main pros and cons of social media.
As teaching and learning strategy she has chosen small-group work so
that the students exchange their opinions in groups of four. Teaching and
learning strategies are based on action plans to give a direction to learning.
What differentiates a strategy from an approach is the usability of a strat-
egy in combination with different approaches. But strategies are not inter-
changeable. Particular student-centered approaches such as CLT profit more
from well prepared group-work than e.g. teacher-based approaches as didac-
tic teaching.
One of the above mentioned objectives of the teacher is to make known
the attitudes toward social media as expressed in the questionnaires among
all students in the class. A convenient technique to reach this aim is a gal-
lery walk. Each group of four prepares a poster that shows their pros and
cons and exhibits it in the classroom. The students walk around, read all the
posters and position themselves near the poster that is closest to their own
convictions. The teacher could have chosen another technique to spread the
results of the questionnaires after the group work, e.g. their oral presenta-
tion by every group. Techniques are more interchangeable than strategies, but
quite often there is one best technique in a particular learning context (for
further concretizations see TEFL Example in paragraph Scaffolding, pp. 92ff.).

Conclusion
It is not always easy to distinguish between an approach, strategies/meth-
ods and techniques. But this differentiation is necessary when foreign lan-
guage teachers aim at reaching the best results for their individual learn-
ers.

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. Read the following excerpt and explain the three relevant terms in
your own words:
76 Implementing CLT: issues of methodology

Burnham (1992) locates and offers to define each term in the AMT
model in the following way:
Approach – Lenses and dispositions in a recursive relation; reliant
upon  abstraction (i.e. metacommunication) – learning to learn (see
Bateson, 1972).
Method – Different practices which serve to organise an approach e.g.
use and appreciation of circularity (both in terms of questioning and
causality).
Technique – Different activities organising a method through practic-
es, tools, training and skills.
And, thus, we might conceptualize Burnham’s (1992) AMT model us-
ing a three-fold hierarchy.
(https://w4dey.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/approach-method-tech-
nique-an-introduction-to-milan-post-milan-and-social-construction-
ism/; last accessed July 2017).
2. What is meant by “Lenses and dispositions in a recursive relation”?
What do the “lenses” focus on? Whose dispositions should be taken
into consideration? What is meant by a “recursive relation?”
3. What does Burnham mean by “circularity”? Is it circularity in the
sense of independent growing circles or is it intended in form of a
spiral (Lernspirale)? Why? Why not?
4. A classical technique is mnemonics (Mnemotechniken). Explain the
following mnemonic device and remember other mnemonics you
know of or use by yourself.
r
ebe
ber
ber

r
obe
ry

em
em
tem
ch
ary

ust
rua

May

Oct
il

Nov
Mar

Dec
e
Apr

Sep
Aug
u

Jun
Feb

July
Jan

31 31
31 30 30 31 31 30 30 31
31 28

Explain why mnemonic devices are qualified as techniques (and not


as strategies).
Implementing CLT: issues of methodology 77

Recommended Reading
As introduction to teaching and learning methodology read the following con-
tribution by:
Klippel, Friederike (22017). Teaching Methods. In: Byram, Michael & Hu, Adelheid
(eds.) Routledge Encyclopedia of Language Teaching and Learning. New York:
Routledge, 707–712.

For a detailed overview read:


Burnham, J. (1992). Approach – method – technique: Making distinctions and
creating connections. In: Human Systems: Journal of Systematic Consulta-
tion and Management 3/1, 3–26. (digitized reading: http://readinglists.ucl.
ac.uk/items/D6A2A893-FAA0-4DE6-6CEA-070543113981.html; last accessed
July 2017) (for a free download go to: http://www.humansystemsjournal.eu/
library/volume-3-1992/issue-3-1, last accessed July 2017).

5.2 Implementing CLT in TEFL classrooms

The effectiveness of a learning scenario depends on the interdependence of


knowledge and skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing and mediation)
and linguistic devices (vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and orthogra-
phy) in addition to
• content worth serious communication and interaction,
• linguistic structures appropriate for the particular situation and
• forms of tasks and activities provoking and fostering communication.

As aforementioned many research-aware education practitioners argue


the case for choosing strategies and techniques that best fit the particular
learning context without recurring to a recommended methodology (see
Post-method at the end of this section). Nevertheless there are reliable, sci-
ence-based strategies/methods when it comes to promote and improve com-
munication skills in the sense of CLT. In the following some of the best doc-
umented strategies and techniques are briefly illustrated.
When thinking of CLT pair and small-group work are a major option.
These strategies are not automatically linked to CLT as they may serve oth-
er approaches. Furthermore, communication-oriented goals can also be
reached without recurring to tandem and small-group work. What is most
important in every teaching and learning context is the type of group work,
i.e. the characteristic features of effective learning with and from peers in
classrooms. Quite often the students do not dispose of the necessary skills to
78 Implementing CLT: issues of methodology

work without the guidance of the teacher. They do not know how to proceed
because goals, learning intentions and success criteria are not explained.
Above all, they do not know how they should collaborate or cooperate or
what to do if they struggle. Therefore effective work in pairs or small groups
up to four students has to be amply trained.

Effective small-group work, especially cooperative learning, is based on


clear, reasonable instructions with regards to
• The goals, learning intentions, and success criteria, as well as the con-
nections to prior subject content and world knowledge;
• The composition of the small groups: Should the learners work in tan-
dems or in small groups up to four students? Which supplementary
role, such as moderator or speaker, should single group members take?
About what and in which way should they communicate? May there be
cooperation beyond the own group with other groups?
• The aspects of content by which every member contributes to the com-
mon result;
• The form of presenting the results of group work and the evaluation of
the single contributions to the group results;
• The feedback given by students to the teacher as a form of accounta-
bility.
(De Florio 2016, 179; see also for the following)

This form of group work qualified as cooperative learning is backed up by


ample research. Based on a great amount of primary studies and meta-anal-
yses as well as on own empirical, mostly experimental research, Johnson and
Johnson, the main experts in their field, come to the conclusion that cooper-
ative learning is a highly effective form of small-group work under the con-
dition that the tasks are adequately conceived. They circumscribe the overall
aim of cooperative learning as follows: “Within cooperative situations, indi-
viduals seek outcomes that are beneficial to themselves and beneficial to all
other group members” (Johnson & Johnson 2013, 372). The counterpart is
described as competitive learning, a learning by which the students try to
attain better results for themselves at the expenses of other group members
(idem, 372–374). The Hattie study scores for cooperative versus competitive
learning an effect size of d = 0.54 (Hattie 2009, 212–214). Cooperative learn-
ing in pairs or small groups does not only lead to better achievement but to
an increase of self-esteem and self-regulation. Competitive learning is not
Implementing CLT: issues of methodology 79

completely excluded provided that it occurs in a cooperative context in or-


der to avoid monotony (Johnson & Johnson 2013, 374).
A particular cooperative learning strategy is Reciprocal Teaching (RT).
As it promotes reading comprehension, it is of particular interest for TEFL.
RT consists of a combination of four differing sub-strategies working in
groups of four students. It is for the teacher to choose a text or an excerpt
of text completed by a challenging task within the reach of the students. RT
starts with silent reading of the text by every individual student, followed by
four steps or sub-strategies.

1. Questioning
Three group members ask questions about the text. To answer the questions
is the task of the fourth student who is in the role of the teacher. When the
learners are sufficiently trained in RT the questioning displays a progression
from easy to more complex and demanding. The answers given by the teach-
er are evaluated by the remaining three group members. When necessary a
short group discussion marks the end of the first step.
2. Summarizing
Another group member summarizes the text. His or her summary is evalu-
ated by the remaining three group members in interactive communication.
3. Clarifying
The third group member is responsible for explaining difficult text passag-
es or for answering questions that need further explanation. As always, the
evaluation is effected by the whole group. (If no clarification is necessary, the
text was probably not challenging enough for the students.)
4. Prediciting
It is the task of the fourth group member to predict what will happen or
what is dealt with in the next paragraph or in the rest of the text. The re-
maining three students evaluate this prediction adding their own hypothe-
ses. After reading further parts or the rest of the text, the learners evaluate
their predictions.

It goes without saying that RT must be trained various times: At best, the
teacher him- or herself assumes the different roles – questioning, summariz-
ing, clarifying and predicting – before he or she passes them on to the stu-
80 Implementing CLT: issues of methodology

dents when they are more familiar with RT. In any case, RT has to be ac-
companied by continuous scaffolding and feedback from the teacher.
RT goes back to Palinscar and her research in the 1980s. Its effectiveness
is supported by a large body of research by Palincsar herself and many oth-
er educational scientists (e.g. Rosenshine & Meister 1994). Hattie indicates
for RT an effect size of d = 0.74 (rank 9) whereas Petty (22009, 154) based on
Marzano’s research, states a higher effect of 0.86.

In summary, in the context of RT, strategies are being taught in meaning-


ful contexts, that is, while reading extended texts, rather than in isolation
using artificial tasks (e.g. “underline the main idea”). In addition, students
are encouraged to use the strategies flexibly and opportunistically; in oth-
er words students learn to use the strategies as opportunities arise in which
they will assist comprehension, rather than routinely applying the strate-
gies. Finally the strategies are taught as a means for enhancing comprehen-
sion, rather than as an end in themselves. (Palincsar 2011, 370)

Task-based Language Teaching (TBLT; often denominated Task-based Lan-


guage Learning) (Aufgabenorientiertes Lernen) has its origins in CLT. TBLT
aims at introducing authentic language through direct connections to re-
al-life situations into the TEFL classroom. It is based on meaningful tasks
putting aside meaningless exercises and other forms of pseudo-communica-
tion. So what is a task in the sense of TBLT?

Rod Ellis, an educationalist and language researcher who propagates


TBLT for decades, defines a task in the following way: “A task is an activ-
ity in which a person engages in order to attain an objective, and which
necessitates the use of language” (Ellis 2003, 1ff.). According to him, a
task has four main characteristics:
1. A task involves a primary focus on (pragmatic) meaning.
2. A task has some kind of ‘gap’, e.g. an information gap, a reasoning gap
or an opinion gap.
3. The participants choose the linguistic resources needed to complete
the task.
4. A task has a clearly defined, non-linguistic outcome.
Implementing CLT: issues of methodology 81

Information gap: The participants disposing of different parts of informa-


tion attempt to arrive at the complete information by questioning and ex-
plaining.
Reasoning gap: The group members discuss contrary ways of action to
reach a certain purpose.
Opinion gap: In response to a given situation, the participants explain
their personal preference, e.g. when discussing a social issue (see TEFL
Example below).

TBLT was popularized already at the end of the 1980s (Prabhu 1987), but
gained momentum in the 1990s with the practice-oriented publications of
Jane Willis A Framework for Task-based Learning (1996) and later on of
Dave and Jane Willis Doing Task-based Teaching (2007).

According to Willis & Willis (2007) a task can comprise a pre-task activ-
ity (Vorbereitungsphase), a during-task activity/task cycle (Durchführung-
sphase) and a post-task activity (Nachbereitungsphase). Whereas the pre-
and post-task activities are facultative, the during-task activity (also called
task cycle) is obligatory so that TBLT may consist only of the task itself.
Before, after and during the three phases a language focus (focus on
form) can be inserted in order to equip the learners with the language
tools indispensable to complete the task successfully.
Quite often the pre-task activity is necessary to inform the learners
about the purpose and the outcome of the activity as well as about useful
learning strategies and techniques.
The post-task activity helps present and evaluate the results allowing
for a discussion about the strategies and techniques chosen by the differ-
ent group members.
A further distinction is between task-as-work plan which aims at
choosing the best ways to reach the objectives and task-as-process which
focuses on the occurring procedures and processes.

Andreas Müller-Hartmann and Marita Schocker-von Ditfurth, the main rep-


resentatives of TBLT in Germany, opted for it as an approach to FLT (2005,
2008). TBLT in this view replaces other approaches and activities sequenc-
ing all teaching and learning in tasks as described above. Even though TBLT
is an important strategy (see e.g. the CEFR, chap. 6), it is nearly impossi-
82 Implementing CLT: issues of methodology

ble to cover the whole curriculum by a sequence of tasks. Furthermore, it is


very difficult if not impossible to realize authentic use of foreign languages
in an institutional setting. On the other hand, no reliable research findings
demonstrate the effectiveness of TBLT as unique approach to FLT. Therefore
Müller-Hartmann and Schocker-von Ditfurth (2011) refocused the approach
now denominated Task-supported Language Learning (TSLL; literally: durch
Aufgaben unterstütztes Lernen). In any case, the requirements and challeng-
es of TBLT or TSBL are valuable for every communicative approach to FLT.
In recent times Ellis (22013, 17ff.) propagates an Option-based approach
to TBLT showing a great variety of options for every one of the three phas-
es. Unfortunately the only example he explains in some detail ‘Candidates
for a Job’ is destined to adult language learning where TBLT as unique ap-
proach might make sense. Michael Long, the other main exponent of TBLT,
in a comprehensive contribution to a scientific journal entitled In Defense of
Tasks and TBLT: Nonissues and Real Issues published in 2016 takes a more
reflective stance explaining the advantages and some pitfalls of TBLT in dif-
ferent contexts of FLT. Long’s starting point is the opposition of task and ex-
ercise, the latter focusing exclusively on linguistic items.
In general Long contrasts, even up to now, a very traditional form of
teacher- and structure-centered approach to more liberal consciousness-rais-
ing tasks (Ellis 1997) as if TEFL had not advanced in the meantime. He
seems convinced that lessons today are exclusively based on traditional text-
and workbooks. In his view, textbook writers follow only their intuition that
differs from authentic language use in order to provide teaching and learn-
ing materials for all students of a certain grade. Therefore, he is in oppo-
sition to Michael Swan’s dictum: “A well-planned traditional structural syl-
labus is therefore, very precisely, an expression of a needs analysis” (Swan
2005, 376ff.). According to Long, form-based teaching and meaning-based
instruction are mutually exclusive. Nevertheless, he admits that there is a
lack of research evidence of positive effects of classroom implementation of
TBLT. Open questions mostly refer to the transferability of task-based abil-
ities: What about learners’ performance on related tasks or even in real-life
communication? Beyond these restrictions, Long’s ten methodological prin-
ciples have to be emphasized with the necessary adaptations for every form
of TEFL:
1. Use task, not text, as the unit of analysis.
2. Promote learning by doing.
3. Elaborate input.
Implementing CLT: issues of methodology 83

4. Provide rich input.


5. Encourage inductive “chunk” learning.
6. Focus on form.
7. Provide negative feedback.
8. Respect learner syllabi and developmental processes.
9. Promote cooperative/collaborative learning.
10. Individualize instruction. (Long 2016, 8)

TEFL Example
For one year the 9th grade students of a Kassel high school, who learn Eng-
lish as first foreign language in the fifth year, have maintained a class part-
nership with the students of the corresponding grade of a high school in
Auckland, New Zealand. The New Zealand students learn German in a fac-
ultative work group since grade 7. Quite soon the students of both schools
have paired up and share information via e-mail, short text messages and
skype. From time to time there are also whole-class projects. Lately the stu-
dents have exchanged information and opinions about their eating habits in
form of short personal statements and restaurant menus in a project enti-
tled: Animals, we eat and animals we don’t eat. Before, as there are two stu-
dents of indigenous origin in the New Zealand group, the Germans asked
many questions about the Maori which the students in Auckland answered
integrating them into little narratives about Maori Culture – Past and present
conditions of indigenous people in New Zealand.
At the beginning of the new school year the German students decide to
invite their New Zealand counterparts to pay a four weeks-visit to Kassel
during the following spring in the hope that an invitation to visit New Zea-
land would follow. Thus, the task (in the sense of TBLT/TSBL) of the Ger-
man students is: Write an e-mail to our partners in Auckland inviting them
for a four week-stay in Germany.
In the pre-task activity the students consider the main points to deal
with: the stay in the respective families, the participation in pre-selected
lessons at the Kassel high school, especially in the subject matter Politik/
Wirtschaft (politics and economy; at best: social science) which is taught bi-
lingually as Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), planned ex-
cursions to Frankfurt, Hamburg and Berlin. Several students propose to
mention details of the spring season as seasons occur at different times in
New Zealand on the other side of the globe. Another aspect to consider, ac-
84 Implementing CLT: issues of methodology

cording to the students, is the long duration and the relatively high cost of
the flight.
In the during-task activity/task cycle the learners create their invitation.
They write the text and enrich it with meaningful photographs, illustrations
and perhaps video clips. A particular language focus, a so-called focus on
form, is not necessary as the students dispose of the basic language and are
trained in looking up vocabulary, grammar and especially idiomatic expres-
sions in online dictionaries and other digital tools.
The post-task activity consists of comparing their results, choosing the
most appropriate invitation or compiling it from the different group results.
It will be the reactions of the New Zealand counterparts to show them if
they were mostly successful with their suppositions and their formulations.
The final evaluation of this TBLT/TSLL activity, thus, follows when the an-
swers from Auckland have arrived.
This TBLT/TSLL activity makes clear that the mostly unaltered connec-
tion to a meaningful situation and real-life communication is difficult to es-
tablish in the classroom.
Problem- and project-based learning (PBL) is another example of coop-
erative learning similar to TBLT/TSBL in some aspects. In the Anglophone
scientific literature PBL is the abbreviation used for problem- as well as for
project-based learning. The following description of Thomas Markham un-
derscores the main characteristics:

PBL integrates knowing and doing. Students learn knowledge and ele-
ments of the core curriculum, but also apply what they know to solve au-
thentic problems and produce results that matter. PBL students take ad-
vantage of digital tools to produce high quality, collaborative products.
PBL refocuses education on the students, not the curriculum – a shift
mandated by the global world, which rewards intangible assets such as
drive, passion, creativity, empathy, and resiliency. These cannot be taught
out of a textbook, but must be activated through experience. (Markham
2011, 38)

From the quote we can deduct the close relationship between problem- and
project-based learning which justifies to summarize the two strategies un-
der the abbreviation PBL. Depending on the particular learning context and
the demands of the curriculum, sometimes this form of cooperative learn-
ing in pairs or small groups focuses more on a problem to solve whereas
Implementing CLT: issues of methodology 85

a longer project – often in collaboration with other subject-matters and/or


other classes – may lead to a concrete product. In contrast to cooperation
where the learners engage in the same processes, the term collaboration is
used when every student in the project contributes independently in agree-
ment with the other participants.
In either form – or problem- or project-based –, PBL is more effective
when it aims at deeper learning placing more emphasis on meaning and un-
derstanding than on reproduction or surface level learning. PLB dates back
to the action-oriented learning approach of John Dewey which was further
promoted by the constructivist views of Jean Piaget. Many premises and
claims already mentioned in this chapter are valid for PBL, but there are
some differences to be taken into account (De Florio 2016, 192f.):
• Project-based learning – with reference to Dewey – means learning by
doing, possibly with all senses. A project in which students cooperate is
based on learning processes and outcomes that differ from traditional
classroom instruction.
• Depending on the subject, the product, and the targeted outcome of a
student project, collaborative learning can also be indispensable.
• Even though the emphasis should be on the students’ learning processes,
the product that stands at the end of the project is at least of equal impor-
tance. If only cooperation leads to the desired product, it is beyond rea-
sonable doubt that social learning is not neglected.
• Learners that engage in a project should have sufficient basic knowledge,
skills, and attitudes to rely on. Creativity is furthered best when creative
processes are based on exciting interrelated concepts in the brain’s net-
work.

In contrast to task-oriented language strategies PBL is more product-orient-


ed and helps to correspond to the demands of the respective curriculum.
What instead qualifies TBLT/TSBL is its focus on language and communi-
cation related processes of teaching and learning. The “non-linguistic out-
come” (Ellis 2003) is usually based on the use of the foreign language for
communication purposes outside the classroom (and not on the reproduc-
tion of vocabulary or grammar structures).
Since the meta-analysis of Gijibels et al. (2005), the newest one integrat-
ed into the Hattie study (2009, 210f.), PBL is supported by further research
findings. A group of educational scientists at Purdue University School of
86 Implementing CLT: issues of methodology

Education in Indiana, USA carried out a project with the aim of analyzing,
synthesizing, and developing PBL research of the past four decades.
The contributions to a special issue of the Interdisciplinary Journal of
Problem-based Learning show clearly that PBL is successful when applied to
deepen knowledge and skills already acquired (Ravitz 2009).
Project and problem-based learning, summarized under the term PBL,
are important forms of cooperative learning. Even though PBL may require
forms of collaborative learning and give priority to the product, group cohe-
sion and reciprocal support are of utmost importance.
Post-method theories which proclaim the end of methods in FLT ap-
peared already in the 1980s based on the statement of Hans H. Stern (1983,
477) that “several developments indicate a shift in language pedagogy away
from the single method concept as the main approach to language teach-
ing”. Today, most teachers of foreign languages follow communicative ap-
proaches on the whole, but when it comes to strategies or methods they ad-
mit to apply a series of teaching and learning procedures in a selective way,
i.e. based on their insights and intuition drawing on several of the above de-
scribed proceedings. The fact that education practitioners, according to the
necessities of their particular contexts, do no longer apply one single method
or strategy in a strict way but are indebted to so-called macro-strategies is
convenient and useful. On the whole, methods are never ‘disinterested’, but
serve dominant societal power structures (Pennycock 1989). According to B.
Kumaravadivelu, post-method-theories mostly result from “the dissatisfac-
tion with the conventional concept of method” (1994, 43).
In the view of educational scientists as well as teachers, the multiple fac-
tors that determine TEFL classrooms make a one-method approach most-
ly impossible. In the view of Jack C. Richards “studies of the effectiveness of
specific methods have had a hard time demonstrating that the method it-
self, rather than other factors, such as teacher’s enthusiasm, or the novelty
of the new method, was the crucial variable” (1990, 36). Teachers who opt
for post-method practices have to be aware of the fact that methods are not
dead. They survive in one way or another in coursebooks.
Textbook writers and publishers in any case adhere to a selection of
methods/strategies and techniques. Even if they do not describe explicitly
their methodology, the theories of a coursebook are to be deduced from the
content pages. Teachers have to be cautious with the communicative use that
most textbooks apparently proclaim. Under the surface they often follow a
structure-based approach and a grammar ‘canon’, in Germany in most cases
Implementing CLT: issues of methodology 87

a compilation of the curricula of the different regions (Bundesländer). Ap-


parently declaring to be designed to develop real-life skills and self-expres-
sion, textbook writers quite often follow older approaches. Teachers have to
be aware of the fact that using a textbook means following methodological
approaches even without accounting for it to themselves.

Scott Thornbury comes to the following conclusions:


Teachers who claim not to be following a method, but who are using a
coursebook, are as much method-bound as the Direct Method practition-
ers of Berlitz’day, or the Audiolingualists of Lado’s. Of course, teachers will
argue that they use coursebooks selectively, in accordance with their own
principles as well as the needs of the learners. Fair enough, but how selec-
tive a teacher is, he or she is still tied to a theory of language, embodied
in the way that the course selects and describes language, and to a theory
of learning, as manifested in the way the course prioritises certain types of
activity over others. (Thornbury 2009, 4)

Positive results, instead, derive from the application of post-method practic-


es under the following conditions:

Recent explorations in L2 pedagogy signal a shift from the convention-


al concept of method toward a “postmethod condition” that can poten-
tially refigure the relationship between theorizers and teachers by em-
powering teachers with knowledge, skill, and autonomy. So empowered,
teachers could devise for themselves a systematic, coherent, and relevant
alternative to method, one informed by principled pragmatism. The post-
method condition can also reshape the character and content of L2 teach-
ing, teacher education, and classroom research. In practical terms, it mo-
tivates a search for an open-ended, coherent framework based on current
theoretical, empirical, and pedagogical insights that will enable teachers
to theorize from practice and practice what they theorize. (Kumaravadi-
velu 1994, 27)

Scaffolding
Scaffolding is part of constructivist learning theories. The metaphor stands
for a learning strategy used in very different contexts. When a mother or
a father explains something to a child, for example where the rain comes
from, he or she does not give a complex explanation. The parent chooses
88 Implementing CLT: issues of methodology

elements of content as well as words and expressions the child will under-
stand. Having an idea of the child’s knowledge and skills at a certain age,
it is not too difficult to ‘scaffold’ his or her understanding. But Scaffolding
is more widely used, e.g. in one-to-one contacts in domains such as busi-
ness and sports. A coach does not only know the rules of a sport’s game and
the aspirations of his tutee, but from direct personal experience he has got
an idea of what matters most when practicing this particular form of sports.
Furthermore, he has followed his tutee for a longer period and knows about
his strengths and weaknesses. In most cases the coach is able to motivate,
activate and train his partner. This example shows that Scaffolding is a dia-
logical and reciprocal process.
In a school context Scaffolding is an overall strategy applied in all sub-
ject matters to improve teaching and learning. It is particularly useful in lan-
guage related subjects such as TEFL. What are particular characteristics of
Scaffolding that distinguish it from other teaching in learning strategies, e.g.
pair and small-group work, Reciprocal Teaching (RT), Task-based Language
Teaching (TBLT) or Task-supported Language Learning described above?
What is the difference between problem- and project-based learning and
Scaffolding that makes it special?
Scaffolding Theory was developed in the 1950s by the U.S. American
cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner. The term was used by Bruner and his
team in their article The role of tutoring in problem-solving (Wood, Brun-
er & Ross 1976) “to describe the process in which a child or novice could
be assisted to achieve a task that they may not be able to achieve if unassist-
ed, until they are able to perform the task on their own” (Lajoie 2005). Thus,
the metaphor Scaffolding stands for a learning scaffold (Lerngerüst) that the
teacher ‘erects’ in order to help individual learners to accomplish a task that
would be beyond their reach without the assistance of the teacher or a more
knowledgeable peer. When the student has learned to achieve the goal on
his own, the scaffold is gradually removed.
Scaffolding is very close to Lew Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory
which laid the foundations of constructivism. Even though the Russian phi-
losopher and educationalist developed his ideas already in the beginning of
the 20th century, they were diffused in the Western world only at the end
of the 1970s. Until Vygotsky’s research findings learning was mostly seen as
a gradual development of innate abilities influenced by maturation. In the
school context ‘instructionist’ models were based on the conviction that
Implementing CLT: issues of methodology 89

knowledge could be transmitted one-to-one from teachers to students. Vy-


gotsky, on the contrary, opted for an active role of the learner.

Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory goes much further. In the begin-


ning, learning occurs in social interaction until the students have inter-
nalized the respective knowledge, skills and attitudes. These learning pro-
cesses are supported by an adult or a peer, a More Knowledgeable Other
(MKO). Today, the MKO can also be a computer or a digital tool. Most
important is the third element of Vygotsky’s theory denominated Zone
of Proximal Development (ZPD) (Zone der Proximalen Entwicklung). The
ZPD is ‘‘the distance between the actual developmental level as deter-
mined by independent problem solving and the level of potential develop-
ment as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in
collaboration with more capable peers’’ (Vygotsky 1978, 86).

It is a challenge for teachers to plan, implement, and evaluate – in accord-


ance with the curriculum – activities that are developmentally appropri-
ate for their learners. That does not mean to simplify the task, but to make
achievement possible “through the graduated intervention of the teacher”
(Greenfield 1984, 119). This intervention, i.e. the scaffold, has to accommo-
date the needs of individual students.

Six general elements of ‘scaffolded’ instruction have been identified by Zhao


and Orey (1999):
1. Sharing a specific goal: The teacher is responsible to establish the goal in
accordance with the students. The goal does not only correspond to the
needs and the interests of the learners but finds a balance between mo-
tivation and frustration. The goal is also fixed in order to reduce ineffec-
tive problem-solving strategies and techniques the students (would) use
without the support of the MKO.
2. Whole task approach: Scaffolding focuses on the overall goal to be
achieved during the whole learning process. Effective Scaffolding refers
to the entire task and not to a set of sub-skills.
3. Immediate availability of help: In order to lead to positive self-esteem
and to make the efforts of the individual student more productive, the
‘with-it-ness’ of the teacher (see 4.5) is important. It is of utmost import-
ance in cases where the learners struggle to control frustration.
90 Implementing CLT: issues of methodology

4. Intention-assisting: Scaffolding has to start at the learner’s present uncer-


tainties or difficulties. The teacher or a more knowledgeable peer provi-
des immediate help with the current task at hand recognizing that there
are many different ways to accomplish a certain task. The MKO’s sup-
port ‘fades’ gradually so that the learner proceeds always with the least
amount of help as possible.
5. Optimal level of help: As indicated in no. 4 the scaffold has to be just
robust enough to help the learner overcome his or her current difficul-
ties. The students are always invited to contribute and participate in the
learning process as much as possible.
6. Conveying an expert model: This element is related to the successful fac-
tor of providing worked examples (see 5.1). The expert model can be an
explicit example of the solution of the task or the modelling how to pro-
ceed in detail in order to achieve the task successfully. In many cases,
the teacher, beside modelling, needs to offer explanations.

What sounds convincing, is not easy to implement in TEFL classrooms


(as in other subject matters). Even if Vygotsky refers to the classroom con-
text, it is evident that a one-to-one relationship facilitates Scaffolding. How
could teachers find out the strengths and weaknesses of every single student?
Aren’t they mostly restricted to ‘intelligent guessing’? How can they manage
to make time-consuming needs analyses? These questions refer to the first
three at the beginning of chapter 1:
1. How can we, my students and myself, reach the general goals and speci-
fic objectives of the curriculum?
2. In what ways should I teach in order to yield the best results for every
individual learner?
3. How can I motivate my students to persist in their learning efforts?

Can research findings help us to answer these questions? Are there studies
into FLT available where we can deduce suggestions for TEFL from? At least
two publications justify a closer look.
Pauline Gibbons (22015) presented her research results in a book entitled
Scaffolding language, scaffolding learning: teaching English language learners
in the mainstream classroom. The publication attracted great attention be-
cause in many English-speaking countries such as the USA and Australia,
where Gibbons comes from, students that learn English as a second language
are not prepared in segregated courses but integrated in the content class-
Implementing CLT: issues of methodology 91

rooms. As they are surrounded by English-speaking children and adults out-


side the school, Anglo-American and Australian educationalists and teachers
are convinced that with ample Scaffolding these students will best achieve
“learning language, learning through language and learning about language”
(idem, 206ff.). Gibbons proposes the development of an integrated curricu-
lum that at best gives us some hints for CLIL (see chap. 7), e.g. Chapter 4:
From Speaking to Writing in the Content Classroom (idem, 79ff.).
Learner-learner interactions, too, are occasions in which ample scaffold-
ing can take place. In order to enable students to support each other in their
respective Zone of Proximal Development, they have to be trained in peer
scaffolding techniques. But up to nowadays there is a lack of respective em-
pirical research, especially when English should be used as medium of com-
munication and learning (see chap. 14: peer feedback).
Existing research findings show once more the challenges for teach-
ers when implementing scaffolding procedures in TEFL classrooms. Suffi-
cient support from the teacher is essential when concepts and skills are be-
ing first introduced to the learners. The scaffolds which are only a temporary
framework put up for support are gradually removed as the students develop
self-directed learning strategies.
Being well aware of the difficulties of implementing Scaffolding in ed-
ucational settings, scholars propose a differentiation between two levels of
Scaffolding: a soft and a hard version. An example for Soft Scaffolding – Leo
van Lier (1996) calls it Contingent Scaffolding – refers to the wider range of
teachers’ behavior in the classroom: When learners are engaged in seatwork
or small groups the teacher circulates and converses with different students
according to their needs. Whereas it is impossible to anticipate the neces-
sary amount of Soft Scaffolding needed by different students, Hard Scaffold-
ing can be planned in advance. It refers to the type and amount of assistance
given to the students when they engage in a difficult task. The overall aim of
Hard Scaffolding is to lead the learners to higher levels of (critical) thinking.
It is the responsibility of the teacher to identify the parts of content and/or
the aspects of skills and attitudes that need Scaffolding.
Scaffolding is often related to the use of digital media. Many research-
ers and education practitioners underscore the interdependence between re-
liable methods and digital media, when it comes to Scaffolding. A particu-
lar field where various types of support are very useful is learning software.
Already in the 1990s three scholars presented an influential paper at a con-
vention of the Association for Educational Communications and Technolo-
92 Implementing CLT: issues of methodology

gy opting for an integration of Scaffolding into hypermedia and multimedia


software (Kao, Lehman & Cennamo 1996). They stated that Soft Scaffolding
is situation-specific and dynamic whereas Hard Scaffolding is static and spe-
cific as it is planned in advance. With this distinction in mind, they created
a piece of software denominated Decision Point and tested it with a group of
students.
The software was mainly based on three types of Hard Scaffolding: con-
ceptual scaffolds, strategic scaffolds, and procedural scaffolds. Conceptual
Scaffolding helps the software users to organize their ideas and relate them
to information they already dispose of. Strategic Scaffolding leads students to
ask further specific questions in order to find their way through tasks with-
out taking too many detours. Procedural Scaffolding refers to clarifying spe-
cific procedures, i.e. useful techniques such as how to summarize and pres-
ent the results of the task in question.
This type of software contributes a great deal to make learners more in-
dependent, especially adult learners. Three educationalists from the Uni-
versity of Georgia tell teachers in classroom settings what they might do to
reach similar effects as those produced in adult learning. (For further learn-
ing software with particular reference to TEFL see chap. 11).
If software with built-in scaffolds is not available, then the instructor
could provide a similar environment by having an open classroom in
which the students are provided with the expectations and a timeline at
the onset. They may then choose at attend face-to-face classes, work inde-
pendently, or work in groups. The more knowledgeable students, as well
as the instructor, could then provide scaffolding in and out of the class-
room. The hard scaffolds could be provided with textbooks and references
and links on the class website. The instructor would still provide feedback
on assignments and class work, be available for assistance, and scaffold
specific individuals or groups at their point of need. (Lipscomb, Swanson
and West 2004, 10f.)

TEFL Example
The following excerpt of the teaching unit Measuring your Media (Kle-
witz 2017, 79ff.) show that TBLT/TSBL, PBL and working in pairs or small
groups are inextricably entwined. The overall aim of this unit destined to
students in the second/third year of learning English is to make them re-
flect about their use of (digital) media (see TEFL Example 5.1). The particu-
lar scaffolding refers to the creation of surveys and graphs. The first of three
worksheets is entitled:
Implementing CLT: issues of methodology 93

Worksheet 1: Electronic devices – curse or blessing?


Task 1: Warm up: Brainstorm with other students what kind of electronic
devices you are using and what you would do if you had to quit for one day/
one week. Then, check in groups of four, whether you have any of the fol-
lowing and when you got it first:
(Chart: list of devices – yes or no – first acquired)

Task 2: Estimate the amount of time you spend daily on each activity shown
in the chart below. Label each of your answers in minutes or hours. In the
second column indicate which activity is typically part of any multitasking
you do – that means you tend to do it while doing other activities at the
same time.
(Chart: list of activities – hours/minutes – multitasking)

Task 3: Read the following study report in class, and then focus on the fol-
lowing activities.

Describe why the authors were shocked.


Explain possible negative results of heavy media use.
Discuss how the study’s results compare with your own media consumption
as shown in task 1).

“If your kids are awake, they’re probably online” – according to the Kaiser
Family Foundation average young Americans spend every waking min-
ute – except for the time at school – using a smart phone, computer, tele-
vision or other electronic device. The study’s findings from 2010 shocked
the authors and confirmed the fears of many parents whose children are
constantly hooked on by media devices. They found, moreover, that heavy
media use can have negative consequences such as behaviour problems,
loss of concentration and lower grades in school.

Finally: Design a word cloud with media key words and mark positive
(blue) and negative (red) aspects.
94 Implementing CLT: issues of methodology

Task 4: Create a survey about electronic devices in your class/school/club/


family. Work out a questionnaire in groups, conduct the survey and enter re-
sults in a chart. The following scaffolding will give you some ideas of which
questions to ask:

Scaffolding
type of smart phone; favourite video games; play stations; TV programs
and viewing time; social networking; facebook and twitter; smart phones
allowed at school; making, losing friends; getting hooked

When evaluating your questionnaire, you need to consider, how valid the re-
sults are, how representative they can be if interviewees are not classified,
what problems might arise by collecting the information and which tenden-
cies can be shown by your findings.

Finally: Compare your personal media use with that of your peers.
(Klewitz, Scaffolding im Fremdsprachenunterricht, S. 82f.: © 2017 Narr
Francke Attempto Verlag GmbH & Co. KG.)

Beside the box entitled Scaffolding every task contains particular aids that
show what students know and can do by themselves and where they need
specific help regarding language and content (see Review, Reflect, Practice no.
14 to 18).

Conclusion
Whatever teaching and learning strategies and techniques teachers may
apply when implementing CLT, they have to consider the ten Effective
Teaching Principles highlighted in the research synthesis of E. S. Ellis, I.
Worthington and N. J. Larkin (n.d.):
Principle 1: Students learn more when they are engaged actively during in
instructional task.
Principle 2: High and moderate success rates are correlated positively with
student learning outcomes, and low success rates are correlated negatively
with student learning outcomes.
Principle 3: Increased opportunity to learn content is correlated positively
with increased student achievement. Therefore, the more content covered,
the greater potential for student learning.
Implementing CLT: issues of methodology 95

Principle 4: Students achieve more in classes in which they spend much of


their time being directly taught or supervised by their teacher.
Principle 5: Students can become independent, self-regulated learners
through instruction that is deliberately and carefully scaffolded.
Principle 6: The critical forms of knowledge associated with strategic
learning are (a) declarative knowledge, (b) procedural knowledge, and (c)
conditional knowledge. Each of these must be addressed if students are to
become independent, self-regulated learners.
Principle 7: Learning is increased when teaching is presented in a man-
ner that assists students in organizing, storing, and retrieving knowledge.
Principle 8: Students can become more independent, self-regulated
through strategic instruction.
Principle 9: Students can become independent, self-regulated learners
through instruction that is explicit.
Principle 10: By teaching sameness both within and across subjects, teach-
ers promote the ability of students at access potentially relevant knowl-
edge in novel-problem-solving situations.

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. What is the difference between collaborative and cooperative small-
group work?
2. What are the four main steps of Reciprocal Teaching?
3. Why is it difficult to implement RT, especially with younger learners?
4. How could RT be trained?
5. What does TBLT/TBST stand for?
6. Which are the most important characteristics of TBLT?
7. Which are its three main parts?
8. What is meant by language focus/focus on form in the context of
TBLT?
9. What are the limits of TBLT?
10. Reread the TEFL Example (e-mail to invite New Zealand students for
a four weeks-stay in Germany). What have the students to think of
and what points should they incorporate in their invitation?
11. What does PBL mean? What is the difference between problem-based
and project-based learning?
12. What is often circumscribed with “learning by doing” dating back to
John Dewey?
13. Give some reasons for the shift from traditional methods to post-me-
thod theories.
96 Implementing CLT: issues of methodology

14. What is meant by the metaphor Scaffolding in the context of teaching


and learning?
15. What do the abbreviations MKO und especially ZPD stand for?
16. What is the difference between Hard Scaffolding and Soft Scaffolding?
17. Is this differentiation useful in TEFL classroom settings? Why? Why
not?
18. Which are the three main types of Hard Scaffolding that should be
integrated into learning software but also implemented in classrooms
where such software is not available? Explain their most important
objectives.
19. Reread the ten Effective Teaching Principles in the last summing
up-rubric. Then try to remember at least three of them without look-
ing at the text. Write them down in your own words.

Recommended Reading
Small-group work:
To know more about different forms of learning in pair and small-groups work
consult the following article by:
Johnson, David W. and Johnson, Robert T. (2011). Cooperative, Competitive, and
Individualistic Learning Environments. In: Hattie, John and Anderman, Eric M.
(eds.) International Guide to Student Achievement. London: Routledge, 372–374.

Reciprocal Teaching (RT):


The inventor of RT summarizes and explains this strategy in a very informative,
but nevertheless concise way:
Palincsar, Anne Sullivan (2011). Reciprocal Teaching. In: Hattie, John and Ander-
man, Eric M. (eds.) International Guide to Student Achievement. London: Rout-
ledge, 369–371.

Problem- and project-based Learning (PBL):


Read the following article looking for an answer to the question in which con-
texts and under what conditions PBL is more effective than conventional class-
room teaching.
Strobel, Johannes & van Barnefeld, Angela (2009). When is PBL more effective? A
Meta-Synthesis Comparing PBL to Conventional Classrooms. In: Interdisciplinary
Journal of Problem-based Learning 3/1 (https://doi.org/10.7771/1541-5015.1046,
last accessed July 2017).
Implementing CLT: issues of methodology 97

Task-based Language Teaching (TBLT)/Task-supported Language Learn-


ing (TSLL):
For a better understanding of the shift from TBLT to TSBT read the introduc-
tory chapter of:
Müller-Hartmann, Andreas und Schocker-von Ditfurth, Marita (2011). Tasks in Re-
search and Language Education. In: idem (eds.). Teaching English: Task-Supported
Language Learning. Paderborn: Schöningh, 22–34.

Scaffolding:
The author explains the major shifts in Scaffolding theory and practice:
Lajoie, Susanne (2005). Extending the scaffolding metaphor. In: Instructional Scien-
ce 33, 541–557.

With regards to the impact of Scaffolding on teaching and learning in the digi-
tal age read the following informative article by:
Yelland, Nicola and Masters, Jennifer (2007). Rethinking scaffolding in the informa-
tion age. In: Computers and Education 48, 362–382.
6 Official recommendations: Council of Europe and
European Centre for Modern Languages

6.1 Relevant aims of the Council of Europe (CoE)


and the European Centre for Modern
Languages (ECML) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99

6.2 Threshold Level, Common European


Framework of Reference and Companion
Volume with New Descriptors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101

6.3 The European Language Portfolio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .109

This chapter presents the most important modern language projects of the
Council of Europe (CoE) and the associated European Centre for Mod-
ern Languages (ECML). In 6.1 their overall aims are briefly described:
the promotion of intercultural communicative competence on the basis
of comparable scales in the European context and beyond. In the follow-
ing (6.2), the Threshold Level and its further developments are presented
in order to show how to measure language competences and their cultural
implications. As the most influential publication of the CoE the Common
European Framework of Reference (CEFR) is discussed and complemented
by the Companion Volume with New Descriptors illustrating the different
proficiency levels from A1 to C2 in their latest form. The practical conse-
quences deriving from the CEFR lead to a presentation of the European
Language Portfolio (ELP) including suggestions how to proceed in TEFL
classrooms in order to motivate the learners to make proficient use of the
portfolio (6.3).
Official recommendations: Council of Europe and European Centre for Modern Languages 99

6 Official recommendations: Council of Europe and


European Centre for Modern Languages
6.1 Relevant aims of the Council of Europe (CoE) and the
European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML)

At the European level issues of (foreign) language learning and use are an
important domain of the Council of Europe (Europarat) which actually
counts 47 member states. The Council of Europe, founded already in 1949,
should not be confused with two other organizations of the European Union
even though the denominations are confusing: The European Council (Eu-
ropäischer Rat) is the organization of the heads of government of the 28/27
nations united in the European Union. The Council of the European Union
(Rat der Europäischen Union) comprises the ministers of the 28/27 member
states of the European Union. The Council of Europe (CoE) is independent
from the European Union.
The Language Policy Division of the CoE has its headquarters in Stras-
bourg. The division focuses on the development of language policies and
coordinates European language policy promoting dialogue among deci-
sion makers. The Language Policy Division closely cooperates with anoth-
er organization of the CoE, i.e. the European Centre for Modern Languages
(ECML) (Europäisches Fremdsprachenzentrum) based in Graz. The ECML is
responsible for the implementation of language policy.
The most important projects of the Language Policy Division are the
Threshold Level and above all the Common European Framework of Refer-
ence for Languages (CEFR, 2001) (Gemeinsamer Europäischer Referenzrah-
men, GeR) with its further developments. The worldwide discussion and the
implementation in at least most European countries have evidenced during
the years that the CEFR needs revision and complementation.
The Manual Relating Language Examinations to the CEFR published by
the Language Policy Division in 2009 did not bring about the necessary clar-
ifications: Probably involuntarily the Manual underscored the links between
the CoE and language test providers such as DIALANG (diagnostic language
assessment system) and ALTE (Association of Language Testers in Europe),
the latter using Can-do descriptions as the CEFR. These interweavements
can already be seen in the appendices of the CEFR itself. Furthermore, on
the Manuals website the CoE publishes the following reminder applicable
somehow for the whole CEFR (see 6.2):
100 Official recommendations: Council of Europe and European Centre for Modern Languages

It is not the role of the Council of Europe to verify and validate the qual-
ity of the link between language examinations and the CEFR’s proficiency
levels: rather than vis-à-vis the Council of Europe, it is towards one’s own
learners and one’s European partners that one has the responsibility for
making coherent, realistic use of the CEFR.
(https://www.coe.int/en/web/common-european-framework-reference-
languages/relating-examinations-to-the-cefr; last accessed Nov. 2017)

At the end of 2017 the CoE published what is often denominated a new ver-
sion of the CEFR: entitled Companion Volume with New Descriptors. New
Descriptors means in most cases additional descriptors, and these on a large
scale. The great number of additions and specifications proposed by the ex-
perts of the Companion Volume follows with few exceptions the aims, the
approach and the communication categories of the CEFR. Some details – in
comparison to the descriptors of the CEFR of 2001 – are described and dis-
cussed below (6.2).
On the basis of the CEFR the ECML has elaborated and widely im-
plemented the European Language Portfolio (Europäisches Portfolio der
Sprachen, EPS) which exists at least in all important European languages.

The overall aim of the Language Policy Division and the ECML is to pro-
mote linguistic diversity as a basis of European culture and thus to foster
the multilingual and multicultural identity of individuals in Europe and
all over the world. A distinction is made between multilingualism and
plurilingualism (see e.g. Sheils 2001; Companion Volume 2017, passim).
Multilingualism refers to countries with more than one official language
as e.g. Belgium or Switzerland. Plurilingualism is used when individuals
speak more than one language, e.g. migrants or foreign language learn-
ers with a certain degree of communicative ability in several languages. In
everyday language the terms multilingualism and multiculturalism com-
prise both approaches. In contexts of FLT, however, it is useful to distin-
guish between multilingualism and plurilingualism as well as between
multiculturalism and pluriculturalism.
Official recommendations: Council of Europe and European Centre for Modern Languages 101

6.2 Threshold Level, Common European Framework of


Reference and the Companion Volume with New
Descriptors

Already in 1975, at the time of the decisive shift to Communicative Lan-


guage Teaching (CLT), the Language Policy Division of the CoE propagat-
ed the so-called Threshold Level that indicates explicit learning objectives for
communication in specific languages (van Ek 1975). The Threshold Level was
first published in English and shortly afterwards in French (Niveau Seuil) as
are most documents of the Language Policy Division. It explains and exem-
plifies “what users of a language are most likely to wish or need to be able
to do in the communicative situations in which they take part, and conse-
quently what they have to know and the skills they have to develop in order
to be able to communicate effectively in those situations” (van Ek & Trim
2001, 1). Joseph Sheils, the former head of the Language Policy Division fur-
ther specifies:
The “Threshold Level” is the central element that aims to identify the min-
imal linguistic means that are necessary for a learner to deal independent-
ly with the more predictable transactional and interactional situations of
daily life as a visitor or temporary resident. A more elementary objective
known as “Waystage” has been developed to deal with the most urgent
survival requirements. More recently “Vantage Level” has been produced
as an objective for learners who have reached “Threshold Level” in their
chosen language and wish to go further. This may mean not so much do-
ing completely new things as needing to do them in a more adequate way,
for example, with a greater range of vocabulary, more fluency and more
accuracy to deal with the complexities of daily life. (Sheils 2001)

Today, versions of the Threshold Level exist in many European Languages


(see Reference Level Descriptions, RLD). The three levels, Waystage,
Threshold Level, and Vantage Level are incorporated in the Common Euro-
pean Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment
published by the Council of Europe in 2001 (Gemeinsamer Europäischer
Referenzrahmen für Sprachen: lernen, lehren, beurteilen 2001).
102 Official recommendations: Council of Europe and European Centre for Modern Languages

Despite criticism the CEFR (in combination with the Companion Manu-
al with New Descriptors) is a useful instrument for assessment of foreign
language learning at different levels in different domains which describes
in a comprehensive way what learners have to learn to do in order to use
a language for communication and what knowledge and skills they have
to develop so as to be able to act effectively. The description also covers
the cultural context in which language is set. The Framework also defines
levels of proficiency that allow learners’ progress to be measured at each
stage of learning and on a lifelong basis. (CEFR 2001, 1)

The Framework has become very influential – it has been translated in 40


languages – so that its reach is sometimes overrated. As in the above Re-
minder the CoE has underscored since the publication of the CEFR that it is
a descriptive instrument and does not provide policy guidelines (Sheils 2001;
see also Notes for the user at the beginning of the CEFR). As former head of
the Language Division Sheils sees it as an instrument to encourage reflec-
tion about the main aspects of language learning, teaching and assessment.
“It provides a common basis and language for the elaboration of curricula,
syllabuses, textbooks, examinations and teacher training programmes across
Europe […] so that all partners involved can reflect on and co-ordinate their
efforts in the interest of the learners” (ibid.) The CEFR as well as the Com-
panion Manual provide criteria for the evaluation of learner proficiency in
different languages. It is probably this possibility of equating examinations
and qualifications in the European context and beyond that contributed to
the impact of the CEFR in most foreign language classrooms.
As the CEFR is based on empirical research and extended consultation
among experts (see e.g. DIALANG and ALTE), the document makes it pos-
sible
• to establish learning and teaching objectives
• to review curricula
• to design teaching materials and
• to provide a basis for recognizing language qualifications thus facilitating
educational and occupational mobility
(see also for the following: http:/www.coe.int/en/web/common-european-
framework-reference-languages; last accessed July 2017).
Official recommendations: Council of Europe and European Centre for Modern Languages 103

The CEFR divides competences into knowledge, skills and (communicative)


competences such as linguistic competence, sociolinguistic competence, and
pragmatic competence (see 4.2).
The CEFR Companion Volume follows all important Key aspects of the
CEFR for teaching and learning (Companion Volume 2017, 25–44) and espe-
cially The CEFR Illustrative Descriptor Scales (idem, 45–49).

The CEFR has three principal dimensions: language activities, the do-
mains in which language activities occur, and the competences on which
we draw when we engage in them.
Language activities
The CEFR distinguishes between four kinds of language activities: Recep-
tion (listening and reading), production (spoken and written), interaction
(spoken and written), and mediation (translating and interpreting).
Domains
General and particular communicative competences are developed by
producing or receiving texts in various sectors of social life that the CEFR
calls domains. Four broad domains are distinguished: educational, occu-
pational, public, and personal.
Competences
A language user can develop various degrees of competence in each of
these domains and to help describe them the CEFR has provided a set of
six Common Reference Levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2, subdivided in the
meantime into 9 degrees of competence).

The following overview gives a first impression of what a learner is supposed


to be able to do in listening, speaking, reading and writing at a certain level
(for a more detailed overview with criteria for the four competences see: Eu-
ropean Language levels – Self-Assessment Grid or consult the CEFR and the
Companion Volume).
104 Official recommendations: Council of Europe and European Centre for Modern Languages

Level group Level group name Level Level name

A Basic user A1 Breakthrough or


(Elementare Sprachverwendung) beginner

• Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basis
phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type.
• Can introduce themselves and others and can ask questions about person-
al details such as where he/she lives, people they know and things they
have.
• Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and
clearly and is prepared to help.

A Basic user A2 Waystage or


elementary
• Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to are-
as of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family infor-
mation, shopping, local geography, employment).
• Can communicate in simple routine tasks requiring a simple and direct
exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.
• Can describe in simple terms aspects of their background, immediate en-
vironment and matters in areas of immediate need.

B Independent user B1 Threshold or


(Selbstständige Sprachverwendung) intermediate
• Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar mat-
ters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
• Can deal with most situations likely to arise while travelling in an area
where the language is spoken.
• Can produce simple connected text on topics that are familiar or of per-
sonal interest.
• Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and
briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
Official recommendations: Council of Europe and European Centre for Modern Languages 105

B Independent user B2 Vantage or upper


intermediate
• Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and ab-
stract topics, including technical discussions in their field of specializa-
tion.
• Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regu-
lar interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for ei-
ther party.
• Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a
viewpoint on a topical issue giving advantages and disadvantages of vari-
ous options.

C Proficient user C1 Effective operational


(Kompetente Sprachverwendung) proficiency or advanced

C Proficient user C2 Mastery or proficiency


(for can-do descriptions of proficient use which in general is beyond the
level of compulsory education see CEFR)

There is no substantial difference between the above can-do descriptions


and those formulated in the Companion Volume with New Descriptors (2017,
Communicative language activities and strategies, 54–128). In a summary of
changes the experts under the guidance of Brian North explain that their
changes refer to the C2 descriptors (without interest for school teachers)
whereas the other descriptors have remained mostly unaltered:
Changes to A1-C1 descriptors
Very few changes are proposed to other descriptors. It was decided not to
‘update’ descriptors merely because of changes in technology (e.g. refer-
ences to postcards or public telephones). The scale for Phonological con-
trol has been replaced (see below). Changes are also proposed to cer-
tain descriptors that refer to linguistic accommodation (or not) by ‘native
speakers’, because this term has become controversial since the CEFR was
published. (idem, 50)

These six levels are not equidistant, i.e. the time a student needs to reach
a certain level is different from level to level. Whereas most learners pass
quite quickly from level A1 to A2, it takes much more time to arrive from
A2 at B1 and even more from B1 at B2. Furthermore, estimation lists for the
amount of study time needed to reach the different levels in the relevant tar-
106 Official recommendations: Council of Europe and European Centre for Modern Languages

get language are based on the target language learnt. For Germans the time
needed to pass from one level to the next is higher for French than for Eng-
lish. Therefore, in the meantime, the levels have been differentiated from A1
to A1+, from A2 to A2+ and from B1 to B1+ etc. (for details see CEFR, pro-
ficiency levels).
We also have to consider that the native language of the student plays an
important role. Even when students of migrant families are born in Germa-
ny and speak German more or less fluently, they quite often use the moth-
er tongue of their parents at home. In classes with great heterogeneity Eng-
lish language teachers should take into account that “migrant” students have
to make greater efforts than learners whose one and only native language
is German. Fortunately students from migrant families take special pride in
learning English so that many of them are able to surmount the difficulties
deriving from their bilingual background.
In this context it is interesting to consider that some experts sustain that
level B2 cannot adequately be reached in regular lessons of FLT. They opt for
a further development of the above language competences in Content and
Language Integrated Learning (CLIL; see part 2). David Little (2009, 8) opts
fervently for the use of the target language in classroom discourse in other
subject matters and adds:
What is more, B1 is probably as far as general language teaching/learn-
ing can go: once learners can perform the tasks specified for B1, they
are ready to expand their capacity further by using the target language
in some version of content-and-language-integrated learning. Indeed, it is
only through CLIL that learners are likely to master tasks specified for B2,
for example:
• I can understand extended speech and lectures and follow even com-
plex lines of argument provided the topic is reasonably familiar.
• I can read articles and reports […] in which the writers adopt particu-
lar attitudes or viewpoints.
• I can present clear, detailed descriptions on a wide range of subjects re-
lated to my field of interest.
• I can write clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects related to my
interests.
(Council of Europe 2001, 27)

Beside the difficulty to concretize the above and the more detailed Can-do
descriptions of the CEFR for particular teaching and learning contexts, the
question arises: How should teachers and learners proceed? This question is
Official recommendations: Council of Europe and European Centre for Modern Languages 107

much more justified when we take into account the detailed lists of descrip-
tors added to the basic competence by the Companion Volume. Written re-
ception, for example, is specified in Can-do lists for Reading Correspond-
ence, Reading for Orientation, Reading for Information and Argument,
Reading Instructions, and Reading as Leisure activity (idem, 60–65). It is an
open question in what way teachers can use the myriad of per se meaningful
lists for planning and preparing a lesson or a teaching unit. It is astonishing
that the additional list with descriptors for electronic media competence, on
the other hand, is quite short; it is limited to Online Conversation and Dis-
cussion (idem, 94–95). In general the authors of the CEFR followed by those
of the Companion Volume insist that “it is not the function of the frame-
work to promote one particular language teaching methodology” (CEFR
2001, 142).
Nevertheless the CEFR is quite often connected with task-based ap-
proaches. The authors of the Framework nowhere refer concretely to TBLT
or TSBL, but they frequently mention the term task. In their perspective a
task is a communicative activity as e.g. Can communicate in simple routine
tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and
routine matters (see above A2). The authors of the CEFR dedicate a whole
chapter to Tasks and their role in language teaching (CEFR 2001, chap. 7,
157–167). At the beginning of the document they specify as follows:
The approach adopted here […] is an action-oriented one in so far as
it views users and learners of a language primarily as ‘social agents’, i.e.
members of society who have tasks (not exclusively language-related) to
accomplish in a given set of circumstances, in a specific environment and
within a particular field of action.
[…]
We speak of ‘tasks’ in so far the actions are performed by one or more in-
dividuals strategically using their own specific competence to achieve a
given result. (CEFR 2001, 9)

The communicative tasks of the CEFR are quite close to the claims of TBLT
or better TSLL but it is a long way from Can-do descriptions to pedagog-
ic and FLT-oriented tasks like the one in the above TEFL Example (see 4.2).
When students construct an email-invitation destined to their counterparts
in New Zealand the main focus is on writing and written interaction, but
many other competences – knowledge, skills, and attitudes – come into play.
At that point we may notice a shortcoming of the CEFR. As Christian Fan-
drych sustains, the different dimensions of communicative competence act
108 Official recommendations: Council of Europe and European Centre for Modern Languages

together to different degrees depending on the context. Therefore a subdi-


vision into different (sub-)competences such as linguistic competence, soci-
olinguistic and pragmatic competences is dubious in tasks conceived for the
TEFL classroom. It is the CEFR itself (2001, 113) that – mostly in an indi-
rect form – favors this separation (Fandrych 62016, 34).
A further critique of the CEFR expressed by Bausch, Christ and Königs
(2003) is summarized by Keith Morrow:
A recent publication edited by a group of German-speaking academ-
ics (Bausch. Christ, and Königs 2003) makes sweeping criticisms of the
Framework. They argue that it is weak on theoretical grounds (lack of a
consistent underlying theory, vague and inconsistent use of terminolo-
gy) and suspect in terms of its practical use (focused on the commercial
needs of publishers, and especially international testing agencies such as
Members of ALTE – the Association of Language Testers in Europe (Mor-
row 2004, 10).

Despite certain shortcomings the CEFR (2001) in combination with the


Companion Volume with New Descriptors (2017) is a valuable and in-
dispensable instrument for education practitioners, especially for teach-
ers. Somehow the CEFR has put an end to the differing perspectives and
goals expressed in the curricula and syllabuses of the 16 Federal States.
Furthermore it allows for a consistent comparison between FLT in oth-
er European countries and over the world. Taken for what it is conceived
for, i.e. a framework of reference and not a prescriptive list of Can-do
tasks, the CEFR gives orientation to language teachers and learners. Even
though the CoE understandably does not engage in concrete lesson plans
or teaching units, there is a series of Publications related to the CEFR and
Supporting Material (see http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/Publications_
EN.asp, last accessed July 2017).

Moreover, the CEFR is not at all the only instrument of reference when (for-
eign) language proficiency is evaluated and measured. It is worthwhile to
have a look at the comparison lists (e.g. Wikipedia.org., link: Common Eu-
ropean Framework of Reference for Languages – Comparisons between CEFR
and other scales) that show the compatibility and the main differences be-
tween the CEFR and other evaluation and testing instruments such as e.g.
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language).
Official recommendations: Council of Europe and European Centre for Modern Languages 109

6.3 The European Language Portfolio

As the first Language Portfolio accredited by the CoE was the Swiss Lan-
guage Portfolio 16+ (2000), it is worthwhile to consult the respective website
http://www.languageportfolio.ch/page/content/index.asp?MenuID=2488&ID
=4174&Menu=17&Item=6.1.4; last accessed July 2017). The Language Port-
folio is presented as an information tool that “provides information about
language proficiency and intercultural experiences in a clear, easily compre-
hensible and internationally comparative way”. It is also seen as a learning
companion “that stimulates and helps with language learning”.

Educational portfolios such as the European Language Portfolio allow


learners to collect together certificates, attestations and good pieces of
work to document and inform others about their learning achievements.
Learners can also use a portfolio to describe, reflect on and plan their
learning process, and to improve their learning strategies.
The European Language Portfolio is based on the Common Europe-
an Framework of Reference for Languages, which was established by the
Council of Europe. There are Language Portfolios in many European
countries, in many languages and for different age groups, from small
children to adults. They were developed in the 1990s by leading experts
with the help of future users. (ibid.)

In the midst of 2009 the ELP website of the CoE listed already 99 validated
models of the Portfolio. Unfortunately, the CEFR and the ELP are not seen
as a united operation, so that their impact on language teaching and learn-
ing outcomes is less than expected. In a document that summarizes the 8th
International Seminar on the European Language Portfolio in 2009, Little
engages in showing the close relationship between “pedagogy and an assess-
ment that is implied by the CEFR’s action oriented (“can do”) approach to
the description of language use and L2 proficiency and the ELP’s emphasis
on self-assessment” (2009, 2).
Not only the authors of the CEFR and the ELP focus on the difference
between formative and summative assessment (see chap. 14 and 15). Most
educational scientists underscore this distinction (see e.g. Hattie & Timper-
ley 2007). Formative feedback refers to continuous feedback into the learn-
ing processes, whereas summative assessment reports achievement at a par-
ticular point in time. Before using an instrument as the ELP learners have
110 Official recommendations: Council of Europe and European Centre for Modern Languages

to be prepared and trained. The two main points of concern are: First, with-
out explanation and training most learners do not know how to assess them-
selves. Second, there is always the danger that they overestimate their pro-
ficiency in the target language. Little (2009, 4) stresses the importance of
self-assessment because it promotes reflective language learning. Whereas up
to now learning and assessment are often perceived as two separate endeav-
ors, an assessment for learning that goes beyond the black box (see 1.1) is
already propagated at the end of the 20th century. The Assessment Reform
Group (ARG) in the UK argues that improving learning through assessment
depends on five key factors:
• the provision of effective feedback to pupils;
• the active involvement of pupils in their own learning;
• adjusting teaching to take account of the results of assessment;
• a recognition of the profound influence assessment has on the motivation
and self-esteem of pupils, both of which are crucial influences on learn-
ing;
• the need for pupils to be able to assess themselves and understand how to
improve. (ARG 1999, 4–5)

Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam insist on self-assessment as a precondition for


successful learning as it is
essential to learning because students can only achieve a learning goal if
they understand that goal and can assess what they need to do to reach it.
Thus the criteria for evaluating any learning achievements must be made
transparent to students to enable them to have a clear overview both of
the aims of their work and of what it means to complete it successfully.
Insofar as they do so they begin to develop an overview of that work so
that they can manage and control it; in other words, they develop their ca-
pacity for meta-cognitive thinking. (Black & Wiliam 2006, 15)

The demand for forms of assessment that help improve learning leads to the
distinction between “action knowledge” and “school knowledge”, the former
being necessary for communication outside the classroom, whereas the latter
is often transmitted by usual classroom practice.
Official recommendations: Council of Europe and European Centre for Modern Languages 111

The ELP embodies a special version of portfolio learning, and its peda-
gogical function is underpinned by the same philosophy as assessment for
learning, which assigns a key role to learner self-assessment. Assessment
for learning also implies the varieties of classroom talk – exploratory and
interpretative – that are fundamental to dialogic pedagogies, whose aim
is to bring school knowledge into interaction with learners’ action knowl-
edge. In order to apply the principles of such pedagogies for L2 teaching
and learning, we must commit ourselves to using the target language not
only for communicative and analytic learning tasks but for exploratory,
interpretative talk. Such talk in any case provides a necessary basis and
frame for self-assessment […]. (Little 2009, 9)

How can teachers promote assessment for learning and above all the use of
the ELP by their students? A good option to do so is the following website:
http://www.prosper.ro/EuroIntegrELP/materiale%20pentru%20site%20Eu-
roIntegrELP_12%20sept/Materials/for%20students/EN_ELP%20Guide%20
for%20learners.pdf; last accessed July 2017): The European Language Port-
folio. Even though the document is subtitled A Guide for Language Learners
(15+), the students might easily be distracted or frustrated by the length of
the paper (8 pages) and in general by the complexity of the ELP.
Before entering into details of the components of the ELP, it is useful to
consider the following suggestions about teacher behavior. In the last chapter
(5.2) Scaffolding was described as a teaching and learning strategy destined
to help students with tasks that are in their reach, but which they cannot ac-
complish without a More Knowledgeable Other (MKO). When explaining
the most important details of the ELP teachers must be aware of the knowl-
edge, skills and attitudes of their individual students. Furthermore, they have
to anticipate if the majority of the learners are willing to consider working
with a portfolio like the ELP. Are the students motivated to enter in the de-
tails of this assessment document? It would be counterproductive to exert
pressure. Moreover, the students might lose any interest in assessing their
proficiency if they get the impression that the portfolio will be a further
source for testing and grading. It must be clear that learners do by no means
have to show their portfolio entries to the teacher if they do not want to.
A possible introduction may start with general issues about self-assess-
ment and its use for any individual learner. What is most important in this
context is to help students perceive their level in English (as well as oth-
er foreign languages) in a realistic manner. Does the student overestimate
112 Official recommendations: Council of Europe and European Centre for Modern Languages

his knowledge and skills? Or is he or she always pessimistic when it comes


to evaluate his or her achievement? Students have to learn that self-assess-
ment is not an end in itself but that it is the first step towards an improve-
ment. When I can estimate more or less correctly my proficiency level I can
do something to get better in the respective activity, e.g. reading or writing.
Self-assessment is a meaningful way to fix realistic objectives. After a more
general introduction teachers can decide on the basis of their experience,
observations and their intuition if the students are open enough to consider
self-evaluation using a complex instrument like the ELP.
If the learners are disposed to get involved with the ELP it is the task
of the teacher or rather that of a motivated, competent student to summa-
rize briefly the answers to the two questions: What is the European Language
Portfolio (ELP)? What are the main aims of the ELP? (p. 1). In Interactive
Whole-Class Teaching the “proficiency levels” should be explained so that
the students will be able to decide in which box to place the descriptions on
the bottom of page 2.
The following pages 3 to 7 have to be studied by the students with the
aid of more knowledgeable peers and the with-it-ness (see 4.5) of the teacher
(p. 8 is facultative).
First, the three components of the ELP are presented:
1. Language Biography
2. European Language Passport
3. Dossier

What follows is a description of how to use the three components of the


ELP.

Language Biography
diary: personal history of the owner’s language learning experience and
progress;
it includes:
→ information on linguistic and cultural experiences in and outside the
class;
→ self-assessment checklists
Official recommendations: Council of Europe and European Centre for Modern Languages 113

European Language Passport


→ provides an overview of the language competences at a given moment,
defined in terms of skills and the common reference levels;
→ it includes a self-evaluation grid, and
→ records formal qualifications and certification

Dossier
A selection of materials to document and illustrate achievements, such as:
→ personal work of the learner (e.g. Projects, written work, audio cas-
settes, videos, computer programs etc.)
→ certificates. The learners may change the contents as their skills and
knowledge develop.

After this general introduction of the ELP and its main parts the students
enter in details through Interactive Whole-Class Teaching. They discuss the
aims and the use of the Language Biography on the basis of the questions:
What is the Language Biography? How do I use the Language Biography to
assess my language level and my objectives?
The teacher or more knowledgeable peers explain the overall aims of the
Language Biography which are a record of how, why and where the respec-
tive foreign language was learned. For evaluating their language level the
students make use of the Grid for Self-Assessment incorporated in the Lan-
guage Passport (p. 5). This grid shows and describes five skills from A1 to
C2: Understanding: listening, reading; Speaking: spoken interaction, spoken
production and Writing, e.g.:

Reading
A1 I can understand familiar names, words and very simple sentences, for
example on notices, posters or in catalogues.
A2 I can read very short simple texts.
I can find specific, predictable information in simple everyday material
such as advertisements, prospectuses, menus and timetables and I can
understand short simple personal letters.
B1 I can understand texts that consist mainly of high frequency every day
or job-related language.
I can understand the description of events, feelings and wishes in perso-
nal letters.
114 Official recommendations: Council of Europe and European Centre for Modern Languages

B2 I can read articles and reports concerned with contemporary problems


in which the writers adopt particular attitudes and viewpoints.
C1 I can understand long and complex factual and literary texts, apprecia-
ting distinctions of style. I can understand specialized articles and lon-
ger technical instructions, even when they do not relate to my field.
C2 I can read with ease virtually all forms of the written language, inclu-
ding abstract, structurally or linguistically complex texts such as ma-
nuals, specialized articles and literary works.

The descriptors for Overall Reading Comprehension of the Companion Vol-


ume in the Section Written Reception are formulated in a more research-ori-
ented way, but there is no fundamental difference (idem, 60). Future versions
of the ELP and other portfolios may however consider the above mentioned
further reading descriptors (see 7.2).
An important detail that inspires the whole ELP is the self-relating char-
acter of the documentation. Step three in the section of how to use the Lan-
guage Biography specifies: “Read the statements [the single I can do-descrip-
tions] carefully one by one and identify if this is something you really want
to be able do, if it is important for you” (p. 3).
Page 4 entitled How do I use the European Language Passport? relativizes
the above statement. Furthermore it deals with the aforementioned problem
of over- or underestimating the personal language level and ends with an in-
teresting question:
Reflect for a few minutes on how objective/subjective you are when it
comes to evaluating your own activity, results, ability to complete cer-
tain tasks, etc. Remember that the Language Passport is yours in the first
place, that you have to be true to yourself and as objective as possible in
assessing your own language level, although this document is also meant
to be shown to other people who may decide on whether you can obtain a
scholarship or a job abroad.

In the same direction points the statement that the users of the ELP often
have different levels in different skills due to their future plans that may
make them insist more on some skills than on the others.
The last introductory page (6) explains what good pieces of work (see
the box at the beginning of 6.3) the Dossier should contain. Before reading
the list that displays the main documents to enter in the dossier the students
should express and discuss their own ideas.
Official recommendations: Council of Europe and European Centre for Modern Languages 115

The contents of your Dossier could be any of the following:


• examples of good written language work
• audio / video recordings
• descriptions and results of project work
• documents, diplomas and certificates
• course descriptions
• reflections on language learning progress reports from tutor or teachers
• statement from others about your language skills
• things you’d like to keep and show others

Conclusion
The CEFR and the ELP are two very useful documents of the CoE for
teachers and also for learners of foreign languages, especially when the
Framework and the Portfolio as well as related publications are consid-
ered as complementary. Even though their authors conceived them as
descriptive and not as prescriptive instruments to promote Intercultural
Communicative Competence together with multilingual and multicultur-
al identities in Europe they have gained eminent influence on foreign lan-
guage policies and curriculum design in most European countries and be-
yond. Directly or indirectly they are present in most TEFL classrooms as
teaching materials are conceived in order to correspond to the proficien-
cy levels of the CEFR and partly to those of the Companion Volume with
New Descriptors. There is no textbook that does not display on its cov-
er the respective level (mostly from A 1 to B2) even though the speci-
fications remain quite vague. All evaluations and examinations fixed in
the curricula and syllabuses of different regions and countries refer to the
proficiency levels of the CEFR. As we will see in the next chapter the doc-
uments of the Standing Conference (KMK) and those of the Ministries of
Education in Germany (and elsewhere) are based on the CEFR.

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. What are the overall aims of the CoE with regards to foreign language
learning and use?
2. What do the Threshold Level and its further development specify?
3. Bring the three main levels explained by Sheils in a sequence of in-
creasing proficiency.
4. Outline in your own word what the CEFR describes.
116 Official recommendations: Council of Europe and European Centre for Modern Languages

5. Which are the three principal fields of the CEFR? What do they stand
for?
6. Explain in your own words what the level group names Basic user, In-
dependent user and Proficient user mean and how they relate to the
proficiency levels.
7. Why are the six levels of the CEFR not to be considered as of equal
distance?
8. Do you agree with D. Little when he sustains that level B2 (and
beyond) can only be reached through CLIL? Why? Why not?
9. Why is it not easy to conceive pedagogic and FLT-oriented tasks on
the Can-do descriptions of the CEFR?
10. What is the merit of the CEFR Companion Volume?
11. What are the overall aims of the ELP?
12. What does assessment for learning mean? Why is it useful to see lear-
ning and assessment together?
13. How can action knowledge be introduced into TEFL classrooms?
14. Which are the main components of the ELP?
15. Do you use the ELP for self-assessment or for the self-evaluation of
your students? Why? Why not?

Recommended Reading
Trim, John L. M. (22017). Council of Europe Modern Languages Projects. In: Byram,
Michael & Hu, Adelheid (eds.). Routledge Encyclopedia of Language Teaching and
Learning. New York: Routledge, 166–169.
As Trim is one of the authors of the CoE’s Modern Languages Projects his con-
cise overview gives competent insights into the aims and the further develop-
ments of the projects.

Jürgen Quetz introduces into the CEFR with reference to the German-speak-
ing countries. Furthermore, he refers to the newer literature published in
German:
Quetz, Jürgen (2010). Gemeinsamer europäischer Referenzrahmen. In: Hallet, Wolf-
gang & Königs, Frank, G. (Hrsg.). Handbuch Fremdsprachendidaktik. Seelze-Vel-
ber: Klett Kallmeyer, 45–49.
Official recommendations: Council of Europe and European Centre for Modern Languages 117

A good introduction into the aims and implications is the short background
article by Keith Morrow:
Morrow, Keith (2004). Background to the CEF. In: idem (ed.). Insights from the Com-
mon European Framework. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 3–11.

Harsch, Claudia (2007). Der gemeinsame europäische Referenzrahmen für


Sprachen: Leistung und Grenzen. Saarbrücken: Akademischer Verlag.
On the basis of a writing task described in the DESI-project (see Chap. 7),
Claudia Harsch discusses details of the CEFR illustrating its possibilities but
also its limitations. Beyond the positive and critical aspects the author makes
concrete suggestions for further developments of the CEFR.

A short and user-friendly introduction into the ELP is to be found on the


homepage of Manfred Huth: http://www.manfred-huth.de/fbr/port.html, last
accessed July 2017.

How to acquaint learners of English as a foreign language with self-assessment


is described by:
Richter, Anette (2003). Sich selbst beurteilen lernen – das Portfolio als alternatives
Bewertungsinstrument. In: Der fremdsprachliche Unterricht Englisch 37, 44–47.

Widely unknown is a guide of the ECML particularly interesting for educa-


tional practitioners that teach a second foreign language beside English and all
those who aim at promoting individual multilingualism and interculturalism
(‘plurilingualism and pluriculturalism’) in the sense of: “Can use knowledge and
skills already mastered in one language in activities of comprehension/produc-
tion in another language”. The document is accompanied by numerous down-
load activities regarding classroom practice and teacher education:
Candelier, Michel et al. (2012). FREPA – A Framework of Reference for Pluralistic
Approaches to Languages and Cultures. Competences and Resources. Graz: Europe-
an Centre for Modern Languages (in German: REPA; see also: http://carap.ecml.
at; last accessed July 2017)
7 Official studies and guidelines: Standing
Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions

7.1 From PISA to DESI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .119

7.2 KMK-Standards and the Institute for Quality


Development in Education (IQB). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .126

7.3 KMK Strategy-Paper: Education


in the digital world . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .137

Beside the CEFR which is the overall basis of newer initiatives of the
Standing Conference (KMK) and in consequence of the adaptations of
the Federal Ministries of education in the field of FLT, two studies had a
considerable influence on the educational standards (Bildungsstandards).
In 7.1 the impact of PISA (Programme for International Student Achieve-
ment) and that of DESI (Deutsch Englisch Schülerleistungen International)
are briefly described.
In the main section (7.2) the KMK-standards of 2004 (Mittlerer Schul-
abschluss) and of 2005 (Hauptschulabschluss) are analyzed and exemplified
by the description of the main performance levels (A1 to B2 and further).
This overview is completed by the presentation of the KMK Abitur-stan-
dards published in 2012. Advantages and shortcomings of performance
standards are illustrated in opposition to curriculum standards, content
standards and opportunity-to-learn standards. At the end of 7.2 the tasks
and responsibilities of the IQB (Institut zur Qualitätsentwicklung im Bil-
dungswesen) are outlined, especially with regards to the creation of a pool
of tasks and activities for the Abitur examinations.
In the last section (7.3) the strategy-paper of the KMK: Education in
the digital world (Bildung in der digitalen Welt) is presented. Its important
aims are specified for FLT, especially for TEFL.
Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions 119

7 Official studies and guidelines: Standing


Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions
7.1 From PISA to DESI

In 2001, the year of the publication of the CEFR, the OECD (Organiza-
tion for Economic Co-operation and Development; www.oecd.org/about/;
last accessed July 2017) published for the first time the results of PISA (Pro-
gramme for International Student Assessment). PISA aims at measuring the
outcome of teaching and learning in mathematics, the natural sciences and
reading in the first language in order to make achievement in these subject
matters comparable in countries all over the world.
Andreas Schleicher, statistician and head of the PISA consortium, is
aware of the fact that the PISA results show only an excerpt of the multifac-
eted spectrum of achievement. Nevertheless, PISA is not taken for what it is.
The regularly published results cause sort of turmoil in many participating
countries. The overestimation of the results is further increased by the me-
dia.

PISA is based on a literacy concept defined by the UNESCO (United Na-


tions Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization):
the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and
compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying con-
texts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to
achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to par-
ticipate fully in their community and wider society. (UNESCO 2004, 13)

PISA itself defines reading literacy as the ability to understand, use, and re-
flect on written text, in order to achieve one’s goals, to develop one’s knowl-
edge and potential, and to participate in society. “PISA examines to what
extent adolescents are able to understand and integrate texts they are con-
fronted with in their everyday lives” (www.pisa.tum.de/en/domains/read-
ing-literacy/ last accessed July 2017). Therefore the PISA tasks always focus
on a problem of real life, i.e. the (positive) results of an item have to help
students cope with their lives. The following example of a reading literacy
test (PISA 2009) illustrates that the study is based on a restricted version of
the defined literacy concept.
120 Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions

In a PISA task that deals with Aesop’s fable The Miser and his gold the
participants have to read an adapted and abbreviated text of the fable and
then accomplish some tasks. The first is a multiple choice test consisting of
four sentences dealing with the content of the fable. The second is the sim-
ple question: How did the miser get a lump of gold? whereas the third one
is more demanding. In a conversation between two people the learners have
to write down what one of the speakers could say to support his or her point
of view.

The differences between the PISA example and working with the fable in
TEFL classrooms are significant. It starts with the choice of the text ver-
sion that should not be adapted but authentic. Classroom teaching and
learning activities consider communicative objectives including social and
affective aspects. The forms of formative and summative assessment go
far beyond the simple test issues presented by PISA. Furthermore, when
reading a literary text in class, activities aim at increasing student moti-
vation, at considering reading as a cultural practice and at improving the
ability of aesthetic perception.

In general, if taken for what it measures, the PISA-enterprise is justified. To


find and focus on search for information in a text is an important technique
in FLT classrooms and beyond. But there are many further objectives that
determine reading (authentic) literature in foreign languages. Nevertheless it
is important to briefly deal with PISA when TEFL is concerned:

PISA was the starting point of measuring teaching and learning outcomes
to a large extent. Despite its scientific approach, there is a great difference
between statistic measurements that level out the differences of school
systems on the one hand and anticipating the learning outcomes when
planning and preparing a lesson or a teaching unit for Interactive Whole-
Class Teaching on the other (see 2.3: DI; concrete examples in part 2).

In 2017 two further PISA-Studies, relevant for all subject matters, were pub-
lished. The studies are based on student data of 2015: Volume III, Students’
Well Being, describes the relationships among 15-year-old students’ social
lives, learning attitudes and performance at school (published in April 2017),
whereas Volume V, Collaborative Problem Solving, examines students’ ability
Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions 121

to work with two or more people to solve a problem (published in Novem-


ber 2017). This last volume also explores the role of education in building
young people’s skills in solving problems collaboratively (www.oecd.org/pub-
lishing; last accessed Nov. 2017).
There is no doubt that students’ well-being has a positive impact on
learning motivation and achievement in all subject matters, i.e. in TEFL
classrooms, too. Chapter 8 of volume III is of particular interest for teach-
ing and learning foreign languages. It deals with bullying (see cyberbully-
ing chap. 11) and explains how PISA measures the incidence of bullying
(OECD: PISA 2015, published in 2017, 133–152). It is not the case in our
context to examine if the research methods used by the PISA-experts in all
details measure exactly what they are intended to measure. The overall re-
sults are important anyhow and, as always with PISA, emphasized by the
media. The journalists of Zeit Online entitle their presentation of April 19,
2017: “PISA”: Jeder sechste deutsche Schüler oft Mobbing-Opfer.
In English mobbing usually denominates psychological or emotion-
al terrorization occurring in the workplace. Bullying is used in the context
of children and young people that abuse peers. It involves quite often actu-
al physical violence. Even cyberbullying has a physical aspect as the bullies
use threats of violence to intimidate their victims. In any case, the PISA-re-
sults underscore the necessity for all teachers to create appropriate tasks. For
EFL teachers this means to conceive of activities involving peers all over the
world in order to exchange experiences about this global phenomenon. “The
chapter concludes with a discussion on how schools, teachers and parents
can help reduce the incidence of bullying” (idem, 133):
Teachers can do much to reduce bullying but they need to become more
aware of the gravity of non-physical forms of bullying. They also need to
communicate to students that they will not tolerate any form of bullying,
and act as role models in the classroom. Incorporating bullying-preven-
tion modules in teacher training is essential. (idem, 148)

The results reported in Volume V, Collaborative Problem Solving, state that


German students range in the upper field of the PISA-scale when it comes
to collaborative problem solving (as always and everywhere girls performing
better than boys). German 15-year-old learners achieve better results than
in precedent studies measuring performance in science, reading (see above)
and mathematics. The term collaborative problem solving, however, is im-
precise because we do not come to know if collaborative means that every
122 Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions

student tries to resolve a particular aspect of the given problem. Or is col-


laborative used for cooperation trying to bring the problem to a solution,
i.e. dealing with the same aspects, exchanging opinions and arriving at an
agreed a solution (see 3.4, Marzano 1998)? Participating successfully in pro-
fessional life (which PISA emphasizes as the overall aim of education) often
implies both: collaborating, i.e. finding an agreement for the division of sub-
tasks, and cooperating, i.e. dealing with all appearing sub-problems in close
cooperation. In the introduction What the data tell us the statements which
students agree to refer to cooperation:
Students in every country and economy have generally positive attitudes
towards collaboration. Over 85 % of students, on average across OECD
countries, agree with the statements “I am a good listener”, “I enjoy seeing
my classmates be successful”, I take into account what others are interest-
ed in”, “I enjoy considering different perspectives”, and “I enjoy co-operat-
ing with peers”. (OECD 2017, 2)

As there is no doubt that well-being helps students achieve, it goes with-


out saying that successful cooperation leads to better learning outcomes. In
our context of Teaching and Learning English in the digital age the security
with which the PISA-experts take digital competences for granted is worth
considering. The individual ability to cooperate successfully with peers was
not measured by observing groups of learners working together in the same
classroom. Probably the effort would have been too high and the results too
susceptible. Therefore the students – one at a time – had to interact with
simulated peers on computer screens. They exchanged information in a
voice chat, e.g. in order to find and agree upon a worthwhile destination for
a guest-group. Several questions arise which closely relate to Teaching and
Learning English in the digital age:
• Does the PISA-test (together with the questionnaires) really measure col-
laborative or rather cooperative problem solving? In any case the validi-
ty of the test and thus of the results have to be verified in real cooperation
in classrooms.
• In what way did the simulated partners on the screen react when con-
fronted with the statements of their real partners? Could the simulated
peers be seen in some way, e.g. in the form of robots? Collaborating or
cooperating with real partners on the basis of problem-based learning has
different implications.
Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions 123

• Does the simulated group work really evidence causality, or does it only
demonstrate correlations? In other words, does the research instrument
used in the test really measure Collaborative Problem Solving? Further
studies have to investigate into the PISA-results in order to show the actu-
al implications of the PISA-test.

What can we learn for TEFL in the digital age from the PISA-results? Stu-
dents have to learn about digital media, e.g. how to deal with and react to
cyberbullying. Furthermore, students have to learn with the help of digital
tools as PISA has taken digital competence as granted already long before
the publication of the 2017-ranking.
Deutsch Englisch Schülerleistungen International (DESI) consisted of am-
ple testing of the performance in English as a foreign language. The differ-
ent test tools measured listening comprehension, reading comprehension,
reconstruction of texts, free writing, language awareness and oral produc-
tion of learners of 9th grade in all German school types. This extended re-
search project with more than 11.000 participants was initiated by the Stand-
ing Conference (KMK) in 2001 in the aftermath of the so-called PISA-shock.
Furthermore, DESI should prepare the grounds for the KMK-standards in-
troduced shortly later (see 7.2).

The most important aims of the KMK and in consequence of the


DESI-study are to be seen in the modeling and measuring of competenc-
es as well as in defining the connections between the various factors that
determine achievement, e.g. the quality of school and teaching, the indi-
vidual characteristics of students and teachers and the influence of fami-
ly background. Thus, DESI was not conceived in the first place to improve
TEFL practice despite the hope that its results would contribute to revise
classroom procedures, teacher training and foreign language policies.

Furthermore, the DESI-tests focus on performance and products even


though Klieme and his team use the term competence. In the context of FLT
performance refers to the real production such as spoken or written inter-
action between language learners or users whereas competence means the
underlying knowledge, skills and attitudes. According to the DESI-team, in
pedagogy and psychology competence is indiscriminately used for perfor-
mance and the underlying competences (Beck & Klieme 2007, 4; DESI-Kon-
124 Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions

sortium 2008) (for a detailed evaluation of DESI see De Florio-Hansen 2015,


31–44).
According to the KMK and the head of the DESI-study, Eckhard Klieme,
it is indispensable to establish competence-models on the basis of concrete
tasks that operationalize (operationalisieren) important sub-competences.
These models could help get a realistic estimation of what works well and
what has to be done in order to reach the desirable competence level. De-
spite the aim of preparing the implementation of the KMK-standards based
on the proficiency levels of the CEFR, Klieme and his team in the majority
of the tests do not refer to CoE instruments. Only when it comes to measur-
ing oral production the respective DESI-test is based on the proficiency lev-
els of the CEFR.
Whereas DESI recurs to self-constructed tests to measure listening and
reading comprehension, text reconstruction, free writing and language
awareness, the team uses a commercialized test for evaluating the oral pro-
duction of the German 9th graders. The PhonePass Set-10-Test was creat-
ed by the Ordinate Cooperation in Menlo Park, California. (It is now called
Versant for English). It profits from speech recognition technology and is
completely automatized – not only the test itself but also the evaluation of
student performance. It is transmitted via telephone and takes about ten
minutes. The PhonePass Set-10-Test is a pronunciation test even though the
American producers sustain that it measures the facility in spoken English.
According to them, it necessitates highly automatized routines in listening
and speaking in order to obtain good results (Tschirner 2008, 195).

The test consists of five parts; as the last part is not evaluated only the first
four are described:
Part 1 is in fact a pronunciation tests. The participants look at 12 sen-
tences subdivided in three groups of four. A random generator chooses eight
of them which the learners have to read aloud.
In part 2 different U.S. American speakers audition 16 utterances from
three to 15 words. The participants repeat these utterances, this time with-
out a written model.
Part 3 focuses on receptive and productive vocabulary. The participants
answer short, simple questions, e.g. What season comes before summer? The
DESI-experts reduced the number of the 24 questions of the PhonePass Set-
10-Test to 16.
Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions 125

In part 4 ten scrambled or jumbled sentences are presented orally to the


participants who have to bring them in the right order. As in part 2 listening
comprehension plays an equal part in comparison to speaking production.

Scientific research, especially work- and cost-intensive studies such as PISA


and DESI, should have a clear reference to teaching and learning in the
classroom. “In such a field-based work, collaborations with practitioners can
bring a form of intellectual capital to the research that cannot be obtained in
isolation of practice” (Shavelson & Towne 2002, 95).
The measurement of oral production is difficult in general and even with
the help of the CEFR because its levels and descriptors leave a considerable
margin to estimation. Nevertheless, in TEFL classrooms oral proficiency has
to be measured from time to time.
Commercial tests that pretend to measure oral production should only
be used after thorough examination of the task formats. They often are not
valid, because they do not measure what they pretend to evaluate. Further-
more, as the algorithms destined to qualify the performance of the partici-
pants are kept secret by the producers, in many cases doubts raise about the
real proficiency level of the learners.

Conclusion
In general, studies like PISA and DESI draw attention to the difficulties of
evaluating performance and competence in foreign language classrooms.
Are we as teachers sure that our tests are valid? Are they based on knowl-
edge and skills which are useful for communication outside the class-
room? Are they conceived in a way that shows our students how to im-
prove and become more competent users of the target language?

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. In the DESI study reading competence is tested through answering
in written form to questions that refer to authentic and simplified
texts. What test format would you choose to evaluate students’ rea-
ding competence in a written text? Choose an authentic text and cre-
ate – possibly together with others – adequate test activities.
2. The DESI experts test language awareness through grammaticality jud-
gements (Grammatikalitätsurteile), i.e. the students have to find errors
in given English sentences and correct them. What do you personally
intend by language awareness? How would you evaluate it?
126 Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions

Recommended Reading
A general, reader-friendly introduction to language awareness is the contribu-
tion by Wolfgang Eichler and Günter Nold made in the context of DESI:
Eichler, Wolfgang & Nold, Günter (2007). Sprachbewusstheit. In: Beck, Bärbel
& Klieme, Eckhart (Hrsg.). Sprachliche Kompetenzen. Konzepte und Messung.
DESI-Studie (Deutsch Englisch Schülerleistungen International). Weinheim & Ba-
sel: Beltz, 63–82.

For a general overview of the aims and possible results of DESI see:
Beck, Bärbel & Klieme, Eckhart (2003). DESI – Eine Längsschnittstudie zur Unter-
suchung des Sprachunterrichts an deutschen Schulen. In: Empirische Pädagogik
17/3, 380–395.

7.2 KMK-Standards and the Institute for Quality Development


in Education (IQB)

When the Standing Conference (KMK) released the educational standards


Bildungsstandards für die erste Fremdsprache (Englisch/Französisch) für den
Mittleren Schulabschluss in December 2003 (published 2004), these stand-
ards were not new. Already in 1995 the KMK had published a similar paper
in order to guarantee the quality of the German educational system (Qua-
litätssicherung) and to promote teaching and learning (Unterrichtsentwick-
lung). The KMK-paper released in 1995 had a similar title as the educational
standards of 2004 Bildungsstandards für den Mittleren Schulabschluss in den
Fächern Deutsch, Mathematik und erste Fremdsprache. However, these edu-
cational standards of 1995 had little impact on the three subject matters be-
cause they were not fixed by law. Most educational practitioners took them
as suggestions; many teachers ignored them at all.
After the PISA-shock the situation had changed: The standards of 1995
were revised and adapted in accordance with the CEFR. They became law
shortly after Klieme and his team presented the respective proposals for a
standards-based educational system (Klieme et al. 2003). Approximately
one year later, in 2005, the standards for the end of compulsory education
Bildungsstandards für die erste Fremdsprache (Englisch/Französisch) für den
Hauptschulabschluss were published. The overall aim of the KMK is a nota-
ble improvement of teaching and learning in public schools in the core sub-
ject matters in order to show the competitiveness of the German educational
system in comparison to those of other countries.
Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions 127

From the beginning, a number of misunderstandings accompanied and


complicated the implementation of the Bildungsstandards. Above all, the
term itself provoked criticism because the presented standards are nothing
more than performance standards. With regards to the first foreign language
they refer in most cases only to components of competences without suf-
ficiently considering skills necessary for real life communication. Moreover
they do not and cannot measure attitudes, the third essential characteristic
of competence beside knowledge and skills (Weinert 1999). Critics such as
Kaspar Spinner (2004), thus, talked about the “standardized student” admit-
ting that these effects were not intended by the experts. The KMK-standards
are probably termed Bildungsstandards in order to distinguish them from in-
dustrial standards and norms.
A main affordance of the KMK-standards consists in the fact that they
have to be measurable in written tests and without too much effort and ex-
pense. In general, the fixing of core competences in an important subject
matter such as the first foreign language is most useful. Above all, it shows
the importance of foreign language learning among other core competences.

The KMK-standards of 2004/2005 have two overall aims: First, they fo-
cus on the outcome of teaching and learning putting an end to classroom
practice based only on the number of textbook lessons studied without
considering the factual learning results and their impact on real-life com-
munication. Second, the obligatory results are measured from outside.
The testing in the classroom context with reference to the students is ex-
tended by introducing external test norms.

In their expertise Klieme and his team give a detailed explanation of this
second aim of the KMK-standards:
Eine zweite Funktion der Bildungsstandards besteht darin, dass auf ihrer
Grundlage Ergebnisse erfasst und bewertet werden. Mit Bezug auf die Bil-
dungsstandards kann man überprüfen, ob die angestrebten Kompeten-
zen tatsächlich erworben wurden. So lässt sich feststellen, inwieweit das
Bildungssystem seinen Auftrag erfüllt hat (Bildungsmonitoring) und die
Schulen erhalten eine Rückmeldung über Ergebnisse ihrer Arbeit (Schul-
evaluation). Die Standards können auch Hinweise geben für die individu-
elle Diagnostik und Förderung. Allerdings legt die Expertise Wert darauf,
dass Tests, die im Bildungsmonitoring und für die Schulevaluation ein-
gesetzt werden, solche Individualdiagnostik aus methodischen Gründen
128 Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions

nicht erlauben. Von einer Verwendung der Standards bzw. standardbe-


zogener Tests für Notengebung und Zertifizierung wird abgeraten. (Klie-
me et al. 2003, 10)

According to Helmke (42012, 240) the orientation at competences is a major


characteristic of good teaching in a list of ten features. It is the overall aim
to enable students to reach competences that comprise knowledge, skills and
attitudes.

Competence consists of a cluster of physical and mental abilities that an


individual needs to solve occurring problems in a goal-oriented and re-
sponsible way and to evaluate his or her solutions in order to further de-
velop the own repertoire of actions (Frey 2006, 31).

Helmke sees in the KMK-standards nothing more than expected competenc-


es that focus on measurable competence components. In contrast to older
curricula they do not fix the input, i.e. what has to be studied in class, but
the outcome. This focus on measurable results is the starting point of a more
objective, evidence-oriented view of teaching and learning.
The KMK-standard documents of 2004/2005 are structured in an anal-
ogous way. The first part enumerates and explains the required competenc-
es whereas the second part presents tasks examples for the first languages
English and French. Each document starts with overall considerations of the
contributions of foreign language learning to general educational objectives.
In the following paragraph (2) the KMK differentiates the competence com-
ponents under the heading functional communicative competences:
• communication skills (kommunikative Fertigkeiten)
• command of the linguistic means (Verfügung über die sprachlichen Mittel
• intercultural competences (interkulturelle Kompetenzen) and
• methodological competences (methodische Kompetenzen).
Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions 129

Funktionale kommunikative Kompetenzen


Kommunikative Fertigkeiten Verfügung über die sprachlichen Mittel
앫 Hör- und Hör-/Sehverstehen 앫 Wortschatz
앫 Leseverstehen 앫 Grammatik
앫 Sprechen 앫 Aussprache und Intonation
– an Gesprächen teilnehmen 앫 Orthographie
– zusammenhängendes Sprechen
앫 Schreiben
앫 Sprachmittlung
Interkulturelle Kompetenzen
앫 soziokulturelles Orientierungswissen
앫 verständnisvoller Umgang mit kultureller Differenz
앫 praktische Bewältigung interkultureller Bgegnungssituationen
Methodische Kompetenzen
앫 Textrezeption (Leseverstehen und Hörverstehen)
앫 Interaktion
앫 Textproduktion (Sprechen und Schreiben)
앫 Lernstrategien
앫 Präsentation und Mediennutzung
앫 Lernbewusstheit und Lernorganisation

Figure 4: KMK-Standards Mittlerer Schulabschluss (KMK 2004, 8)

The heading and the following explanations focus on practical applications


of knowledge and skills which are devised in oral competences such as lis-
tening (Hörverstehen/Hör-Sehverstehen) and speaking (Sprechen) and compe-
tences with regards to written language, i.e. reading and writing (Leseverste-
hen, Schreiben). These two fields are followed by mediation competence of
easier texts (Sprachmittlung).
The command of the linguistic means comprises pronunciation and in-
tonation, orthography, vocabulary and grammar. Intercultural competences
are specified in three fields: 1. basic knowledge about the nations and socie-
ties of the target language, 2. the ability to deal with cultural differences and
3. strategies and skills that help resolve misunderstanding, problems or con-
flicts surging in direct contact with speakers of the target language.

Communication skills refer to:


Hör-/Hör-Sehverstehen (listening comprehension):
Die Schülerinnen und Schüler können unkomplizierte Sachinforma-
tionen über gewöhnliche alltags- und berufsbezogene Themen verstehen
und dabei die Hauptaussagen und Einzelinfomationen erkennen, wenn in
deutlich artikulierter Standardsprache gesprochenen wird. (B1+; Mittlerer
Schulabschluss; KMK 2004, 11)
130 Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions

Die Schülerinnen können Wendungen und Wörter verstehen, wenn es um


Dinge von ganz elementarer Bedeutung geht (z. B. ganz grundlegende In-
formationen zu Person, Familie, Einkaufen, Schule, näherer Umgebung),
sofern deutlich und langsam gesprochen wird (A2; Hauptschulabschluss;
KMK 2005, 11)
Leseverstehen (English) (reading comprehension):
Die Schülerinnen und Schüler können weitgehend selbstständig ver-
schiedene Texte aus Themenfeldern ihres Interessen- und Erfahrungsbe-
reiches lesen und verstehen (B1+; Mittlerer Schulabschluss, KMK 2004, 12).
Die Schülerinnen und Schüler können kurze, einfache Texte lesen und
verstehen, die einen sehr frequenten Wortschatz und einen gewissen An-
teil international bekannter Wörter enthalten (B2; Hauptschulabschluss,
KMK 2005, 12).
Sprechen – An Gesprächen teilnehmen (speaking – spoken interaction)
Die Schülerinnen und Schüler können an Gesprächen über vertraute The-
men teilnehmen, persönliche Meinungen ausdrücken und Informationen
austauschen (B1; Mittlerer Schulabschluss, KMK 2004, 13).
Die Schülerinnen und Schüler können sich in einfachen, routinemäßi-
gen Situationen verständigen, in denen es um einen unkomplizierten und
direkten Austausch von Informationen über vertraute Themen geht (A2;
Hauptschulabschluss, KMK 2005, 12).
Sprechen – Zusammenhängendes Sprechen (speaking – spoken production)
Die Schülerinnen und Schüler können Erfahrungen und Sachverhalte
zusammenhängend darstellen, z. B. beschreiben, berichten, erzählen und
bewerten (B1; Mittlerer Schulabschluss, KMK 2004, 13).
Die Schülerinnen und Schüler können eine einfache Beschreibung von
Menschen, Lebens-, Schul- oder Arbeitsbedingungen, Alltagsroutinen,
Vorlieben und Abneigungen usw. geben und zwar in kurzen, einfach
strukturierten Wendungen und Sätzen (A2; Hauptschulabschluss, KMK
2005, 12)
Schreiben (writing)
Die Schülerinnen und Schüler können zusammenhängende Texte zu ver-
trauten Themen aus ihren Interessengebieten verfassen (B1; Mittlerer
Schulabschluss, KMK 2004, 13)
Die Schülerinnen und Schüler können in einer Reihe einfacher Sätze über
die eigene Familie, die Lebensumstände und die Schule schreiben. Sie
können eine sehr kurze, elementare Beschreibung von Ereignissen, Hand-
lungen, Plänen und persönlichen Erfahrungen erstellen sowie eine kurze
Geschichte nach sprachlichen Vorgaben verfassen (A2/A2+; Hauptschul-
abschluss, 2005, 13).
Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions 131

Sprachmittlung (mediation)
Die Schülerinnen und Schüler können mündlich in Routinesituationen
nd schriftlich zu vertrauen Themen zusammenhängende Äußerungen und
Texte sinngemäß on der einen in die andere Sprache übertragen (Mittlerer
Schulabschluss, KMK 2004, 14).
Die Schülerinnen können mündlich einfache sprachliche Äußerungen von
der einen in die andere Sprache sinngemäß übertragen (Hauptschulab-
schluss, KMK 2005, 13).

The KMK-standards are so-called norm-standards (Regelstandards) which


specify an average level of achievement. It is anticipated that there is always
about one third of the learners that will not reach these standards. This mes-
sage may induce teachers to neglect those students which would need the
most help. That is the reason why minimum standards (Mindeststandards)
proposed by Klieme and his team and practiced in other countries are a
much better option (Klieme et al. 2003; Caspari et al. 2012).
In the larger second part of the two KMK documents the experts pres-
ent teaching examples (Aufgabenbeispiele) for the first language English (and
for French). These tasks are to be critically evaluated under different aspects:
• They insist on the separation of skills and competence components in-
stead of viewing them together. There are separate tasks for listening com-
prehension and for speaking whereas both components occur often to-
gether in real-life communication.
• Mostly they do not earn the qualification task as they are exercises deal-
ing with vocabulary and grammar in form of structural linguistics.
• They do not correspond to the qualifications A2 and B1 specified in the
first part of the KMK documents but rest below the affordances.
• They do not contain at all elements of overall education as described in
the first paragraph entitled The contribution of the first foreign language to
education (Der Beitrag der ersten Fremdsprache zur Bildung).

TEFL Example
An exemplification of positive and criticizable aspects of the task examples
presented in the KMK papers is the following intended for B1 (KMK 2004,
28–30). According to the KMK the task is taken from the Primary English
Test (Cambridge University Press, Handbook 2001).
The participants receive a worksheet with short descriptions of five per-
sons of a wide range of age and quite different interests. Below, the contents
132 Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions

of eight books are shortly described. Even though the books really exist, the
descriptions are not taken from the covers or the blurbs; they are adapted.
For students experienced in ‘matching’ it is easy to sort out the three books
that do not fit at all and to match the remaining five with the descriptions of
possible readers.

In general, tests are not per se negative but there is the risk of teaching to
the test, i.e. teaching and learning efforts do not go beyond the require-
ments of internal and external testing. As standards-based tests focus only
on a part of what should be the results of TEFL, important objectives
might be neglected if not omitted.

A further consideration in connection with standardization is the observa-


tion made above (see 2.3) that teaching can stimulate learning but that it
has no direct influence on the learning processes and their outcome. Suc-
cessful learning is eventually determined by the students themselves. It is the
responsibility of the teacher to make an “offer” in such a way that the ma-
jority or possibly all learners can profit from it. He or she is accountable
and therefore the results of external tests, among other features, can help
teachers to evaluate and reflect their teaching. But, on the other hand, the
students themselves have to be motivated enough to make the necessary
efforts. In other words: Successful learning depends on how the students
make active use of the teacher’s offer. Helmke’s approach denominated Ange-
bot-Nutzungs-Modell (offer and demand-model) should be reconsidered with
regards to the KMK-standards (Helmke 2009, 71ff.)
The more than thirty years of experience with teaching and learning
standards in the USA demonstrate that performance standards by them-
selves do not improve learning outcomes. They have to be accompanied by
other standards, e.g. teaching standards. Even though learning is not the di-
rect product of teaching, school is dominated by one profession, the teach-
er. Hattie is quite right, when he states: “The current mantra is that teachers
make a difference” (Hattie 2009: 34; emphasis by the author).
Among the most influential standards are curriculum standards and con-
tent standards. The Ministries of education have to elaborate the respec-
tive curricula based on the KMK-standards. Since the publication of the
KMK-standards most German Ministries of education and their affiliated
institutes have corresponded to the challenge of standards-based education
e.g. Hessische Lehrkräfteakademie: https://verwaltung.hessen.de/irj/LSA_In-
Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions 133

ternet?cid=2a63746683c68ca15fd79cddf5217170; (last accessed July 2017);


Staatsinstitut für Schulqualität und Bildungsforschung München: https://
www.isb.bayern.de/suche/?Text=Bildungsstandards; (last accessed July 2017);
Thüringer Schulportal: https://www.schulportal-thueringen.de/schulentwick-
lung/bildungsstandards; (last accessed Sept. 2017).

Content standards propose possible content that allows for effective teaching
and successful learning in TEFL classrooms. These suggestions have noth-
ing to do with the former lists or even a canon of literary works. Teach-
ing and learning is always based on input even when teachers practice the
backward design. Taking the desired outcome into consideration from the
phase of planning or preparing a lesson or a teaching unit is always followed
by the choice of content that best fits the individual students in a particular
learning context. Sometimes textbooks are a good starting point or help find
an idea.
Beside curriculum and content standards opportunity-to-learn standards
are essential. What do opportunity-to-learn standards stand for? They im-
ply that teachers (and their students) are enabled through appropriate means
and measures to get acquainted with new requirements such as standards re-
spectively standards-based education. Educational practitioners should dis-
pose of resources that facilitate the implementation of the required stand-
ards.
On this behalf the Institut zur Qualitätsentwicklung im Bildungswesen
(IQB; Institute for Quality Development in Education) was founded by
the KMK in 2004. The Institute which resides in Berlin and is associat-
ed with the Humboldt University coordinates the implementation of the
KMK-standards in the 16 Federal States (see e.g. Pöhlmann et al. 2010). In
cooperation with experts and teachers the IQB develops, operationalizes and
norms test material for VERA (Vergleichsarbeiten in der Schule; Lernstands-
erhebungen) and publishes them in appropriate dossiers. It coordinates the
annual testing VERA that takes place in approximately all German schools
in grades 3 and 8.
The IQB becomes more and more influential and its activities have
been notably enlarged since 2013/2014. The KMK decided that the testing
tasks and activities for the Abitur examinations should be the same or at
least comparable in the whole Federal Republic starting from school year
2016/2017. In 2012 the respective KMK-standards were released and pub-
lished Bildungsstandards für die fortgeführte Fremdsprache (Englisch/Franzö-
134 Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions

sisch) für die Allgemeine Hochschulreife. The overall aim of Discourse Com-
petence comprises five sub-competences:
• functional communicative competence (funktionale kommunikative Kom-
petenz)
• intercultural communicative competence (interkulturelle Kompetenz)
• text and media competence (Text- und Medienkompetenz)
• Language awareness (Sprachbewusstheit)
• Language learning competence (Sprachlernkomptenz) (KMK 2012, 12)

Their interdependence is shown in the following chart:

Interkulturelle kommunikative Kompetenz


Verstehen Handeln

Wissen Einstellungen Bewusstheit

Funktionale kommunikative Kompetenz


Sprachlernkompetenz

Sprachbewusstheit
Hör-/Hörsehverstehen
Leseverstehen
Schreiben
Sprechen
Sprachmittlung

Verfügen über sprachliche Mittel


und kommunkative Strategien

Text- und Medienkompetenz


mündlich schriftlich medial

Figure 5: Competences (KMK 2012, 12)

The IQB is commissioned with the development, operationalization and the


norming of a pool of appropriate tests and activities which the Federal States
have to choose from (Stanat et al. 2016). In 2017 the first volume edited by
Bernd Tesch and other IQB members was published under the title Bildungs-
standards aktuell: Englisch/Französisch in der Sekundarstufe II. As the IQB,
beside the elaboration of test material, since its foundation amply researched
into educational standards and their implementation, this volume summa-
Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions 135

rizes newer insights into standards-based teaching and learning of foreign


languages. In the preface the authors underscore the special importance of
English:
Für das Englische in der gymnasialen Oberstufe gelten überdies Ler-
nansprüche, die mit seiner Bedeutung als Wissenschaftssprache verbun-
den sind. Dies gilt zwar im Hinblick auf alle funktionalen kommunika-
tiven Teilkompetenzen, in besonderem Maße jedoch für die Förderung
der Lesefähigkeit und des Hörverstehens. Englisch stützt sich zudem auf
didaktische Konzepte, die der Tatsache Rechnung tragen, dass Englisch
in der Schule in der Regel die erste Fremdsprache darstellt und das Fach
somit eine besondere Rolle aber auch Verantwortung für das Erlernen
weiterer Sprachen übernimmt. (Tesch et al. 2017, 11)

Conclusion
PISA, DESI and the KMK-standards are useful for the following reasons:
• They underscore the importance of foreign language learning among
other core competences.
• They help unify the disparate goals and expectations of the 16 Feder-
al States.
• They promote the comparison of learning results in Germany and be-
yond.
• As they focus on the outcome of teaching and learning, approaches
that uniquely privilege input are opted out.
On the other hand, the results of these studies are limited to measurable
objectives. They leave out many higher culture-related aims of FLT such
as social, affective and esthetic aspects.

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. Why is PISA so influential?
2. What are the main differences between the PISA-tasks regarding The
Miser and his gold and a teaching unit that deals with the fable?
3. Describe the most important aims of DESI as well as its limitations.
4. What did the PISA-shock cause?
5. What are the two overall aims of the educational standards of the
KMK?
6. Define the term competence.
7. Which are the four competence components of functional communi-
cative competence?
136 Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions

8. What is a performance standard?


9. Explain some shortcomings of the KMK-standards.
10. What are the general limitations when it comes to measuring the
overall educational aims of TEFL?

Recommended Reading
An informative introduction to the possibilities and limitations of relating tests
to the CEFR is the following contribution by:
Takala, Sauli (2007). Relating Examinations to the Common European Framework.
In: Beck, Bärbel & Klieme, Eckhard (Hrsg.). Sprachliche Kompetenzen. Konzep-
te und Messung. DESI-Studie (Deutsch Englisch Schülerleistungen International).
Weinheim & Basel: Beltz, 306–313.

Hartig, Johannes (2007). Ziele und mögliche Methoden bei der Definition von Kom-
petenzniveaus (Abschnitt 2 des Beitrags: Skalierung und Defintion von Kompe-
tenzniveaus). In: Beck, Bärbel & Klieme, Eckhard (Hrsg.). Sprachliche Kompe-
tenzen. Konzepte und Messung. DESI-Studie (Deutsch Englisch Schülerleistungen
International). Weinheim & Basel: Beltz, 86–88.
Hartig explains the diffculties of segregating performance levels on the contin-
uum of competences.

It is useful to consider which concrete activities the authors of the KMK-stand-


ards (Mittlerer Schulabschluss) connect with different communication skills
(kommunikative Fertigkeiten):
KMK (2004). 4. Aufgabenbeispiele, 18–20.

Breidbach, Stephan (2008). Fremdsprachliche Kompetenzen jenseits der Standardi-


sierbarkeit. In: Lüger, Heinz-Helmut & Rösler, Andrea (Hrsg.). Wozu Bildungs-
standards? Landau: Empirische Pädagogik (Beiträge zur Fremdsprachenvermittlung
Sonderheft 13), 117–133.
The author explains in some detail why important competences of FLT are be-
yond standardization and how to deal with them.

A summary of newer considerations with regards to the KMK-standards of


2012 (Abitur) is to be found in:
Tesch, Bernd et al. (2017). 1.2 Bildungsstandards für die Allgemeine Hochschulreife.
In: idem et al. (Hrsg.) Bildungsstandards aktuell: Englisch/Französisch in der Se-
kundarstufe II. Braunschweig: Diesterweg, Schroedel, Westermann, 25–35.
Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions 137

7.3 KMK Strategy-Paper: Education in the digital world

At the end of 2016 the Standing Conference (KMK) released a paper that
needs particular attention. This publication, entitled Strategie der Kultusmin-
sterkonferenz – Bildung in der digitalen Welt, was preceded by several impor-
tant research projects and followed by a series of related studies and sugges-
tions that will have great impact on FLT. The most important publication
the KMK experts rely on is a document of the European Commission, i.e.
the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, entitled DIGCOMP: A
Framework for Developing and Understanding Digital Competence in Europe
and published in 2013. Anusca Ferrari, the author, describes the necessary
computer competences in many meaningful and convincing details so that
a comparison with the KMK Strategy-paper is particularly worthwhile for
teachers of English as a foreign language.

The overall aim of the KMK strategy is to sensitize educational practition-


ers, especially teachers, for an adequate media education of their tutees
(and of themselves). In the preface, the president of the KMK at that time,
Claudia Bogedan, justifies the KMK initiative: Competences for a life in
the digital world are more and more a precondition for participation in
society because they are absolutely necessary for educational and profes-
sional success.

The six operational fields the KMK strategy aims to influence and improve
are:
• syllabuses, promotion of teaching and learning, curricula (Bildungspläne
und Unterrichtsentwicklung, curriculare Entwicklungen),
• pre- and in-service training of educators and teachers (Aus-, Fort- und
Weiterbildung von Erziehenden und Lehrenden),
• infrastructure and facilities (Infrastruktur und Ausstattung)
• educational media and content of websites (Bildungsmedien, Content)
• E-Government, school administration programs, management systems for
education and university campuses (E-Government, Schulverwaltungspro-
gramme, Bildungs- und Campusmanagementsysteme),
• juridical and functional framework conditions (rechtliche und funktionale
Rahmenbedingungen).
138 Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions

In the preamble of the strategy-paper the KMK experts state that digital me-
dia are no longer to be considered as mere appendage to educational prac-
tices. Digitization has caused and causes such rapid changes in every area of
life that it would be irresponsible to exclude teaching and learning in schools
and universities from an adequate integration of digital media. In other
words: Knowledge, skills and attitudes regarding all forms of digitization are
indispensable for effective teaching and successful learning (KMK 2016, 9).
The KMK strategy-paper Education in the digital world, apart from the
preamble and the summary, is divided into two main parts, the first deal-
ing with mainstream schools and vocational education (Schule und berufliche
Bildung) and the second considering higher education (Hochschulen). Uni-
versities are not only expected to play a pioneering role in the use of digi-
tal media, but to promote studies whose findings will help implement digital
technology in all fields of life, above all in education.
For mainstream schools and vocational education the strategy-paper pro-
claims two overarching goals:
1. The Federal States include in their curricula, starting from elementary
education, the competences necessary for an active, self-determined par-
ticipation in the digital world. The implementation does not take place
through the creation of a new subject, but through integration into the
curriculum of every single subject matter. Because of its particular cont-
ent and action aspects every subject matter requires specific approaches
to the competences needed in the digital world. Thus, not only specific
competences are acquired, but also fundamental competence configura-
tions for the digital world that the respective subject matter is based on.
In so doing the development of the competences takes place (in analogy
to reading and writing) profiting from multiple possibilities of experien-
ce and learning.
2. Giving priority to pedagogical aspects and considering curricular de-
mands, teaching and learning processes profit from digital learning en-
vironments in a systematic way. Teaching procedures adapted to the
newly available technological possibilities will reinforce, on the part of
the learners, processes of individualization and the acceptance of self-re-
sponsibility (KMK 2016, 11f.).
Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions 139

An important message of the strategy paper is the differentiation be-


tween learning with the help of digital media, i.e. learning through them,
and learning about digital media even though both aspects are entwined
(KMK 2016, 11). Media Didactics (Mediendidaktik) has to be complet-
ed by Media Education (Medienerziehung). It is by far not enough that
the students use laptops or smartphones in order to search for informa-
tion, enrich their presentations through digital tools and communicate
with learners of other classes or schools. An important challenge of every
teaching and learning consists in the development of a constructive and
critical stance toward digitization.

It is by no means an excuse to say that the respective school is not sufficient-


ly equipped. Moreover, in 2016 the Federal Ministry of Education and Re-
search (BMBF, Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung) has launched
an offensive for the digital knowledge-based society Bildungsoffensive für die
digitale Wissensgesellschaft. The strategy of the Federal Ministry aims at a no-
table improvement of technical equipment, especially in schools.
Which are the competences and their components that the students
should dispose of at the end of compulsory education? The KMK experts
describe and specify them in detail (KMK 2016, 15–18). The following list
gives an abbreviated overview of the six competence fields in order to get the
gist of the KMK-strategy. (They will be further specified for practice of TEFL
in the second part):

1. searching, processing and storing (suchen, verarbeiten und


aufbewahren)
1.1 searching and filtring (suchen und filtern)
1.2 evaluating and assessing (auswerten und bewerten)
1.3 saving and retrieving (speichern und abrufen)

2. communicating and collaborating (kommunizieren und kooperieren)


2.1 interacting (interagieren)
2.2 sharing (teilen)
2.3 collaborating/cooperating (zusammenarbeiten)
2.4 knowing and respecting netiquette (Umgangsregeln kennen und einhalten
(Netiquette))
2.5 active participation in society (an der Gesellschaft aktiv teilhaben)
140 Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions

3. producing and presentating (produzieren und präsentieren)


3.1 developing and producing (entwickeln und produzieren)
3.2 continuing to work and interacting (weiterarbeiten und interagieren)
3.3 considering juridical requirements (rechtliche Vorgaben beachten)

4. protecting and acting securely (schützen und sicher agieren)


4.1 acting securely in digital environments (sicher in digitalen Umgebungen
agieren)
4.2 protecting personal data and privacy (persönliche Daten und Privatsphä-
re schützen)
4.3 protecting health (Gesundheit schützen)
4.4 protecting nature and environment (Natur und Umwelt schützen)

5. problem solving and acting (problemlösen und handeln)


5.1 solving technical problems (technische Probleme lösen)
5.2 using tools properly (Werkzeuge bedarfsgerecht einsetzen)
5.3 ascertain personal deficits and searching for solutions (eigene Defizite er-
mitteln und nach Lösungen suchen)
5.4 using digital tools and media for Leraning, working and problem solving
(digitale Werkzeuge und Medien zum Lernen, Arbeiten und Problemlösen
nutzen)
5.5 recognizing algorithms and formulating them (Algorithmen erkennen
und formulieren)

6. analyzing and reflecting (analysieren und reflektieren)


6.1 analyzing and assessing media (Medien analysieren und bewerten)
6.2 understanding and reflecting media in the digital world (Medien in der
digitalen Welt verstehen und reflektieren)

This overview shows that learning with the help of media is not the only fo-
cus of the KMK-strategy. At least equal importance is given to attitudes, i.e.
to learn about the advantages and the risks of digitization with regards to
the particular subject matter. The claims and the suggestions of the KMK ex-
perts are based on a comprehensive concept of competence (in accordance
with Weinert 1999): Beside knowledge and skills competences consist of at-
titudes. Every subject matter is challenged to develop and enhance the im-
portant aspects in its particular context. Undoubtedly, there will be notable
Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions 141

differences between mathematics and natural sciences on the one hand, and
FLT, especially TEFL, on the other.
Since 2000 Bardo Herzig has published a series of influential studies into
the effects of digitization on teaching and learning as well as on school de-
velopment, one of them together with Silke Grafe in 2007 under the head of
the Deutsche Telekom AG. In 2014 Herzig has released a further study un-
der the authority of the Bertelsmann Stiftung that should answer the ques-
tion: How effective are digital media in the classroom? (Wie wirksam sind
digitale Medien im Unterricht?). The author limits his research at media di-
dactics, i.e. teaching and learning with the help of digital tools. Summariz-
ing the findings he underscores that every particular teaching and learning
context determines the use and the usefulness of digital media in a specific
way. Therefore, more than on teaching and learning factors, Herzig focuses
on prerequisites and characteristics that students should dispose of in order
to profit from the implementation and use of digital media in the classroom
(Herzig 2014, 20f.) (for details see chap. 8: Learners).
Relevant data are to be found in the annual reports of the BMBF: ICILS
(International Computer and Information Literacy). In the study of 2013
which the KMK strategy refers to, Wilfried Bos et al. (2014) compares the
achievements related to computer- and information-based competences of
8th graders among 20 nations (Computer- und informationsbezogene Kom-
petenzen von Schülerinnen und Schülern der 8. Jahrgangsstufe im internation-
alen Vergleich) with the following result: The respective students in German
schools were middle-ranking.

Conclusion
In contrast to the CEFR which is limited to measurable performance
standards the KMK strategy: Education in the digital world includes ex-
plicitly higher-ranking educational goals. How teachers should implement
these objectives in their classroom practice is mostly left to them. Hope-
fully federal and regional institutions such as the Länderkonferenz Medi-
enBildung which, in 2015, has released a document entitled Kompetenz-
orientiertes Konzept für die schulische Medienbildung (competence-oriented
concept of Media Education in schools) and other organization will find
ways to support teachers and schools.
142 Official studies and guidelines: Standing Conference (KMK) and affiliated institutions

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. What is the difference between media didactics and media education?
2. Read the six competence fields and their components in the KMK
strategy-paper Bildung in der digitalen Welt in detail (pp. 15–18).
Choose one or two components and implement them in a TEFL les-
son plan or a unit. How can the respective component be brought to
life in order to motivate and engage the graders of your choice.
https://www.kmk.org/fileadmin/Dateien/pdf/PresseUndAktuelles/
2016/Bildung_digitale_Welt_Webversion.pdf; last accessed July 2017
3. Read the contents and the first pages of the UNESCO document
and answer the following question: In what way do the OER (Open
Educational Resources) exceed the Learning Software of textbook pu-
blishers?
Deutsche UNESCO-Kommission e.V. (2013). Was sind Open Educa-
tional Resources? Und andere häufig gestellte Fragen.
https://www.unesco.de/fileadmin/medien/Dokumente/Bildung/Was_
sind_OER__cc.pdf; last accessed July 2017

Recommended Reading
A good introduction to teaching and learning through and about digital media
is the first chapter (pp. 10–18) of the following book:
Heim, Katja & Ritter, Markus (2012). Teaching English: Computer assisted Language
Learning. Paderborn: Schöningh (UTB)

Detailed expert views are to be found in:


Thomas, Michael, Reinders, Hajo & Warschauer, Mark (eds.). (2012). Contemporary
computer-assisted language learning. London & New York: Bloomsbury Contem-
porary Linguistics Series.
Of particular interest: chap. 9: Language learning in virtual worlds: research and
practice (pp. 159ff.) and chap. 18: Task-based language teaching and CALL (pp.
341ff.).
8 Successful learners

8.1 Learning styles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .144

8.2 Learning models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .146

8.3 Motivation and interest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .153

8.4 Digital natives and computer competence . . . . . . . . . . . . .157

The chapter deals with the most influential learner variables. In 8.1 some
important features of learning styles are described such as field depend-
ence vs. field independence and the coordinate work of the brain hem-
ispheres. A three-step model of learning that leads from knowledge to
deep networked concepts is completed by the best known learning tax-
onomies (8.2). Motivation and interest are further learner characteristics
that deserve description and explanation (8.3). In order to correspond to
recent KMK requirements (Education in the digital world) the presumed
and desired computer competences of digital natives are presented and
discussed (8.4).
144 Successful learners

8 Successful learners
8.1 Learning styles

Since ancient times pedagogues and philosophers have been interested in


finding out how individuals learn. The learning style of a person is often la-
beled as cognitive style. It describes the characteristic mode of a person in
dealing with perception and intellectual activities. The term describes indi-
vidual differences in a way a learner deals with information and experience
(see also Witkin et al. 1971). Even though research into individual differenc-
es was intensified during the second half of the 20th century, a reliable de-
scription of learning styles does not exist.
The lack of a valuable theory is caused by several difficulties that most
scholars encounter when researching into learning styles: There is no the-
oretical framework to base their studies on. Even when the scope is limited
to one field such as FLT many problems persist. Furthermore, it is not at all
easy to design instruments for data collection. The often used questionnaires
have shown insufficient for empirical studies that correspond to the criteria
of objectivity, validity and reliability. A further difficulty consists in the com-
parison of data across individuals, groups and cultures.
In the past, from Humboldt to the behaviorists, many philosophers, lin-
guists and educational practitioners presented their ideas and findings, so
that Frank Coffield et al. (2004a) refer to at least seventy-one different mod-
els (see 2.2 Recommended Reading). With few exceptions, these models are
bipolar, i.e. they describe a particular learning style in contrast to its oppo-
site. An often mentioned opposition is that between field dependence and
field independence. The British Council describes the difference in the fol-
lowing way:
In the field-dependent/independent model of cognitive or learning style,
a field-independent learning style is defined by a tendency to separate de-
tails from the surrounding context. It can be compared to a field-depend-
ent learning style, which is defined by a relative inability to distinguish
detail from other information around it. Theorists define these two cog-
nitive styles in terms of how they are psychologically different – which
makes this a useful model for teachers trying to understand their learners.
Successful learners 145

Example
Field-independent learners tend to rely less on the teacher or other learn-
ers for support.

In the classroom
Activities such as extensive reading and writing, which learners can carry
out alone, are useful for field-independent learners.
https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/field-independent-learners; last
accessed July 2017

Since the time of the Grammar-Translation-Method and the Audiolingual/


Audiovisual Methods (see 1.1; 5.1) bipolar models for FLT and TEFL suc-
ceed one another. Well-known oppositions of learning styles are:
• field dependence vs. field independence
• right-brainers vs. left-brainers
• holists vs. serialists (globalists vs. analysts)
• data-gatherers vs. rule-formers
• impulsivity vs. reflexivity
• ambiguity-tolerance vs. ambiguity-intolerance

Concrete examples taken from TEFL classrooms show that these learning
styles never quite occur in pure form. If at all, their occurrence to a high-
er or lower degree could be placed on a scale. Furthermore, most learners,
based on the respective task or activity, recur to different cognitive styles.
Summarizing the above mentioned difficulties to create a valid and reliable
model of learning styles, many researchers, especially in the field of FLT (e.g.
Tönshoff 2010) are skeptical about its feasibility and usefulness. They com-
plain that the extension of the term to quite different aspects such as phys-
ical environment, neurolinguistic issues, psychological, cultural, sociological
and biological factors has degraded its meaning to a cover term for anything
that refers to learning processes.
With regards to the DISTAR Programs (see 2.3) students evaluating the
effectiveness of the materials often stated that they are not following a par-
ticular learning style, but that they try out possibly different forms of learn-
ing.
Should foreign language teachers ignore the concept of learning styles
at all? How could they deal with it in classroom practice? An above men-
tioned opposition, i.e. right-brainers vs. left-brainers, persisted in foreign
language pedagogy for a very long time. The reason may be that it seemed
146 Successful learners

out of reach for teachers. It was thought to be an innate mode that teach-
ers with whatever approaches, strategies and techniques could not influence.
Right-brainers were supposed to proceed intuitively and globally, whereas
left-brainers advance step-by-step and prefer relying on guidance and rules.
This differentiation is not at all underpinned by research findings. According
to recent scientific results, the working mechanisms of the two hemispheres
differ somehow, but they do not exclude each another (see also for the fol-
lowing De Florio-Hansen 2014a, 53–58).
After revising more than seventy models, Coffield and his team (2004a,
2004b) come to the conclusion that the cognitive style of a person is nei-
ther innate nor invariable. There is empirical evidence that learning styles
are adapted to the task or activity at hand. This adaptation to the context
occurs with so-called visual and/or auditive learning types, too. Confront-
ed with different tasks the same learner relies more on the right or more on
the left hemisphere. In general however, with most learning activities both
hemispheres of the brain are involved. Therefore scientists propagate a so
called whole-brain model and claim that tasks should refer to possibly differ-
ent functions of the brain in a global or holistic way.

Every person can use every learning style and should do this. Taking in-
ternationalization and globalization into account, most people are con-
fronted with problems of increasing complexity already at present times
and much more in the future. Multiple attitudes and various process-
ing modes are necessary in order to cope with affordances of life. That is
why teachers of EFL, too, should prepare their students through appropri-
ate activities to include the learning styles they use less. Moreover, they
should introduce their learners to meta-cognitive strategies that deal with
learning processes and invite them to apply these strategies on their own.
In what way do these suggestions differ from former approaches? Did
or do teachers not use different modes together when presenting the same
content? The task of teachers does not consist in exposing their learners
to a series of explanations or examples so that every student can pick out
the one or two that fit best for him or her. Teachers are challenged to con-
ceive presentations and activities that invite all learners to apply the same
different learning modes.
Successful learners 147

TEFL Example
Petty (22009, 35f.) presents an example that can be transferred to TEFL class-
rooms. The teacher plans and prepares a lesson about the interpretation of
a short story or a short narrative. The students should identify themselves
with some of the main characters and, based on their intuition, find out the
main topics of the story. In teams of two or groups of four learners then dis-
cuss the meaning and the relevance of single events and present their results
in plenary. This procedure planned by the teacher refers almost exclusively
to the right hemisphere of the brain.
In order to implement the whole-brain model the teacher plans and pre-
pares an additional activity that refers more to the left hemisphere. He or
she does not do so in order to include the left-brainers but to give all stu-
dents the opportunity to apply possibly more than one learning style. What
could such a task look like? Every learner receives one of four possible in-
terpretations of the story in form of a worked example. Students with the
same interpretation work together confronting the positions of the received
interpretation with the text. In the final discussion in plenary the students
present text passages in favor or against a certain interpretation. Beyond the
changed learning perspectives the students learn that often more than one
interpretation of the same story may exist.

8.2 Learning models

In order to plan and evaluate lessons or teaching units we need learning


models. In this context Helmke (42012, 18) explains that without knowing
the processes occurring in class it is quite impossible to teach in a way that
leads to successful learning. Only with reference to learning processes teach-
ing strategies and techniques can be implemented and empirically analyzed.
In the following the most relevant learning models regarding FLT and TEFL
are described and illustrated.
148 Successful learners

A multifaceted procedure of utmost importance consists of the progres-


sive transformation of surface knowledge into cross-linked concepts.
Knowledge is only the first step. We all know from our own experience
that facts learned by heart for some sort of test are quite often forgotten
after a short period of time. Facts have to be linked to concrete concepts.
For this reason introductions into self-determined learning often denomi-
nated learning to learn prove ineffective if they are not linked to facts and
concepts of particular subject matters (Felten & Stern 2012).

The starting point of competence development is reproducible knowledge.


Many researchers show that a great number of learners do not reach be-
yond this first learning step, i.e. surface knowledge. Many times the reason
for limited progress is to be found in the form of tests and other achieve-
ment evaluations that focus only on surface knowledge. Why should stu-
dents make much effort to go beyond what is expected from them?
The second step consists of finding out the importance of the learning
content. At that point a personal interpretation of the content is indispensa-
ble. In order to store the content in memory, students must form a concept.
But that is not enough. Many teachers think that when students show un-
derstanding of the concept, it will be available for a long time. But after the
creation of a concept deeper learning processes have to be initiated.
In the third step learners have to relate the newly learned concept to con-
cepts they already dispose of and to learning experiences they made in dif-
ferent contexts. This also means to transform existing concepts in order to
make the network fit together. Teachers promote this form of networking by
offering the possibility to deal with the respective content in other thought
provoking contexts and at different intervals. Small-group work has proved
particularly effective when it comes to this third step.
As we have seen, every form of learning depends on construction pro-
cesses. Appropriate explanations and activities conceived by the teacher help
learners to construe these processes and to make the necessary connections
between concepts they already dispose of. But the differentiation between
surface, deep and conceptual knowledge is not sufficient. What we need are
models that explain in what way deeper learning processes occur and can be
improved.
Successful learners 149

Until there is no better theory, we take the following model as a start-


ing point. In general thinking is a pre-lingual experience; it occurs in the so-
called mentalese. This language of thought is represented in the mind with-
out words (see also for the following Petty 22009). The language of thought
plays an important role when different concepts are linked together. “The
modules of the mind communicate with each other in mentalese too” (idem,
9). There are important facts that underscore the existence of this language
of thought: Quite often we have a clear understanding of something without
being able to verbalize it. Or we remember facts read in the newspaper or a
book, but we cannot repeat the exact wording.

In order to construe meaning, information that reaches the short-term (or


working) memory is transformed into mentalese (see also Marzano 1998)
(see 2.2). A construct is formed, i.e. a small network of communicating
brain cells. This construct is developed into a concept when we arrive at
linking it with a term of a spoken language, mostly the mother tongue.
The elaborated and developing concepts are connected with each anoth-
er and with the already existing knowledge of the individual learner. In
order to reach this deep learning reflection an repeated contact with the
learning content is necessary. Only after various encounters the concept is
stored in long-term memory.

Teachers can promote these processes by proceeding from mere reproduc-


tion tasks to reasoning activities that provoke students’ thought processes.
These reasoning activities gradually develop from simple reasoning tasks to
challenging reasoning tasks (Petty 22009). They can be furthered by reason-
ing questions which more capable students often ask themselves, e.g. Why
does it occur this way? What would happen, if …? How could this be imple-
mented in everyday or professional life?
From this or similar models result learning taxonomies of educational
objectives. A taxonomy is a classification system thought to define and dis-
tinguish different levels of human cognition. For decades the dominant tax-
onomy was that of Benjamin Bloom (first published in 1956). It is divided
into six different levels:
150 Successful learners

Table 1: Bloom‘s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives for Knowledge-Based Goals

1. KNOWLEDGE Recall, or recognition of terms, ideas, procedure, theories, etc.

Translate, interpret, extrapolate, but not see full implications or


2. COMPREHENSION
transfer to other situations, closer to literal translation.

Apply abstractions, general principles, or methods to specific


3. APPLICATION
concrete situations.

Separation of a complex idea into its constituent parts and an


understanding of organization and relationship between the
4. ANALYSIS
parts. Includes realizing the distinction between hypothesis
and fact as well as between relevant and extraneous variables.

Creative, mental construction of ideas and concepts from mul-


5. SYNTHESIS tiple sources to form complex ideas into a new, integrated, and
meaningful pattern subject to given constraints.

To make a judgment of ideas or methods using external evi-


6. EVALUATION dence or self-selected criteria substantiated by observations or
informed rationalizations.

http://teaching.uncc.edu/best-practice/goals-objectives/blooms-educational-objectives; last
accessed August 2017

As time went by, Bloom’s taxonomy was more and more criticized because
the first three levels represent forms of knowledge whereas level 4 to 6 de-
scribe forms of knowledge acquisition. Lorin W. Anderson and David R.
Krathwohl (2001) transformed Bloom’s taxonomy into four knowledge levels:
1. factual knowledge (Faktenwissen), 2. conceptual knowledge (konzeptuelles
Wissen), procedural knowledge (prozedurales Wissen) and 4. meta-cognitive
knowledge (metakognitives Wissen). Despite this revision the taxonomy lost
its dominant position (see also the critique of Hattie 2009, 26ff.).

The above described model from knowledge to linked concepts consists es-
sentially of three steps:
1. In the brain knowledge is transformed into a construct in mentalese,
the language of thought.
2. A concept is formed out of this construct when the learner arrives at
connecting the construct with a term of a spoken language.
3. Then the newly learned concept has to be linked to related concepts
stored in the student’s brain. During these processes the already exist-
ing concepts are adapted in order to constitute a more or less coherent
network.
Successful learners 151

A learning framework that corresponds to these three steps or phases of


learning is the SOLO-Taxonomy. SOLO stands for Structure of the Observed
Learning Outcome (Struktur der beobachteten Lernergebnisse). John B. Biggs
and Kevin F. Collis (1982) developed this taxonomy for vocational educa-
tion. They were looking for evidence of learning progress and quality when
students are engaged in tasks that require deeper and critical thinking. Fur-
thermore, they aimed at fixing distinguishable quality levels of learning in
order to elaborate a taxonomy. With this goal in mind, they did not proceed
by observation and questionnaires, but analyzed a great amount of student
work. Biggs and Collis found evidence that the ‘structure’ of the written stu-
dent work is decisive for the quality of learning. The following description of
the five levels of the SOLO-Taxonomy is transposed to an example of TEFL.
The tasks of the learners consist in giving opinions and taking position on
wearing school uniforms:
1. prestructural (prästruktural): A student describes when and where he
was confronted with school uniforms for the first time, i.e. during a
school partnership with a small school in the English south. Another
student analyzes in detail the illustrations and descriptions of school
uniforms in the textbook used in class. Both students did not under-
stand the sense of the task.
2. unistructural (unistruktural): Some students describe one single aspect
of the instruction to wear a school uniform. They enrich their pro or
con with preselected arguments.
3. multistructural (multistruktural): A number of students describe more
than one aspect but do not relate the aspects to one another.
4. relational (relational): The written work of learners at that level is clas-
sified by Biggs and Collis as relational, i.e. relating and comparing the
aspects. The students mention single points, e.g. group pressure, the
greed for profit of some designers as well as the feeling of shared identi-
ty and pride to go to a well-known school. Moreover, they weigh them
up against each other. The students’ remarks and comments however re-
main limited to the special task.
5. extended abstractum (erweitertes Abstraktum): The learners of the
highest level can somehow be considered as experts. First, they discuss
the pros and cons of school uniforms as at level 4. But they exceed this
discussion by reflecting, for example, what consequences the introducti-
on of school uniforms would have in German schools, e.g. for students
from migrant families, and/or they think about the effects that the pre-
scription to wear such a uniform would have in poor African regions.
152 Successful learners

The following graphic adaptation of the SOLO-Taxonomy by Petty (22009,


22) shows well the respective brain networking and the learners’ perspectives
on the topic – represented through eye-glasses – at the different levels.

Figure 6: The SOLO-Taxonomy (Pletty 2009, 22)

In what way can teachers and learners profit form the SOLO-Taxonomy
in TEFL classrooms? Which concrete consequences can we deduce from
this learning model? The above example makes clear that starting from
level two, the following steps build on one another. Level 4, for exam-
ple, includes the levels 2 and 3. For teachers it is not difficult to plan and
design more and more demanding activities possibly with the participa-
tion of the students. Simple unistructural formats can be complement-
ed by more and more complex tasks so that the activities lead to deeper
and conceptual learning. Sometimes it is useful to start from the outcome:
Teachers provide their learners with worked examples that are grad-
ed from unistructural to relational. Then the students have to find out in
what ways written examples of a lower level differ from those of a high-
er level.
Successful learners 153

Probably not all students will reach level 4 and level 5, and with most stu-
dents the learning progression is not linear, but shows advances and regres-
sions. But if given enough support and time on task, also less gifted students
will go beyond level two. In any case the SOLO-Taxonomy invites education-
al practitioners to keep additional forms of thinking and learning in mind.

8.3 Motivation and interest

As with all features of teaching and learning there have been various at-
tempts during the past centuries to find out what motivates an individual to
dedicate itself to certain subject matters or fields of interest. Why are certain
students motivated to learn foreign languages whereas others in the same
learning context remain more or less indifferent toward L2 knowledge, skills
and attitudes? Since the 1950s the scientific endeavors to define motivation
and to determine its main characteristics have notably increased. From the
outset research into motivation and interest is aggravated by several factors:
Motivation is merely individualistic, it cannot be directly observed, it is not
limited to learning in schools and there is an always increasing number of
related disciplines such as anthropology, psychology and sociology that pres-
ent theories and models of motivation.
Even though many educationalists and foreign language teachers are
convinced that motivational aspects – beside (language) learning aptitude –
are determining factors in TEFL classrooms, they are quite skeptical when
it comes to certain theories. Most of the models elaborated up to now con-
tain some truth, but cover only a minimal part of what motivates one stu-
dent more and the other one less to dedicate him- or herself to the study of
foreign languages.
A well-known socio-psychological differentiation is that between integra-
tive and instrumental motivation. A student with an integrative motivation
has a positive attitude toward the native speakers and other users of the L2,
in our case English. He or she wants to “integrate” to a certain point into the
native speaker community. An instrumental motivation starts from the per-
spective that the L2 may be an important tool in the professional sector, e.g.
when applying for a job. For a long time integrative motivation was seen as
the better one because of its non-utilitarian aims. Instrumental motivation
was regarded as inferior as it seems to refer to less valuable (idealistic) out-
comes. When researchers found out that instrumentally motivated learners
154 Successful learners

did perform at least as well as those determined by integrative motivation,


this distinction lost a great part of its influence. Anyway, it is always diffi-
cult to separate the two motivational aspects from one another. What about
someone who tries to perfect his English because he wants to live and work
in Great Britain for two years in order to get better insights into the work-
ing life in the UK?
Another valuable distinction is not really completely different from the
differentiation into integrative and instrumental motivation, i.e. the classical
divide into extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Extrinsically motivated learn-
ers depend on any type of rewards, also on grading. In addition they often
dispose of an instrumental motivation learning and perfecting their English
to get a better paid job. Intrinsically motivated students learn English be-
cause they are interested in the language, the people and their cultures. They
prove interest and joy. Therefore their motivation is not far away from what
is denominated integrative.
Some scholars see interest as an important motivational factor. In an ar-
ticle entitled The Relation of Interest to the Motivation of Behavior: A Self-De-
termination Theory Perspective (published in 2002), Edward L. Deci explains
the overall importance of interest:
In self-determination theory, interest is also closely linked to intrinsic mo-
tivation, though more generally it is linked to all self-determined action.
In self-determination theory, interest is conceptualized as the core affect
of the self – the affect that relates one’s self to activities that provide the
type of novelty, challenge, or aesthetic appeal that one desires at that time.
Thus, interest is primarily linked to intrinsically motivated activities but
can become associated with extrinsically motivated activities to the ex-
tent that their regulation has been integrated with one’s intrinsic self (Deci
2002, 45).

What can we deduce from all these differentiations for TEFL classroom
practice? Motivation is a longer lasting characteristic than interest, but
nevertheless motivational aspects can change over time. Even though
teachers always have to engage in motivating their students, they can state
that it is more difficult to change the motivational aspects of an individu-
al learner than to attract attention and provoke interest for reading a par-
ticular work of literature or to cooperate in a project. A further useful
distinction is that motivation and interest can be global, situational and
task-related. In the study of 2009 Hattie indicates for student motivation
Successful learners 155

an effect size of d = 0.48 (rank 51). When we consider the role of feed-
back (d = 0.73, rank 10), which is closely connected with motivation, the
possibilities of teachers to influence motivational factors are often under-
estimated.

So what can teachers of English as a foreign language do about their learn-


ers’ motivation and interest? Two main factors determine the engagement
of the students. On the one hand the learning objective must make sense to
them; they must attribute a value to the goal. They have to find positive an-
swers for themselves to questions like: In what sense can I profit from what
is being learned for my present life and/or my professional future? What
does the particular content mean in the world in which we live? On the
other hand, if they attribute a value to the learning content, they must be
convinced that they really can reach the objective. A simple formula demon-
strates the interrelatedness between the two preconditions:

Motivation = value of the targeted goal x expectancy of reaching the goal


If students do not attribute any value to the targeted objective, it does not
matter if they are convinced that they might reach it. The above formula is
not an addition, but a multiplication task. If one of the multipliers is zero,
the result is zero. Students may have a high estimation of the targeted ob-
jective; if they are not convinced that they can reach it in a reasonable time,
their motivation again equals zero (Petty 22009, 41).

The formula is a twofold challenge for teachers. They have to convince their
learners of the value of the objectives and, at the same time, spread confi-
dence that their students can reach the targeted goals.
How can teachers convince their students of the targeted goals?
• First of all, the goals and objectives chosen on the basis of the curric-
ulum must be meaningful and interesting for the learners and in rela-
tion to their life context.
• As times goes by, teachers should illustrate step-by-step the values of
the specific subject matter, i.e. TEFL, for learners’ lives even if the stu-
dents do not identify with those at once.
• Learning processes have to be ideated in order to correspond to the
students’ needs for recognition and appreciation, as well as for social
belonging (Maslow 1970). (De Florio 2016, 108)
156 Successful learners

In what ways can teachers promote positive expectancies with regards to


learning success? To answer this question the comprehensive research activi-
ties of Carol S. Dweck are most useful. She and her team carried out repeat-
edly and over a long period of time studies in order to find out what moti-
vates individual learners. According to Dweck students can be subdivided
into two groups each of 40 %. The rest of 20 % cannot be classified. Accord-
ing to Dweck (2012) we have mostly to deal with the following two groups:

• The first group consists of children and adolescents convinced that in-
telligence and aptitude for a subject matter (e.g. mathematics, science,
or foreign languages) are innate, and that these cannot be much influ-
enced by learning and effort. That is what Dweck calls a fixed mindset.
• The students of the second group believe that achievement can be im-
proved by learning; That is, these learners think that learning efforts
can alter innate dispositions in a positive way. In the terminology of
Dweck, this is a growth mindset. (De Florio 2016, 109; see also for the
following)

Students of the first group are sometimes imprisoned in a vicious circle.


They avoid situations that make them seem less intelligent than their class-
mates. Therefore they often refuse any help because they do not want oth-
ers to notice their inability. They try to rest in their comfort zone. As time
goes by, this attitude leads to increasing knowledge deficits. Learners with a
fixed mindset take the bad grading of the teacher as proof for their (partial)
inability. As one of the remedies for a fixed mindset Dweck proposes the
analysis of biographies of famous and important personalities with learning
problems (Dweck 2012).
According to the U.S. American scientist teachers should spread the con-
fidence that all learners, even those with a fixed mindset, can improve if they
renounce to rest at the status quo and make the necessary efforts. Dweck
keeps repeating that teachers should modify their practice of praise (see also
Timperley 2013). General praise such as ‘very well done’ should be replaced
by forms that lead to a growth mindset.
We’ve done a long series of studies now with all ages of kids and we’ve
seen that praising intelligence backfires. It puts them in a fixed mindset
and not want challenges [sic]. They don’t want to risk looking stupid or
risk making mistakes. Kids praised for intelligence curtail their learning in
Successful learners 157

order to never make a mistake, in order to preserve the label you gave to
them. (http://www.intelltheory.com/dweck.shtml; link: Interview with Dr.
Dweck; last accessed August 2017)

Learners are disposed to engage even in more difficult or complicated tasks


and to pursue them, if they are praised for their effort, their strategies and
their concentration. In the same interview Dweck specifies praising students:
Students praised for the process they engage in – their effort, their strat-
egies, their focus, their perseverance – these kids take on hard tasks and
stick with them, even if they make lots of mistakes. They learn more in
the long run. (http://www.intelltheory.com/dweck.shtml; link: Interview
with Dr. Dweck; last accessed August 2017)

For foreign language teachers, especially those of English spoken all over the
whole world, it is undoubtedly easier to convince their students of the value
of the content to be learned, than to reassure them that they can reach the
targeted objectives. Newer research findings help students develop a positive
attitude toward their own learning success.

8.4 Digital natives and computer competence

The term digital natives is often used for children and young people
grown up during the age of digital technology presuming that they have
immediate contact with digital tools such as laptops or smart phones.
As they were exposed to the new technologies from an early age they
are supposed to be familiar with computers, the internet and social me-
dia. The denomination digital natives goes back to Marc Prensky (2001a,
2001b). He is convinced that educational deficits in the USA at the end of
the 20th century were caused by a generation gap between digital natives
and digital immigrants, people born before 1980. The so-called digital di-
vide with all its real and presumed consequences seems to depend on the
date of birth. But are all children and adolescents born after 1980 really
computer savvy? The term needs several clarifications.

First, not all born digital have had access to the respective technology since
infancy. The decisive factor is not the date of birth, but the regular interac-
tion with digital tools. Second, even if the so-called digital natives had ac-
158 Successful learners

cess to and made use of digital technology that does not automatically imply
that they used them with greater competence than the digital immigrants.
Third, the assumption that digital natives think differently and process infor-
mation in other ways than individuals born before 1980 is not supported by
research even though it is frequently repeated.
Furthermore, the term digital immigrants does not take into account that
many people born before the digital age were the inventors, designers and
first users of digital technology. A great number of the so-called digital im-
migrants show a deeper knowledge and understanding of digital technology
than young people. Children and adolescents often make a quite superficial
use of the respective tools without a more comprehensive understanding of
their place in society. The digital divide is based on cultural differences and
not determined by age. The researcher Henry Jenkins states in 2007: “Part of
the challenge of this research is to understand the dynamics of who exact-
ly is, and who is not, a digital native and what that means.” A further differ-
entiation – particularly useful for teachers – states that there are huge differ-
ences between digital natives themselves.
It is necessary to promote research that grasps that not all Digital Natives
are equal. Each context will have certain norms by which digital nativity
is understood and experienced. Dismantling the universal Digital Native
and considering contextualized Digital Native identities might also help us
move away from speaking of the Digital Native as a necessarily elite pow-
er-user of technology and understand the identity as a point of departure
from earlier technology-mediated identities within those contexts. (Shah
& Abraham 2009, 26)

So what competences should students dispose of in the digital age? What


abilities or qualifications can teachers expect of digital natives? What com-
puter competences should teachers in TEFL classrooms promote?
The construct of computer- and information-related competences of the
aforementioned ICILS-study of 2013 (see 7.3) is based on the following as-
pects (ICILS 2014, 89ff.):

Part 1: gathering and organizing information


1.1 disposition of knowledge how to use a computer
1.2 search for information and its evaluation
1.3 elaboration of information and its organization
Successful learners 159

Part 2: creating information and sharing it


2.1 transforming of information
2.2 creating information
2.3 communicating and sharing information
2.4 using information in save ways

These useful competence components are the basis of an appropriate use of


digital media in FLT, but they have to be completed.
The Niedersächsischer Bildungsserver (NIBIS) has published a detailed
overview of computer competences or rather components of competences in
order to give the students better opportunities in their actual lives and their
future professional contexts. The overall aim of the following specification is
to create and foster understanding and competent use of computer systems
such as personal computers, smartphones and software tools.

  Basis Vertiefung Ergänzung


  Die Schülerinnen und Schüler ...
• beschreiben die Hard- • erläutern verschiedene • benennen die Be-
warekomponenten Kenngrößen deutung von Trei-
eines Computers und einzelner Hard- bersoftware für den
ihre Funktionen. warekomponenten. Betrieb spezieller Hard-
• beschreiben das Prin- • erläutern die Bedeu- warekomponenten. 
Aufbau von zip der Eingabe, Verar- tung von Betriebs-
Computer- beitung und Ausgabe system und Anwen-
systemen (EVA-Prinzip). dungsprogrammen bei
• erläutern die Funkti- Computersystemen.
onsweise von verschie- • benennen die Unter-
denen Arten von Ein- schiede zwischen den
und Ausgabegeräten. Lizenzmodellen für
Software.
• benennen verschiede- • erläutern Möglichkei- • erläutern Codierungs-
ne Arten von Speicher- ten, Sicherheitskopien verfahren für Bilddaten.
medien und Speicher- anzulegen. • erläutern einfache
orten und erläutern die • benennen die Unter- Verfahren der Daten-
Unterschiede. schiede in Dateigröße kompression, z. B.
• erläutern Prinzipien und Qualität von ver- Lauflängenkodierung.
der Verwaltung von schiedenen Dateifor-
Speichern
Dateien. maten für Bilder, Musik
von Daten
• wenden Operationen oder Videos.
zur Dateiverwaltung • erläutern die Vor- und
zielgerichtet an. Nachteile verlustfreier
• ordnen gängigen Da- und verlustbehafteter
teiendungen ihre Da- Kompression von
teitypen und passende Daten.
Anwendungen zu.
160 Successful learners

  Basis Vertiefung Ergänzung


• gestalten Texte unter • erstellen Textdokumen- • erstellen Inhalts-
Verwendung verschie- te unter Verwendung verzeichnisse unter
Textver- dener Formatierungen von Formatvorlagen. Verwendung entspre-
arbeitung und eingebetteter   chender Funktionen
Objekte. der Textverarbeitungs-
software.
• gestalten Präsentatio- • überprüfen anhand • erstellen Dokumente
nen unter Verwendung eines selbst erstellten unter Verwendung von
verschiedener Forma- medialen Produkts Auszeichnungsspra-
tierungen und einge- rechtliche Aspekte der chen, z. B. HTML und
Präsentation betteter Objekte. Veröffentlichung. CSS.
• erstellen zielgruppen-
orientierte Präsentatio-
nen unter Verwendung
geeigneter Software.
• bearbeiten und ver- • erläutern, wie Farben • erläutern den Unter-
fremden Fotos und mithilfe des RGB- und schied zwischen Pixel-
Grafiken mit einer des CMYK-Modells und Vektorgrafiken.
Bildbearbeitungssoft- dargestellt werden. • erstellen Filme / Trick-
Bild- ware. • nutzen verschiedene filme mit geeigneter
bearbeitung Ebenen beim Bearbei- Software.
ten von Grafiken.
 
• benennen Eigentums-
rechte an digitalen
Werken und das Recht
am eigenen Bild.

http://www.nibis.de/nibis.php?menid=6837; last accessed August 2017

When we compare this overview with the list of competences discussed in


the KMK strategy-paper Education in the Digital World we find notable co-
incidences even so the order and the division are different (see 7.3). The
above extract of the Ministry paper focuses more than the KMK on techni-
cal abilities. As these are indispensable for the use of digital tools in TEFL
classrooms, teachers cannot pretend that other subject matters provide the
students with the necessary knowledge and skills. It is up to teachers of
English to adapt and integrate the above competences into their particular
teaching and learning contexts.

Conclusion
During the past two decades scientific research caused major changes in
the perception of student’s learning styles. Empirical findings show that
learning styles are neither innate nor unchangeable. On the contrary, stu-
dents themselves adapt their learning behavior to the task at hand and
Successful learners 161

aim at trying out different learning styles. Therefore teachers have to plan
and to propose activities that invite their students to recur to a number of
learning strategies.
A dominant learning model focuses on the progressive transforma-
tion of reproducible surface knowledge into interrelated concepts. To ar-
rive at a reliable concept students first form a construct in the language of
thought (Mentalese) which they transform into a new concept. that has to
be linked to concepts already existing in the student’s brain. Recent learn-
ing taxonomies help teachers and learners conclude the transformation
from surface knowledge into interrelated concepts.
Newer research findings distinguish between motivation and interest.
Motivation is often considered as a more stable and long-lasting individ-
ual characteristic, whereas interest is caused by the attraction of a special
task or activity. It is an important aim of purposeful teaching to help stu-
dents to overcome their lack of motivation, caused by a fixed mindset, in
order to develop a growth mindset.
The term digital natives is as questionable as the denomination digital
immigrants. The group of so-called digital natives is by no means homog-
enous. They have different access to digital tools and use them quite dif-
ferently. On the other hand, digital prove often more competent and re-
flective in the use of newer technologies. It is up to the teachers of EFL to
choose and integrate the necessary computer knowledge, skills and atti-
tudes into to their respective teaching and learning contexts.

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. Read the introduction (p. 1) and the paragraphs entitled Credible (pp.
6–7) and Story (pp. 9–10) published by Heath, Chip & Heath, Dan
(2010): Teaching that sticks.
http://heathbrothers.com/download/mts-teaching-that-sticks.pdf (last
accessed August 2016)
Find concrete examples of TEFL that correspond to the suggestions of
the Heath brothers.

2. Formulate some praises in English that correspond to Dweck’s re-


quests. What should you not say? What should you say instead?
162 Successful learners

3. In the computer competence overview of NIBIS (see 8.4) under the


heading ‘text processing’ it reads: (Students) create texts using diffe-
rent formatting and embedded objects.
Create one or two TEFL lessons or units in which you concretize
these competence components.

Recommended Reading
The following article puts learning styles to the test:
Looß, Maike (2001). Lerntypen? – Ein pädagogisches Konstrukt auf dem Prüfstand.
In: Die Deutsche Schule 93/2, 186–198.

Sousa, David A. (42011). How the brain learns. Thousand Oaks: Corvin.
The author describes in detail how people learn. Worthwhile for every teacher
is chapter 2: How the Brain Processes Information (pp. 41–81). Chapter high-
lights according to Sousa (p. 41) are:
This chapter presents a modern dynamic model of how the brain deals
with information from the senses. It covers behavior of the two tempo-
rary memories, the criteria for long-term storage, and the impact of the
self-concept on learning.

The reader-friendly book contains several practitioner’s corners at the end of


each chapter.
In 2011 Sousa published a book entitled How the ELL [English Language Learners]
Brain Learns (Thousand Oaks: Corvin).

A comprehensive overview from the perspective of neuroscience is chapter 11:


Zeitgenössische didaktische Konzepte (pp. 253–284) in the book by:
Roth, Gerhard (2012). Bildung braucht Persönlichkeit. Wie Lernen gelingt. Stuttgart:
Klatt-Cotta.

How TEFL (and other foreign languages) teachers can promote motivation and
interest is competently described by:
Dörnyei, Zoltàn (2007). Creating a Motivating Classroom Environment. In: Cum-
mins, Jim & Davison, Chris (eds.). International Handbook of English Language
Teaching. Vol. 2. New York: Springer, 719–731.

C. Dweck describes what teachers (parents and coaches) may do in order to


lead children and adolescents to a growth mindset:
Dweck, Carol (2007). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. London: Ballanti-
ne Books; chapter 7: Parents, Teachers, and Coaches. Where do Mindsets come
from?, 177–222.
9 Being a better teacher

9.1 Teaching styles and subjective theories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .164

9.2 Fundamental preconditions: classroom


management and classroom climate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .170

9.3 A major challenge: inclusion and heterogeneity . . . . . . .175

In 9.1 newer models of teaching styles are presented and their pros and
cons are discussed. With the advent of differentiated instruction that aims
at taking possibly the learning of all students into account, teaching styles
gain more and more importance as they are the overall means to enhance
learning. Research into teaching styles and subjective theories in form of
questionnaires and interviews promote self-evaluation of pre- and in-ser-
vice teachers.
Before being able to fully display their particular teaching style to
guarantee the best learning outcomes of their students, teachers have to
think about and deal with two important preconditions (9.2): classroom
management and classroom climate, i.e. the creation of a positive learning
atmosphere. As English is not only the objective of instruction, but also
the means for communication, it is challenging to achieve appropriate at-
titudes on both sides, teachers and learners.
Reasons for heterogeneity that results from multilingual and multi-
cultural settings are briefly described, and concrete suggestions for deal-
ing with inclusion and heterogeneous student populations are presented
in 9.3.
164 Being a better teacher

9 Being a better teacher


9.1 Teaching styles and subjective theories

As no two students are alike, no two teachers are alike. As every learn-
er prefers his own modes of learning, every teacher has his or her individ-
ual teaching style. Even though an accepted definition does not exist, we
can paraphrase teaching style as a particular set of teaching strategies. In
order to give an account of one’s own teaching style – this being the basis
for improvement – pre- and in-service teachers should have an idea of re-
cent developments in the field of personal teaching styles. But aren’t teach-
ing methodology and teaching styles quite similar concepts? If you think of
the numerous FLT approaches, strategies and techniques and their concrete
application by teachers of English in German classrooms, you can state that
every teacher makes his or her own use of teaching methodology. The teach-
ing style is influenced by pre- and in-service training, the personality of the
respective teacher and his or her beliefs. Furthermore, teaching experiences,
i.e. exposure to classrooms as well as state and school policies, have a nota-
ble impact on teaching modes. How did teaching style inventories emerge?
A well-known model of teaching styles dates back to Anthony F. Grasha,
a follower of Carl Gustav Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist and psychologist. In
1996 Grasha published his groundbreaking book Teaching with Style: A Prac-
tical Guide to Enhancing Learning by Understanding Teaching and Learning
Styles. Beside his overall aim expressed in the title of his publication, Gra-
sha delivers a tool that allows for evaluating the effectiveness of teachers and
other instructors. His teaching style inventory does not only permit admin-
istrators to classify effective instruction but, above all, it helps teachers (and
their students) to evaluate their classroom teaching and learning (for differ-
ent forms of feedback see chap. 14 and 15). Grasha based his inventory on
a simple classification system which is still important to know even though
it has been modified and adapted during the past two decades. In a blog of
Concordia University, Portland, Grasha’s five main teaching styles are brief-
ly described:
Expert: Similar to a coach, experts share knowledge, demonstrate their
expertise, advise students and provide feedback to improve understanding
and promote learning.
Being a better teacher 165

Formal authority: Authoritative teachers incorporate the traditional lec-


ture format and share many of the same characteristics as experts, but
with less student interaction.
Personal model: Incorporates blended teaching styles that match the best
techniques with the appropriate learning scenarios and students in an
adaptive format.
Facilitator: Designs participatory learning activities and manages class-
room projects while providing information and offering feedback to facil-
itate critical thinking.
Delegator: Organizes group learning, observes students, provides consul-
tation, and promotes interaction between groups and among individuals
to achieve learning objectives.
http://education.cu-portland.edu/blog/teaching-strategies/5-types-of-class-
room-teaching-styles/; last accessed August 2017

This overview makes clear that the simple distinction between teacher-cen-
tered and student-centered approaches falls short of effective teaching. The
multifaceted and interrelated approaches, strategies and techniques make it
impossible to classify teaching styles in simplistic ways. Moreover, not only
student-centered approaches, but also teacher-centered procedures can lead
to successful learning.
In 2013 (and updated in 2017) Eric Gill proposes a refined version of
the five teaching styles that corresponds with differentiated instruction. The
term differentiated instruction stands for keeping the needs and interests of
mostly all students in mind when planning, preparing and evaluating lessons
or teaching units. Gill explains the benefits and possible pitfalls of the five
teaching styles:
Authority, or lecture style
The authority model is teacher-centered and frequently entails lengthy
lecture sessions or one-way presentations. Students are expected to take
notes or absorb information. – This traditional, formal approach to teach-
ing is sometimes referred to as “the sage on the stage”.
• Pros: This style is acceptable for certain higher-education disciplines
and auditorium settings with large groups of students. The pure lec-
ture style is most suitable for subjects like history that necessitate
memorization of key facts, dates, names, etc.
• Cons: It is a questionable model for teaching children because there is
little or no interaction with the teacher.
166 Being a better teacher

Demonstrator, or coach style


The demonstrator retains the formal authority role while allowing teach-
ers to demonstrate their expertise by showing students what they need to
know. – This style retains the formal authority role while allowing teach-
ers to demonstrate their expertise by showing students what they need to
learn.
• Pros: This style gives teachers opportunities to incorporate a variety
of formats including lectures, multimedia presentations and demon-
strations.
• Cons: Although it’s well-suited for teaching mathematics, music, phys-
ical education, arts and crafts, it is difficult to accommodate students’
individual needs in larger classrooms.

Facilitator, or activity style


Facilitators promote self-learning and help students develop critical think-
ing skills and retain knowledge that leads to self-actualization. – This ap-
proach encourages teachers to function as advisors who help students
learn by doing.
• Pros: This style trains students to ask questions and helps develop
skills to find answers and solutions through exploration; it is ideal for
teaching science and similar subjects.
• Cons: Challenges teacher to interact with students and prompt them
toward discovery rather than lecturing facts and testing knowledge
through memorization.

Delegator, or group style


The delegator style is best-suited for curriculum that requires lab activ-
ities, such as chemistry and biology, or subjects that warrant peer feed-
back, like debate and creative writing. – This style allows teachers to guide
students in a group setting to accomplish tasks and learn what works or
doesn’t.
• Pros: Guided discovery and inquiry-based learning places the teach-
er in an observer role that inspires students by working in tandem to-
ward common goals.
• Cons: Considered a modern style of teaching, it is sometimes criti-
cized as newfangled and geared toward teacher as consultant rather
than the traditional authority figure.

Hybrid, or blended style


Hybrid, or blended style, follows an integrated approach to teaching that
blends the teachers’ personality and interests with students’ needs and
curriculum-appropriate methods. – This approach incorporates different
Being a better teacher 167

aspects of the various styles and gives teachers flexibility to tailor a per-
sonal style which is right for their coursework and students.
• Pros: Achieves the inclusive approach of combining teaching style
clusters and enables teachers to tailor their styles to student needs and
appropriate subject matter.
• Cons: Hybrid style runs the risk of trying to be too many things to all
students, prompting teachers to spread themselves too thinly and di-
lute learning.
http://education.cu-portland.edu/category/blog/teaching-strategies; posted
January 5, 2013; (pp. 1–3; 5) last accessed August 2017 (for a similar over-
view see:
https://www.innova-solutions.co.uk/news/how-effective-are-these-five-
teaching-styles/; last accessed August 2017)

Gill adds a crucial advice: “Because teachers have styles that reflect their dis-
tinct personalities and curriculum – from math and science to English and
history – it’s crucial that they remain focused on their teaching objectives
and avoid trying to be all things to all students”.
If we remember the postmethod condition (see 5.2) where teachers
could devise for themselves a systematic, coherent, and relevant alternative
to method, one informed by principled pragmatism, we note the proximi-
ty between this open-ended, coherent framework and the hybrid (or blend-
ed) style.
How does research into teaching styles proceed? In what ways can we as
teachers profit from respective surveys? A widely used survey tool for de-
scribing teaching styles is the Teaching Behavior Preferences Survey (TBPS)
first published in a study by Linda S. Behar-Horenstein et al. in 2006. She
measures teaching styles or better beliefs about teaching styles in two over-
arching domains: teacher-centered (TC) and student-centered (SC) and in
four sub-categories: methods of instruction, classroom milieu, use of assess-
ment, and use of questioning as in the following set of items (Behar-Horen-
stein et al. 2006, 852)
168 Being a better teacher

Subscale TC/SC Items


• My teaching is guided by instructional strategies.
Methods of • My teaching is guided by instructional strategies that help learners make
Instruction meaning.
• I adjust my teaching techniques based on learners‘ behaviors.
• My learning environment is efficient and highly structured.
Classroom • My learning environment encourages learners to work quietly and stay on
Milieu task.
• My learning environment is supportive and cooperative.
• I use the same assessment techniques for each objective of the lesson.
Assessment • I change assessment technique according to the lesson objectives.
• My assessment techniques are not influenced by the material I teach.
• I ask learners questions frequently to determine what they understand.
• When I ask learners questions, their answers typically require them to
Questioning provide justification.
• I ask learners questions infrequently because I believe they can synthesize
material.

Not only pre- ad in-service teachers may mark with a cross what comes
closest to their teaching style. The questionnaire items can easily be adapted
to students so that teachers receive a feedback from their learners (see chap.
14 and 15).
What about teaching styles in classrooms with great student diversi-
ty? This major challenge for today’s teachers in many societies all over the
world needs a detailed explanation and comments (see 9.2). How are teach-
ing modes influenced by the use of digital media in and outside TEFL class-
rooms? Possible answers to this important question have to be exemplified
(see 9.3).

Quite identical with the observable teaching styles is the construct of sub-
jective theories. A subjective theory is defined as the opinions and beliefs
a person holds about a certain field or domain (De Florio-Hansen 1998;
Kallenbach 1996). Individuals construct their own theories, reflect about
them and adapt them while perceiving the reality that surrounds them.
They try to explain to themselves why something is the way it is and what
it could be in the future. Until nowadays, research into subjective theories
of foreign language teachers focused mostly on more or less stable ideas
about the teaching profession. To a much lesser extent studies into subjec-
tive theories shed light on the opinions and beliefs about foreign language
teaching and learning.
Being a better teacher 169

One of the studies that deals with subjective theories of foreign language
teaching is the article entitled Mit welchen Meinungen und Einstellungen
zum Englischunterricht beginnen Studierende ihr Lehramtsstudium? by Jürgen
Quetz. During the first semester 80 students of English as a foreign language
were shown a video of a teaching sequence recorded about 25 years ago. The
video presents an ‘audio-lingual’ pattern drill. From the analysis of the notes
the students had to take and their oral comments resulted a great interest in
pedagogical topics such as classroom management, motivation, teacher-stu-
dent relationships as well as the teaching style of the teacher. Much fewer
student comments dealt with foreign language methodology, and only a few
students who focused on the teaching approach criticized the drill meth-
od. Most of them seemed in favor of grammar instruction and explicit error
correction. Quetz deduced from the results that the students developed these
non-scientific theories during their school time, i.e. their subjective theo-
ries reflect the ways they were taught English and other foreign languages at
school (Quetz 1998, 106ff.)
A prove for this theory is to be seen in the excerpt of an English lesson
(8th grade, Hauptschule) conducted by a teacher student during the obligato-
ry teaching internship. It was the first attempt at teaching of the 23 year-old
student.

T: It is now time to learn some new words you need to talk about winter
sport activities. The first one is ‘slopes’. For this word, open your book at
page 3. On this photo you can see slopes. What could the word ‘slope’
mean? For example, a little hint … You can do skiing on a slope. Do you
know the right German word?
L1: Piste.
T: Ok. You can do skiing on a slope. [chalkboard: You can do skiing on a
slope.] So, what’s the Germen expression for this sentence? [no reaction;
chalkboard: Du kannst auf einer Piste Ski fahren.] … Please copy the
word ‘slope’, ‘Piste’, and the example sentences in English and in German
in your exercise books … Ok. Now we have to learn the next word …
‘nervous’ … The next word is ‘nervous’. Ihr schreibt das erst auf, wenn
ich es sage! [please don’t copy it from the board right now, I’ll tell you
when!] … Look at my behavior, what is ‘nervous’? What could the word
‘nervous’ mean?
L2: Nervös.
T: Aha … very good …
[…]
170 Being a better teacher

Jürgen Kurtz who posted the excerpt in 2010 sees a great challenge in teach-
er-education to deal with the preconceived subjective theories of the stu-
dents. He adds:
The transcript shows how difficult it is for beginning (non-native) teach-
ers of English as a foreign language to distance themselves from what they
have experienced as foreign language learners, and to translate into prac-
tice what they are beginning to learn about CLT, TBLL, including vocabu-
lary and grammar instruction, etc. at university level. https://juergenkurtz.
wordpress.com/2010/01/03/subjective-theories-and-efl-teacher-education/;
last accessed August 2017

Teaching styles and subjective theories of pre- and in-service teachers


are not only influenced and structured by the above features. Societal
and technological developments, too, have a considerable impact on how
teachers conceive teaching and learning in today’s classrooms.

9.2 Fundamental preconditions: classroom management


and classroom climate

Classroom management comprises two premises of effective teaching and


successful learning: teacher conduct in the classroom and classroom cli-
mate, i.e. the learning atmosphere that results mostly from teacher behav-
ior. Both, teacher behavior and the resulting learning atmosphere, have an
enormous impact on students’ behavior and learning.

Jerome Freiberg underscores the importance of classroom management


which he defines as follows:
Classroom management is the gatekeeper of learning and is framed by so-
cial, cultural, instructional, and organizational contexts. It provides teach-
ers and students with the opportunity to participate and build a positive
framework of interpersonal and academic interactions. (Freiberg 2013,
228).
Being a better teacher 171

TEFL Example
In a phase of independent practice in 5th grade (first year of English) the stu-
dents are engaged in tandems with compiling a work sheet. It deals with the
vocabulary they have learned during a recent activity entitled: My favorite
digital tools. In order to keep their motivation alive, the teacher has cho-
sen appealing illustrations and emoticons for this matching exercise (Zuord-
nungsübung). Whereas most students work quite silently, a boy uses his seat
as a rocking chair, runs through the classroom, laughs and shouts. His be-
havior could not be more disruptive. The young teacher gets angry and in-
tervenes in order to reestablish the necessary working atmosphere. She re-
curs to the sign agreed upon when she wants the students to calm down and
pay attention: She puts her finger on her mouth and raises her arm above
her shoulder. All students recognize the teacher’s intentions and look at her.
Only the boy continues with his disruptive behavior as if he had not seen
the teacher’s sign. When his classmates notice that the teacher gets more and
more angry, some of them admonish him to stop and sit down. He blushes
and shows signs of a guilty conscience.
In another occasion, a teacher starts the lesson in the same class with
a short game. The boy profits from the relaxed atmosphere, makes a lot of
uncontrolled movements, laughing and shouting. At an agreed sign, all stu-
dents sit down and take out their textbooks, except the boy who continues
to move around and make noise. Immediately, the teacher admonishes him
to sit down and take out his book. She speaks loudly and calls him by his
name, but she does not display anger or personal offense. The boy recogniz-
es that he did something wrong, he seems frightened. During the rest of the
lesson he keeps more or less quiet and participates in the learning activities.
A teacher student who attends and observes this lesson comes to the
conclusion that some learners have to be admonished immediately in class
and told that their behavior is disturbing others. Moreover, the second teach-
er did not take the student’s behavior to heart and immediately clarifies her
position. Although appropriate classroom management is of utmost impor-
tance during the whole lesson, the beginning needs particular preparation:
When starting the lesson, transparency of goals, learning intentions, and
success criteria are crucial. Teaching is more effective and learning more
successful when students participate in planning and starting the lesson.
Simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions, and stories
are among the best tools at the disposal of teachers and – why not? – of
students. (De Florio 2016, 136)
172 Being a better teacher

Classroom management itself consists of two dominant aspects: the ini-


tial phase planned and prepared in advance and the management during
the lesson based on teacher reactions inspired by experience or spontane-
ous behavior. Ample research into classroom management has analyzed
the differences between prospective classroom management and active-re-
active classroom management (Wellenreuther 72014, 303–305). Although
both approaches are complementary, prospective classroom manage-
ment and active-reactive classroom management stress different aspects
of teacher conduct.

Prospective classroom management comprises rules and routines that teach-


ers make clear from the beginning of their teaching activity in a class. It
does not suffice to fix them on a poster and attach them in the classroom. It
takes a quite long time as well as various exercises and repetitions until the
majority of the learners will follow them. Concrete meaning and adherence
to the agreed upon rules have to be stressed again and again. Furthermore, it
is not sufficient to find agreements with the students. The rules and routines
have to be transmitted to parents who are much interested in discipline.
Moreover, rules and routines should be discussed at least with colleagues
that teach in the same class. The best option for smooth teaching and learn-
ing are school-wide agreements. Beside the above mentioned teacher clarity,
which in Hattie’s study is scored with d = 0.75 (rank 8 of 138 factors), pro-
spective classroom management refers to work attitude, concentration, atten-
tion, and motivation. Knowing their students, teachers are able to consider
these factors when planning and preparing a lesson or a teaching unit.
Active-reactive classroom management came to the fore with the stud-
ies of Kounin (1970) who aimed at overcoming teacher behavior that was
mainly based on sanctions and external remuneration. Active-reactive class-
room management deals with current events that arise during the lesson.
This behavior requires great social empathy and is supported by adaptive
teaching strategies such as task differentiation and scaffolding. The multiple
events that come up during the flow of lessons call for a detailed repertoire
of teacher strategies and techniques.
At that point, we shall recall ‘teacher with-it-ness’ briefly dealt with in the
context of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT, see 4.5). The term was
introduced by Kounin (1970). The relevance of the respective teacher behav-
ior, i.e. the unobtrusive omnipresence of the teacher, is underscored by re-
search of Marzano. Hattie (2009, 102) scores classroom management with
Being a better teacher 173

d = 0.52 (rank 42 of 138 factors) as he is only interested in Marzano’s me-


ta-analysis dealing with achievement. But Hattie mentions further details of
Marzano’s research into classroom management:
Marzano (2000) investigated the effects of various classroom manage-
ment processes on a number of outcomes, including achievement. The ef-
fect on achievement from well-managed classrooms was d = 0.52 and on
heightened engagement was d = 0.62. The attitudes of teachers that had
the greatest influence on ensuring well managed classrooms and reduc-
ing disruption came from having an appropriate mental set (d = 1.29) or
“with-it-ness” (d = 142) by the teacher; that is, the teacher had the ability
to identify and quickly act on potential behavioral problems, and retained
an emotional objectivity (d = 0.71). (Hattie 2009, 102)

At the beginning of 9.2 beside teacher conduct in the classroom a second


premise of effective teaching and successful learning is pointed out: the pos-
itive learning atmosphere often denominated classroom climate. The main
factor that influences on achievement – Hattie’s focus – is group cohesion
in the sense that both, teachers and students, give priority to positive learn-
ing results. Based on three meta-analyses group cohesion reaches d = 0.53
(rank 39 of 138 factors). Hattie explains that common features that contrib-
ute to group cohesion are goal directedness, positive interpersonal relation-
ships, and social support (Hattie 2009, 103). A more detailed description is
given by Jere E Brophy:

To create a climate for moulding their students into a cohesive and sup-
portive learning community, teachers need to display personal attributes
that will make them effective models and socializers: a cheerful disposi-
tion, friendliness, emotional maturity, sincerity, and care about students
as individuals as well as learners. The teacher displays concern and social-
izes them to display these same characteristics in their interactions with
one another. (Brophy 2000, 8).

Most of the above described characteristics of classroom management and


learning atmosphere don’t only refer to FLT or TEFL, but to all subject mat-
ters. What requires particular attention in foreign language classrooms is the
twofold function of English. Classroom language refers to the language used
by teachers and learners in L2 classrooms. Whereas in subject matters oth-
ers than FLT, classroom language is the means of communication between
174 Being a better teacher

teachers and learners, in TEFL classrooms English is not only the language
used in order to transmit learning content. At the same time, English is the
language to be learned. In other words: English is the means for communi-
cation and the goal of instruction. Therefore classroom management and the
creation of a favorable classroom climate is a particular challenge in FLT.
In general, there is no doubt that classroom English is modified in form
and function in comparison to authentic language used among native speak-
ers of English outside the classroom. But classroom language is also modi-
fied with regards to communication between native and non-native speakers
in real-life situations. Classroom observation schemes were used to investi-
gate the differences between language use in- and outside the classroom. A
diffused scheme in foreign language teaching is IRF introduced in the 1970s
and still found in foreign language classrooms in the 1990s:
Discourse analytic studies of classroom interactions in general identified a
specific sequence of moves to be basic to most teacher-fronted classroom
contexts (Sinclair and Coulthard 1975): Initiation (teacher) Response (stu-
dent) Feedback (teacher) (IRF). This structure was found to apply to the
language classroom as well, with the possible addition of another response
move by the student (IRF-R) […] As Ellis (1994) states: ‘Although IRF(R)
exchanges dominate [in the classroom], other kinds can be found’ 1994,
575). (Tschirner, Meerholz-Härle & Ziegler 22017, 112)

With the advent of Communicative Language Teaching often put into prac-
tice through Task-based Language Teaching or Task-supported Language
Learning, TEFL has come much closer to real-life communication. Never-
theless classroom management and the creation of a positive learning atmos-
phere are great challenges for foreign language teachers.

Whereas in the first month of learning English remarks about and discus-
sions of classroom behavior will be mostly in German in order to reach
all students, in the following time teachers have to find the right tone or
rather the right English expressions to reach possibly all students. It is the
responsibility of the teacher to prepare his own classroom language reper-
toire that is most appropriate in his learning context and corresponds best
to his or her personality. Furthermore, teachers have to prepare their stu-
dents so that they can participate in classroom behavior discussions and
propose their personal views in order to establish a classroom climate that
works best for them.
Being a better teacher 175

9.3 A major challenge: inclusion and heterogeneity

Most teachers of English as a foreign language consider cultural and lin-


guistic diversity as well as the claim for inclusion as great challenges in to-
day’s classrooms. Undoubtedly, it is more difficult to teach English in a com-
prehensive school (Gemeinschaftsschule, Gesamtschule) than in grammar
schools (Gymnasium). That this is a question of acquired habits can be seen
in school systems of other European countries such as Sweden and Finland,
where students are not selected by external differentiation at an early age.
The German school system was already confronted with similar difficulties
when English became a subject matter in all school types with the Ham-
burger Abkommen of 1964 (see 1.1, Hermes 2016). Furthermore, learning
is always a highly individual process even though didactic teaching (Frontal-
unterricht) did not take the differences among learners into sufficient ac-
count. Only with the advent of differentiated instruction teachers began to
reflect about the evident cultural and linguistic characteristics of their indi-
vidual students.

The main causes for heterogeneity in today’s classrooms can be seen in:
• social background, especially the situation of the family
• student age and individual development
• intelligence and ability
• general (previous) experiences
• (inter-/trans-)cultural experiences
• motivation
• attitude to learning
• social competences
• gender
• discipline and perseverance

During the past decades the cognitive and neuro-sciences have shed light
on the complex field of learning differences. General didactics (Allgemeine
Didaktik) has used the research results to find ways how to deal with heter-
ogeneity. FLT is still at the beginning of concrete suggestions of how to cope
with cultural and linguistic diversity as well as with different student abilities
and attitudes. The various appeals made by didacticians and practitioners to
display respect and to consider student diversity as a potential do not pro-
mote per se more effective teaching practices (Doff 2016, 4f.).
176 Being a better teacher

Sabine Doff (2016, 4) enumerates and explains the five main features
of heterogeneity that emerged in recent times in the context of TEFL. As
above she sees them in cultural and lingual differences and the great dis-
parity of ability. The third challenge for FLT according to Doff consists in
finding ways for summative feedback in mixed ability groups. Difficulties in
conceiving adequate forms of feedback could be mitigated by more interdis-
ciplinary exchange between different subject matters. Instead of paying lip
service she claims for concrete methods and measures in order to overcome
the problems that exist more or less in all subject matters and especially in
TEFL. Her fifth point refers to looking beyond the horizon, in particular be-
yond the borders of one’s own country.
As external differentiation is no longer an option we have to think about
possibilities of internal differentiation that allows for flexibility in order to
reach individual learners or at least learner groups. Maria Eisenmann pro-
poses the following specification:
Possibilities of differentiation and individualization can most commonly
be found in contexts such as:
• quantity: more or less of the same tasks; accounts for students’ pace of
work
• quality: tasks varying in their level of difficulty, e.g. for different lan-
guage levels
• goals: working for graduation; improving specific skills or abilities
• contents: different groups work on different topics according to their
interests
• methods and media: integrating students in choosing and providing
them with a variety of methods and media (traditional and new tech-
nologies)
• participatory structures: working on tasks in class, in form of group,
pair or individual work (Eisenmann 22013, 300)

These helpful suggestions have to be underpinned with teaching and learn-


ing strategies such as Reciprocal Teaching, Task-based Language Teach-
ing (TBLT)/Task-supported Language Learning (TSLL), problem- and pro-
ject-based learning and Scaffolding (see 5.2). Postmethod-theories and
hybrid/blended learning styles (see 9.1) are general options for coping with
heterogeneity in today’s TEFL classrooms with particular reference to an ap-
propriate form of intercultural learning (see chap. 12).
Being a better teacher 177

In the above quoted post of 2013 Gill in the last paragraph gives some
answers to the question: How does classroom diversity influence teachers?
For him the crucial problem is student ability:
Today’s teachers must develop instructional styles that work well in di-
verse classrooms. Effective teaching methods engage gifted students, as
well as slow-learning children and those with attention deficit tendencies.
This is where differentiated instruction and a balanced mix of teaching
styles can help reach all students in a given classroom – not just the few
who respond well to one particular style of teaching.
[…]
Knowing how to engage students begins with selecting the teaching style
that’s right for you. And remember, even though you may prefer one
teaching style over another, you must find the style that works best for
your students! Try different styles to meet different objectives, and always
challenge yourself to find ways to reach each student.
https://www.innova-solutions.co.uk/news/how-effective-are-these-five-
teaching-styles/; last accessed August 2017)

A major consequence of the challenges described is that inclusion and het-


erogeneity should be in the focus of pre- and in-service training for foreign
language teachers in general and those of English as a foreign language in
particular. Substantial proposals have existed on a European level for sever-
al years. In 2016 the European Network on Teacher Education Policies (EN-
TEP), among other initiatives, published a volume entitled Teacher Educa-
tion for Multilingual and Multicultural Settings (edited by Messner, Worek &
Peček) (see 9.4).

Conclusion
Existing style inventories – especially newer ones – help teachers to reflect
on their individual teaching modes. Although the primary focus is always
on the learner, teachers dispose of a range of personal teaching approach-
es, strategies and techniques. The more they reach teaching styles that fit
best their convictions and their personality, the better they will bridge the
gap between effective teaching and successful learning.
Classroom management and classroom climate depend on the appropri-
ate use of English by the teacher. As the foreign language is not only the
means for classroom communication but also the goals of instruction,
178 Being a better teacher

teachers have to make major efforts to reach all students and enable them
to participate in discussions about classroom behavior.
As linguistic and cultural heterogeneity is increasing in most European
countries and all over the world, teachers are challenged to include dif-
ferent student populations without neglecting their particularities, their
needs and their interests. The existing suggestions are best realized by a
hybrid (or blended) teaching style that follows the post-method condi-
tion.

Review, Reflect, Practice:


1. Why is the Hybrid (or Blended) teaching style appropriate for TEFL?
2. Tick the items in the questionnaire of Behar-Horenstein – one in
every subscale – that come closest to your subjective theories and try
to classify your (prospective) teaching style according to Eric Gill’s
scale of 2013.
3. Why are teaching styles influenced by former classroom experiences
even though many (future) teachers of foreign languages criticize the
teaching they received?
4. Why is it difficult to find the right tone regarding classroom manage-
ment and classroom climate in TEFL?
5. Enumerate and explain at least five causes for heterogeneity in today’s
German classrooms.
6. Describe the suggestions of Eisenmann to deal with heterogeneity in
your own words.

Recommended Reading
Wolfgang Biederstädt presents useful models of summative feedback and evalu-
ation in TEFL classrooms with a heterogeneous student population:
Biederstädt, Wolfgang (2016). Welche Möglichkeiten der summativen Leistungsmes-
sung im differenzierenden Englischunterricht der Sekundarstufe I gibt es? In:
Doff, Sabine (Hrsg.). Heterogenität im Fremdsprachenunterricht. Impulse – Rah-
menbedingungen – Kernfragen – Perspektiven. Tübingen: Narr (Narr Studien-
bücher), 135–151.

A good overview and practical advice for the use of Wikis in the TEFL class-
room is the article by
Grimm, Nancy (22013). Digital Media: Promise for or Threat to Education? In:
Eisenmann, Maria & Summer, Theresa (eds.). Basis Issues in EFL Teaching and
Learning. Heidelberg: Winter, 229–239.
Being a better teacher 179

Still up-to-date and demanding is the publication by Leo van Lier in which
he deals with interaction in the foreign language classroom. Read at the least
the introductory chapter (p. 1–14):
van Lier, Leo (1996). Interaction in the Language Curriculum. Awareness, Autonomy
& Authenticity. London & New York: Longman.
10 Teacher education in the digital age

10.1 Digital immigrants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .181

10.2 Pre- and in-service training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .187

10.3 KMK requirements for teaching in the digital world . . . .193

Digital immigrant is a meaningless term when it is defined only by the


date of birth before 1980. People not born digital display often a great-
er computer competence and a more critical stance toward digitization
than the so-called digital natives. In any case, teachers should be comput-
er savvier than their students with regards to most aspects and especially
to gamification (10.1). Following on that, the widely known differences in
teacher pre-service and in-service training in the Federal States of Germa-
ny are briefly presented. Modularization is described as a means of greater
transparency and homogenization of pre- and in-service teacher training.
With the aim of promoting teacher education for the digital age some of
the many reform projects on German and European level – with particu-
lar reference to TEFL – are proposed for further consideration (10.2). In
the last section (10.3) particular attention is given to the detailed descrip-
tions and explanations of digital media competences required of teachers
at all stages of their professional development by the KMK strategy paper
Education in the digital world released in 2016.
Teacher education in the digital age 181

10 Teacher education in the digital age


10.1 Digital immigrants

Digital natives vs. digital immigrants is at best a broad distinction between


today’s student body and the teaching personnel. Both denominations are
questionable and partly misleading. Within each group access to and use of
digital media are very different. There are digital immigrants who are real
adepts of digital tools whereas a greater number of the so-called digital na-
tives lack the necessary computer competence. Although many young peo-
ple born after the ‘fatidic’ date of 1980 use their smartphone and their tablet
PCs unreasonably often, people born before that date often dispose of great-
er technological competence. Furthermore, many so called digital immi-
grants make a more reflective use of digital tools as they have deeper knowl-
edge and better understanding of digital technology.
Whether a teacher, in his or her private life, is a nerd or a despiser of
digital media does not matter when it comes to teaching. In the classroom
all teachers are claimed to provide their students with the necessary knowl-
edge, skills and attitudes so that each learner can make the best individual
use of digital media in the respective subject matter. Moreover, teachers have
to overcome status- und cultural impediments regarding access to and use of
digital technologies.

In TEFL classrooms media didactics and media education are particularly


important as digital media provide information about the people and cul-
tures speaking or using the target language. Without digitization many di-
rect contacts with native and other speakers of English would not be pos-
sible. Furthermore, every student has to acquire, with the help of teachers,
a critical stance toward digitization. Beside a general reflective attitude,
specific benefits and pitfalls have to be considered.

It would be irresponsible to keep today’s and future learner generations away


from digitization as it dominates with increasing rapidity all sectors of pri-
vate and societal life. With regards to digital literacy there is a widening gap
between curriculum planners, scientists and teacher trainers on the one side
and teachers at the basis in TEFL classrooms on the other (Legutke 2008b,
80).
182 Teacher education in the digital age

In this context an important issue is the technical equipment of single


schools and even classrooms. In an Allensbach study of 2013 Digitale Medi-
en im Unterricht the experts found out that the technological equipment var-
ies a great deal between different school types. Notable differences are not
only to be stated between elementary schools and secondary schools but also
between different types of secondary schools. In comparison to grammar
schools (Gymnasium) the equipment of Haupt- and Realschulen is much
less developed. Only 29 % of Haupt- and Realschulen dispose of freely acces-
sible PC workstations whereas two thirds of grammar schools are equipped
with them. 46 % of grammar school teachers indicate to be furnished with
interactive whiteboards, whereas only 34 % of teachers of Haupt- and Re-
alschulen dispose of these boards in their classrooms.
But with the BMBF-strategy of 2016 (see 7.3) and sponsors the lack of
technological means is no longer an excuse. It is no option to remain in a
standby position waiting that digital equipment arrives automatically. Teach-
ers willing to implement media didactics and media education do well to
take the initiative, at best together with interested colleagues. Moreover, me-
dia education can be implemented and improved even without the direct ac-
cess to digital tools.
How can we bridge these gaps? In her contribution to basic issues of
TEFL Nancy Grimm states that the CEFR is of no help with regards to the
competent use of digital media:
Researching the general framework of media education on a European
level, it is noteworthy that the Common European Framework of Refer-
ence neither mentions the widely used and discussed term “media litera-
cy”, nor does it make any suggestions about how to implement and teach
media literacy with regard to the Internet. The Internet is merely suggest-
ed as a “learning resource” (CEFR, 12) with no mention of the challeng-
es posed to education or suggestions as to its critical reception. (Grimm
2
2013, 232).

Already in 1998 the KMK published directives entitled Zur Rolle der Medi-
enpädagogik insbesondere der Neuen Medien und der Telekommunikation in
der Lehrerbildung. In the third section this guide describes in detail the char-
acteristics of media pedagogical qualification (KMK 1998, 2–5). The paper
was complemented by a further guide of the KMK published in 2012: Me-
dienbildung in der Schule. That these features are implemented by teachers
only to a minimal degree shows the PhD thesis of Birgit Eickelmann pub-
lished in 2010. On the basis of empirical research the author states that one
Teacher education in the digital age 183

of the most important factors for the missed implementation of digital ed-
ucation in classrooms is to be seen in the following issue: „Curriculare Vor-
gaben zum Computereinsatz, ausgereifte Medien- und Unterrichtskonzepte
sowie Bewertungskriterien und Bewertungsformen für Schülerleistungen
fehlen“ (Eickelmann 2010, 77). In fact, even nowadays we can observe a lack
of indications with regards to computer use, a lack of well elaborated con-
cepts for teaching and learning with and about digital media, and a lack of
consistent directives and tools for evaluating students’ media competenc-
es. To foster sustainable development the single factors of Ronald Owston’s
model are to be considered partly as essential and partly as contributing
(marked with an E or a C):

Supportive plans and policies Support from outside school

C C

Funding C Sustainability of innovation C Support within school

C E

E Administrative support
Innovation champions
E
Teacher support

E E E

Teacher profession development Student support Perceived value of innovation

Figure 7: Factors contributing to sustainability (Owston 2003, 133)

What competences and competence-components should teachers of English


as a foreign language – even if they might consider themselves as digital im-
migrants – dispose of? Answers can be found when we consider the media
abilities and attitudes learners are required to have at their command. No-
body casts doubts on the fact that teachers in all domains of their subject
matter should have a great competence, in any case much more knowledge
and skills and more deeply reflected attitudes than their students.
184 Teacher education in the digital age

Teachers should not only know more about gathering and organizing in-
formation as well as creating content and sharing it than learners in 8th
grade (see the ICILS-study of 2013, 2014, 89ff.; see 7.3). They should eval-
uate to what extent they correspond to the specifications of the overview
published by NIBIS (Niedersächsischer Bildungsserver) (see 7.3). For teach-
ers of English as a foreign language this refers particularly to the storage
of data (Datenspeicherung), text processing (Textverarbeitung), presenta-
tion (Präsentation), and digital imaging (Bildbearbeitung) (http://www.
nibis.de/nibis.php?menid=6837; last accessed August 2017). But teachers
should not only be able to help their students to acquire the necessary
digital literacy. Above all, teachers should display the respective compe-
tences in their own teaching procedures so that students are motivated to
make the necessary progresses.

Undoubtedly, a great number of teachers of English as a foreign language


could improve their media competences, but it is by no means necessary to
intimidate and overcharge them with claims above reasonable objectives. An
example that is more threatening for teachers than meaningful is the publi-
cation of Jörg Dräger and Ralph Müller-Eiselt entitled Die digitale Bildungs-
revolution. Der radikale Wandel des Lernens und wie wir ihn gestalten können
(2015). Since 2008 Dräger is member of the Management Board of Bertels-
mann responsible for education and integration; Müller-Eiselt is one of the
staff members.
The two main features of their model are personalized learning programs
and abundant use of big data, an eminent issue in business contexts. Accord-
ing to Dräger and Müller-Eiselt conventional curricula should be divided
into mini-modules which are offered in digital form to every single student
according to his abilities, his motivation and his previous knowledge. Stu-
dents can use these individualized programs in an ideal sequence and in a
time schedule that fits them best. It is not the teacher to decide about learn-
ing progress of single students, but technological tools store learning proto-
cols and evaluation grids. Teachers have access to these tools if the learning
process does not proceed in the desired way. Algorithms decide, too, about
what the student should learn next and if his learning progress is somehow
prominent.
The authors do not explain at all how they would arrive at an integration
of their ideas in grassroots school practice. In any case, their model is inap-
propriate for TEFL. (Language) education is based to a large extent on per-
Teacher education in the digital age 185

sonal relationships between teachers and students as well as between learn-


ers and their peers. What is even more important is the fact that students
have to make choices as proposed by Helmke’s model of offer and demand
(Angebot-Nutzungs-Model; see 7.2). When learners are deprived of the con-
frontation with teaching styles and subject matter content, they are left with
nothing more than an updated version of programmed learning. That does
not mean that students have to grapple with what is exposed and elaborat-
ed in class. Teachers take always into account the needs and interests of their
particular students using e.g. Scaffolding as often as possible. In final conse-
quence, however, they are not responsible for the individual intake of their
learners.

An important aspect of teaching and learning with (and to a lesser extent


about) digital media is gamification. Since the 21st century video games
are considered a crucial means to motivate and improve student learn-
ing. Gamification provides a learning environment where students can
practice important skills concerning media literacy such as collabora-
tion, problem solving and critical thinking. According to James Paul Gee
(2007) there are four reasons why teachers should take video games into
account: First, most games require problem solving and are not limited to
the exposure of memorized knowledge. Second, through game design and
the possibility to change and adapt it, creativity is promoted. Third, quite
often game users begin to co-author their favorite games in a meta-cogni-
tive way. Lastly, video games mostly take place in a more or less social en-
vironment.

In the U.S. the MacArthur Foundation promoted an ample Series on Digi-


tal Media and Learning since the beginning of the millennium. Among the
myriad of publications the main volume to be considered is Leading Think-
ers. Digital Media & Learning published in 2014. The publication contains
the contributions of about thirty well-known scientists and educational prac-
titioners who display in detail their experiences and perspectives on learning
with digital media during the past ten years. Approximately half of the in-
terviews are about games which are seen as the main resource even in class-
rooms.
In a systematic review and meta-analysis dealing with Digital Games, De-
sign, and Learning the authors, Douglas B. Clark, Emily E. Tanner-Smith and
Stephen Killingsworth, come to the following conclusion:
186 Teacher education in the digital age

Much of the research to date on digital games has focused on proof-of-


concepts studies and media comparisons. The present meta-analysis high-
lights the importance of questions that ask not if but how games can sup-
port learning. […] Design, rather than medium alone, predicts learning
outcomes. Research on games and game-based learning should shift em-
phasis from proof-of-concept studies (“can games support learning?”) and
media-comparison analyses (“are games better or worse than other media
for learning?”) to value-added comparisons and cognitive consequenc-
es studies exploring how theoretically driven design decisions influence
learning outcomes for the broad diversity of learners within and beyond
our classrooms. (Clark, Tanner-Smith & Killingsworth 2016, 93).

In German TEFL classrooms we are still far away from gamification even
though the Goethe Institute (n.d., see Recommended Reading) and other
organizations try to propagate the use of video games in foreign language
teaching and learning (for further details see chap. 11.2).
Further help for digital immigrants and digital expert teachers is to be
found in internet portals. The term internet portal is used for web applica-
tions that present information and materials for educational contexts from
the social web, put them together for collaboration and offer opportunities
for teachers in particular networks to share materials and discuss opinions
with one another. It is no problem to find relevant and updated sites by en-
tering Internet Portale Englisch in a search engine. The education server
of Hessen (Hessischer Bildungsserver), for example, presents and describes
approximately twenty websites for TEFL: http://lernarchiv.bildung.hessen.
de/sek/englisch/allgemein/internetportale/index.html; last accessed August
2017).
Even though it does not focus on FLT in particular, an interesting initi-
ative is that of #EDchatDE (https://twitter.com/hashtag/EDchatDE; last ac-
cessed August 2017) which was created in 2013 by Thorsten Larbig and An-
dré Spang. As web format the two teachers have chosen a twitter chat in
order to give teachers and others interested in education the possibility to
exchange opinions. Every week on Tuesday evening (8–9 pm) in one hour
the registered participants discuss a preselected and prepared issue. At the
beginning it is not easy to participate because the tweets follow one anoth-
er in great rapidity. Who wants only to read, can do this without registra-
tion. Furthermore, it is possible to read the protocols of all issues discussed
so far under: www.edchat.de (last accessed August 2017). In 2017 Larbig
Teacher education in the digital age 187

and Spang have published a book that summarizes the activities – or rath-
er in which a great number of participants explain their experiences with
#EDchatDE. The chapters deal with a great number of relevant questions of
media didactics and media education and comprise also concrete ideas for
teaching and learning in the classroom (Konkrete Unterrichtsideen).

10.2 Pre- and in-service training

In most German universities students who want to teach at an elementa-


ry school or in secondary education at Haupt- and Realschulen or compre-
hensive schools have to study at least six semesters at a college of education
or a university (depending on the legislation of the respective Federal State).
In most States successful studies lead to the Bachelor of Arts. Who wants
to teach English at a grammar school or a vocational institution has to ac-
quire the Master of Education at a university in further four semesters. It is
clear that every Federal State has its own requirements with regards to ad-
mission (e.g. the level of English on the basis of the CEFR), to content (ped-
agogy and Fremdsprachendidaktik), to internships (Schulpraktika) up to sem-
inar papers and presentations as well as final examinations.
Since the end of the 20th century, a series of ministerial meetings and
agreements – known as the Bologna process – have aimed at ensuring com-
parable qualification standards in secondary and higher education. In other
words: Teacher education in the 50 states that adhere to the Bologna Charter
should lead to comparable results. To reach this aim modularization, a term
used in web design and business, entered the field of education.

Modularization means the separation of a system’s components into dis-


crete scalable modules that allow for greater flexibility. In the meantime
most German universities offer modularized study content. What took a
quite long time and did not pass without criticism has its benefits: Most
institutions – not only colleges of education and universities, but also the
seminars responsible for the second phase of pre-service teacher educa-
tion (Studienseminare) – publish their respective modules. This makes
comparison easier and has led to some homogeneity of pre-service teach-
er education.
188 Teacher education in the digital age

At the University of Göttingen, for example, pre-service teacher education


requires for Bachelor students of TEFL the following knowledge and skills
in the field of FLT (Fachdidaktik): (https://www.uni-goettingen.de/de/37031.
html; last accessed August 2017)
• knowledge of important theories and models regarding the teaching of
English,
• knowledge regarding the profession of teachers of English, e.g. knowl-
edge about the acquisition of foreign languages according to insights of
Sprachlehrforschung,
• ability to open up English texts and media posing questions of their di-
dactic value and analyzing them for educational processes.

To advance toward these aims students frequent the module entitled Intro-
duction to English Language Teaching and Intercultural Learning (Vermit-
tungs- und Fachdidaktikmodul Englisch) (two hours a week) and a tutorial
(one-hour a week). Separately they have to absolve the Introduction to In-
tercultural Learning (one hour a week) together with the respective tutorial
(one hour a week).

The offer of seminars of TEFL is more detailed for Master students at Göt-
tingen University (https://www.uni-goettingen.de/de/master-of-education-
fach-englisch/90440.html; last accessed August 2017). The students have to
make two internships in grammar schools not only under the aspect of gain-
ing more insights into classroom teaching but also with a focus on research.
The two internships are followed by a module that aims at deepening knowl-
edge and abilities with regards to TEFL in grammar schools:
• EFL: Theory and 5-week practical training (six hours a week),
• EFL: Theory (accompanied by 4-week research experience) (four hours a
week),
• EFL-theory (advanced) (four hours a week)

Undoubtedly, these modules help EFL students to acquire basic knowledge


and skills so that they do not enter unprepared the second (more practical)
phase of pre-service teacher education as prospective teachers (Lehramtsan-
wärter). The responsible institutions publish regularly the content and the
requirements of the respective modules for teachers of EFL of all school
types of general education. The modules are divided into those for elemen-
tary schools and Haupt- und Realschulen, those for grammar schools and
Teacher education in the digital age 189

those for vocational training (see http://lakk.sts-gym-marburg.bildung.hes-


sen.de/modul/index.html; last accessed Sept. 2017; http://lakk.sts-ghrf-frit-
zlar.bildung.hessen.de/ausbildung2012/ord-modulbeschreib/ord-fz-fach/eng-
lisch.pdf; last accessed Sept. 2017). The main aims of these modules are:
• Prospective teachers choose learning arrangements and activity formats in
accordance with Task-supported Language Learning (see 5.2),
• prospective teachers use the [foreign] language in a correct, flexible and
communicative way.

Until nowadays there is no reliable scientific research that measures the


outcomes of both phases of pre-service training and not at all compara-
tive studies between what is reached for pre- and in-service teacher edu-
cation in different Federal States. In any case modularization allows for
greater transparency and possible adaptations between the Federal States
but also other German-speaking countries.

Another source of homogenization and transparency are the KMK-Stand-


ards for teacher education. In 2004 the Standing Conference released Stand-
ards für die Lehrerbildung: Bildungswissenschaften (adapted in 2012 with re-
gards to inclusion and heterogeneity). According to the experts of the KMK
educational sciences are mainly pedagogy, educational psychology and edu-
cational sociology. In some German universities the sciences headed under
the term Bildungswissenschaften have been established as a separate field of
study, but the competences described by the Standing Conference are valu-
able for the whole teaching profession. The eleven competences exemplified
in the paper of 2004 are attributed to three competence fields:

• Competence domain: Teaching: Teachers are experts for teaching and


learning.
• Competence domain: Educating: Teachers correspond to their role as
educators.
• Competence domain: Assessing: Teachers perform their assessment
function deploying fairness and responsibility.

These general standards are specified by the KMK in 2008 in a paper en-
titled: Ländergemeinsame inhaltliche Anforderungen für die Fachwissenschaf-
ten und Fachdidaktiken in der Lehrerbildung, followed by Ländergemeinsame
190 Teacher education in the digital age

inhaltliche Anforderungen für die Ausgestaltung des Vorbereitungsdienstes und


die abschließende Staatsprüfung in 2012. The KMK publication of 2008 spec-
ifies the competences of FLT in more detail than the above lists (p. 46), but
does in no way describe where and how (future) teachers of English might
acquire these wide-ranging aspects of knowledge and skills as well as the
respective dispositions. In any case, the ten-point list is an opportunity for
every teacher of foreign languages to evaluate and (perhaps) to complete his
or her competences.
The overall aims of in-service teacher training are the same as those of
every teaching and learning: to bridge the gap between the knowledge, skills
and attitudes that a foreign language teacher already disposes of and what he
or she needs to learn in order to cope with new affordances. In other words:
Teacher trainers and materials for in-service teacher training have to take
the ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development) into account (see 5.2). Scaffolding
appropriate continuous professional development (see below) is very chal-
lenging: Motivation and premises of individual teachers of English as a for-
eign language differ much more than these characteristics between language
learners. Furthermore, not only individual differences, school type and stu-
dent population constitute major challenges for teacher trainers. Quite of-
ten the organizational form has a great impact on the results of in-service
training: in or outside the school, with colleagues of the same subject matter,
together with teachers of other foreign languages or other subject matters,
once every six month or continuously etc. It is up to every teacher to choose
among the available events offered by different organizations. Moreover, dur-
ing the past decade in-service teacher training is more and more offered on-
line (see: Projekt “eLearning Fremdsprachen in der Lehrerfortbildung”, Uni-
versity of Giessen, 2004–2007).
How effective is in-service teacher training? There are no particular re-
search findings with regards to TEFL or FLT. Even results that comprise
different subject matters did not come to groundbreaking suggestions, but
show the deficiencies of the respective studies. Frank Lipowsky (2010, 53)
states that beside the characteristics of offered training teachers’ attitude and
motivation are of great importance. Furthermore, the possibility to partic-
ipate and the relevance of the training program influence its effects. Lip-
owsky criticizes that those who conceptualize teacher training events do not
sufficiently focus on the consequences of a special training program. How do
teachers transfer the content learned in in-service training to their everyday
practice? How do teachers that participated in external training events refer
Teacher education in the digital age 191

the results to their school community so that others can profit from them?
A far more important question until nowadays lacks a concrete answer: How
much and in what way do students benefit from their teacher`s participation
in in-service training?
Similar to Helmke’s model of offer and demand referring to students
(Angebot-Nutzungs-Modell) (see 7.2), Lipowsky proposes an enlarged model
that helps explain the effectiveness or rather what factors determine the ef-
fectiveness of in-service teacher training (2010, 51) (cf. p. 192):

An in-service program as a professional training or an effort to develop


the staff of an institution is more effective when „compatible participants”
meet and discuss together. What Lipowsky’s overview does not under-
score sufficiently is the positive impact of teacher discussions about their
work with peer teachers.

The efforts to homogenize teacher education are not limited to Germany or


the German-speaking countries. Internationalization and globalization does
not come to a stop when teacher education is concerned. For several years
ENTEP (European Network on Teacher Education Policies) has propagat-
ed the ‘European teacher’ for multilingual and multicultural settings (see
9.2). Furthermore the engaged experts argue the case for a reform of teacher
training and education in order to overcome the evident discrepancies exist-
ing in different European countries.
First of all, ENTEP changed the terminology: pre-service training is de-
nominated ‘initial teacher education’ and in-service training should be called
‘continuous professional development’. What is worth reflection is the second
phase of pre-service teacher education denominated ‘induction’. As the term
induction refers to many different fields, we should more precisely speak of
teacher induction. During teacher induction as propagated by the ENTEP
experts, the candidates are already appointed to a job, but put on probation
(see similar teacher induction in the U.K.). The novice educators are sup-
ported and guided by experienced colleagues. Whether the implementa-
tion of the ‘European teacher’ is desirable and acceptable for most Europe-
an countries, depends to a great deal on the sensitivity or rather the empathy
of ENTEP adepts to mitigate the great cultural differences that exist between
European education systems.
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Teacher education in the digital age 193

10.3 KMK requirements for teaching in the digital world

The strategy paper of the Standing Conference dealing with Education in


the Digital World (Bildung in der digitalen Welt) does not only describe and
explain the media competences students have to acquire, but also those of
teachers.

As media didactics and media education are integral components of every


subject matter, teachers have to use digital media in their particular sub-
ject in professional and pedagogically meaningful ways. Teachers have to
become media experts able to reflect media use in accordance with the
overall goals and specific objectives of their subject matter. In the context
of vocational training they have furthermore to focus on digital working
and business processes. The KMK experts underscore several times that
the development of media use and media specific pedagogical competenc-
es is in the responsibility of all fields of a subject: Fachdidaktiken, Fach-
wissenschaften, Bildungswissenschaften (2016, 24).

The following competence fields are applied to all phases of teacher educa-
tion, i.e. the first and second phase of pre-service training as well as in-ser-
vice training.

Teachers, among other requirements, should be able:


1. To continuously extend their general media competence;
2. To recognize the importance of media and digitization in their students’
lives;
3. To plan, activate and evaluate the adequate use of digital media and di-
gital tools in accordance to changed individual learning dispositions and
communication behavior in the digital world;
4. To profit from the theoretical and didactical possibilities of digital media
in order to support individual learners or groups in- and outside school;
5. To make an adequate choice from the variety of commercial media and
Open Educational Resources (OER) for seat work or learning in small
groups on the basis of respective quality criteria;
6. To help students learn with and about media in order to develop a criti-
cal and responsible stance so that they will choose media in a meaning-
ful way and use them appropriately, creatively and with responsibility;
194 Teacher education in the digital age

7. To collaborate, on the basis of their expertise in the respective subject


matter, with colleagues and other internal and external experts in order
to develop and carry out adequate support programs;
8. To profit from current research results into education in the digital
world and apply them for their personal professional development;
9. To transform the classroom into a safe space on the basis of their knowl-
edge about copyright, data protection and data security as well as the
protection of young [...] people from harmful media use.

In the context of this introduction it would go too far to enter into details
of how the above competences and their components are distributed among
the three phases of teacher education (KMK 2016, pre-service training 1st
phase, 27–28; 2nd phase, 28; in-service training, 29). What is essential: Teach-
ers of EFL should dispose of the described nine competences as soon as pos-
sible and not postpone them to future experiences. Digitization is develop-
ing so fast that it will always be a challenge for teachers to keep up with
future changes.

Conclusion
Teachers have to become experts of media didactics – to learn with or
through digital media – and of media education – to learn about media
and develop a critical stance toward digitization. There are various con-
crete suggestions for competence components to be acquired by teach-
ers of English as a foreign language from information gathering and stor-
ing to communicating by digital means. Only when a digital immigrant is
computer-savvier than his or her born digital students, can the latter learn
what they need to live in a world with complex and rapidly increasing
digitization in all important fields.
Although there are still many differences between the phases of teacher
education in the 16 Federal States, the Bologna process, the KMK stand-
ards for teacher education and European initiatives led to greater homog-
enization and transparency: Modules regarding TEFL can be checked on-
line on the websites of universities and seminars of teacher education. Up
to now the best option is unity in diversity.
The KMK strategy paper Education in the Digital World (2016) leaves no
doubt about the competences with regards to digital media that teachers
have to dispose of. The detailed descriptions make clear that every sub-
ject matter has to promote and improve students’ competences to learn
Teacher education in the digital age 195

with and about digital media. It is the responsibility of the teacher to ac-
quire the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes to a much higher de-
gree than the learners in order to guide them through all existing and up-
coming demands of digitization.

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. Why are digital natives and digital immigrants controversial terms?
2. Which are the essential and which are the contributing factors to sus-
tainability in FLT media didactics according to Owston (2003)?
3. Do you agree with his classification? Why? Why not?
4. Why is gamification considered an important tool to improve class-
room learning?
5. Do you agree with this perspective? Why? Why not?
6. Which are the main issues you would suggest to incorporate into
your pre- or in-service teacher training?
7. What do you think about the ENTEP initiative for teacher education?
8. Which competence components with regards to digitization promot-
ed by the KMK strategy of 2016 are the most important for you?
9. Compare the requirements of the KMK strategy to the list (and the
explanations) given by Gerhard Tulodziecki et al. regarding the nec-
essary media competences of teachers (8.3 Notwendige Kompeten-
zen von Lehrpersonen, S. 357–366) in: Tulodziecki, Gerhard, Herzig,
Bardo & Grafe, Silke (2010). Medienbildung in Schule und Unterricht.
Grundlagen und Beispiele. Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt.

Recommended Reading
The Goethe-Institute briefly describes the main benefits of video games for FLT:
Goethe Institut (o.J.). Serious games: Spielend Sprachen lernen. https://www.goethe.
de/de/spr/mag/20426904.html; last accessed August 2017

You can find practice-oriented suggestions about the use of video games in:
De Florio-Hansen, Inez (2012). A never-ending story: video games. In: Praxis
Fremdsprachenunterricht English 4, 9–13.

Reading the content of the following book will help you to choose chapters that
are of interest for you, i.e. 1.8 Hölle Referendariat?, 3.1 Social Media verbieten
oder nutzen?, 4.6 Learning by playing? Gamification:
196 Teacher education in the digital age

Larbig Thorsten & Spang André (2017). Digitale Medien für Unterricht, Lehrerjob
und Schule. Die besten Ideen und Tipps aus dem Twitterchat #EDchatDE. Berlin:
Cornelsen.

Useful advice for internships is to be found in:


Arnold, Karl-Heinz, Gröschner, Alexander & Hascher, Tina. (2014). Schulpraktika in
der Lehrerbildung. Theoretische Grundlagen, Konzeptionen, Prozesse und Effekte.
Münster: Waxmann.
Legutke, M. (2012). Zehn Schritte zum Praxiserkundungsprojekt (PEP). https://www.
goethe.de/resources/files/pdf22/dll_10SchrittezumPEP.pdf; last accessed July 2017

In two short papers for ENTEP (European Network on Techer Education Poli-
cies) Michael Schratz highlights the main characteristics of a ‘European Teach-
er’ and Ursula Uzerli discusses newer aspects of teacher education:
Schratz, Michael (2005). What is a “European Teacher”? A discussion paper for
ENTEP. http://entep.unibuc.eu/documents/papers/ETFinalJune2005.pdf; last ac-
cessed August 2017
Uzerli, Ursula (2015). Preparing teachers to enhance learning in multilingual, multicul-
tural and migrant contexts. ENTEP Discussion Paper 2015. https://www.uni-kas-
sel.de/einrichtungen/fileadmin/datas/einrichtungen/zlb/Relaunch_2014/ENTEP_
Ursula_Uzerli_Discussion_Paper_2015_public_version.pdf; last accessed August
2017

Helen Timperley gives a short overview of teacher education. On the first pages
of this UNESCO publication you find references to other short articles, e.g. Us-
ing new media by Clara Chung-wai Shih & David E. Weekly (23 p.).
Timperley, Helen (2008). Teacher professional learning and development. Brussels:
International Academy of Education/International Bureau of Education. http://
www.ibe.unesco.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Publications/Educational_Practices/
EdPractices_18.pdf (last accessed August 2017)
11 The interplay between reliable methods and
digital media

11.1 Computer, Internet, and digitization:


a brief overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .198

11.2 The integration of digital tools into


TEFL classrooms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .201

11.3 The interdependence between analogical


and digital knowledge, skills and attitudes . . . . . . . . . . . . .228

In the first section (11.1), digitization is defined, and its advances in the
context of computerization are described. Two essential interconnected
features – the Internet and the World Wide Web – are explained in or-
der to provide a basis for improving the teaching and learning of foreign
languages. In 11.2 follows a practice-oriented description of the most im-
portant tools in the context of digitization. These are: blackboards and In-
teractive Whiteboards, text books and related learning software, text and
hypertext, learning management systems and Open Educational Resourc-
es, gamification, information technology, communication technology and
social media as well as Virtual Reality and robots. At the end of section
11.2 privacy and related issues are briefly dealt with. The concluding re-
marks (11.3) attract attention to the interdependence between analogical
and digital knowledge, skills and attitudes which is essential for the ad-
vancement of foreign language pedagogy.
198 The interplay between reliable methods and digital media

11 The interplay between reliable methods and


digital media
11.1 Computer, Internet, and digitization: a brief overview

When we use the term digitization in the context of today’s teaching and
learning we refer to the elaboration and transmission of digitized informa-
tion via computer, laptop, tablet PC or smartphone (see Glossary). But the
history of digitization is much older. Already about two centuries ago, uni-
versal codes were used to transmit content. Two examples are the Braille
alphabet for blind people in 1829 and the Morse code in 1837. The older
codes as well as the transmission of information via the Internet are based
on unambiguous specifications, i.e. the information is codified in a way that
excludes disambiguation. By using a pre-stabilized code – in the case of elec-
tronic media the binary code of 0 and 1 – information is transferred always
in the same way and often much faster than by traditional methods. But
digitization has its price. Words and expressions often have more than one
meaning. Disambiguation means to remove this uncertainty, i.e. to decide
which meaning of a word is used in a specific context. In general, but not al-
ways, disambiguation is reached by identifying the sense on the basis of sur-
rounding words and expressions as well as the structure of the sentence and
the text.

Digitization, less commonly digitalization, is the process of convert-


ing information into a digital (i.e. computer-readable) format, in which
the information is organized into bits. The result is the representation
of an object, image, sound, document or signal […] by generating a se-
ries of numbers that describe a discrete set of its points and samples. […]
In modern practice, the digitized data is in the form of binary numbers,
which facilitate computer processing and other operations, but strictly
speaking, digitizing simply means the conversion of analog source materi-
al into a numerical format; the decimal or any other number system that
can be used instead. (Wikipedia s.v. digitization on the basis of WhatIs.
com and Collins English Dictionary, last accessed Oct. 2017).
The interplay between reliable methods and digital media 199

Thus, several codes can be used to resolve the above problems. In the con-
text of electronic media the best known and widely diffused procedure that
allows for unambiguous specification is an algorithm (Algorithmus). Today,
algorithms are used for calculation, data processing and automated reason-
ing tasks. You start from an initial input and then proceed in accordance
with the computation instructions in order to arrive at a final state.
Usually we access information through the Internet. The Internet is not
the information itself even though we often speak of going on the Internet
when using a browser to view webpages. The Internet refers to all intercon-
nected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite (IP) to link
devices all over the world. Therefore the Internet is often called the network
of the networks. It consists of private, public, academic, business and gov-
ernment networks of local and global reach. The Internet comprises a wide
range of resources such as hypertext documents and applications of the
World Wide Web, but also e-mail, telephony and file sharing.

In everyday speech the terms Internet and World Wide Web are of-
ten used interchangeably, whereas the Internet is an access tool and the
WWW is an information space. Documents and other Web resources
stored on the Web are identified by URLs (Uniform Resource Locators).
The Web resources are interlinked by hypertext links, i.e. “an arrangement
of the information in a computer database that allows a user to get in-
formation and to go from one document to another by clicking on high-
lighted words or pictures” (Merriam-Webster Learner’s dictionary, last
accessed Oct. 2017). Web pages formatted with Hypertext Markup Lan-
guage (HTML), – not only text documents but also images, video, audio
and software components – can be accessed via the Internet.

The Internet was created for U.S. government purposes already in the 1960s,
but only in the early 1990s it came to a worldwide linking of commercial
networks and enterprises. The transition to the modern Internet began when
personal and mobile computers were connected to the network. Since the
end of the 2000s, Internet services and technologies are present in all aspects
of public and private life and in most languages of the world.
This rapid development of the Internet was furthered by the WWW
which became soon the primary source for billions of people who wanted
to gather information or to interact on the Internet. Embedded hyperlinks
allow the users to navigate between related pages. Multiple web pages with
200 The interplay between reliable methods and digital media

a common theme make up a website used for information, entertainment,


commerce and other purposes. Well known and frequently consulted web
sites are the portals of TV channels and newspapers and those with video
and audio elements such as YouTube.
An important step in the development from Web 1.0 to today’s Web 4.0
(see Glossary) was the creation of Web 2.0 in the 1980s. Among other ex-
perts the British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee, researcher at CERN,
the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland, was a driv-
ing force in the creation of the Web, linking hypertext documents into an
information system and furthering active participation. The users of the
WWW, free for everyone since 1993 thanks to Berners-Lee, finally could
create content by themselves releasing them from the role of passive con-
sumers. Therefore Web 2.0 is denominated the writing and participating net.
Most web pages are updated continuously or at least in short time inter-
vals, e.g. the entries in Wikipedia or other information sites. The Web is so
omnipresent that the prefix www is often automatically added by web brows-
ers as is http (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) when entering a web address
into the browser. Hypertext Transfer Protocol is the most common language
used on the Web for information transfer, although it is just one of the many
languages or protocols applied for communication on the Internet. An im-
portant argument in the context of the Internet and the Web is security as
frauds occur quite often, not to talk about fake news (for privacy and relat-
ed issues see 11.2).

Conclusion
In today’s context digitization refers to the processes of converting analog
information into a digital format to make it readable for computers, most-
ly by using a binary code.
A widely applied procedure for this conversion is an algorithm that trans-
forms analog input into a computer-readable final state by following de-
tailed computation instructions.
We access digitalized information via the Internet, a huge network that
interconnects most networks all over the world. The information itself is
stored on the World Wide Web (www), an information space not only for
text documents but also for images, video, audio-documents and other re-
sources.
The interplay between reliable methods and digital media 201

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. Explain the term digitization in your own words.
2. What is an algorithm? Why is it important when it comes to digitiza-
tion?
3. What is the main difference between the Internet and the World
Wide Web?

Recommended Reading
At this starting point it is advisable to read an excerpt of the White Paper How
digital tools prepare students for the 21st century by Sue Collins published in
2008 (?), p. 4: Using technology to build students’ information management skills;
p. 5–6: The combination of visual learning and digital tools improves analytical
skills and information and data management. Even though Collins refers to the
U.S., her considerations (based on PISA results) are valid and useful for stu-
dents in the German-speaking countries, too.
http://www.inspiration.com/sites/default/files/documents/How_Digital_Tools_Prepa-
re_Students_for_the_21st_Century.pdf (last accessed Oct. 2017)

A more detailed overview of the history of the World Wide Web is to be found
in Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_World_Wide_Web (last accessed Oct.
2017)

11.2 The integration of digital tools into TEFL classrooms

In this section the use of the most important digital media is discussed and
described in order to allow future and practicing teachers to try them out
and possibly integrate them in their teaching practice. The overarching cri-
terion for choice is their meaningful application in today’s TEFL classrooms
in order to prepare students for living in a world determined by digitization.
To reach the best results for all learners digital media is, whenever advisa-
ble, seen in combination and as supplement to reliable methods. Further-
more, there are two equivalent aims: learning with or through digital tools
and learning about digitization and its main implications. This twofold inte-
gration – reliable methods and digital tools as well as application and criti-
cism of digitization – leads to TEFL Examples for different contexts. It goes
beyond E-Learning which is quite often limited to the exclusive use of dig-
ital tools in order to improve learning (see e.g. Rösler 32010; Heim & Ritter
202 The interplay between reliable methods and digital media

2012). Postponing the claim to explain possibly most digital tools in an en-
cyclopedic or exhaustive way provides space for focusing on useful sugges-
tions for TEFL practice.

Educational Technology (ET, Bildungstechnologie) is an overarching term


that includes all devices applied to promote learning. The term does not
only refer to digital tools but to all technological devices and media that
are used to facilitate and to improve learning. ET comes close to Informa-
tion and Communication Technology (ICT; Informations- und Kommu-
nikationstechnologie), even though ICT is more restricted. This important
domain of ET deals with the infrastructure and the components necessary
for modern computing and interacting in the digital world.
ET, on the contrary, comprises the whole field of theoretical, algorith-
mic or heuristic processes (based on systematic personal procedures; Heu-
ristik). Furthermore, ET does not only refer to material tools but to the
theory of educational approaches and their underlying ethical practice.

The theoretical underpinnings of ET are the widely known learning theo-


ries such as cognitivism, constructivism, and connectionism (see 2.2) which
are easily detected when analyzing and using respective hard- and software
in the classroom. On the other hand, it is quite impossible to classify the in-
numerous technological tools and media headed under the overarching de-
nomination of ET. A decisive distinction is made between information tech-
nologies and communication technologies. As mentioned above, the advent
of Web 2.0 marks a turning point in the use of digital media in all fields of
life as well as in TEFL classrooms. The possibility of creating and sharing
personal content furthers the interaction between teachers and students and
especially among peers. Another useful distinction is made between asyn-
chronous use where the exchange does not occur at the same time (e.g. in
e-mail contacts) and synchronous exchange (e.g. in voice chats).
It goes without saying that the usefulness of a tool depends first of all
on its structure. What is more important, however, is its thoughtful use in
the classroom. Appropriate choice and well-planned application are deci-
sive factors. In other words: Instead of investigating on the numerous tech-
nical differences between ET tools (and their various denominations), it is
more important to consider their impact on teaching and learning process-
es. Without pretending a systematic approach to ET, the most common and
beneficial procedures are presented in this section starting with devices cre-
The interplay between reliable methods and digital media 203

ated for learning. They are followed by more common applications that are
in general destined for the use outside the teaching and learning context, but
can be integrated with success into TEFL practice. Furthermore, they have
to be implemented in the classroom context in order to promote a critical
stance toward digitization.
Important tools and applications are:
• Blackboards and Interactive Whiteboards
• Text books and related learning software
• Text and Hypertext
• Learning management systems and Open Educational Resources
• Gamification
• Information technology
• Communication technology and social media
• Artificial Intelligence and Robots
• Privacy and related issues

Blackboards and Interactive Whiteboards


An Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) is an interactive digital board connect-
ed to a computer. The content to be shown is projected with the help of
a beamer on the board’s white surface. An IWB is primarily nothing else
than a huge screen. Depending on the technical equipment – there are
many varieties – the Whiteboard is used to operate the connected com-
puter by finger touch or using a special pen. Most versions offer the inte-
grated application of a mouse and a keyboard equipped with handwriting
recognition. Furthermore, there are many supplementary software devices
for most IWBs that enable the interaction between teachers and students.

The first IWBs were designed for office use around 1990. Nowadays, they are
widely diffused in classrooms at all levels, especially in the English-speak-
ing countries. In some cases IWBs are used as supplements to traditional
boards. In many classrooms they have completely replaced all types of oth-
er boards or video/media systems such as DVD players and television com-
binations. Beside the storage of content for future lessons, the most striking
advantage of IWBs consists in the commodity to use one technical device
for all teaching and learning multimedia approaches. Engelbert Thaler enu-
merates the advantages of IWBs:
204 The interplay between reliable methods and digital media

Potential of IWBs

Technological – using the Internet anytime


arguments – illustrating content in visual form
– developing dynamic board sketches
– saving and reusing materials
– sending the results of the lesson to the students
– uploading materials to a common platform
– integrating students’ PCs
– having one tool for all tasks
Methodological – providing hands-on experiences
arguments – updating the coursebook
– cooperating with other schools
– promoting media literacy
– using the IWB as a traditional board
Affective – making use of the novelty impact
arguments – raising motivation
– appealing to various learner types
(e.g. haptic type: using their fingers)
(Thaler 2012, 74)

Going through Thaler’s list it is clear that a considerable number of the


above advantages can be reached also in classrooms with traditional black-
boards and projectors. On the other hand, the full range of media and dig-
ital tools can be used easily when the classroom is furnished with an IWB.
But the way to use it in an adequate form takes a long time for teachers.
Moreover, the students have to be trained in the use of the new device in or-
der to profit from its advantages. And there is always a great risk: The IWB
may induce also well prepared and technology savvy teachers to dominate
the lessons, i.e. to step back to Didactic Teaching (Frontalunterricht). But all
these difficulties can be overcome when the decision for the convenient IWB
is well reflected among colleagues and there is sufficient in-service training
for the staff. Taking these objections into consideration in order to minimize
them, the IWB may be a convenient alternative to traditional blackboards.

Text books and related learning software


Most scholars and education practitioners know quite well that textbook
publishers have to accomplish a balancing act between several affordances.
First of all, they have to consider and to integrate the curricula of the 16
Federal States. Even though the CEFR has had a unifying influence on these
requirements, there are still remarkable differences, especially when it comes
The interplay between reliable methods and digital media 205

to questions of sequencing and of prescribed content features. Neverthe-


less, still nowadays, many teachers use the textbook as overall basis of their
lessons, without selecting the unit parts that are most appropriate for their
students and the special learning context. As a consequence – not daring
to make choices and to omit inconvenient parts – they do not find enough
time to enrich the textbook with other, possibly authentic, texts and multi-
media tools.
In general, with regards to content, textbooks concentrate on the students
and their supposed environments leaving the needs and problems of migrant
students out of consideration. The second main subject, i.e. the presentation
of the target language countries, consists of meaning- and colorless descrip-
tions. Publishers act in this way in order not to hurt the ministerial review-
ers which the admission of textbooks depends on. This attitude leads to texts
and especially to dialogues that a far away from the students’ actual com-
munication styles. It is no wonder that political statements and critical con-
siderations have no place in textbooks, at least in those destined for the first
three or four years of TEFL. Photographs and other illustrations rarely refer
to the content of the texts and dialogues. Moreover, textbook exercises and
activities are not interrelated but jump from one language feature to another.
Deeper learning, critical thinking and Foreign Language Pedagogy (fremd-
sprachliche Bildung) are left to the initiatives of the teachers. Newer scientif-
ic findings are not taken into account beside the superficial use of an up-to-
date terminology.

TEFL Example
In order to get an idea how students perceive their own and other textbooks
they should be given the occasion to analyze and evaluate the material. This
can be done in a project inviting the students, if possible, to compare the
textbook in use in their class or course to similar publications, especially to
those of former decades. By doing so, they can notice the alternations and
progresses that have been made in the conceptualization of textbooks and
teaching materials. Furthermore, they leave behind them the role of passive
recipients in order to develop into critical consumers of ET.
206 The interplay between reliable methods and digital media

Despite this criticism, textbooks and related materials are indispensa-


ble for the great majority of teachers. Textbooks display the aspects that
should be taught and in what way they may be presented to the learners.
A textbook somehow represents the respective subject matter, in our case
the teaching and learning of English as a foreign language. In this per-
spective textbooks and connected teaching materials are sort of an up-
date that induces the forms of teaching and learning. The overall aim of
textbooks does not consist in promoting foreign language pedagogy but
in advancing societal interests insisting on communicative objectives. It is
up to the teacher to further attitudinal aims that go beyond the practice
of mere communication and basic knowledge about the target language
countries.

With this in mind we will have a look at the learning software that accompa-
nies the textbooks.
As soon as the first technological tools for learning appeared on the U.S.
market, German textbook publishers produced a series of educational soft-
ware, especially for teaching and learning foreign languages. In the begin-
ning most applications were nothing else than exercises and activities that
could also be done in paper-and-pencil format. Nevertheless the novelty-ef-
fect had its influence on most students who felt more motivated to use a
CD or a DVD instead of the text- or the workbook. Today mostly all text-
book publishers of TEFL products have a great number of web-based learn-
ing software on the market available.

Even though the tools are quite often limited to simple vocabulary and
grammar exercises with no claim to further communication in the tar-
get language, they offer some features that are worthwhile thinking about.
They allow students to work at their own pace promoting some sort of in-
dividualization. Moreover most E-Learning applications produced by text-
book publishers in order to complete and enlarge the range of the text-
book itself, are equipped with a feedback system. The students are able
to control immediately if their answers are right and what to revise. Even
though these tutorial functions are still quite limited, they contribute to
the acceptance of learning software.
The interplay between reliable methods and digital media 207

In 2016 Torben Schmidt has published under the title: Appschaffung der
Lehrkraft? the results of an ample study into the structure and possible use of
50 Educational Apps in order to discover the potential and the limitations of
digital learning programs supporting foreign language teaching and learning.
He summarizes his results on the basis of a precedent research publication:
Insgesamt sind die Übungsinhalte nur selten in kommunikative Kontex-
te eingebunden. Stattdessen finden sich häufig behavioristisch anmutende
Drill & Practice-Formate mit vielen Wiederholungsschleifen zum isolier-
ten Training von Wortschatz und Grammatik. Auch der bei vielen aktu-
ellen Fremdsprachenlern-Apps genutzte „Gamification-Zuckerguss“ in
Form von Level-Systemen, Ranglisten, Auszeichnungen, Wettbewerben
etc. kann über die häufig mangelnde didaktische Qualität vieler Übungs-
formate nicht hinwegtäuschen (vgl. Schmidt et al. 2015). (Schmidt 2016,
98f.)

Even though there are some positive examples of learning software for Ger-
man as a foreign language conceived by the Goethe Institute, the Education-
al Apps for TEFL are in general insufficient as they do not reflect the state of
the art. Up to now, learning software can in no way replace the tutorial func-
tions of a teacher who is able to act pedagogically taking not only didactic,
but also motivational and emotional aspects into account. Therefore learning
software – provided it reaches its full potential – can be nothing more than
a useful supplement.

Text and hypertext


Many students find it difficult to produce coherent texts. They write – if
not in unrelated sentences – at least in paragraphs that lack coherence. The
“golden” rules of good writing seem far away: Texts are not structured in
the sense that each paragraph deals with one argument being mentioned at
the beginning, dealt with in the following sentences and resumed at the end
of the paragraph. The useful claim to write three main clauses before let-
ting follow a compound or complex sentence and to avoid where possible
the passive voice is no longer observed in many texts. This diffused criti-
cism is not only observed in the texts of students, but also in non-fiction
books. Short snippets of words and texts follow one another often concluded
by some kind of summary.
Similar writing styles are caused to a certain extent by aspects of digi-
tization. This can already be seen when we compare taking notes by hand
208 The interplay between reliable methods and digital media

and taking them through word processing (Textverarbeitung). Research re-


sults in the review Psychological Science (https://www.psychologicalscience.
org/news/releases/take-notes-by-hand-for-better-long-term-comprehension.
html; last accessed Oct. 2017) show that taking notes by hand leads to better
comprehension and storage. Therefore it is not surprising that reading and
writing SMS, tweets and other short messages leaves its traces. But not only
texting in all its forms and variations has its impact. Writing styles are even
more influenced by hypertexts which in some form have already existed for
decades. In the Hypertext/Hypermedia Handbook edited by Emily Berk and
Joseph Devlin the term is defined as follows:

Hypertext: The technology of non-sequential reading and writing. Hyper-


text is technique, data structure, and user interface. (…) A hypertext (or
hyper-document) is an assemblage of texts, images, and sounds – nodes
– connected by electronic links so as to form a system, whose existence
is contingent upon the computer. The user/reader moves from node to
node either by following established links or by creating new ones. (Berk
& Devlin 1991, 543)

Thus, the WWW is the hypertext platform of the Internet. Searching the In-
ternet for information most students have experienced hyperlinks that lead
them from one node to another. But as they concentrate on content they are
not sufficiently aware of the non-linear organization of hypertexts. Therefore
it is worthwhile to invite them to analyze the structure of a hypertext and let
them summarize their experiences: https://www.visitlondon.com/?ref=head-
er#gJrR7J7ZFQVPe41V.97; last accessed Oct. 2017

TEFL Example
In tandems or groups of four the students create a hypertext document pre-
senting their school and their class to peers in English-speaking countries.
First, they decide and take notes of the most interesting aspects. Quite soon
they will discover that not all aspects worthwhile presenting may interest
their peers in other countries in the same way. Furthermore, they have to
take into account the respective school systems, i.e. they have to explain cer-
tain characteristics.
When they have reached an agreement about the features to present and
in what way to do so, they can distribute the aspects among the groups so
The interplay between reliable methods and digital media 209

that each tandem or group is responsible for one link. Later on, they review
all elaborated features in a gallery walk and decide about the definite form
of the hyper-document that may consist not only of text but also of imag-
es, sounds and video. Before uploading it finally on the Internet they should
try a pre-version asking other classes of their school about their impressions
and suggestions.

Learning management systems and Open Educational Resources


As technology is a dynamic entity in constant development, most denomina-
tions lack a precise definition. There might be a difference between the old-
er term CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning) and the newer CELL
(Computer Enhanced Language Learning), but with regards to learning out-
comes the distinction is not decisive. As most technological applications and
digital tools are not clearly defined, they often can only be described by indi-
cating a “more” or “less” or some minor distinctive feature.
Nevertheless, Learning Software (Lernsoftware) und Learning Manage-
ment Systems (LMS; Lernplattformen) are not the same. Learning Software,
especially products of publishers related to their textbooks, follow a more or
less linear concept of learning.

Learning Management Systems, instead, are complex software applica-


tions. They provide learning content in a variety of forms and help stu-
dents organize and track their learning. One of the most important char-
acteristics of LMSs is the incorporated possibility for teachers or other
tutors to follow students’ learning in detail and to communicate at any
point of the procedures and processes with the individual learner.

An LMS is a particular form of E-Learning called Blended Learning. Blend-


ed Learning stands for a combination of off- and online learning. A good ex-
ample is a university seminar that consists in part of face-to-face teaching
alternating with phases of online learning. This blending provides space for
deeper learning and discussions in the course room. In this perspective, the
wider term Course Management System (CMS) describes virtual learning en-
vironments. In the context of schools the term Blended Learning is used for
supplementary learning opportunities in or outside the classroom. That is
to say, LMSs enrich the learning environment but do not substitute time in
210 The interplay between reliable methods and digital media

class. A further development consists in so-called flipped classrooms (see be-


low Review, Reflect, Practice).
Beside the continuous contact between the individual student and the
teacher, many LMSs and CMSs dispose of authoring tools that offer the pos-
sibility, especially for teachers, to create (supplementary) content (for other
teacher portals see Heim & Ritter 2013, 57f.).

In the view of learners, the main characteristics of LMSs for the use in
TEFL classrooms are their multimodality integrating different media,
their adaptability to students learning progress, their interactivity that en-
ables learners to take an active part in the learning process and more-
over their possibility to collaborate with other students. An LWS is, thus,
a framework that deals with all aspects of learning.

The web portal (Bildungsportal) of the Federal State of NRW defines an LWS
as the technical requirement for a complex web-based E-Learning-infra-
structure and details its potential: storing files, creating authoring tools in
form of Wikis, editing and elaborating tasks and activities, communicating
via mail and chat, sending information, making work plans and integrating
e-content (http://www.medienberatung.schulministerium.nrw.de/lern-it/lern-
plattformen.htm; last accessed Oct. 2017).

The crucial prerequisites of LMSs for TEFL are the easy navigation, the cor-
rectness and the actuality. It is very expensive to create an LMS that corre-
sponds to the majority of the above requirements. Therefore, many LMWs
are not free of charge; the costs for effective LMSs are often quite high. A
website that offers detailed information, also about charges and fees, is that
of e-learning.org: https://www.e-teaching.org/technik/distribution/lernman-
agementsysteme; (last accessed Oct. 2017). But there are many useful LMSs
for free. Most Federal Ministries of Education, as the above site of NRW, in-
dicate Open Source Software for different subject matters. In order to pro-
mote the implementation of LMWs in European schools and classrooms,
the UNESCO propagates the use of Open Educational Resources (OERs; see
above 7.5; https://www.unesco.de/fileadmin/medien/Dokumente/Bildung/
Was_sind_OER__cc.pdf; last accessed Oct. 2017).

A well-known free and open source LMS is Moodle used in business, uni-
versities but also in schools. Moodle corresponds to a great number of the
The interplay between reliable methods and digital media 211

above prerequisites and ensures data privacy protection. In the context of


TEFL Moodle is sponsored by Cornelsen (as are lo-net2 and WebWeaver)
(https://www.cornelsen.de/erw/1.c.3219066.de; last accessed Oct. 2017).

Most Learning Software and LMSs register students’ mistakes and give them
immediate feedback, sometimes indicating what features to revise. Even if
collected and stored, these results are nothing else but a useful snapshot.
For an overall evaluation of achievement students may use other tools, e.g.
a portfolio such as the European Language Portfolio based on the CEFR
(see 6.3). Perhaps Learning Analytics (Lernanalytik), a newer field of meas-
urement, collection, analysis and reporting of learner data and their con-
texts will lead to a better understanding of learning outcomes (see https://
www.e-teaching.org/didaktik/qualitaet/learning_analytics; last accessed Oct.
2017).

Gamification
In the context of teacher education in the digital age (see 10.1) gamifica-
tion is propagated as an important learning activity. The following paragraph
deals with further aspects of video games and presents Minecraft as an op-
portunity to practice cooperation, problem solving and critical thinking.
These learning outcomes cannot be reached by playful aspects of learning
software or Edutainment.

As underpinned by a quote of Clark, Tanner-Smith & Killingsworth


(2016, see above 10.1) games used for learning in the context of schools
and classrooms have to be designed in a way that is not limited to the ex-
posure of memorized knowledge (Gee 2007). According to Monika Flu-
dernik (2006, 22008, 129) video-games are a form of interactive narra-
tology. Narrative aspects which are determined by the medium are more
highlighted in interactive computer games than in movies or videos.
Games are not based on complete plots but leave the creative sequencing
of single episodes to the user. Fludernik underscores the fact that gami-
fication may lead to states of mind that are more accentuated than those
provoked by verbal narrations or by movies.

As aforementioned the popular video game Minecraft is briefly discussed as


an example for TEFL in our schools. Why Minecraft? The main reasons are
212 The interplay between reliable methods and digital media

its popularity, the fact that there exists an Education Edition (see newslet-
ter below; https://education.minecraft.net/ last accessed Oct. 2017) and that
many teachers and education practitioners have dealt with aspects of this
game. One is Meenoo Rami who started a series of blog posts on Teaching
Channel, an initiative that publishes a weekly newsletter subscribed by about
a million teachers and other educators (newsletter@teachingchannel.org).
Remi who taught a class called Storytelling learnt a great deal about game-
based learning from her students. In consequence, she tried to find out more
about gamification and came to the following conclusion:
A great game combines the art of storytelling, fine arts, music, video pro-
duction, and appropriate player engagement to create an immense, memo-
rable experience. Gamers are very much like readers: they like to explore,
uncover, discover, and fully immerse themselves in the experience they’re
willingly entering. As a book nerd and a teacher of readers and writers,
it took me a long time to realize my students’ were reading and writing
in games in the same ways I wanted them to do with books. It took me a
while to learn from them that games were another form of literacy they
were unlocking for themselves. (Blog: Minecraft in the Classroom: The
Power of Game-based Learning; newsletter@teachingchannel.org March 4,
2017).

In the meantime she is part of the Minecraft Education Edition team that,
among other initiatives, launched a Global Mentor program made up by
60 educators from 19 countries who want to help other teachers get start-
ed with Minecraft in their classrooms. Minecraft is also diffused in German
schools so that it is possible to incorporate the game in TEFL classrooms
(https://minecraft-de.gamepedia.com/Lernen_mit_Minecraft; last accessed
Oct. 2017).

TEFL Example
Advanced learners of English can have a look at Minecraft on one of the
above websites to get an idea of the game’s structure if they do not know it
already. Then they read an excerpt of a quite long article in The New York
Times Magazine of April 17, 2016 entitled Minecraft Generation (https://
www.nytimes.com/2016/04/17/magazine/the-minecraft-generation.html; last
accessed Oct. 2017). The contributor, Clive Thompson, is the author of the
book Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for
the Better published in 2014. He has a very detailed, not uncritical look at
The interplay between reliable methods and digital media 213

Minecraft. Among other issues, he underscores the impact of games with


blocks, in former times made of wood or plastic, nowadays in a virtual ver-
sion (in seven short paragraphs starting with: “‘Children,’ the social critic
Walter Benjamin wrote in 1924 …” and ending with: “‘You’re not complain-
ing to get the corporate overlord to fix it – you just have to fix it yourself.’”)
The tasks for the students can reach from a summary of the text excerpt
and taking position in favor or against the arguments of the quoted Europe-
an philosophers to personal statements about own experiences with block
games. In any case, this reading and discussion activity should be the start-
ing point of an alternative view of video games for both parts – students and
teachers.

Information technology
For many years the use of the Internet and the WWW was limited to infor-
mation gathering. In consequence, the KMK-Strategy Education in the digital
World (Bildung in der digitalen Welt, see 7.3) describes searching, processing
and storing as the first competence field. Today’s students and teachers make
ample use of information tools, e.g. of Wikipedia, the user-created encyclo-
pedia which has existed since 2001 and is published in approximately 300
languages. Wikipedia and the related tools offer about 40 million entries, five
and a half million in English and more than two million in German. The en-
cyclopedia can be accessed even by mobile-devices contributing somehow to
m(obile)-learning. Research projects have evidenced that Wikipedia, despite
its dubious reputation, contains less content errors than print encyclopedias
such as the Encyclopedia Britannica and beats by far the German Brockhaus.

Since the beginning of information technology some decades ago it is


clear that the information tools do not guarantee effective learning per se,
but have to be properly facilitated by teachers. Modern electronic educa-
tional technology has to be integrated into education in a positive way in
order to promote a more diverse learning environment. Even when seen
as an additional support and as a supplement to the traditional classroom,
Education Technology and especially digital media, in most cases, have to
be introduced and explained by the teacher. In order to avoid distraction
and sidetracking the students need clear indications in what way and for
what purposes they may use a digital tool. A good example is consulting
an online dictionary.
214 The interplay between reliable methods and digital media

In order to find what they search for, students have to be trained in the use
of monolingual and bilingual online dictionaries and translation tools (for
the latter see Heim & Ritter 2012, 63–65). When they are looking for an ad-
equate translation of trainieren in the sense of to coach sb., it is not sufficient
to enter trainieren englisch or englische Übersetzung in a search engine and
then pick up the word that appears first, in this case: ‘work out’. By further
clicks, students should always consult an online dictionary such as www.
dict.cc or www.linguee.de and read the entry. More advanced students who
search for particular meanings and expressions have to be trained in reading
cursorily the numerous translated examples (German – English and vice ver-
sa) provided by most online dictionaries. Another advantage of online dic-
tionaries is the oral presentation of pronunciation.

TEFL Example
It is useful to invite students to compare the entries of the same word in
monolingual and bilingual dictionaries in print and online. By doing so, they
can find out the differences and act accordingly when they are looking up
particular meanings. As an example we may use the verb ‘to perceive’. Teach-
ers have to provide the students with the entries of an online dictionary as
the aforementioned, and of print-versions as e.g. the Cambridge Dictionary
of American English. In order to check students’ understanding, they are in-
vited to translate the following sentences into German:
• I perceived a change in her behavior.
• This discovery was perceived as a major breakthrough.
• The patient was perceived to have difficulties in breathing.
• He perceived that all was not well.
• She did not perceive herself as disabled.

Instructional Design and Lesson Plan Design (for further details see 13.1)
have to take cognitive overload into account. In the late 1980s John Sweller
and his team (Diao, Chandler & Sweller 2007; see 13.3) conducted an ex-
perimental study into learning English as a foreign language that led to the
Cognitive Load Theory. As the working memory has limited capacities, the
amount of learning effort has always to be adapted to the possibilities of the
students. It is obvious that, beside individual differences, the working mem-
ory of young children is more limited than that of adolescents and young
adults. A too heavy cognitive load can interfere with learning. It is the chal-
lenge of the teacher to reduce negative effects on learning by appropriate
The interplay between reliable methods and digital media 215

guidance. This is particularly true for learning with the help of electronic
educational technology. Computers and especially mobile phones facilitate
the rapid access to a stream of sources. The search processes of the students,
instead, should be directed toward useful web sources especially when hy-
per-documents have to be consulted. Otherwise, the interplay of text, imag-
es, sounds and video easily creates an over-stimulation. Instead of staying on
task, students jump from one link to the next.
A good means to direct student search is a WebQuest. WebQuests are
inquiry-oriented activities or rather lesson formats in which some or all
of the information that learners interact with comes from web resources
(Dodge 1997, 1). What is more important with regards to cognitive over-
load or over-stimulation is the fact that the teacher preselects the sources
so that the main activity does not consist in gathering information but em-
phasizes information use. According to Dodge, the main expert in the field
of WebQuests, the activity comprises six steps, which Georg Fässler (22013,
247) summarizes as follows:
1. Introduction
2. Task
3. Information Resources
4. Process
5. Guidance
6. Evaluation/Conclusion

The author explains some characteristics and benefits of WebQuests:


WebQuests aim to foster media competence by structuring the working
process and providing links to essential websites. This scaffolding helps
the students to focus on their task. In Grünewald’s study of a WebQuest
in foreign language teaching, students felt progress in several aspects of
media competence, e.g. navigation of the Internet, acquisition of new re-
search strategies, orientation on websites in the foreign language, and
the downloading of pictures, sounds, and texts (Grünewald 2006, 165).
(Fässler 22013, 246).

WebQuests require good reading skills, but also further extensive reading
such as skimming (reading a text quickly in order to get a general idea) and
scanning (reading to look for specific information). Teachers can design and
adapt WebQuests by themselves, but a great number can be found on the
servers of the Federal Ministries of Education (see also the site of Jürgen
216 The interplay between reliable methods and digital media

Wagner: http://www.wagner-juergen.de/englisch/quests.htm; last accessed


Oct. 2017, and the American WebQuest-Server: http://www.webquests.de/
materialien/wqserver.html; last accessed Oct. 2017).

Communication technology and social media


Beside the useful differentiation between synchronous and asynchronous ex-
changes, the distinction between written and online communication is quite
important. What may seem to be a good option, i.e. synchronous oral on-
line exchanges, in reality does not work well in class. There are not only or-
ganizational difficulties: How to coordinate a voice-chat between a class or
group of students in Germany and their counterparts in the UK, the US and
other parts of the world? More important is the question: How to motivate
the learners to accept the challenge of reacting immediately? Many students
prefer written chats that allow time to reflect about the answers or the next
move. Written chats, moreover, can be stored easily in order to revisit and
revise them in future lessons. This is often necessary not only for the contri-
butions of the German learners but also for those of native speakers of Eng-
lish or users of English as lingua franca. Beside Internet Slang, negligent lan-
guage and even errors are to be found in all types of Web contributions.
In any case, students have to react without delay in written chats, too.
For this reason, up to now, e-mail contacts – they exist in Germany since
1984 – in particular those among two or more groups in different countries
are still a very good option. The numerous proposals for TEFL reach from
the exchange of everyday news and information about the respective coun-
tries to arguments of particular interest, e.g.: How to avoid addiction to vid-
eo gaming or how to deal with cyberbullying? These are topics that can be
discussed, among other options, in an e-mail-project with speakers of Eng-
lish all over the world.

TEFL Example
Heim and Ritter propose the following classroom activity in this context:
As another classroom idea we would like to draw your attention to
the British website digizen.org which offers a multitude of resources to
strengthen learners’ media literacy and develop their awareness and un-
derstanding of what can be called ‘digital citizenship’. This focus goes
somewhat beyond a genuine online exchange project but of course the use
of communication tools goes hand in hand with this focus on electronic
literacy. Questions like internet safety, privacy issues, or cyberbullying can
The interplay between reliable methods and digital media 217

be addressed alongside such a project. Among many other materials, di-


gizen.org offers the award-wining short film ‘Let’s fight it together’ which
deals with the highly urgent issue of cyberbullying in a very effective way.
(Heim & Ritter, 2012, 44)

An alternative to written chats are Internet Forums, often denominated Dis-


cussion or Bulletin Boards. Whereas chats in TEFL classrooms are often or-
ganized by the teachers who want to bring theirs students in contact with
peers of the target language, forums are public online conversations in the
form of posted messages. Users can be anonymous or have to register and to
log in in order to post messages. On most forums, you can read the tempo-
rarily archived posts without logging in. Forums are organized in a hierar-
chical structure and can have a number of sub-forums. Each new discussion
started within a forum is called a thread. Without the guidance of the teach-
er even advanced students often find it difficult to participate in forums be-
cause these sites are primarily frequented by native speakers.

With the advent of Web 2.0 a series of social media have entered the field
of electronic communication technology. Most people, not only children
and adolescents profit from social media in the form of social network-
ing. A social network is a structure that hosts an online community and
allows its users to communicate. In the context of teaching and learning,
social networking is a crucial topic to discuss about (see also below Priva-
cy and related issues).

TEFL Example
In order to motivate the students to deal with the controversial issue of so-
cial networking, teachers may start with a discussion of effective ways to cre-
ate an adequate online profile. Tanya Lewis, the author of an online post
about Science-backed ways to craft an irresistible online dating profile explains
the following rules in some details:
• Choose a good photo.
• If you’re not using your real name, pick a strategic username or handle.
• Make eye contact, and smile!
• Don’t be like Bieber – keep your clothes on.
• Be yourself.
• Describe both yourself AND what you’re looking for.
218 The interplay between reliable methods and digital media

• Show off your sense of humor (don’t just talk about it).
• Send short, personalized messages rather than blasting out a mass text.
• Now get out there!

(For further suggestions and details, also about the respective research find-
ings see: https://sg.finance.yahoo.com/news/science-backed-ways-online-dat-
ing-201700675.html; last accessed Nov. 2017)

TEFL Example
Even though most schools in the German- as well as in the English-speak-
ing countries forbid mobile phones in the classroom, teachers of most sub-
ject matters have to introduce their learners to etiquette in the Internet, es-
pecially to cell phone etiquette. Netiquette, as Internet etiquette is commonly
denominated, differs from community to community, especially when you
cross language borders. The best to do is to invite your students to discuss
this topic with speakers of the target language. Virginia Shea in her book Ne-
tiquette reassumes correct online behavior in ten rules.
Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people’s mistakes
So when someone makes a mistake – whether it’s a spelling error or a
spelling flame, a stupid question or an unnecessarily long answer – be
kind about it. If it’s a minor error, you may not need to say anything. Even
if you feel strongly about it, think twice before reacting. Having good
manners yourself doesn’t give you license to correct everyone else. If you
do decide to inform someone of a mistake, point it out politely, and pref-
erably by private e-mail rather than in public. Give people the benefit of
the doubt; assume they just don’t know any better. And never be arrogant
or self-righteous about it. Just as it’s a law of nature that spelling flames al-
ways contain spelling errors, notes pointing out Netiquette violations are
often examples of poor Netiquette. (Shea 1994, 1997, 45)

As the whole book is free for download, the learners themselves, in tandems
or small groups up to four students can find out about all ten rules and
make it a classroom project presented in a gallery walk and a concluding
discussion (see Shea 1997, Chapter 3: Core Rules of Netiquette, pp. 32–46;
http://www.albion.com/netiquette/book/index.html; last accessed Nov. 2017).
As aforementioned, Social Media is an overarching online structure that
offers a great number of tools. In the context of TEFL Wikis, Blogs and Pod-
casts proved very effective.
The interplay between reliable methods and digital media 219

A Wiki (Hawaiian for ‘quick’, ‘fast’) is a hypertext system for websites


which are not only read by users, but offer the possibility to participate in
the creation and alternation of the respective Wiki. The use of a so-called
Wiki-Software or Wiki-Engine stands for an easy access so that almost
everyone can actively intervene.

The best known Wiki is Wikipedia which students in general recur to when
searching for information (see above information technology). A good op-
tion for younger or beginning learners is Simple Wiktionary (https://sim-
ple.wiktionary.org/wiki/Main_Page; last accessed Nov. 2017). As the crea-
tion of an own Wiki is often too time-consuming, students should be invited
to contribute to existing Wikis (chosen by the teacher) or some other of its
multiple forms of Wikis.

Wiktionary is part of the Wikimedia Foundation family

Wikipedia (in
WikƟonary Wikibooks
Simple English)
DicƟonary and Textbooks and
Free-content
thesaurus manuals
encyclopedia
Wikiquote Wikinews
Wikisource
CollecƟon of Free-content
Content library
quotaƟons news
Meta-Wiki
Wikiversity Wikivoyage
Wikimedia
Learning re- Travel informa-
project coordi-
sources Ɵon
naƟon
Commons Wikispecies
Wikidata
Media reposi- Directory of
Knowledge base
tory species

Teachers can profit from ZUM-Wiki (Zentrale für Unterrichtsmedien im In-


ternet), a platform for teaching and learning processes, that follows the same
democratic options of public participation as all Wikis (https://wiki.zum.de/
wiki/Hauptseite; last accessed Nov. 2017).

In the context of Wikis as well as of any other free accessible participation


site, students may come across fake news. How to deal with this important is-
sue is discussed in a teaching examples in The New York Times entitled Eval-
220 The interplay between reliable methods and digital media

uating Sources in a ‘Post-Truth World: Ideas for Teaching and Learning about
Fake News: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/19/learning/lesson-plans/
evaluating-sources-in-a-post-truth-world-ideas-for-teaching-and-learning-
about-fake-news.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_ln_20170119&nl=learn
ing-network&nl_art=0&nlid=71579221&ref=headline&te=1 (last accessed
Nov. 2017) or

In an Era of Fake News, Teaching Students to parse Fact From Fiction by


James Brown, the author interviewed and observed a teacher and her sixth
graders in a Brooklyn middle school (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/20/
nyregion/fake-news-brooklyn-middle-school.html; last accessed Nov. 2017).

Blogs (Weblogs) – the best known is the microblog Twitter – in gener-


al consist of discussion or information websites published on the WWW.
Often, the single entries are posts in an informal diary-style. They are dis-
played in reverse chronological order. Until 2009 blogs were mostly pub-
lished by single individuals and dealt with one topic. Since 2010, mul-
ti-author blogs written by professionals – e.g. journalists and experts from
universities and think thanks – have developed in increasing quantity.
Most blogs – may they be created by single private persons in order to in-
form family and friends or professionally edited by experts or companies
– allow visitors to leave online comments. Blogs, thus, reach from person-
al online diaries to online brand advertising.

All sorts of blogs – personal as well as collaborative blogs or group blogs –


are quite easy to create since there are special blog hosting services and par-
ticular blog software. That blogs have become so popular and so omnipres-
ent is caused by their interactivity and the great ease with which they can
be created and accessed. Other than static websites, there is no final prod-
uct. Blogs exist in all spheres of life, from hobbies to politics, from fashion
blogs to traveling as well as from psychology or sociology blogs to educa-
tion blogs. Minority languages have profited from blogs that brought togeth-
er scattered users. Although a majority consists only of text, blogs can be
enriched by all media. And they can be written on most devices, also on
mobile phones.
Despite a certain mania – in 2008 almost every second a new blog was
created (Keen 2008) – blogs can be useful tools in TEFL. Classrooms can
be seen as communities that share the same interests so that classroom
The interplay between reliable methods and digital media 221

portals are a good option (see e.g. wordpress.com; https://www.lo-net2.de/


wws/12418856.php; last accessed Nov. 2017). Other useful possibilities in
TEFL classrooms are blogs for particular topics, such as litblogs who fo-
cus on the topic of literature. Students may cooperate with other learners of
English who read the same work of literature and finally show their project
results to the public.
The following introduction facilitates the creation of blogs: see graph
Text type: Blog entry https://www.schule.sachsen.de/ppdf/2014_10_Englisch_
Muster.pdf (last accessed Nov. 2017).
Will Richardson gives a concise summary of working with blogs in class:
Posting to a Weblog can take many forms. Students can write about per-
sonal reactions to topics covered in class, post links, write reflectively, and
summarise and annotate reading. They can use blogs as journals or as
places to publish creative writing for larger audiences. The possibilities re-
ally are endless. But by their very structure, blogs facilitate what I think is
a new form of genre and could be called “connective writing”, a form that
forces those who do not read carefully and critically, that demands clarity
and cogency in its construction that is done for a wider audience and that
links to the sources of the ideas expressed. (Richardson 2009, 28)

Podcasts (a contraction of iPod and broadcast) are digital audio or vid-


eo files for asynchronous use. They are available for download on all de-
vices, also on an MP3-Player so that visitors can listen to or view them at
any convenient time. You can subscribe to podcasts so that new files ar-
rive automatically on your device. Podcasts are usually free of charge, and
they can be created by little or no cost. Well-known podcast creators often
monetize their popularity allowing companies to place advertisements in
their podcasts. Nowadays podcasts are a recognized medium for distrib-
uting audio content via Internet.

In TEFL classrooms podcasts are mostly used as materials for listening to


native speakers. The websites listed in the below rubric Recommended Read-
ing offer a series of these authentic materials, particularly the site lehrer-
online.de where teachers can also find advice how to integrate podcasts into
the TEFL classroom.
But there are also sites that offer suggestions for those who want to cre-
ate an audio or video podcast in class (for detailed information see the doc-
ument of the Landesmedienzentrale Baden-Württemberg: https://www.lmz-
222 The interplay between reliable methods and digital media

bw.de/fileadmin/user_upload/Medienbildung_MCO/fileadmin/bibliothek/
dorok_schulpodcasting/dorok_schulpodcasting.pdf; last accessed Nov. 2017).
As with other forms of oral online communication even this asynchronous
form is not equally accepted by all learners. In research surveys many stu-
dents opt for written online communication.

Virtual Reality and robots


Artificial Intelligence (AI, Künstliche Intelligenz) and Virtual Reality (VR;
Virtuelle Realtität) are two interrelated fields of Applied Computer Sci-
ence not clearly defined. Some scientists consider VR as a subfield of AI,
whereas others talk about the intersection of two technologies.
AI in general refers to the intelligence of machines in contrast to the
natural intelligence of humans and animals.
VR is a computer technology that uses special headsets in order to
create images, sounds and other sensations that simulate a presence
of the user in some form of reality. The headset in most cases allows a
look around and even moving in the artificial world in a defined physi-
cal space.

Unlike the more passive immersion into movies, the effect caused by VR can
reach as far as to let the user forget that he or she is exposed to illusion-
ary stimuli. The virtual world is experienced as real so that some users, af-
ter the end of the game, need time to return to the real world. Even though
scientists judge VR quite often as a positive experience, there are a number
of challenges, e.g. health and safety, reaching from nausea to negative effects
on vision and neurological development. Other concerns deal with changing
human behavior with regards to interpersonal communication.
Both fields, AI as well as VR, are present to some extent in video games
used in TEFL classrooms. A precursor of today’s more sophisticated games
is Second Life, where the user enters in an avatar of his or her choice and
moves around in a virtual world. An avatar is a graphical representation
of the user, a kind of alter ego. Users refer to this incarnation of them-
selves in the third person. Much more sophisticated are newer virtual re-
ality games, such as the above mentioned Minecraft. In 2016, at least three
virtual versions of the game were on the market (see: http://www.chip.de/
news/Minecraft-in-Virtual-Reality-PC-Games-kostenlos-mit-VR-Brille-spiel-
en_91063149.html; last accessed Nov. 2017).
The interplay between reliable methods and digital media 223

For most teachers another field of AI seems far away from their class-
rooms, i.e. robots. At the most, they invite students to consider the nega-
tive effects of automation for the working force. But robots have developed
into useful tools for teaching and learning. Already in 2016, robots have
even entered the spiritual domain in Japan and China (see: http://www.
spiegel.de/panorama/roboter-moench-in-buddhistischem-tempel-bei-pe-
king-a-1088612.html; last accessed Nov. 2017). The Chinese ‘monk robot’
teaches Buddhism. The use of robots in education is possible since robots
(and other devices of AI) are able to register and to recognize language. A
well-known example is Watson, a question answering computer system, de-
veloped by the IBM laboratory and introduced into the market in 2010.
We do not have to recur to the U.S. and Asian countries or to teach cod-
ing in order to benefit from AI. In the German-speaking countries, too, ro-
bots have entered teaching and learning. An interesting example is the
H.E.A.R.T-Project (Humanoid Emotional Assistant Robots in Teaching) that
enables communication or rather conversation with robots. At the Universi-
ty of Marburg Jürgen Handke has introduced in the fall semester 2017/2018
two robots into his university lectures and seminars, Nao, a little personaliz-
able and interactive humanoid robot which has existed since 2006, and Pep-
per, another humanoid robot released in 2016, which is able to communicate
with humans through his voice, touch, and the expression of his emotions.
The use of the robots in the H.E.A.R.T-Project is different from usual
forms of Blended Learning. Pepper, for example, is an assistant of the pro-
fessor. During the lectures the robot walks around and helps students with
their questions. They can recur to Pepper’s help using a QR (Quick Re-
sponse)-Code. Through this organization, the professor has sufficient time
to turn to his or her students for interaction, consultation, discussion, and
competency acquisition in this inverted classroom. H.E.A.R.T is not limit-
ed to university students. Handke has invited ninth and tenth grade students
from surrounding schools to participate in the project (www.project-heart.
de; last accessed Nov. 2017).

TEFL Example
The Learning Network of The New York Times proposes a teaching and learn-
ing activity that takes the following picture as starting point. Katherine
Schulten, the author of the respective unit (Aug. 31, 2017: Robot and Chil-
224 The interplay between reliable methods and digital media

dren), invites the students to use their imagination to write the opening of a
short story inspired by the illustration.

Credit Oscar Bolton Green

The related article by Gray Matter entitled The Secret to a Good Robot Teach-
er (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/26/opinion/sunday/good-robot-teach-
er-secrets.html; last accessed Nov. 2017) is interesting for TEFL teachers
(and motivated, advanced students).

Privacy and related issues


The protection of privacy and related issues such as hate speech or cyber-
bullying, are topics of all subject matters. The KMK-Strategy Education in
the digital world emphasizes their importance in different parts of the paper
(see 7.3). Among the six operational fields the KMK experts deal extensive-
ly with juridical and functional framework conditions (see no. 6: Rechtliche
und funktionale Rahmenbedingungen). But also among the six student com-
petences the requirements of acting securely in digital environments, pro-
tecting personal data and privacy and protecting health occupy a prominent
place (see no. 4: Schützen und sicher Agieren).
Taking the importance of privacy protection into account and relating it
to the development of a critical attitude toward electronic media, in various
chapters of this introduction TEFL Examples deal with legal issues. Ques-
tions of copyright are an important, but minor issue in this context (see
13.2; for detailed indications see Drummer 2011, 90–96).
The interplay between reliable methods and digital media 225

Thus, you can find suggestions for teaching and learning about privacy
issues in chapter 5 (see 5.1 and 5.2), in chapter 9 (9.2) and in chapter 13
(13.5) in addition to the numerous TEFL Examples in this chapter.
In the end, it is up to the student to avoid posting confidential and re-
vealing issues or publishing provocative selfies that may attract offenders or,
after many years, determine the choice of employers. What students, espe-
cially younger learners, often do not think of are the traces we leave through
our Internet searches. Whereas we may be confidential in social networks
with friends or family members, there is one place where we are really hon-
est, i.e. in our online searches. That is why all those who do not want to re-
nounce the benefits of digitization and minimize the possible risks should
also be informed about the initiatives of the legislator, e.g. the European Un-
ion’s regulatory framework for data, the G.D.P.R. (General Data Protection
Regulation) of 2016 (see: http://www.eugdpr.org/; last accessed Nov. 2017).

Conclusion
Every lesson can be delivered in various ways. It is up to the teacher to
provide engaging content and utilize an appropriate medium in a benefi-
cial way. At best the following benefits are reached:
Effective technology use deploys multiple evidence-based strategies con-
currently (e.g. adaptive content, frequent testing, immediate feedback,
etc.), as do effective teachers. Using computers or other forms of technol-
ogy can give students practice on copra content and skills while the teach-
er can work with others, conduct assessments, or perform other tasks.
Through the use of educational technology, education is able to be indi-
vidualized for each student allowing for better differentiation and allow-
ing students to work for mastery at their own pace. (Wikipedia, s.v. Ed-
ucational Technologies, on the basis of publications by various scientists)

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. What is the main difference between Educational Technology (ET)
and Information and Communication Technology (ICT)?
2. What are important advantages of Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs) in
comparison to traditional blackboards?
3. Why do IWBs induce teachers to dominate the class more than neces-
sary?
4. Why are textbook, despite justified criticism, indispensable tools?
5. What did Torben Schmidt find out about the structure and the effects
of learning software?
226 The interplay between reliable methods and digital media

6. Define the term hypertext and describe the main features of a hy-
per-document.
7. What is a Learning Management system (LMS)? What is it in general
composed of?
8. What does flipped classroom mean? Why is it a form of Blended
Learning?
9. What are the advantages of computer games in the context of learn-
ing English?
10. How can you introduce students to the effective use of online dictio-
naries?
11. What are the benefits of WebQuests (when integrated into TEFL
classrooms in an appropriate way)?
12. In tandems of preservice-teachers create meaningful PPTs to pre-
sent one of the following aspects: blackboards and Interactive White-
boards, text books and related Learning Software, text and Hypertext,
Learning Management Systems and Open Educational Resources, Ga-
mification, Information technology, Communication technology and
social media, Artificial Intelligence and robots. Guidelines for effec-
tive use of PPT Presentations in teaching and learning are to be found
at www.deflorio.de

Recommended Reading
As an introduction read the section 2.1.4 New technologies, new challenges (pp.
24–26) considering the challenges of the teaching profession in the introduction
to Teaching English by Nancy Grimm, Michael Meyer & Laurenz Volkmann:
Grimm, N., Meyer, M. & Volkmann, L. (2015). Teaching English. Tübingen: Narr.

An interesting update of the use of Interactive Whiteboard by Axel Mug-


ge-Dinn is to be found in the journal Pädagogik:
Mugge-Dinn, A. (2017). Ein Relikt aus alten Zeiten: die Kreidetafel. In: Pädagogik 11,
pp. 48–49.

Michael Evans, deputy head of the Faculty of Education at Cambridge Universi-


ty, at the end of his introduction to the interplay between different media sum-
marizes the main aspects of his contribution in a succinct way:
Evans, M. (22013). Introduction: Traditional and Modern Media. In: Eisenmann, Ma-
ria & Summer, Theresa (eds.). Basis Issues in EFL Teaching and Learning. Heidel-
berg: Winter, 217–228, Summary p. 228. In section 3 of the same article he deals
in more detail with Digital Media Used for TEFL Purposes (pp. 220–224).
The interplay between reliable methods and digital media 227

Katja Heim and Markus Ritter provide a useful checklist of ten important as-
pects that need to be considered when preparing for a written chat or an e-mail
project:
Heim, Katja & Ritter, Markus (2012). Teaching English: Computer-assisted Language
Learning. Paderborn: Schöningh, p. 32.

Those who are interested in further textbook developments may read the re-
spective article by Wolfgang Gehring:
Gehring, Wolfgang (2013). Can’t Judge a Book by its Cover: An analytical approach
to Textbook Innovations. In: Eisenmann, Maria & Summer, Theresa (eds.). Basis
Issues in EFL Teaching and Learning. Heidelberg: Winter, 357–384.

Again some important websites and internet portals for TEFL:


http://www.bildungsserver.de/Englisch-Materialien-fuer-die-Sekundarstufen
-4629.html (last accessed Nov. 2017)
https://www.lehrer-online.de/unterricht/sekundarstufen/fremdsprachen/eng-
lisch; (last accessed Nov. 2017)
http://www.englischlehrer.in; (last accessed Nov. 2017)
https://www.4teachers.de/?action=show&id=667040; (last accessed Nov. 2017)
http://bildungsserver.hamburg.de/englisch/unterricht/materialien/; (last ac-
cessed Nov. 2017)
https://www.britishcouncil.de/unterrichten/materialien; (last accessed Nov.
2017)

Most journals provide examples for TEFL, e.g.:


– Der fremdsprachliche Unterricht Englisch 96/2008: Web 2.0
– Praxis Fremdsprachenunterricht 4/2010: Basisheft: Moderne Medien
– Praxis Fremdsprachenunterricht 4/2010: Englisch: Moderne Medien
– Der fremdsprachliche Unterricht Englisch 144/2016: Digital Classroom

A good overview of relevant aspects is to be found e.g. in:


– Pädagogik 6/2016: Digitales Lernen

Most Federal Ministries of Education have published directives how to use


social networks in schools, e.g.
Handreichung für Lehrkräfte zum Umgang mit sozialen Netzwerken in hessischen
Schulen. Wiesbaden: Hessisches Kultusministerium https://kultusministerium.
hessen.de/sites/default/files/media/hkm/handreichung_soziale_netzwerke_-_
stand_februar_2015.pdf; (last accessed Nov. 2017)
228 The interplay between reliable methods and digital media

Who wants to become an expert of social networking should read the book by
Charles Kadushin:
Kadushin, Charles (2012): Understanding Social Networks – Theories, Concepts, and
Findings. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Those who want to discuss social networking with their (advanced) students are
invited to read a summary of the last chapter of Kadushin’s book: Ten Master
Ideas of Social Networks by Diana Brown:
https://dmbrownsite.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/122/ (last accessed Nov. 2017)
https://dmbrownsite.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/exploring-kadushins-ten-master-
ideas-of-social-networks-part-2-of-2/ (last accessed Nov. 2017)

11.3 The interdependence between analogical and digital


knowledge, skills and attitudes

Although this introduction to teaching and learning English as a foreign


language is a plea for the integration of ET and especially digital tools into
classrooms, competences of the analogical world should by no means be ne-
glected. Reading and writing are the prerequisites to foster when we want
learners to reach proficient and meaningful use of digital media. The better
someone is in reading for example (see 12.5), the more is he or she able to
enjoy the advantages of digitization. We should never forget that those who
invented and developed digital devices and services are mostly so-called dig-
ital immigrants and not digital natives. Furthermore, it is unproductive to
create an opposition – analogical media at the one side, and digitization on
the other. Both are means – often to the same end.
As we live in a world determined by digitization we cannot conceive of
schools and subject matter teaching as a zone free from electronic technolo-
gy. On the contrary, we are obliged to introduce our students to a thought-
ful use of what was long called new media. Who ignores or excludes digital
media does not know what he or she misses out on. Who knows electronic
resources only superficially cannot profit from all its benefits. Moreover, he
or she cannot avoid the inconsistencies and dangers that digitization may in-
volve.
What does a thoughtful use mean in the context of TEFL? Up to now,
introductions to CALL or CELL propagate learning with the help of digital
media. They often do not emphasize sufficiently the objectives that can be
reached only through ET and ICT. Whenever was it so easy to communicate
The interplay between reliable methods and digital media 229

with native speakers and other users of the target language? Many adepts of
digitization, thus, neglect media education by insisting on media didactics
(see 7.3).
Digitization in general is not an option, it is obvious. Excluding elec-
tronic media from schools is irresponsible toward the next generations. Our
students have to learn how to use digital tools to improve achievement and
when it is better to recur to other strategies und means. Moreover, teach-
ers are required to make their students, by and by, recognize when and why
they may rely on electronic devices and services. Above all learners have to
become media-savvy in order to withstand the temptations of uninterrupted
online-activities in their private lives.
In the end, learners have to decide by themselves: They have to become
conscious of the benefits and disadvantages of certain media. This con-
sciousness has to be developed in part in schools and especially in English.
Why in TEFL classrooms? Every subject matter is challenged to contribute
to meaningful technological use. English is the language of digitization and
it dominates as mother tongue, as second language or as lingua franca inter-
nationalization and globalization.
12 From language to literature: Intercultural
Discourse Competence

12.1 Plea for an integrated view . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .231

12.2 From Communicative Competence to Intercultural


Discourse Competence (ICD) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .232

12.3 ICD: the power of language . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .241

12.4 ICD: the power of cultures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .244

12.5 ICD: the power of literature. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .246

After a general plea for an integrated view of knowledge, skills and at-
titudes with regards to TEFL practice (12.1), the necessity of expanding
Communicative Competence to ICC and furthermore to IDC as the over-
all aim of FLT is justified and explained mostly on the basis of Foucault’s
discourse theory (12.2). The following TEFL Examples will help teach-
ers to advance from traditional communicative approaches to more dis-
course-oriented views of dealing with language, cultures and literature in
the classroom (12.3–12.5).
From language to literature: Intercultural Discourse Competence 231

12 From language to literature: Intercultural


Discourse Competence
12.1 Plea for an integrated view

For a very long time TEFL in schools consisted of presenting parts of knowl-
edge and skills of the foreign language to be learnt. Their integration was
postponed and even omitted due to a lack of time. Furthermore, there was
a general rule that the students should pronounce a word not before hav-
ing heard the correct pronunciation from the teacher or listening to an au-
dio-document. When the two oral skills had been successfully managed, stu-
dents were invited to read, whereas writing tasks followed at the end after
listening, speaking and reading activities.
Language was not seen as a whole, but as a puzzle.
This sequence of the traditional four skills was abandoned for an inte-
grated view when communication gained more and more momentum in
TEFL. At least listening and speaking as well as reading and writing became
more interrelated. Already at that time, observing classroom practice could
have evidenced that all four skills are used more or less simultaneously, e.g.
when students discuss about what has been read, interrupting classroom dis-
course by taking notes or listening to an audio-document regarding the text.
Moreover, mediation, i.e. transferring content and language issues of general
importance in both directions from German into English and vice versa, was
soon added as fifth skill.
Even though the Communicative Turn (see 4.2) led at least to a more in-
tegrated view of the four or five skills, teaching and learning strategies such
as TBLT segregate phases of dealing explicitly with vocabulary and struc-
tures from the content- and discourse-oriented parts of the learning cycle
(see 5.2). These procedures are not questionable per se if all pieces of teach-
ing and learning contribute to a simulation of real life discourse in the TEFL
classroom. But quite often teachers forego consciously or unconsciously the
integration and further application of the learned items. Therefore, every les-
son or teaching unit should consist of tasks and activities that show the stu-
dents how “to do things with words” (Austin 1962, see 2.4) without at all
cost following a formulized approach or strategy as TBLT or TSLL (see 5.2).
232 From language to literature: Intercultural Discourse Competence

In recent times we can observe the increase of an integrated view of


teaching and learning foreign languages. Tasks and activities are no longer
divided into minuscule sub-tasks and vocabulary- or grammar-related ex-
ercises, but all necessary subdivisions are immediately correlated with the
targeted higher-level objectives.

What was true for teaching and learning foreign languages in whatever
school context was significant for teacher education, too. Not only colleg-
es and universities but also TEFL guides seemed convinced that splitting up
integrated classroom practices into pieces of knowledge and content might
lead to the best results, particularly for pre-service teachers. These outdat-
ed approaches witness the ways most of today’s college or university students
have learned foreign languages at school thus partly prolonging procedures
that are not only time-consuming, but also ineffective when real-life com-
munication in English is the overarching goal.

Aiming at Intercultural Discourse Competence (IDC) leads to the desired


outcomes not only in teacher education but above all in TEFL classrooms.
For too long, the teaching and learning of foreign languages separated
language learning items from integrated views of culture(s) and literature
in a broad sense. All aspects of teaching and learning – from language to
literature – are destined to contribute to the overall aim of IDC. Further-
more, IDC comprises a different attitude toward cultural differences than
its predecessors Communicative Competence and Intercultural Commu-
nicative Competence.

12.2 From Communicative Competence to Intercultural


Discourse Competence

Since the 1970s the concept of Communicative Competence (see chap. 4)


has evolved. Quite soon an essential aspect of communication between
speakers of different mother tongues became more and more important,
i.e. Interculturalism. As language and culture(s) are closely connected, mere
Communicative Competence is insufficient when it comes to contacts be-
tween speakers or users of different languages. Moreover, Communicative
Competence is not reserved for linguistic contacts in different languages. Re-
From language to literature: Intercultural Discourse Competence 233

spective competencies are indispensable for effective communication taking


place in the mother tongue as well.

In order to underscore the particularities of communication between


speakers of different languages, such as learners of EFL and native or sec-
ond language speakers of English, Communicative Competence expanded
to Intercultural Communicative Competence. Communication in a for-
eign language has to take greater cultural differences into account than
it might do when communicating in the first language. Disposing of an
adequate vocabulary and appropriate grammatical structures as well as
of pragmatic knowledge and skills is a prerequisite of successful com-
munication. Nevertheless, without taking cultural aspects into account
communication will not go beyond the exchange of everyday banalities.
Internationalization and globalization leading beside other factors to mul-
ti-faceted migrations all over the world contributed to the further devel-
opment of concepts of Intercultural Communicative Competence.

Since the 1990s most SLA- and FLT-experts presented and explained differ-
ent views of Intercultural Communicative Competence. Among the best-
known is highly renowned Claire Kramsch. She is of French origin, was
married to a German and has lived for decades in the U.S, where she teach-
es German as a foreign language at the University of Berkeley, California.
In her perspective, underpinned by her personal experiences, Intercultural
Communicative Competence does not mean to simply accept (or disregard)
the view of the counterpart. From one’s own view – forged by the cultures
of the mother tongue – and the view of the other a Third View emerges that
is not identical with one’s own original perspective and that of the counter-
part (Kramsch 1998; 1999). When confronting the communicative results of
speakers of different languages, in most cases, more or less profound adap-
tations take place. Kramsch considers this Third View as a privilege of per-
sons who speak more than one language. Multilingualism, thus, contributes
to enlarge concepts and deepen critical thinking. Although Kramsch’s re-
search contributed to overcome the view of two opposing cultural blocks by
creating a Third Inter-cultural View, it is clear that this perspective is not re-
served to inter-lingual and intercultural communication. Any communica-
tive exchange with others may lead to a Third View.
234 From language to literature: Intercultural Discourse Competence

What is true for the above described Third View has similar implications
for Kramsch’s concept of language as symbolic power (Kramsch 2009). Lan-
guages offer linguistic symbols for objects and events. These are shared by a
social community having thus a great impact on identity. Therefore, it is not
the same for an American to hear and talk about 9/11 in his or her moth-
er tongue or in French (Kramsch 2009, 7). Different views and concepts of
the same object or event are connected with (a foreign) language. They bring
about other symbolic realities and consequently a new sense of self (ibid.).
Identity is not only determined by psycholinguistic factors but also by
social ones, a view related to the identity concept of Vygotsky (see 5.2 Scaf-
folding). In her Afterword to Bonnie Norton’s new edition Identitiy and lan-
guage learning: extending the conversation (22013) Kramsch links language as
symbolic power to the suffering and changing identities of migrants tied to
social injustices (Kramsch 22013, 192–201). The fact that most social identi-
ties today are multiple and complex, contradictory and in a state of flux can
explain why migrants (but also other society members) long for language
communities, mostly of their language of origin, imagined and constructed
to give them the right to speak and the prospect of a better world. Moreover,
Kramsch emphasizes the role of information technology as a driving force in
this context (idem, 196). Identity, thus, is discursively constructed in a so-
cial sense, but between interlocutors of all languages, not only in inter-lin-
gual communication.

TEFL Example
Foreign language learners are able to relate to the impact of languages on
identity when they try to find out what motivates people to learn a foreign
language. No European student will seriously cast doubt on the necessity of
learning English, a dominant language in professional as well as private do-
mains. But what if our students try to change perspective and adopt the per-
spective of U.S. American peers? Why should a young American learn one
or more foreign languages, e.g. German or Italian? In 2016 The New York
Times Learning Network asked the pertinent question if everyone should
learn at least one other language (for further details see the article by Gon-
char at https://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/15/student-question-
should-everyone-learn-at-least-one-other-language/?mcubz=3 ; last accessed
Feb. 2018).
From language to literature: Intercultural Discourse Competence 235

Thus, Intercultural Communicative Competence interpreted and implement-


ed in a meaningful way can lead to the desired objectives. Why, nevertheless,
do we have to take a further step from Intercultural Communicative Com-
petence to IDC? The leading question is: How should interlocutors with dif-
ferent first languages and diverse cultural backgrounds deal with these diver-
sities? It is not the term per se that causes problems, but the acceptation of
Intercultural Communicative Competence, at least in the German-speaking
countries, that has to be examined. As explained in 2.4 the intercultural per-
spective dates back to Herder who interpreted national cultures as spheres
with their very center in themselves. Beside the fact that the view of one ho-
mogeneous national culture is outdated in times of internationalization and
globalization, the risk of a clash of cultures (Huntington 1997, 2011; see 2.4)
has to be avoided, especially in multilingual and multicultural societies as
Germany based on the coexistence of Germans and migrant families from a
multitude of countries and nations.
As the simple coexistence of languages and cultures in most parts of the
world has proven ineffective, Interculturalism was extended to what Wolf-
gang Welsch (2010) denominated Transculturalism, a term that did not
gain general acceptance whereas the concept was accepted at least until re-
cent years. Transculturalism or rather the newer acceptation of Intercultural
Communicative Competence aims at integrating meaningful aspects of for-
eign cultures into one’s own perspectives in order to guaranty a “peaceful”
co-existence of cultures. But what are the consequences of avoiding the clash
of cultures through this updated and refocused Intercultural Communicative
Competence?
With the extension of globalization and digitization the answers to the
overall question: How to deal with cultural differences? become more de-
tailed: What is expected from the foreign language counterparts? Why not
discuss the differences among the interlocutors in order to enrich meaning-
ful aspects with views of both sides? How to deal with cultural differences
that remain unacceptable for one another? How to conceptualize cross-cul-
tural dialogue that involves “the recognition of common human needs across
cultures and of dissonance and critical dialogue within cultures” (Nussbaum
1998, 82; see 2.4)? Considering the great impact that learning foreign lan-
guages may have on identity as well as on cognitive, social and emotional
abilities and attitudes, it is imperative to give foreign language learners fur-
ther means to deal with Otherness at hand.
236 From language to literature: Intercultural Discourse Competence

Already in 1990 Albert Raasch published a short academic article deal-


ing with “Interkulturelle Diskurskompetenz” that can function as a starting
point for further considerations:
Ausgangspunkt der Betrachtungen sind dabei die verschiedenen “Wer-
tesysteme” einzelner Kulturen, die auch durch die Sprache dokumen-
tiert werden, welche wiederum Veränderungen unterworfen ist. Dabei
genügt es jedoch nicht, Schüler nur mit sprachlichen Regeln zu konfron-
tieren; vielmehr bedarf es der Bewusstmachung „kuturspezifischer Ver-
wendungsbedingungen“. Interkulturelle Kommunikation bzw. Kompetenz
bedeutet, über sprachliche Mittel zu verfügen, um mit dem kulturell an-
ders geoprägten zu einem Miteinander zu gelangen, die Unterschiede zu
vereinbaren. Künftiger Fremdsprachenunterricht sollte es sich zur Aufga-
be machen, geeignete Diskursstrategien bereitzustellen, um dem Lernziel
gerecht zu werden. (Raasch 1990, 11)

The idea of IDC as overall aim of foreign language teaching and learning
was taken up by scholars and practitioners in the following decades, in Ger-
many mostly by Wolfgang Hallet. As other proponents of IDC he had to
state that the discourse turn was not taken up with due interest and commit-
ment by teachers and other education practitioners even though the concept
of IDC is to be found in the CEFR (Hallet 2008, 77).
That IDC, until nowadays, is not widely accepted or diffused in TEFL
classrooms, is mainly caused by the following reasons: The term discourse
– especially in reference to socio-cultural practices – is very complex and
multifaceted. In general, practitioners prefer clear definitions and concepts
in order to choose teaching and learning strategies. A similar reason is re-
sponsible for a lack of IDC in textbooks and other teaching and learning
materials. But even if teachers accept the necessity of putting aside the idea
of homogeneous cultures, the challenge to promote ICD in TEFL classrooms
is huge. Moreover, to ideate and elaborate appropriate teaching materials is
very time-consuming.
From language to literature: Intercultural Discourse Competence 237

Real life communication and interaction across languages and cultures is


based on effective critical intercultural dialogue, i.e. on IDC. But how can
we define the term discourse so that it can be applied by teachers and stu-
dents in TEFL classrooms? Among the myriad of definitions at least the
following explications have to be taken into account. Discourse refers at
least to
• conceptual generalizations of conversation,
• social practice as an entity of sequences and signs which form an
enouncement or statement in conversation,
• relations between discourses, i.e. the meanings of concepts used in a
special field such as medical, juridical or educational discourse,
• a social boundary which statements can be made about a topic.

Therefore Discourse Analysis takes various perspectives. This multiple scien-


tific discipline focuses on the level above that of the sentence, on language in
use, on social practice with reference to socio-historical backgrounds in or-
der to identify the power relations and the underlying ideology in discourse
(Claudel & Veniard 22017, 202). Why are all these acceptations important
for FLT, especially TEFL? Discourse affects a person’s perspective and a per-
son’s perspective affects discourse: When you talk about guerrilla move-
ments, your discourse will be different if you see in these political move-
ments a danger or a chance. In this acceptation which dates back to Foucault
discourse is closely linked to different theories of power: What you can say
about guerrilla movements depends on the context and the community you
deal with. If your statements are to be appropriate you have to avoid certain
topics and underscore instead other views.
In his early work The Archeology of Knowledge (1972) Foucault himself
explains discourse in analogy to a book. Even though every book consists
of single words, it is not made up of individual words on a page, but rather
is caught up in a system of references to other books, other texts, other sen-
tences. In a similar way communication in a foreign language (as all com-
munication) is related to a larger web of knowledge and ideas whose exist-
ence has to be taken into account when you want to use language in real
world contacts that go beyond everyday banalities and touristic small talk.
That IDC is imperative becomes clear when we look at migration issues.
The claim to respect migrant cultures of origin on the one hand and to help
migrants adopt the overarching cultural dimensions of the host country on
238 From language to literature: Intercultural Discourse Competence

the other is a paradox. IDC involves a complex understanding of cultures or


rather of cross-cultural relationships.

For Michael Byram this perspective forms the basis of his widely diffused
concept of the five savoirs. According to the British scholar, Intercultural
Communicative Competence is indispensable for those who want to live,
even only for a certain period of time, in a foreign country – in contrast
to tourists. Byram’s ICC consists of linguistic and sociolinguistic compe-
tence as well as of discourse and intercultural competence (Byram 1997,
passim). The five domains are:
• savoirs: knowledge of social groups and their products and practices in
one’s own and in one’s interlocutor’s country;
• savoir comprendre: skills of interpreting and relating;
• savoir être: attitudes; adopting the behaviors appropriate for an outsid-
er;
• savoir apprendre/faire: skills of discovery and interaction;
• savoir s’engager: critical cultural awareness/political education
(Byram 1997, 58ff.)

Byram is convinced that this education for citizenship or education for de-
mocracy is in the responsibility of schools and institutions under the guid-
ance of teachers, thus a challenge for foreign language teachers, too.
Among the multiple conceptualizations of discourse that might influence
FLT the most influential is that of Michel Foucault who considers discourse
as social practice whose analysis depends on critical language awareness.

As we live in multilingual and multicultural societies, no one can pre-


tend to dispose of a homogeneous cultural identity. Today’s identities in
most countries of the world are made up of a myriad of facets which are
in continuous change. This presupposes the negotiation of meaning and
the freedom of accepting or refusing (with due respect) views and stand-
points of others. Intercultural discourse does not simply consist of incor-
porating convenient convictions of counterparts. Furthermore, the pro-
cesses of Intercultural Discourse (as those of interpersonal discourse in
general) are never concluded.
From language to literature: Intercultural Discourse Competence 239

According to Foucault (1972) as well as to Carl James and Peter Garett


(1991) discourse is comprised, as aforementioned, of affective, social and
power-related issues. From this perspective follows that foreign language
teachers have to be particularly aware of the affective side of discourse when
engaging with students in language awareness-related activities. An example
is the German word “Migrantenflut” that makes you think of a deluge, a nat-
ural disaster. Therefore teachers of EFL should invite their students through
appropriate activities to adopt a general inquiring attitude that has to be
developed gradually during compulsory education by questioning the sur-
rounding realities. In the same stance Annelie Knapp denominates (intercul-
tural) communicative awareness as “Hab-Acht-Haltung” (Knapp 2013, 69).
This general inquiring attitude, in contrast to Habermas, is not con-
sent-oriented. Jürgen Habermas, whose contributions to communicative
competence are appreciated in 4.2, distinguishes communication from dis-
course, the latter coming only into play when there are major divergences
between the interlocutors. Discourse in Habermas’ acceptation is only neces-
sary for clearing contrasting perspectives using meta-cognitive strategies. He
seems convinced that with due respect on both sides a consensus is always
in reach (Habermas 1984)

As of today, internationalization, globalization and digitization would


make such reciprocal acceptance only possible if both sides gave up part
of their views and convictions. Beside the fact that this is an exception in
real life situations, such an attitude is not desirable. It undermines one
of the greatest benefits of intra- and intercultural communication, i.e. the
continuous reciprocal growth of different mindsets. In other words: Given
the multitude of life styles, the final result of shared knowledge today con-
sists in stating and respecting divergent convictions and attitudes and not
in adopting inacceptable world views.

How can teachers proceed in EFL classrooms? The overall aim of TEFL is
to make students aware of discourses and (social) practices through inter-
actions in the foreign language and to reflect the affective, power-related
and linguistic dimensions. In other words, the level of language use, i.e. per-
formance, has to be left for the competence level of meaningful reflection
about discourse and practice. This happens under the overarching concept
of transformational education (transformatorische Bildung) based on hu-
man rights and democracy. This concept originates from Wilhelm von Hum-
240 From language to literature: Intercultural Discourse Competence

boldt’s perspective of “Weltansicht”, which underscores the reciprocal influ-


ence of language and culture. As both are closely interrelated, learning and
knowing several languages allows for enlarged world views. Recent adapta-
tions of Humboldt’s ideas lead to the Theory of Transformational Education
of Hans-Christoph Koller (1997; 2012). Every meaningful learning experi-
ence allows students to develop new or rather different understandings of
the world and of themselves. In this stance, learning foreign languages pro-
vides especially rich resources for identity revision and development.
A detailed discussion of the above changes in society and their conse-
quences for discourse-oriented Intercultural Communicative Competence
is to be found in Jochen Plikat’s book published in 2017. Based on ample
empirical research Plikat opts for what he calls Fremdsprachliche Diskurs-
bewusstheit als Zielprodukt des Fremdsprachenunterrichts (Plikat 2017). His
book is a critical discussion and an enrichment of Intercultural Communica-
tive Competence aiming at discourse-oriented classroom practice.
In his conclusion Plikat explains that his plea for IDC is not intended as
a disruption of existing FLT practice. Nevertheless, new classroom materials
and approaches to teacher education have to be developed:
Diese wären keineswegs als Gegensatz zu bereits vorliegenden Materi-
alien zum Interkulturellen Lernen zu konzipieren, sondern vielmehr als
deren Weiterentwicklung unter einer neuen Perspektive. Mit dem Kon-
strukt Fremdsprachliche Diskursbewusstheit könnten auf diese Weise
Problemfelder des (inter-)kulturell ausgerichteten Fremdsprachenunter-
richts reflektiert und gleichzeitig eine Umsetzung seiner seit langer Zeit
vorliegenden Zielsetzungen angestrebt werden. Deren Kern ist und
bleibt die Vorbereitung junger Manschen auf die Teilhabe an einer viel-
sprachigen und komplexen Welt. (Plikat 2017, 301)

What should teachers and students aim at? What can they achieve? In the
remaining three sections of this chapter discourse-oriented practice is exem-
plified through TEFL Examples and further suggestions.
From language to literature: Intercultural Discourse Competence 241

12.3 ICD: the power of language

In the context of the CEFR (see 6.2) Long’s view of the importance of CLIL
was briefly discussed. The British scholar sustains that B2 can probably not
be reached to a satisfactory level in regular TEFL classrooms. It has to be
based on or at least supported by CLIL.

Why is Long’s remarkable statement worth further consideration when


aiming at IDC? There is a fundamental difference between the accepta-
tion or rather the sequence of language and content in the two teaching
and learning approaches. Whereas the main focus of TEFL is on language
that of CLIL is on content. FLT textbook authors and teachers choose lin-
guistic objectives from the foreign language curriculum, e.g. how to ex-
press divergent opinions, and then look for appropriate content, e.g. how
to express divergent views on a piece of literature or a film. CLIL teach-
ers select content aspects on the basis of the curriculum of the respective
subject matter and fill them with indispensable target language items. This
happens in a similar way in subject matter teaching and learning in the
first language when specialized terms have to be introduced.

With task-oriented TEFL approaches this difference – from language to con-


tent vs. from content to language – does no longer exist in its fundamental
opposition. A majority of TEFL teachers have aspects of motivating content
at the back of their mind when they think of linguistic items and structures
to be presented. Nevertheless, discourse in the sense of social practice re-
lated not only to cognitive but also to affective aspects is still the privilege
of CLIL. The following two examples underscore this potential of CLIL (see
also Der fremdsprachliche Unterricht Englisch 148: Aufgaben im Bilingualen
Unterricht; Hallet & Königs 2013).

TEFL Example
The following worksheet is an example of the interplay between language
and content (De Florio-Hansen 2016, 194):
242 From language to literature: Intercultural Discourse Competence

Worksheet 1: What does Political Correctness mean?

Until the 1990s the term Political Correctness (PC) was only used occasion-
ally even though it has existed since the end of the 18th century. Political
Correctness as a concept originates from, the US but came into usage in the
UK and other English-speaking countries during the past decades. Since the
1990s PC has been widely discussed, especially in the US.

Task 1: Read the definition and say in your own words what PC means:
A person who behaves in a politically correct way, is conform to a particular
sociopolitical, ideology, especially to a liberal point of view concerned with
promoting tolerance and avoiding offense in matters of race, class, gender,
and sexual orientation. (See: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/political+cor-
rectness; last accessed March 2016)
PC means ...................................................................................................................
.......................................................................................................................................

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IS TYRANNY WITH MANNERS


(Charles Heston)
Dad is not politically correct. He is just correct. Always.

Task 2: Imagine the following situation:


At a subway station someone observes a colored person throwing the rests
of a snack on the ground. The observer starts insulting the colored person:
“You damn nigger, get back to Africa: There you can chuck whatever you
want on the ground.” As the colored person does not react, the observer
seizes him by the collar and strikes out …
Voc.: to chuck on the ground: auf den Boden werfen; to strike out: (zum
Schlag) ausholen

What would a politically correct person do to mitigate this situation? Work


in groups of four and continue the above description:
....................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................
From language to literature: Intercultural Discourse Competence 243

Task 3: The word “nigger” is no longer acceptable in public discourse or in


literature, Marc Twain’s novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, published in
1884, was banned from many American high schools because the word “nig-
ger” appeared more than 200 times. In newer editions of Twain’s novel, “nig-
ger” is replaced by “slave”. What do you think about this replacement? Dis-
cuss the issue with your tandem partner, agree on an answer and write it
down. Talk about your point of view in plenary, please.
....................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................

Task 4: Which German words would you avoid in order to be politically


“correct”? Compare your list to that of other classmates.
(De Florio-Hansen, Unterrichtseinheiten Englisch, S. 194: © 2016 Narr
Francke Attempto Verlag GmbH & Co. KG)

12.4 ICD: the power of cultures

Classroom discourse can be intensified when certain aspects – e.g. what


does happiness mean to you? – are not only ideated for communicative ex-
changes between users of the first and the foreign language, but try to focus
on intercultural differences in the classroom itself. It is worthwhile dealing
with what the students of the same learning context – i.e. taking into ac-
count divergent views of learners of different cultural backgrounds in TEFL
classrooms – think and feel about happiness. Similar procedures come close
to real life communication (even though it might seem questionable why the
students do not use the first language German). As classroom conversations
in a foreign language are always based on simulation – the learning context
is not the outside world – every occasion of implementing and expanding
discourse should be welcome. With this option in mind have a look at the
following TEFL Example taken from a unit entitled What makes people hap-
py (A1/A2).
244 From language to literature: Intercultural Discourse Competence

TEFL Example
The following worksheet takes linguistic issues – the English words happi-
ness, luck and fortune for German Glück – as a starting point in order to
check the personal understandings of ‘happiness’ by the students.

Worksheet: ‘Glück’: one German word – many English words


Task 1: The most important English words to translate ‘Glück’ are:
• happiness (feeling good, well-being), for example
to seek happiness: nach Glück streben;
the passport to happiness: der Schlüssel zum Glück;
• luck (Glücksfall), for example:
Good luck! Viel Glück!
to bring luck: Glück bringen;
to try one’s luck: sein Glück versuchen
• fortune (Glücksfall, Schicksal), for example:
to be favored by fortune: Glück haben (vom Glück begünstigt sein);
to make a fortune: ein Vermögen verdienen (= Glück bei den Geschäften
haben);
Fortune favors fools (proverb): Die dümmsten Bauern haben die dicksten
Kartoffeln. (Die Dümmsten haben oft das größte Glück.)

Task 2: Here are some phrases about happiness. With the help of your tan-
dem partner, link pairs. There is more than one possibility. Try to find the
best pairs. Discuss your results in plenary.

1. Happiness is in yours hands. A. Happiness does not come from


outside.
2. Where there is happiness you B. Happy people may have problems,
will find success. too.
3. Happiness is a choice. C. Happiness means work.
4. Happiness means to deal with D. Happiness depends on yourself.
problems.
5. We all can practice Happiness. E. Happy people are often successful.
From language to literature: Intercultural Discourse Competence 245

Task 3: What makes you happy? Think about this and then make a list. Talk
about your results with other group members or classmates.

Example:
I feel happy when I listen to the songs of …
X makes me happy.
I feel happy when ………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………
(De Florio-Hansen, Unterrichtseinheiten Englisch, S. 154–158: © 2016 Narr
Francke Attempto Verlag GmbH & Co. KG)

12.5 ICD: the power of literature

Chapter 11 deals with the interplay between reliable methods and digital
media, but not only these teaching and learning strategies – often seen in
a false opposition – have to be interrelated in a meaningful way. There is
interdependence between analogical and digital knowledge, skill and atti-
tudes, too.

In this introduction to TEFL digitization is not seen as an option, but as a


necessity. Digital tools do not only have to be integrated in classroom prac-
tice when they provide better results as traditional media. It suffices that
they provide equal results and higher motivation. Furthermore, they allow
for different approaches to the same issues and thus can amplify and com-
plete ICD. Nevertheless, there is no need to substitute proved methods more
and more by digital media. And there is no constraint to foster digital abil-
ities in order to reduce analogical ones. Both are imperative and it is in the
responsibility of curriculum designers, textbook authors and above all for-
eign language teachers to find a way through the maze.
Indispensable analogical knowledge, skills and attitudes relate to read-
ing. Many of today’s books in print, especially introductions to scientific do-
mains, try to imitate hypertexts or other internet formats. They are mainly
characterized by a lack of coherent text, many unnecessary interruptions by
graphics and other figures and marginal columns that induce the readers to
switch between the keywords (without taking the time to get involved with
the text).
246 From language to literature: Intercultural Discourse Competence

Another issue is reading literature, especially novels, using a mobile de-


vice. What may be useful when reading in bus or train has no justification
when it comes to aesthetic experiences that are up to now made best when
reading a paper version of literature. Both claims can be summarized in the
following way: Reading coherent texts, especially literary works, on paper of-
fer a deeper understanding of their multiple discourses. In the same fashion,
scientists, as aforementioned, found out that taking notes by hand is prefera-
ble to note-taking with the help of a digital tool.

TEFL Example
Read the following adaptation of an article published in the German newspa-
per Die Welt (https://www.welt.de/kultur/literarischewelt/article152567530/
So-gefaehrlich-sind-heutige-Bibliotheken-fuer-Buecher.html; last accessed
Sept. 2017).
Discuss the issue of transforming entire libraries into places where you
can only find scanned versions of books. Exchange your opinions in groups
of four and then in plenary. What would that mean for libraries? What
about seeing and touching books? What about asking librarians for informa-
tion and comparing several books in print?

In Neapel bestiehlt ein Direk-


tor seine eigene Bibliothek,
in Zürich findet der Chef,
dass ein paar Bücher als At-
trappen reichen: Müssen wir
uns um das gedruckte Buch
in der Bibliothek Sorgen
machen?
Ein Hochstapler hat einen
Traum: Mit wertvollen alten
Büchern handeln! Aber wie?
Direktor einer Bibliothek
müsste man sein und Fürsprecher haben, um es tatsächlich zu werden. Das
gelingt einem Betrüger; er wird Chef der zweitältesten Bibliothek Italiens.
Anstatt sie zu sanieren, hat er es in Wahrheit aber nur darauf abgesehen hat,
Kataloge so zu manipulieren, dass er in Ruhe die Bestände plündern und auf
den internationalen Buch-Antiquitätenmarkt bringen kann. Lücken im Regal
werden bei paralleler Kataloglöschung zunächst nicht bemerkt.
From language to literature: Intercultural Discourse Competence 247

Erst 2013 fliegt die Plünderung auf. Die komplette Bibliothek wird
staatsanwaltlich beschlagnahmt und ist bis heute geschlossen. Zwar konnten
einige gestohlene Bücher, Werke von Galilei und Kopernikus, aus Bayern in
die Bibliothek zurückgeführt werden. Doch die Ermittlungen, welche Bücher
überhaupt abgingen, dauern bis heute an.
Ein Kunsthistoriker, der den systematischen Diebstahl seinerzeit bemerkt
und angezeigt hatte, merkte an: Man hatte den Fuchs zum Wächter eines
Hühnerstalls bestellt. Bis heute sammelt man die Federn wieder ein. Ob es
den Hühnern helfen würde, wenn es sie überhaupt nur noch digital gäbe?
Und damit zum Traum eines anderen Bibliotheksdirektors. Für viele las
es sich wie ein Albtraum, was Raffael Ball, der Bibliothekschef der Eidgenös-
sisch-Technischen Hochschule (ETH), kürzlich im Interview mit der „Neuen
Zürcher Zeitung“ als Vision formulierte: die buchfreie Bibliothek.
Bücher in Bibliotheken, so der Direktor, könnten sich in Zukunft auf
wenige „Attrappen“ beschränken, „ein Regal am Eingang“ für den Aha-Ef-
fekt: „Weil die Leute ein Bild der Bibliothek haben. Sie erwarten Regale von
Büchern. Wenn sie in einer Bibliothek keine Bücher sehen, dann denken sie,
sie seien am falschen Ort.“
Wie man sich das Ball-Szenario für die Buchbestände der ETH-Bib-
liothek konkret vorstellen muss, blieb zunächst offen. Aber Freunde des
gedruckten Buchs orakeln schon, was gefährlicher sei: die kriminelle Ener-
gie, mit der ein Direktor seine eigene Bibliothek ausraubt, oder die Program-
matik, mit der ein Bibliothekschef die Digitalisierung zu Ende denkt?
(Marc Reichwein, “So gefährlich sind heutige Bibliotheken für Bücher”,
Welt-online 24.02.2016 © 2016 Axel Springer Syndication GmbH)

Conclusion
With increasing globalization and digitization all over the world identi-
ties have become so multifaceted and complex, that simple views of ICC
are no longer sustainable. To keep one’s own cultural background and
enrich it by convenient parts of cultures of the Other is no longer suffi-
cient.
Whereas the transition from Communicative Competence to ICC was
quite immediately accepted and implemented by foreign language teach-
ers three decades ago, the necessary extension from ICC to IDC proves
difficult although many educational scientists and practitioners (such as
Hallet 2008 and Plikat 2017) opt for an expanded integration of discourse
into communication inside and outside the classroom.
248 From language to literature: Intercultural Discourse Competence

There are many teaching and learning strategies in accordance with


(meta-)linguistic, intercultural and literary approaches that help teachers
and students develop IDC as time goes by. As there is an interplay be-
tween reliable methods and digital media, there is an interdependence be-
tween analogical and digital knowledge, skills and attitudes.

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. Why is Kramsch’s theory of a Third View useful? What about its
limits?
2. What does Kramsch intend by ‘symbolic power’ of languages? De-
scribe Kramsch’s construct in your own word.
3. What are overarching advantages of learning foreign languages? Why
are communicative aims in private life or on the workplace not suffi-
cient?
4. Why are conceptualizations of culture as homogeneous entities that
date back to Herder outdated?
5. In what aspects does IDC go beyond ICC?
6. What can be intended by the term discource? Explain.
7. Describe the five savoirs of Byram’s ICC in your own words. Why is
his approach still very influential?
8. Plikat’s construct of Fremdsprachliche Diskursbewusstheit is based on
four great domains. Which is the most important. Why?
9. What is the main difference between (ordinary) TEFL and CLIL?
10. Think about how to motivate students to talk about their personal
concepts of happiness in class.

Recommended Reading
A brief introduction to the issues of this chapter is the article by Manuela Guil-
herme:
Guilherme, Manuela (22017). Intercultural competence. In: Byram, Michael & Hu,
Adelheid (eds.). Routledge Encyclopedia of Language Teaching and Learning. New
York: Routledge, 346–349.

Very useful, especially with regards to the transition from ICC to IDC, is the
article by Wolfgang Hallet, one of the proponents of discourse-oriented FLT:
Hallet, Wolfgang (2008). Diskursfähigkeit heute. Der Diskursbegriff in Piephos The-
orie der kommunikativen Kompetenz und seine zeitgemäße Weiterentwicklung
für die Fremdsprachendidaktik. In: Legutke, Michael (Hrsg.). Kommunikative
Kompetenz als fremdsprachendidaktische Vision. Tübingen, Narr, 76–96.
From language to literature: Intercultural Discourse Competence 249

In his fourth chapter Theoriebildung: Umrisse des Konstruktes „Fremdsprach-


liche Diskursbewusstheit“, Plikat gives a short overview about pedagogical
principles of IDC:
Plikat, Jochen (2017). 4.5 Prinzipien zur Anbahnung Fremdsprachlicher Diskursbe-
wusstheit. In: idem (Hrsg.). Fremdsprachliche Diskursbewusstheit als Zielkonstrukt
des Fremdsprachenunterrichts. Eine kritische Auseinandersetzung mit der Interkul-
turellen Kompetenz. Frankfurt/Main: Lang, 291–294.

In chapter 3 of their publication CLIL – Content and Language Integrated


Learning Do Coyle and his co-authors describe the interrelations between
content learning and language learning and explain how to proceed from
cultural awareness to intercultural understanding opting for a holistic view.
Coyle, Do, Hood, Philip & Marsh, David (2012). Chap. 3: CLIL as a theoretical con-
cept. In: idem (eds.) CLIL – Content and Language Integrated Learning. Cam-
bridge: Cambridge University Press, 27–47.
13 A teaching model as starting point

13.1 The MET – a science-oriented teaching model . . . . . . . . . .251

13.2 Planning and starting the lesson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .255

13.3 Presenting knowledge and skills –


assertive questioning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .259

13.4 Guided and independent practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .262

13.5 Cooperative and project-based learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .268

In 13.1 the Model of Effective Teaching and Successful Learning (MET) in


30 steps is presented in detail. As it is based on Interactive Whole-Class
Teaching the advantages of Direct Instruction (in opposition to Didactic
Teaching; Frontalunterricht) are emphasized on the basis of empirical re-
search.
The single steps of the MET are described and explained from plan-
ning and starting the lesson (13.2) to presenting knowledge and skills in-
cluding assertive questioning (13.3). Finally, in 13.4, similarities and dif-
ferences between guided and independent practice are explained.
The last section (13.5) deals with overlearning (Überlernen) in form of
cooperative and project-based learning. As in 5.2, cooperative learning is
opposed to collaborative forms on the basis of ample research. Explana-
tions for PBL, the English coinage of project- and problem-based learn-
ing, are given in order to improve retention and retrieval of stored knowl-
edge, skills and attitudes.
A teaching model as starting point 251

13 A teaching model as starting point


13.1 The MET – a science-oriented teaching model

The MET is a teacher-proofed Model of Effective Teaching and Successful


Learning which is based on newer research findings of educational psychol-
ogy (see www.ideflorio.com). It is a good starting point for pre- and in-ser-
vice teachers who want to adapt their teaching to newer research findings.
The MET integrates the four most relevant aspects of teaching and learning,
i.e. curriculum design, instructional systems development, backward design
and lesson plan design in a way that leads to better learning outcomes for all
students.
Ever since teaching has existed, educators have asked the same questions:
What should we teach? How should we teach it? Curriculum Design and In-
structional Design are inextricably entwined. Nevertheless, during the long
history of teaching and learning, sometimes the prevalent focus was on con-
tent and sometimes on methodology. The connectedness of learning con-
tent and teaching strategies does not dispense teachers from the obligation
to separately examine the curriculum items before coming to terms with In-
structional Design. That is to say, only when teachers and other education
professionals are convinced of the usefulness of the teaching content for the
learning processes of their students, they are able to choose the appropriate
methodology.

In any case, teachers as well as educators in general have to specify what


they mean by content: That what is or that what you present to your
learners? Or is it simply that what has to be learned? (Petrina 2007).
Whatever the answer to these queries may be, it has to take the students’
needs and interests into account.

In order to decide in favor of a particular Instructional Design teachers have


to consider a great number of pros and cons which have to be examined in
detail.
252 A teaching model as starting point

Instructional Design or rather Instructional Systems Development dates


back to the 1950s. It was developed on the basis of behaviorism. Pro-
grammed learning is perhaps the best known example of the origins of
Instructional Design. As many other teaching and learning models, it
passed through various developmental stages during the past decades. A
great number of important thinkers and scientists, especially education-
al psychologists, have contributed to the development of instructional de-
sign (for a detailed overview see Landriscina 2015).

The decisive change to cognitive psychology, leaving behind stimulus-re-


sponse theories, was made by Robert Gagné with his Instructional Theory
(41985).The complex nature of the multiple learning processes and above all
the active role of the learner came more and more to the fore. Today’s in-
structional design models quite often refer not only to cognitive psycholo-
gy but also to constructivist approaches. Conceived for adult learning most
of them can also be applied to teaching and learning in primary and second-
ary schools.
A very influential elaboration of Instructional Design is the ADDIE
Model of the Florida State University. In its best known version it consist of
five phases which build on one another:
• Analyze: The analysis refers to all parameters that are relevant for the
planned teaching unit or lesson, i.e. the objectives, the content, the pri-
or knowledge of the students, the learning activities as well as the eval-
uation tasks. It is within the responsibility of the teacher to connect the
gathered information in order to create the best learning experiences for
all students.
• Design: The second phase of the model aims at creating the pedagogi-
cal design of the whole teaching unit. Based on important research results
and models of instructional design, the teacher plans the learning activities
taking the special teaching and learning context into account.
• Develop: What follows is the planning of the concrete learning activities
and their sequence considering the particular learners.
• Implement: The whole instructional design, i.e. the integration of all steps
and materials gathered during the phases 1 to 3, is put to the test of effec-
tiveness and efficiency.
• Evaluate: This last phase ensures that the targeted objectives are real-
ly reached. The evaluation consists of forms of formative and summative
feedback.
A teaching model as starting point 253

But there is more to effective teaching and successful learning than Curricu-
lum Design and Instructional Design.

The third feature to be taken into account is Backward Design. Teach-


ers have to be well aware of the possibilities and limits of their individu-
al learners, before going ahead with both Curriculum Design and Instruc-
tional Design. They must exactly know what to achieve for their students
and in which ways the learners should demonstrate the required knowl-
edge, skills and attitudes. Thus, backward design is the basis of stand-
ards-oriented movements all over the world.

Important educational scientists engaged in research into Instructional De-


sign dealt with Backward Design, 4 Robert Mager (1962). Furthermore, the
first phase of the above ADDIE Model refers explicitly to Backward Design.
Why is Backward Design so important? Teachers tend to fix goals and to
choose learning activities for their learners without thinking too much about
forms of evaluation. Perhaps there will be a presentation or a written test as
summative feedback at the end of the unit? What about formative evaluation
during the lessons? Backward Design means to have clear ideas – especial-
ly with regards to the learners – what is expected of them during the lessons
and at the end of a unit. In which way and by which means will and can the
students show if or to what extent they have reached the aims and objec-
tives? Attaining the objectives does not refer only to subject matter content
of TEFL but, moreover, to critical thinking and higher level attitudes such as
respect for people originating from other backgrounds and cultures.
In a top-down approach Backward Design descends from reflected per-
sonal attitudes and effective thinking strategies to the automatization of
knowledge and skills. John Froelich (www.lookingatlearning.org; last ac-
cessed June 2016) puts it as follows:
Effective lessons focus on students’ thinking as the most important
goal: High performing classrooms primarily engage students in activi-
ties where they are asked to think about concepts and essential truths ex-
tend their thinking to new situations, practice expressing their thinking
and develop the several cognitive processes required to continually inter-
act with new materials and situations. Thus the goal of instruction is to
get the students to analyze, think and extend their thinking.
254 A teaching model as starting point

A second lesson goal is one that gives students practice developing


skills to automaticity: Developing skills to some level of automaticity is
often important if students are to attain some level of efficiency. However,
it is important to not confuse the two goals: developing thinking skills
and practicing automaticity. While they are both important, they are not
interchangeable. That is to say, practicing skills to automaticity does not
necessarily lead to understanding (the ability to think coherently about a
subject), nor does understanding concepts necessarily lead to automatici-
ty. (Froelich 2009: 1; emphasis by the author).

Backward Design refers to different evaluation forms such as formative


and summative feedback (see chap. 14 and 15). Assessment forms have
to be different for showing critical thinking and other higher-level atti-
tudes than for the display of knowledge and skills. Furthermore, teach-
ers and other education professionals have to plan the necessary feedback
and evaluation activities in advance.

The last indispensable feature is Lesson Plan Design which dates back to
Madeline Cheek Hunter in the 1970s (Hunter 1984). It fixes the main parts
of a lesson and especially the sequence of the single steps. Without a scrupu-
lous lesson plan the most appropriate content delivered with science-proofed
teaching strategies based on backward design will not lead to the best possi-
ble outcomes for all students.

There has to be Lesson Plan Design fixing the most import steps of the
lesson or teaching unit without neglecting alternatives. The 30 steps of the
MET (Model of Effective Teaching), adapted from various precursors of the
last decades (see the DISTAR Model by Engelmann and Carmine 1991
and Hattie’s research 2009, 2012), summarize the above claims in a teach-
er- and learner-friendly way. Based on Interactive Whole-Class Teaching
(cf. Petty 22009, 103–114), the MET is a research-oriented model that en-
ables all educators to make informed choices to the benefits of their stu-
dents.

The MET is a secure basis to start from. It is a proposal which enables in-
formed autonomous teachers to decide for themselves. Neither are all 30
steps intended as a prescription nor is the sequence of the steps unalterable.
The affective empathy, the teaching experience and the overall responsibili-
A teaching model as starting point 255

ty of education professionals will help them to adapt the single steps to their
contexts. But even if they rather discard them, the MET may enable them
to enhance their own skills and knowledge and to contribute to the multiple
identities of their students.

13.2 Planning and starting the lesson

Planning a lesson or a teaching unit consists with alternations of the follow-


ing five steps:
1. Choice of curricular goals linked to prior learning; goals, standards, and
objectives should be motivating and relate to students’ lives.
2. Explicit connection to students’ existing knowledge; prior knowing con-
sists of subject matter as well as of world knowledge.
3. Possibly subdivision of the goal(s) into several objectives; in most cases
students need this fragmentation in order to grasp new knowledge and
skills.
4. Thorough planning of content presentation and practice; presentation
and practice have to fit the special subject matter content as well as the
students’ needs and interests.
5. Elaboration of alternative forms of content presentation and practice; it
is important to plan and elaborate alternative forms to be prepared for
students’ learning difficulties.

In this context point 1 and point 5 often are not sufficiently taken into ac-
count: In what ways does the chosen content or skill refer to the needs and
interests of the students? How can the teacher surmount unexpected diffi-
culties?

TEFL Example
As agreed with the learners, the teacher will read the novel Breath by Tim
Winton, a contemporary Australian writer (born in 1960). The novel de-
scribes how windsurfing, the hobby of the protagonist and his friend, be-
comes more and more a vital challenge when the two boys come into con-
tact with Sando, a veteran big-wave surfer with a mysterious past (see:
https://www.bookbrowse.com/reviews/index.cfm/book_number/2140/breath;
last accessed August 2017).
256 A teaching model as starting point

Before starting to read Winton’s book the teacher invites her learners to
talk about their own hobbies. This may seem quite a simple task, but it turns
out to be a demanding learning activity when the teacher considers her in-
dividual students. To overcome some perplexities the teacher invites the stu-
dents to prepare at home a drawing of their preferred leisure activities. In
the following lesson they will give a presentation based on their visual illus-
tration. At that point teacher clarity is required: Should the students repre-
sent their hobby or the activity with which they spend the greatest amount
of leisure time? What if they have more than one hobby? And what when
they have no hobby at all perhaps for a lack of money? Already in the plan-
ning stage teachers have the possibility to reduce time-consuming ways to
deal with the task giving precise indications.
If the learners do not feel like drawing something by themselves they can
use visual aids from the internet. In any case they have to print them out or
present them in a form that the rest of the class can see them. As with many
other learning activities where the students recur to visual or audio-visual
resources from the internet, this task is a good occasion to talk with the stu-
dents about copyright. As long as they use visual aids from the internet for
presentations limited to the classroom, there is no problem. The moment
they use it on their own website or in e-mails or blogs directed to other stu-
dents or peers they are obliged to ask for the rights (see chap. 11).

In the first place, curriculum content and teaching objectives have to be


chosen in due consideration of students’ needs and interests. They have
to be challenging and relate to students’ lives. They should not be limit-
ed to knowledge and skills, but should also focus on the steady develop-
ment of attitudes. Learning tasks and activities are designed to improve
the learning outcomes of all students and not only to correspond to pre-
scribed goals and standards. (De Florio 2016, 125)

The following four steps (6–9) are to be considered when starting a lesson:
6. Explanation of the goals, the learning intentions and the success criteria;
students need to be informed in advance of what respective knowledge
and skills they should learn and why, and how they can evaluate the suc-
cess of their learning processes.
7. Display of the values connected to the particular knowledge and skills;
depending on the age of the students, explanations are often less effec-
tive than examples.
A teaching model as starting point 257

8. Encouraging students with regards to their possibilities of meeting


the goals; student learning outcomes depend to a large extent on their
self-confidence.
9. Promotion of students’ commitment through motivating hooks or other
hints; teachers should dispose of a variety of inspiring examples and
short narrations in order to increase students’ engagement.

When starting the lesson teachers are to have relevant answers to at least
two questions: How should they introduce the goals and learning intentions
so that their students can see the value of the respective knowledge, skills,
and attitudes? How can students be informed about the learning intentions?
An effective way to communicate with the students about the general
goals of a lesson or a teaching unit is a so-called hook (Haken, Aufhänger).
When thinking about inspiring forms of introducing students to the intend-
ed goals, the six principles of Chip and Dan Heath are a good starting point.
The Heath brothers carried out extensive research to find out what makes
ideas stick. In 2007 they published a book entitled Made to Stick that refers
to all topics from business to personal growth. In the following years they
transposed their ideas and findings to the field of education and published
their suggestions under the title Teaching that Sticks (2010). The following
six principles are useful also in FLT:
Principle 1: Simplicity
When starting the lesson, the teacher, at best, focuses on the main point
of the learning content in a simple and catchy way, e.g. recurring to exam-
ples, comparisons, and analogies taking the existing knowledge and skills
of his or her students into account. It is, thus, the task of the teacher to
find and prioritize the core message.

Principle 2: Unexpectedness
To increase the motivation of the students, teachers should unfold the
new learning content like the plot of a mystery. A good means to arouse
the curiosity of the students is a story with a gap of knowledge that the
learners feel to close. The gap is most meaningful when the students real-
ize in advance that they need the knowledge to close the gap.

Principle 3: Concreteness
In order to enable the learners to enter information into their short-term
memory and then store it in their long-term memory, the new content
has to be presented as concrete a way as possible. Teachers are success-
258 A teaching model as starting point

ful when recurring to actions or sensual experiences. That is to say, at the


start of the lesson, abstractions and specialized terms should be avoided.

Principle 4: Credibility
This principle – perhaps less important for TEFL – means that students
should be given the opportunity to test the information that the teacher
wants to transmit. A good means are relationships and comparisons with
other pieces of knowledge. “You are more likely to be struck by lightning
than to win the lottery”. (Heath & Heath 2010, 7)

Principle 5: Emotion
Not only at the start but also in the flow of the lesson it is important to
evoke the feelings of the learners. Starting the lesson with an extract from
a movie or a song that relates to the following content, skill, or attitudes is
a teacher-proofed way that achieves good results. Another possibility is to
show an enigmatic picture whose meaning the learners will discover dur-
ing the flow of the lesson.

Principle 6: Stories
It is clear that every phase of a lesson or a teaching unit can profit from
stories. At the beginning of the lesson a short narrative is often more ef-
fective than good explanations. A story touches parts of the brain that
contribute to memorize the ideas behind the story. A narrative causes a
sort of simulation. When the students hear a story about some hero or
about a celebrity many of them imagine themselves in the place of this
great personality. “Mental simulation is not as good as actually doing
something – but the next best thing”. (Heath & Heath 2010, 10)

When starting the lesson, transparency of goals, learning intentions and


success criteria is crucial. Teaching is more effective and learning more
successful when students participate in planning and starting the lesson.
The form in which teachers convey what they have to say is very impor-
tant. Simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions, and
stories are among the best tools at the disposal of teachers and – why not?
– of students. (De Florio 2016, 136).
A teaching model as starting point 259

13.3 Presenting knowledge and skills – assertive questioning

The core unit of the MET consists of the following five steps (10–14) which
show clearly that this teaching model is indebted to what is called Direct In-
struction (see 2.3). This controversial term should be replaced by Interac-
tive Whole-Class Teaching as practiced in the UK because Direct Instruction
is often equalized with Didactic Teaching (Frontalunterricht). The latter oc-
curs in its classical form in university lectures. In schools teachers recurring
to didactic teaching direct their presentations and explanations in general to
the average of the class leaving the better and above all the less capable stu-
dents out of their teaching efforts. In contrast to that, Interactive Whole-
Class Teaching focuses on the activation of possibly all learners.

10. Comprehensible explanations or demonstrations of learning content; ex-


planations, modeling, and demonstrations have to be in accordance with
students’ learning possibilities.
11. Redundant explanations; various formulations of content knowledge
and/or skills help students to grasp the learning content and store it in
memory.
12. Illuminating, student-centered examples; examples should be easy to un-
derstand in order to attract the attention of the students.
13. Exemplification and demonstration of knowledge and skills through vi-
sual/audiovisual aids; as visual memory plays an important role in stor-
ing knowledge, a display of different means such as pictures, tables, and
especially different digital media could possibly be incorporated.
14. Presentation of the steps leading to solution through worked examples;
not only in mathematics but in (almost) all subject matters, worked ex-
amples show students what to do in order to reach goals and objectives.

The term Direct Instruction was introduced by Barack Rosenshine (1985)


and is still the current denomination of the scientific literature (e.g. Hat-
tie 2009, 205). But the term as well as the concept have been well estab-
lished in publications by German educationalists long before the Hattie
study. Wellenreuther deals in great detail with Direkte Instruktion since
2004 (see 72014, 357ff.). Helmke and Weinert explain (1997, 136) what
features differentiate this useful model from didactic teaching, and Wein-
ert (1998, 27) calls it the most effective teaching approach to reach de-
manding objectives.
260 A teaching model as starting point

It has to be noted that the teacher, in order to reach all or at least most of
his or her students, displays an array of well-sequenced presentation modes.
Step 10 refers to explanations, modeling, and demonstrations. A good ex-
planation is clear and well-structured; it takes the students’ age and prior
knowledge into account and motivates the learners by referring to their in-
terests. Modeling, either as supplement to explanations or as an alternative,
shows the students the expected outcome, e.g. in form of a worked example.
Demonstrations may be necessary too in the context of student presenta-
tions; they introduce the learners to individual styles of body language in or-
der to make their presentation more attractive.
As can be easily deduced from the above steps the presentation of knowl-
edge and skills does not occur in a lecture style but in alternation with as-
sertive questioning. These questions have nothing to do with a presenting
variant of didactic teaching denominated Easter bunny pedagogy (Oster-
hasenpädagogik). Elsbeth Stern together with Michael Felten coined this
term for a procedure where teachers hide the answer they want to hear and
ask questions until one of the students comes up with the expected answer
(Felten & Stern 22012, 34).
The following five steps (15–19) describe the concept of assertive ques-
tioning:
15. Assertive questioning; during the whole lesson, but especially when pre-
senting new content, teachers have to check through adequate questio-
ning if and what students have understood.
16. Attentive answering of students’ questions; students’ questions should
never be ignored, as they show if and how students have conceived the
learning content.
17. Positive attitude toward mistakes; students need to know that mistakes
are welcome, as they offer further learning possibilities.
18. Questions regarding the presented knowledge and skills; these questions
should be formulated in such a way that all students have an opportuni-
ty to take part in the lesson.
19. Repeated presentation of the learning content; if it is found that the stu-
dents did not comprehend the learning content on the whole or in part,
it has to be re-taught.

Whereas Hattie’s research into Direct Instruction is limited to the cogni-


tive achievement of college and university students (d = 0.59, rank 26), oth-
er scholars such as Gregory A. D. Liem and Andrew J. Martin enter in more
A teaching model as starting point 261

details especially interesting and useful for pre- and in-service teachers.
Based on their overview of empirical research they invite teachers to care-
fully “sequence lessons that comprise appropriately scripted/well-thought
through instructions” (Liem & Martin 2013, 368).

Their research report is not limited to cognitive achievement. Liem and


Martin (ibid.) underscore the positive affective outcomes of Direct In-
struction, which are often negated by its critics. Furthermore, Direct In-
struction is in accordance with constructivist approaches, as it promotes
the construction of knowledge and skill through well-sequenced system-
atic steps during the presentation phase and the following guided and in-
dependent practice (see 15.4) (De Florio 2016, 137f.)

In the context of Interactive Whole-Class Teaching, the considerations and


results of John Sweller and his team (Diao, Chandler & Sweller 2007) should
be food for thought for those who favor so-called individualized forms of
learning. In an experimental study entitled The Effect of Written Text on
Comprehension of Spoken English as a Foreign Language (in the context of
Cognitive Load Theory) the authors make a distinction between biologically
primary knowledge and biologically secondary knowledge. The first type of
knowledge, such as walking and speaking, is acquired by the child without
help although the development can be supported by others. Biologically sec-
ondary knowledge refers to cultural knowledge and is acquired through or-
ganized learning. The processes are not at random as e.g. walking and talk-
ing. During centuries humanity accumulated such an amount of knowledge
that randomized learning, i.e. not borrowing from the memory of MKOs
(More Knowledgeable Others) does not make sense. All students profit
from Interactive Whole-Class Teaching, even the best ones that might have
reached the objectives on their own, but consuming much more time.
Furthermore, even well-structured work-sheets for different ability
groups limit the so-called individualized learning much more than Interac-
tive Whole-Class Teaching: The teacher has to make time-consuming efforts
to anticipate all erroneous paths the students may take and eliminate them.
At the end, students are much more restricted than with the direct interven-
tion of the teacher who, moreover, can meet the different levels of his or her
students by directly interacting with them (see 4.5).
262 A teaching model as starting point

All in all, presenting knowledge and skills using the above steps (10–
14) integrating of assertive questioning (steps 15–19) is a good basis for
TEFL. It has to be taken into consideration that this core unit of the MET
is in no way the longest phase. Well-structured and considering the needs
and interests of the learners, it takes little time in the context of the whole
lesson or a teaching unit. As we will see below there is room for the above
described strategies such as for example TBLT/TSLL, Reciprocal Teaching
and Problem- and Project-based Learning (see 5.2).

13.4 Guided and independent practice

When knowledge, skills, and attitudes have been initiated through explain-
ing, modeling and demonstrating the new content, whether it be knowledge
or skills or a mixture of both, at best constructs, but not concepts have en-
tered the working memory of the students. At the start of the lesson the stu-
dents have been introduced to the objectives of the lesson or the teaching
unit; at best most of them have reached an understanding of the purpose
and the value of what should be learned. Teachers can check this under-
standing of the learners by inviting them to summarize the learning inten-
tions. Supported by the teacher, the students have reactivated their prior di-
dactic and world knowledge.
The start of the lesson was followed by a teacher-guided presentation of
the new content through explanations, modeling, and demonstrations using
all sort of pertinent media, from graphs to illustrations, from other visual
aids to audio-visual examples. Following attentively this presentation, rein-
forced by assertive questioning, the students have been able to form some
sort of basic concept which has led to an incomplete and superficial con-
struct. This construct needs to be deepened and interrelated with other
learning content already stored in the student’s memory. Up to now students
have not gotten an idea of the function, i.e. they do not know how to apply
the new knowledge or skill to real-live problems. In order to transpose the
construct in one or more (interrelated) concepts, various types of practice
are needed.
Beside supporting types of practice, teachers have to take into account
that the phases of guided and independent practice are determined in gen-
eral by the characteristics of the students. From a neurobiological view, suc-
cessful learning is determined by three learner attributes, i.e. intelligence,
A teaching model as starting point 263

motivation, and diligence. With regards to diligence Gerhard Roth gives in-
teresting explanations:
Fleiß ist als Charaktermerkmal teils genetisch bedingt, teils bestimmt von
den Erfolgserwartungen und von der generellen Wertschätzung, die das
Fleißig sein in unserer Gesellschaft genießt. […] Während bei Mädchen
Fleiß untereinander zumindest geduldet wird, gilt er bei Jungen als ‚un-
cool‘, und selbst die aus eigenem Antrieb Fleißigen müssen ihn sorgfältig
verbergen. Das schlägt sich in unserem Land in durchschnittlich schlech-
teren Schulleistungen der Jungen nieder. Diese geschlechtsspezifische Ein-
schätzung von Fleiß ist allerdings stark kulturabhängig und offenbar spe-
zifisch für unsere deutsche Kultur, denn in asiatischen Ländern ist Fleiß
auch unter Jungen eine hochgeschätzte Tugend. (Roth 2011, 310f.)

The following five steps (20–24) are crucial for guided practice:
20. Graded activities for practice including short self-assessments; under the
guidance of the teacher, all students are enabled through practice to im-
prove and evaluate their understanding of the learning content.
21. Further worked examples with explanations of the single steps leading
to the solution; in this context the worked examples are part of student
practice (see no 14).
22. Decision on the social setting; by agreement with the students it is de-
cided whether guided practice takes place in seatwork, in tandem, or in
small groups.
23. Formative feedback; it is (most of the time) up to the teacher to give
feedback to single students in difficulty or asking for help.
24. Short explanations directed to individual students; the teacher should in-
vite all students to seek help when their understanding of the new learn-
ing content is found to be insufficient during practice.

In any case, guided practice is not enough. In order to embed concepts in


memory networks and make them available when needed, there has to be
independent practice consisting of further five steps (25–29):
25. Thoroughly planned and elaborated activities that allow for deep learn-
ing and transfer; these activities are more complex and demanding, in
order to further critical and creative thinking.
26. De-contextualization; the contexts in which the presented knowledge
and the skills occur are varied so that students can transfer the learned
content to relevant (new) situations.
264 A teaching model as starting point

27. Decision on the social setting; by agreement with the students it is decid-
ed whether independent practice takes place in seatwork/homework, in
tandem, or in small groups.
28. Formative feedback; this time it should not predominantly be given by
the teacher, but rather by peers.
29. Feedback through tests; besides grading, summative feedback possibly
could take forms that lead to further learning.

Which factors have to be taken into account when planning and carrying
out guided as well as independent practice?

A distinction is to be made between exercises, tasks and learning activ-


ities. An exercise is limited to a restricted part of a goal, e.g. spelling or
memorizing verb forms. A task (in a broader sense than TBLT/TSLL)
leads to wider knowledge and thinking often requiring different answers
or solutions. A learning activity incorporates exercises and tasks and aims
at activating critical thinking or the application of knowledge and skills
in a particular project. In its ideal form TSLL (see 5.2) can produce rele-
vant results.
Quite often an inappropriate distinction is made between tasks for
learning and tasks for testing, the latter leading to a teaching to the test
neglecting further goals and objectives.
First, all tasks should be meaningful and motivating, not only those
destined for classroom practice. Second, all tasks have to contribute to an
improvement of learning (De Florio 2016, 159).

When planning guided and independent TEFL practice, attitudes, for exam-
ple those of Interculturalism (see chap. 12) as well as responsible citizenship
in a democratic society are often neglected. This lack is not only felt when it
comes to independent and guided practice, but it is also true for the preced-
ing phases of planning and starting the lesson as well as the presentation
phase including assertive questioning. Different types of practice as well as
the whole lesson context should promote attitudes even if these are not di-
rectly applicable to problem-solving. As often as possible, learning practice
has to go beyond utilitarian goals.
A teaching model as starting point 265

TEFL Examples
The following two brief suggestions refer to intercultural learning. Even
though they are not too demanding, they offer occasions to consider atti-
tudes towards other cultures together with the students in the evaluation
phase (for more detailed examples see De Florio-Hansen 2014b, 11–15,
especially 14).

First and foremost politeness


You are attending a youth conference in the USA where you make friends
with Sanhya, an American girl of Indian origin. You are invited to her pri-
vate home for dinner. During the meal Sanhya’s mother serves a course con-
sisting of grilled insects. It looks horrible and you won’t taste it for anything
in the world. What would you say to refuse? Choose from below the expres-
sion that seems to be the most polite to you:
1. I never saw this before. It looks amazing. What is it?
2. Thanks, but maybe later.
3. Thank you very much. I think I’ll pass this time.
4. Oh, it looks horrible. I’m afraid I can’t eat it.
5. I would love to take some, but I can’t eat any more.
Why did you choose this expression? Explain, too, why you have excluded
the others. What else could you have said?

How to be accepting and non-judgmental


A person from another culture does not understand why you pay much at-
tention to punctuality, e.g. being on time. From his mail it seems to you that
he is making a bit fun of this Germans habit. In an e-mail try to explain
your reasons in a polite way.

As already mentioned, phases of guided and independent practice have to be


thoroughly planned and structured (see Petty 22009, 244). In advance teach-
ers have to find, together with their students, answers to the following main
questions:
• How do teachers and other educators proceed when choosing exercis-
es, tasks, and more widespread and complex learning activities? In gen-
eral, there should be a progression from more closed forms (e.g. repro-
duction tasks, worked examples, and multiple-choice tests) to more open
tasks and activities. These are e.g. analysis activities that seek answers to
the questions ‘What?’ and ‘Why?’ or syntheses focusing on answers to the
question ‘How?’ A particular challenge are learning activities requiring
266 A teaching model as starting point

strategic thinking and reflection about the one’s own learning processes as
well as the application of affective and social abilities.
• In what social grouping should the exercises, tasks and learning activities
take place?
The results of empirical research show that facts or superficial knowledge
such as verb forms or vocabulary items are best learned in seat work,
whereas tasks and activities that require deeper and networked thinking
are better elaborated in small-group work.
• In what way will the students present their results? What media will they
use for their presentation? Beside the well-known resources, role plays
and/or debates in the target language are a good option in TEFL class-
rooms. In most cases the combination of different analog and digital me-
dia achieves the best results for the presenting students and their class-
room audience.
• Whom do the learners present their results to? This question is especially
relevant for independent practice when elaborations are more sophisticat-
ed and should be made public through e-mails, blog posts or social net-
working, not only to other classes of the same school but also to students
who use English as native language or as lingua franca.
Before concluding the introduction to this first learning cycle another im-
portant question has to be dealt with.

How often should phases of guided and independent practice take place?
The alternative is spaced vs. massed practice. Most teachers know that ac-
cumulated practice in form of exercises, tasks and learning activities im-
mediately after the students have come into contact with new knowledge
or skills is not effective. At the beginning the learners seem to dispose
quite well of the recently learned content, but turning back to it four
weeks later remembering already causes severe problems. It becomes ev-
ident that many of the learned items have been incompletely stored in
long-term memory as they are not connected with other similar content
in a network. Many students remember but vaguely the content of massed
practice. Therefore many teachers prefer spaced practice, i.e. they engage
their students to practice the respective content at intervals. Spaced prac-
tice at the beginning takes place quite immediately after new knowledge
and skills have been introduced. Further practice follows at greater in-
tervals, e.g after some days, then after some weeks and finally after some
months.
A teaching model as starting point 267

What at first sight seems easy is difficult to realize in classroom practice. The
number of necessary phases of guided and independent practice and more-
over the intervals between them differ from learner to learner depending on
individual factors. Nevertheless teachers have to try out what is acceptable
and meaningful for most students. Furthermore, the students can use a lan-
guage portfolio where they note features and topics they have to repeat. Af-
ter a certain experience students know quite well what to do, but especially
younger learners may not have already developed the necessary sense of re-
sponsibility.
The end of the first learning phase consists in step 30, the transition to
another learning experience or the conclusion of the lesson:

30. At the end of an important learning phase or at the end of the lesson,
the teacher and the students summarize the learning processes so that
the students can make sense of the passed learning experiences.

This conclusive step does not only take place at the end of the lesson, but it
often marks the transition from one learning phase to the next. It is an ar-
rangement of the past experiences so that the next steps make (more) sense.
Its main aim is to give the students the opportunity to reflect their own pro-
gress. The teacher invites and enables them to state where they arrived as
individual learners but also as a group and what remains to do in order to
reach the intended objectives. Summarizing what they did until that point
helps them to make sense of the new content and relate it to the learning
processes. At best they arrive to integrate the completed concepts and sche-
mata in a wider context. It is the task of the teacher to further the concen-
tration, the persistence and the engagement of the learners during the whole
learning process, but especially in this concluding phase so that they can
draw strength from what they have already reached and prepare the ground
for the next activities. “Expert and adaptive teachers should be able to make
learning not only a useful cognitive but also an emotionally attractive expe-
rience” (De Florio 2016, 173).
268 A teaching model as starting point

13.5 Cooperative and project-based learning

It is clear that by no means the conclusion of the first learning cycle consist-
ing of the 30 steps of the MET is the end of dealing with the newly learned
knowledge, skills and attitudes. As time goes by, all learning content has to
be retreated and repeated in different contexts. These additional forms are
often called deliberate practice and their results are qualified as expert lev-
el. Some educationalists as well as practitioners advise the following rule of
thumb: 80 % of a lesson should consist of overlearning and only 20 % of new
content.

Overlearning means “to continue studying or practicing (something) after


initial proficiency has been achieved as to reinforce or ingrain the learned
material or skill” (American Heritage Dictionary). There is empirical evi-
dence, mostly from neuroscience, that shows how important overlearning
is to successful retention. If learners dispose of well stored and networked
knowledge and skills they can concentrate on problem solving and criti-
cal thinking.

Two crucial procedures of overlearning are Cooperative Learning and Pro-


ject- and Problem-based Learning often summarized as PBL. Both over-
learning practices have been influenced by John Dewey (1859–1952), the
initiator of developing democratic learning in communities (see 5.2). With
reference to the U.S scholar, Gert Biesta describes the role of knowledge in
the context of problem solving with reference to the Reflective Practitioner:
It also means that in reflective problem solving we do not use “old”
knowledge to tell us what we should do; we use “old” knowledge to guide
us first in our attempts to understand what the problem might be and
then in the intelligent selection of possible lines of action. What “old”
knowledge does, in other words, is help us approach problem solving
more intelligently. Yet, the proof of the pudding always lies in the action
that follows. This will “verify” both the adequacy of our understanding of
the problem and, in one and the same process, the adequacy of the pro-
posed solution. (Biesta 2007, 16)

The formula learning by doing stands for experience-oriented action that is


based on cooperative and project-based learning.
A teaching model as starting point 269

As described in 5.2, Johnson and Johnson prefer cooperative learning to


collaborative forms. Their empirical research and that of many other scien-
tists evidence that working on the same task dealing together with the prob-
lems that have to be solved by an agreed solution is more effective. Collabo-
ration – every group member contributes with some piece to the final result
– may also have positive effects on learning and retention, but it is limited
to certain situations. Johnson and Johnson summarize the effects of coop-
erative work in small groups as follows: “Cooperative learning has powerful
effects on academic achievement. It is directly based on social interdepend-
ence theory, there are hundreds of research studies validating its effective-
ness, and there are clear operational procedures for education to use” (John-
son & Johnson 2013, 372; see also Green & Green 2005).

From ample empirical research into cooperative (and partly collaborative)


learning the following claims are to be considered:
• All learners know that no group member will be successful without the
others. The groups are based on positive cohesion.
• Every group member feels obliged to contribute personally and individu-
ally to the common result.
• The members support each other with regards to content, but also in so-
cio-affective ways through adequate interaction and the sharing of re-
sources.
• The students get acquainted with behaviors that further learning, i.e. with
support of the teacher they study and execute interpersonal and small
group skills.
• They dispose of meta-cognitive strategies allowing for communicative ex-
changes about the ongoing group work. They discuss how well they have
reached the intended objectives, which group behavior was more or less
appropriate and how they can reach possible improvements.
• At the end, or even at the beginning and at the end, there are brief form-
ative tests. On the one hand, this formative testing focuses on self-evalu-
ation of the individual students. On the other hand, weaker learners can
get help from their peers (or from the teacher) on the basis of their re-
sults.

In order to avoid monotony in pair and small-group work different forms


of cooperative learning should be practiced. In 5.2 Reciprocal Teaching
has been described as particularly apt for TEFL and FLT in general. Oth-
270 A teaching model as starting point

er highly effective forms of cooperative learning containing parts of collab-


orative learning are TGT (Teams-Games Tournament) and STAD (Student
Teams-Achievement Divisions). They are briefly described because, among
others, they do not only further retention and memorizing of new content
and skills; their positive socio-affective effects are evidenced in many empir-
ical studies.

1. TGT (Teams-Games Tournament)


The following two forms of cooperative learning, i.e. TGT and STAD, have
been introduced by the researcher Robert E. Slavin who practiced and re-
searched them among other forms at the University of Baltimore in the
1980s (Slavin 21995). TGT is based on a sort of competition among students
of the same knowledge and achievement level. This makes TGT especially
appropriate for heterogeneous classes. As the scores or grades are given to
the whole group of possibly four students, the proficiency level of the single
members are not in the focus of TGT.

TEFL Example
A variant of TGT furthers good results in TEFL classrooms. The teacher di-
vides the students into groups of four of about the same proficiency level.
Each table group has to work with a stack of cards with tasks. One after an-
other, the learners take one of the hidden cards from the stack, read the task
aloud and try to answer the question or solve the problem. If the student is
successful, the group scores one point. If not, he or she puts the card aside.
Then the next student takes a card, reads the task, and so on.
In order to avoid effort and work of the teacher, the students can cre-
ate the cards by themselves in home work in accordance with the newly ac-
quired knowledge and skills. In the next lesson the teacher controls the cards
and chooses the appropriate number for the tournament. Before conceiving
of more demanding activities, the following conventional tasks can help the
students to get acquainted to the procedure:
• Does the sentence contain vocabulary or grammatical errors? What is the
correct version?
• Is the content of the sentence or the paragraph in accordance with what
has been presented during the preceding lessons? How could it be cor-
rected?
• Similar to the taboo-game the students paraphrase words or expressions
shown on drawings or other illustrations (without using the proper word).
A teaching model as starting point 271

2. STAD (Student Teams-Achievement Divisions)


In tandems each of the two students receives a worksheet. Thinking aloud,
the first student tries to solve the tasks on his sheet with the help of the sec-
ond student. Then the same procedure takes place with the work sheet of the
second learner. If the learners cannot agree on one solution, they may ask
for help of other tandems or even of the teacher. At the end of the pair work
a separate test for every single student takes place. The success of the tan-
dem consists in the addition of the scores of both tandem members. Every-
body supports everybody else so that all learners are able to reach better re-
sults.
Cooperative Learning and PBL (Project- and Problem-based Learn-
ing) are entwined as most problem-solving activities and projects in TEFL
classrooms are dealt with in smaller groups of students (see 5.2). The above
claims of cooperative (and collaborative) forms of learning are valuable for
learning in projects, too.

In general, PBL should not only focus on the product itself, but also on
the learning processes. Even though teachers cannot reach social experi-
ences and references to real life in the classroom, projects are a good op-
tion in comparison to other learning approaches and strategies because
they refer to more than one sense. PBL is not only a good option to learn
and deepen essential knowledge and skills. Above all projects help stu-
dents to come close to real life problems and authentic solutions.

TEFL Example
This proposal for problem- and project-based learning is based on a sugges-
tion of the The New York Times by Michael Gonchar (December 2, 2015) en-
titled: How real are you on social media? The starting-point is an article of
The New York Times dealing with Essena O’Neill, a nineteen-year-old Aus-
tralian Instagram star. After a long period of thought and effort she invested
into looking good on selfies in Instagram and Facebook, O’Neill speaks out
against social media: “Social media is not real life”. She describes the painful
work that went into the creation of spontaneously looking pictures. “There is
nothing real about this.”
The Learning Network of The New York Times takes this article as start-
ing-point for a learning activity which may lead to a project in which stu-
dents alone, in tandems and in small-groups put together their experiences
272 A teaching model as starting point

and convictions in form of a guide for peers and beyond: How to be real on
social media.

Gonchar proposes the following questions: https://learning.blogs.nytimes.


com/2015/12/02/how-real-are-you-on-social-media/?mcubz=3; (last accessed
Sept. 2017)
• How real are you on social media? Why?
• Do you try to capture the best moments and most flattering images to
post on Facebook, Instagram and other social media? Do you keep your
most real and personal moments private?
• How real do you think your friends – or the celebrities you follow – are
on social media?
• Do Facebook and Instagram ever make you feel bad? Do the popular so-
cial networking sites sometimes make you feel as if everyone else is hav-
ing more fun than you? Or that they are happier or leading better lives?
• Would you want to create a fake Instagram account, or “finstagram”, that
presents a truer portrayal of what your life is really like […]?
• Have you ever consciously decided to take a break from social media be-
cause you were tired of reading about how great everyone else’s life is –
or because you were exhausted from trying to keep up with your own ac-
counts?

Conclusion
The MET (Model of Effective Teaching and Successful Learning) is pre-
sented as a starting point for pre-service and as a proposal for in-service
teachers. It is in accordance with Interactive Whole-Class Teaching often
denominated as Direct Instruction, the latter term being in contrast to
Didactic Teaching (Frontalunterricht). The thirty steps of the MET further
(critical) thinking before automaticity. Important goals conform to stu-
dents’ needs and interests lead to appropriate teaching and learning strat-
egies.
The first learning cycle consists of at least three phases: Planning and
starting the lesson with motivating hooks and narratives, presenting
knowledge, skills and improving attitudes through different forms of ex-
planation, modeling and demonstration supported by assertive ques-
tioning, and guided and independent practice in form of exercises, tasks
and activities. The new learning content is best stored in brain networks
through practice at intervals and not in a massed form. Spaced practice
profits from different forms of memorizing.
A teaching model as starting point 273

After the conclusion of the first learning cycle more elaborated forms of
cooperation on problems and projects help to improve the storage of the
newly learned content in the brain’s network (headed under the name De-
liberate Practice). As evidenced by ample research, Cooperative Learning
and PBL, beyond furthering achievement, contribute to self-esteem and
socio-affective aspects.

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. What are the main differences between Direct Instruction and Di-
dactic Teaching (Frontalunterricht)?
2. Why is step 5 of the MET of utmost importance when planning a les-
son?
3. Why should the students participate in lesson planning?
4. What is a hook in the context of lesson plan design? Mention the
main characteristics of this starting tool.
5. What does assertive questioning mean?
6. What is the difference between an exercise, a task and an activity?
7. Why is well planned and accomplished Project-based Learning very
successful?

Recommended Reading
Insights into learning and the brain are offered by John D. Bransford, Ann L.
Brown and Rodney R. Cocking. In the last chapter (248–284) of their publica-
tion the authors postulate the next steps for research. It is interesting to state
which of the objectives mentioned by the scholars have been attained, or at
least reached in part.
Bransford, John D., Brown, Ann L. & Cooking, Rodney R. (eds.) (2000). How people
learn. Brain, mind, experience, and school. (National Research Council). Washing-
ton, DC. National Academy Press. (http://www.colorado.edu/MCDB/Learning-
Biology/readings/How-people-learn.pdf; last accessed Sept. 2017).

In a concise article Dietlinde Hedwig Heckt explains the main features of Co-
operative Learning which is linked to the pedagogical principle of Think – Pair
– Share:
Heckt, Dietlinde Hedwig (2008). Das Prinzip Think – Pair – Share. Über die Wiede-
rentdeckung einer wirkungsvollen Methode. In: Biermann, Christine et al. (eds.):
Individuell Lernen – kooperativ Arbeiten. (Friedrich Jahresheft XXVI). Seelze-Vel-
ber: Friedrich, 31–33.
274 A teaching model as starting point

In a supplement to the aforementioned Friedrich Jahresheft XXVI, Ludger


Brüning and Tobias Saum describe on 24 pages 12 methods of Cooperative
Learning. The authors start with an overview of activities that promote social
competences. Especially useful are the descriptions of the TGT (Teams-Games
Tournament (idem 16–17) and a simplified version of Reciprocal Teaching
(idem 10–11).
Brüning, Ludger & Saum, Tobias (2008): Kooperatives Lernen. Methoden für den
Unterricht. Beiheft zu Biermann, Christine et al. (eds.). Individuell Lernen – ko-
operativ Arbeiten. (Friedrich Jahresheft XXVI). Seelze-Velber: Friedrich.
14 Feedback: formative assessment

14.1 Newer research into feedback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .276

14.2 Formative feedback given by teachers to students . . . . .282

14.3 Formative peer feedback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .288

14.4 Feedback given by students to teachers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .290

In general, newer studies distinguish between formative and summative


feedback. As John Hattie and Helen Timperley are considered the world
leading experts of feedback, the first three sections (14.1–14.3) are mostly
based on their research findings and their suggestions for implementing
different forms of assessment in TEFL classrooms.
In 14.1 the Feedback Model of the two New Zealand educationalists is
presented in its main details: The focus of feedback is differentiated into
“feed up”, “feed back”, and “feed forward”, whereas its effects may refer to
the task, the learning processes, and self-regulation.
The most common form of feedback is given by teachers to their stu-
dents (14.2). Hattie’s brief suggestions are described in more detail so that
pre- and in-service teachers can directly transpose them into practice.
The difficulties to implement valuable peer feedback are described in
14.3. Students must be well trained in order to help their peers with their
feedback. A training tool is to be seen in Hattie’s Rubric to help students to
decide on appropriate feedback to peers summarized in simplified prompts.
In the last section (14.4) the most difficult and at the same time deci-
sive part of feedback is introduced: feedback given by students to teach-
ers. After describing three main reasons why teachers reject this form
of feedback, the EMU project of Helmke and his team is presented as a
useful tool on the way toward an ideal form of student-teacher-feedback
based on reciprocal respect.
276 Feedback: formative assessment

14 Feedback: formative and summative assessment


14.1 Newer research into feedback

In the context of teaching and learning the term feedback is often used ge-
nerically in the sense of evaluating and measuring students’ achievement as
well as of transmitting the results to the learners. Having a closer look at
what happens in classrooms or in other fields such as business we have to
state that feedback refers only to the form in which the results of formative
or summative assessment are communicated.

Formative assessment is a form of evaluating someone’s performance and


achievement during action with the intent to improve the outcomes of
learning. In classrooms formative assessment is mostly provided by teach-
ers to their students and, to a lesser extent, among students, the so-called
peer feedback. A third form of formative assessment, which gains in im-
portance, is given or rather should be given by the students to their teach-
ers. In all three types of formative assessment the respective form of feed-
back is crucial.
Summative assessment serves to evaluate the results of student learn-
ing at the end of an instructional unit, e.g. at the end of a lesson, of a task
in the sense of TSLL or a school year. The results are compared against
some standard or benchmark. In general, student work is graded. Most
Federal States provide guidelines for summative assessment. With regards
to feedback it is by no means sufficient to confront the students with their
individual outcome in form of a grade. Even the results of summative as-
sessment should be communicated so that students (and teachers) can use
the outcome for an improvement of teaching and learning, i.e. in a forma-
tive way.

For a long time feedback in TEFL classrooms was limited to confronting stu-
dents with their scores in written tests and to occasionally expressed praise
– “Very well done” – or criticism – “Could you please pay attention!” dur-
ing the lesson. That feedback gained momentum since the new millennium
is mainly due to digitization and moreover to ample research into assess-
ment. Likes and followers, customer feedback and advertising as well as oth-
er forms of sharing positive and negative opinions in social networks did not
Feedback: formative assessment 277

stop at school doors. Even if teachers try to keep them out, they still exist in
learners’ heads.
It was Michael Scriven who introduced the terms of formative and sum-
mative assessment in 1967. Benjamin S. Bloom took up the term of forma-
tive assessment with the overall aim to improve teaching and learning. In his
Handbook of formative and summative evaluation of student learning (togeth-
er with John Thomas Hastings and George F. Madaus, published in 1971) he
points out that assessment is only formative when it is used to modify sub-
sequent teaching and learning decisions. Since the era of Scriven and Bloom
a great number of empirical studies have shown the major benefits of forma-
tive assessment. Marzano (2003, 2006), by comparing the effects of forma-
tive and summative forms of evaluation, shows that formative assessment
is much more successful. Other scientists point out that formative evalua-
tion leads to increased motivation and achievement (see Black and William
1998).
A well-known and useful feedback-model has been elaborated by John
Hattie and Helen Timperley on the basis of their own research and of com-
piling primary studies and meta-analyses (Hattie and Timperley 2007).
Whereas feedback for decades consisted only of corrections and giving the
results of exercises and tasks, it became more and more extended. Timperley
explains the connection between feedback and formative assessment in the
following way:
More recently, feedback has become integrated into formative assessment
processes […], so some forms of feedback could more accurately be seen
as new instruction. In these situations, feedback takes the form of extend-
ing students’ understandings and fill gaps between what is understood and
what is aimed to be understood. Whichever way it is thought about, it is
most powerful when it addresses faulty interpretations, not a lack of un-
derstanding. Feedback must have something on which to build. (Timper-
ley 2013, 402)

Before looking at Hattie’s and Timperley’s model we have to consider in


advance – as Timperley pointed out – that any feedback is only useful for
students who have already reached a certain level of knowledge and skills.
It is useless and even detrimental when it does not operate on a sufficient
amount of learning. In this case Hattie suggests further instruction until the
learners have reached an adequate level (Hattie 2009, 177). Furthermore,
the above quote of Timperley underscores the crucial relationship between
278 Feedback: formative assessment

formative assessment, the appropriate form of feedback and scaffolding (see


5.2). Another decisive connection exists between feedback and goals:
Feedback tells people what is; goals tell them what is desirable. Feedback
involves information; goals involve evaluation: Goals inform individuals
as to what type or level of performance is to be attained so that they can
direct and evaluate their actions and efforts accordingly. Feedback allows
them to set reasonable goals and to track their performance in relating to
their goals, so that adjustment in effort, direction, and even strategy can
be made as needed. Goals and feedback can be considered a paradigm of
the joint effect of motivation and cognition controlling action. (Locke &
Latham 1990, 197).

Following the suggestions of Hattie and Timperley is a good way to reach


the above described attitudes of successful and self-directed learning. In
Hattie’s study no other factor is so extensively outlined as feedback (Hattie
2009, 173–178); in his resource book for teachers Hattie dedicates feedback
a whole chapter entitled: The flow of the lesson: the place of feedback (Hattie
2012, 115–137). He indicates the effect size of feedback with d = 0.71 (rank
10 among 138 factors). In former studies he has indicated an effect size
d = 0.81, whereas Marzano scores feedback with d = 74 (Petty 22009, 87).
The positive effects of formative feedback are to be stated when it is related
to learning processes and individual learning efforts and not to the task and
its outcomes. Therefore Hattie speaks of “the art of feedback” (Hattie 2009,
177; 2012, 129).
The feedback-model of the New Zealand educationalists is intended to
answer three basic questions that students should ask themselves in order
to evaluate and improve their learning. According to Hattie and Timperley
the focus of feedback is indicated by the answers to the following questions
(Hattie 2009, 176):

1. Where am I going?
2. How am I going?
3. Where to next?
Feedback: formative assessment 279

To reduce discrepancies
between current
PURPOSE understandings/
performance and
a desired goal

The discrepancy can be reduced by

Teachers Students
Providing appropiate Increased effort and employment
challenging und specific goals of more effective strategies
OR OR
Assisting students to reach Abandoning blurring or
them through effective feedback lowering the goals

EFFECTIVE FEEDBACK ANSWERS THREE QUESTIONS

Feed Up Feed Back Feed Forward


Where am I going? How am I going? Where to next?
(the goals)

Each feedback question


works at four levels:

Task Level Process Level Self-regulation Self Level


Level
How well tasks The process needed Personal evaluations
are understood/ to understand/ Self-monitoring, and effect
performed perform tasks directing and (usually positive)
regulating of actions on the learner

Figure 9: The feedback model of Hattie and Timperley (Hattie 2009, 17)
280 Feedback: formative assessment

To enter in more detail of this multifaceted model, we have to follow Hattie’s


and Timperley’s evidence-based distinction between focus of feedback and
effect of feedback. The focus of feedback refers to the above three questions
that have to be answered if learning is to be successful.
The first question (Where am I going?) that deals with goals and objec-
tives is denominated feed up (for the following see De Florio 2016, 203f.).
Students that are able to answer this question know where they aim at. They
base the proceeding of their learning efforts on their subject matter knowl-
edge, their past learning experiences and their general world knowledge.
Goals, standards and objectives should be fixed on the basis of the Zone of
Proximal Development (see 5.2). With the help of the teacher the students
can determine more challenging goals and higher levels of performance
without being overwhelmed by difficulties. All students have to be given
the opportunity to reach the goals. For this feed up, teachers need a great
amount of diagnostic competence and empathy.
The answer to the second question (How am I going?) comes close to
traditional feedback. Therefore Hattie and Timperley call it feed back. Stu-
dents are invited to consider their efforts, their learning processes and the
respective outcomes. Timperley specifies these claims:
Those forms of feedback with positive effects provide information to the
learner about the tasks, the processes needed to understand or perform
the task, and self-regulation of learning. Those much less effective are fo-
cused on forms of feedback that do not provide task-related information.
(Timperley 2013, 401)

We have already stated that generic praise as well as tangible rewards in


form of money etc. are not effective. Above all, these remunerations do not
indicate the learners how to close the gap and increase their learning results.
The answer to the third question (Where to next?) is directed to the near
future and offers opportunities to consider those activities that should be
undertaken next in order to make improve progress.
From the perspective of the teacher, too, the answers to the three ques-
tions constitute a progression. The feedback starts from the task (To what
levels did the students understand and perform?), going on to the learning
processes (Which strategies are needed to carry out the task? Are there alter-
native strategies?), arriving at self-regulation (What knowledge do individu-
al students have to dispose of in order to give an account of their learning?).
Feedback: formative assessment 281

Whereas the focus of feedback indicates the direction of learning on a time-


line from the past to the future, the effect of feedback considers the aspects
of learning that are influenced by appropriate feedback. The effect of feed-
back can be seen on four levels of learning:

1. task level;
2. process level;
3. self-regulation level;
4. self-level.

Even though Hattie’s figure seems to consider positive effects of feedback


which refers to the self-level, Timperley explains that inadequate feedback
may negatively influence the self of the learner and opts for concentrating on
the first three levels:
The final level of feedback to self as a person is only referred to here be-
cause of the high frequency of its use in classrooms, particularly in the
form of personal praise. […] The circumstances under which praise might
be effective occur when it is directed to the effort, self-regulation, engage-
ment, or processes relating to the task and its performance. (Timperley
2013, 403).

Conclusion
Effective formative feedback occurs timely and continuously in a form so
that individual learners recognize it and take it into account. It has noth-
ing to do with scoring or grading. It displays the empathy and the objec-
tivity of the person giving the feedback and calls for an adequate linguistic
form. (In FLT it may also be more successful if given in the first language
of the students – at least in the first month of teaching and learning Eng-
lish as a foreign language.) Feedback is an opportunity for students and
their teachers to steadily adjust their learning and teaching strategies.
With the help of scaffolding the gap between the current knowledge and
skills and the intended outcomes has to be more and more closed.
282 Feedback: formative assessment

Review, Reflect, Practice


In the summary of her introduction to assessment and testing Claudia
Finkbeiner mentions the following definitions of assessment and testing:

Assessment:
= “ a judgement of the quality, worth, importance of something or
someone” (VanDenBos 2007: 76)
= a process that tries to find out “about the knowledge, attitudes or
skills possessed by another (the learner) (Rowntree 1981: 14
= a critical approach: assessment is largely subjective and the level of
correctness varies depending on what is tested (Jarvis 1990)

Testing/Test:
test: “designed to assess knowledge, skills, interests, or other charac-
teristics on an examinee (VanDenBos 2006: 753) (Claudia Finkbein-
er 22013, 402)

Which of these definitions is the most appropriate for TEFL? Which is the
most negligible? Why?

Recommended Reading
A concise overview of newer research findings into feedback and its classroom
applications is to be found in the following article:
Timperley, Helen (2013). Feedback. In: Hattie, John and Anderman, Eric M. (eds.).
International Guide to Student Achievement. London: Routledge, 402–404.

14.2 Formative feedback given by teachers to students

In section 14.1 some important features of formative feedback given by


teachers to students are briefly mentioned:
Generally, none task-based praise is often counterproductive because it
induces students to rest in their comfort zone. The learners do not want to
lose the label teachers have attributed to them.
The intended formative feedback does not reach the students for sever-
al reasons:
• Their attention is not drawn to it so that they do not recognize it as feed-
back.
Feedback: formative assessment 283

• It is expressed in a too generic way in order to reach the learners.


• It does not reach the individual student it is intended for.

What can teachers do in order to increase the quality and the reach of their
formative feedback? Hattie enumerates different strategies of effective feed-
back:
Feedback can be provided in many ways: through affective processes, in-
creased effort, motivation or engagement; by providing students with dif-
ferent cognitive processes, restructuring understandings, confirming to
the student that he or she is correct or incorrect, indicating that more in-
formation is available or needed, pointing to directions that the student
might pursue, and indicating alternative strategies with which to under-
stand particular information. (Hattie 2012, 115)

These indications need to be specified in order to be more useful for EFL


teachers:

Affective processes refer to teacher-student relationships (d = 72). Teachers


have to give all students the feeling that they are equally accepted. Educa-
tional practitioners can exemplify through biographies of famous people or
other narratives that every student can reach high goals provided that he or
she is self-confident and displays engagement and effort. So teachers can be
of great emotional influence when they find the right way to help individ-
ual students to overcome their particular difficulties. This means to pay in-
creased attention to learning progress and to errors and mistakes as charac-
teristics of successful learning (and not as reasons for blame).
Increased effort, motivation, or engagement should be restored by the
teacher when he or she notices that individual students diminish attention
and efforts or are completely demotivated. Rather than warning or blaming
the student, it is more appropriate to find out together with the respective
learner what makes him or her struggle. Quite often teachers can improve
effort, motivation, and engagement by presenting concrete examples, inter-
esting stories, or riddles. In this context the example of the teacher is often
underestimated. How can teachers require effort, motivation, and engage-
ment from their students when they themselves do not display the respec-
tive characteristics?
Providing different cognitive processes refers to re-teaching the same
knowledge or skills or part of it when teachers notice, through assertive
284 Feedback: formative assessment

questioning, that single learners or larger student groups did not arrive at
the intended learning level. Indispensable features of knowledge, skills, and
attitudes have to be re-taught, but not in the same way as before. As the
strategies did not attain the intended outcome, teachers have to think of
different modes. Rewording the explanation of unknown vocabulary often
shows to be insufficient so that teachers have to look for more effective strat-
egies like appropriate examples or visualizations. Students profit more from
this re-teaching when they participate in the construction of the aids.
Restructuring understanding means to give learners the opportunity to re-
call concepts or schemata already learned. Let’s take an example: Students
have to formulate a written complaint because they have received from an
internet trader a pair of sneakers that does not correspond to the advertis-
ing on which they based their order for the second time. Beside other strate-
gies – a worked example or a list of the main points to consider – the teach-
er can help the students recall a complaint of a guest in a restaurant dealt
with some time ago in a workbook example. First, students should focus on
the main points of a complaint and then add particularities.
Correct or incorrect: In the long run, teachers and learners are invited to
create a classroom climate characterized by cohesion and respectful behav-
ior. Only in a favorable learning atmosphere students will participate actively
in classroom discourse without the fear that their errors or mistakes will be
sanctioned or ridiculed. Feedback is most successful when teachers or peers
say what they mean and when they are in a position to state that an answer
is only partly correct or even incorrect. This happens when students under-
stand that errors are welcome because they promote further learning. It con-
tributes to a beneficial learning atmosphere when both, teachers and learn-
ers, feel free to correct false interpretations or other errors.
More information should always be available. Students should not hesitate
to ask the teacher (or peers) where to find further information when they do
not find the indicated web addresses or the information searched for. Some-
times students have doubts whether the gathered information is sufficient to
complete the task. In that case as in many others, they appeal to the teach-
er or to peers without fearing to be judged in a direct or indirect way. When
for example reading a graphic novel, they may not always be aware of where
they can find information in order to further and deepen their understand-
ing. It is in the responsibility of teachers to indicate to students at the cross-
roads of their learning processes where the can look for help.
Feedback: formative assessment 285

New directions: Quite often students stand in their own way because they
have prejudices or inappropriate learning habits. The effort of teachers con-
sists in detecting these preconceived ideas, at best with the participation of
the respective student(s), in order to lead the learners to more critical and
creative thinking and to take a new turn in their learning.
Alternative strategies point in the same direction: They are another way
to adapt or alter students’ learning paths. Even though the students are on
the whole successful with their learning strategies and techniques, teachers
should invite them to try out alternative modes of learning. With regards to
the content or task, students can discuss in Interactive Whole-Class Teach-
ing (see 2.3) learning modes that they do not frequently apply. With regards
to complex problems to deal with in their future (professional) lives students
should be enabled to apply different action strategies although or all the
more they are usually not in their preferred range (see 8.1).
In order to give adequate feedback to the learners we have to come back
to the model of Hattie and Timperley. The two New Zealand scientists dif-
ferentiate between three learning levels influenced by formative assessment:
the task, the learning processes and the self-regulation (putting aside the
influence on the self). Whereas the focus on the task is the most common
form of feedback, Hattie (2012, 129) claims for more attention to the learn-
ing processes and self-regulation, i.e. to student awareness concerning learn-
ing strategies. In a list with questions focusing on all three learning levels, he
especially emphasizes the learning processes and self-regulation, some of the
items being less adequate in the flow of the lesson than rather at the end of
it or of a teaching unit.
Prompts related to tasks:
• Does his/her answer meet the success criteria?
• Is his/her answer correct or incorrect?
• How can he/she elaborate on the answer?
• What did he/she do well?
• Where did he/she go wrong?
• What is the correct answer?
• What other information is needed to meet the criteria?
Prompts related to processes:
• What is wrong and why?
• What strategies did he/she use?
• What is the explanation for the correct answer?
• What other questions can he/she ask about the task?
• What are the relationships to other parts of the task?
286 Feedback: formative assessment

• What other information is provided in the handout?


• What is his/her understanding of the concepts/knowledge related to
the task?
Prompts related to self-regulation:
• How can he/she monitor his/her own work?
• How can he/she carry out self-checking?
• How can he/she evaluate the information provided?
• How can he/she reflect on his/her own learning?
• What did you do to …?
• What happened when you …?
• How can you account for …?
• What justification can be given for …?
• What further doubts do you have regarding this task?
• How does this compare to …?
• What does all of this information have in common?
• What learning goals have you achieved?
• How have your ideas changed?
• What can you now teach?
• Can you now teach another student how to …?
(Hattie 2012, 129)

Although not all these items refer to the same teaching and learning expe-
rience, Hattie shows an array of possible aspects that teachers can refer to
when giving their students formative feedback.
For pre- and in-service teachers the following summary is probably more
adequate, because the questions are directed to the students themselves:
Questions related to tasks:
• What does X mean to you?
• Can you show me the single steps you took to solve the problem?
• Explain why you took this step at that point?
Questions related to the processes:
• Did you think of alternative strategies?
• Why did you choose this strategy or technique?
• Could you profit from further information?
Questions related to self-regulation:
• Did you have doubts about a step taken to achieve the task?
• Did you seek help? In what way? Why not?
• What support would you have needed?
• How did you control your learning during your work on the task?
• (De Florio 2016, 207f.)
Feedback: formative assessment 287

How often should teachers give feedback to their students? Naturally they
should do so as they consider it opportune and needed, in any case sever-
al times during the flow of the lesson. Hattie (2012, 122f.) gives an indica-
tion of every 25 minutes, being vague whether he refers to the whole class,
groups of learners or individual students. In another context he pleads for
short-cycle formative assessments from twice to five times a week (Hattie
2012, 127).

Conclusion
In general, more important than frequency is the adequate form of feed-
back. Formative assessment given by teachers to their students has to be
worded in a way that individual students or groups of learners recognize
it as such and are able to use it to improve their learning processes and
their achievement. It does not consist in undifferentiated praise, but focus
on the respective task and particularly on the learning and self-regulation
processes of the students.

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. On my German website (www.deflorio.de) you will find a link: Feed-
back consisting of ten sequences. Have a look at sequence 7, part 1:
Ressourcen für den kurz- und längerfristigen Einsatz. Read the four
indications and transform them into explanations for students who
might use them in TEFL classrooms: hand signals, exit tickets, traffic
signals and learning diaries.

Recommended Reading
Even though the following article by Tineke Brunfaut and Caroline Clapham
does not take newer studies on feedback into account, the main points are well
explained and exemplified:
Brunfaut, Tineke & Clapham, Caroline (22017): Assessment and testing. In: Byram,
Michael & Hu, Adelheid (eds.). Routledge Encyclopedia of Language Teaching and
Learning. New York: Routledge, 52–59.
288 Feedback: formative assessment

14.3 Formative peer feedback

What do we know about peer feedback often qualified as very successful? In


the first decade of the new millennium Graham A. Nuthall conducted ample
studies into formative assessment given by students to classmates.
In his ample and benchmark research into small group work and other
forms of cooperative learning, Nuthall (2007) shows that The Hidden Lives
of Learners mainly consists of three different worlds: the official world of
the teacher, the influential world of peers, and the private world of the
students, which is determined by their experiences. Using a sophisticated
methodology consisting of a combination of quantitative and qualitative
methods, Nuthall points out as one of his significant findings that about
80 % of all feedback occurring in classrooms is peer feedback. He under-
scores that most of this peer feedback is false (Hattie 2012, 131). It is er-
roneous with regard to the tasks or other aspects of learning content. (De
Florio 2016, 209)

Why, this being the case, is peer feedback considered successful? When stu-
dents are sufficiently trained in how to give peer feedback and when they fo-
cus less on the task or other content, but on learning processes and self-reg-
ulation, they can be more effective than teachers – for at least three main
reasons: Students use communication modes and tones that are often more
comprehensible for peers than teacher talk. Often they have similar prob-
lems as other group members while working on the same task. It is easier
for them to find out where a group member begins to struggle. Furthermore,
they are confronted only with their group members whereas teachers have to
deal with the students of a whole class.
As mentioned above students have to be introduced to and trained in
feedback when it should be as successful as possible. Above all students
have to learn and internalize appropriate verbal behavior. Instead of ask-
ing “Couldn’t you pay attention?” they have to learn assertive questioning:
“What did you do when …?”
On the basis of the feedback model of Hattie and Timperley Mark Gan
carried out an experimental study using the questions regarding the task,
learning processes, and self-regulation which he slightly transformed so that
students could use them for peer feedback.
Feedback: formative assessment 289

Figure 10: A rubric to help students to decide on appropriate feedback to peers (Hattie 2012,
133)

When students are sufficiently trained in formulating peer feedback it can


have a high positive impact on their learning. Nevertheless, deliberate in-
structional support by the teacher is necessary so that peer feedback leads to
the desired results.
290 Feedback: formative assessment

Conclusion
Teachers cannot eliminate peer feedback during small group work, be-
cause it is usual and frequent in most life contexts of children, adoles-
cents and adults. Therefore adequate training is very important not only
for classroom learning but also in view of future professional and private
requirements. Similarly as with Learning through Teaching (Lernen durch
Lehren) tutee and tutor can profit from peer feedback when adequately
trained.

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. Why is training peer feedback so important? Which are its main objec-
tives?
2. On the basis of Gan’s overview (reproduced by Hattie) formulate at
least two questions with regards to the task or content, the learning
processes, and self-regulation that learners may use in effective peer
feedback in TEFL classrooms.

Recommended Reading
As Hattie is one of the leading scientists with regards to feedback and assess-
ment it is advisable to read the following handbook entry:
Hattie, John & Gan, Mark (2011). Instruction based on feedback. In: Mayer, Richard
E. & Alexander, Patricia A. (eds.). Handbook of Research on Learning and Instruc-
tion. New York & London: Routledge, 249–271.

14.4 Feedback given by students to teachers

A great majority of teachers would like to know what their students think
about their teaching. In general, they have gotten an idea if their teaching
behavior, their lesson plans and their classroom management are accepted,
but they would like to go into further details: Why are some students disin-
terested and even demotivated whereas others follow the same lesson with
great interest? Why do individual students struggle even though they make
great efforts to stay on task? What would some learners like to say with re-
gards to the tasks, the learning activities and the feedback they receive from
the teacher?
Despite this vivid interest many educationalists and teachers are skepti-
cal about feedback given by students to their teachers. They consider it in-
appropriate for at least three reasons specified in the column Pro and Contra
Feedback: formative assessment 291

of the scientific journal Pädagogik (6/2013, 48f.). The authors refer to written
questionnaires filled in anonymously by the students.
1. The results could be falsified because some students may take an op-
portunistic position: They give a positive feedback to the teacher becau-
se they fear negative consequences if they demotivate him or her. This
opportunistic stance could be motivated by the education received at
home. Or the parents do not accept any critical remark and/or they have
taught their children to respect authorities without any criticism. The
positive feedback may also result from a misinterpretation of the questi-
onnaire items.
2. Some teachers reject feedback given by the students because they think
that the responsibility is theirs in any case. As well as many parents they
cherish a traditional image of teachers and educators. If the teacher does
not know what to do, who else knows it? Teachers themselves have to
deduct from the flow of the lesson and the results what did not go the
right way. In any case, it is the task of the teacher to evaluate and adapt
his or her behavior continuously.
3. A feedback given by students may even induce teachers to alter their
strategies and techniques or even their approach to teaching a foreign
language. They may feel under pressure and modify their teaching style
against their conviction. Undoubtedly, every teacher can improve his or
her teaching, make it more effective and more appropriate for the parti-
cular group of learners. But the continuously necessary adaptations and
modifications should derive from his or her insights and convictions.

Although these positions are widely spread among teachers, educators and
parents, they are not based on reliable research. Feedback given by students
to their teachers does have positive outcomes. On the basis of his ample re-
search Hattie is convinced that this type of feedback is more effective than
formative assessment in the opposite direction from teachers to learners, be-
cause from student feedback teachers can derive proceedings that fit stu-
dents best. Especially individual learners can be supported in a more effec-
tive way when they dare to tell their teacher where they struggle, why this
or that part of the task cause problems to them or why they are demotivat-
ed. Hattie’s score regarding feedback given by students to teachers is sum-
marized under the aspect providing formative evaluation of programs which
reaches an effect size of d = 0.90 (rank 3) (Hattie 2009, 181). As Hattie un-
derscores, these positive results did not depend on the age of the students,
the frequency of measurement and the particular needs of the learners.
292 Feedback: formative assessment

Despite the critical stance towards the results of Hattie’s ample stud-
ies (see 2.3), it is always useful to consider his findings as well as those
of other educational psychologists. After decades of opinion-based FLT
quantitative empirical results provide teachers with useful suggestions.
They always have to be checked against reliable qualitative studies and,
above all, against the experiences of the teachers and students in a par-
ticular schooling and learning context. They should be taken as what they
are: hints that may lead teachers to more effective teaching and students
to more successful learning. It would be irresponsible to put aside the re-
search findings of experts like Hattie only because numeral results are dif-
ficult to transpose into classroom practice. It is always the teacher to de-
cide in cooperation with his or her students, but possibly on the basis of
the available results.

According to Hattie teachers and learners reach very remarkable results by


implementing student- teacher feedback:
It is the feedback to teachers that assists in explaining why most of the
more powerful effects are higher than what has been termed the “typical
teacher effects” of d = 0,25 to d = 0,40. It is the attention to the purposes
of innovation, willingness to seek negative evidence (i.e., seeking evidence
on where students are not so doing well) to improve the teaching innova-
tion, the keenness to see the effects on all students. And the openness to
new experiences that make the difference. Innovations are not “change of
change’s sake” as not all interventions are successful. The major message is
for teachers to pay attention to the formative effects of their teaching, as
it is these attributes of seeking formative evaluation of the effects (intend-
ed or unintended) of their programs that makes for excellence in teach-
ing. (Hattie 2009, 181)

The preconditions of feedback given by students to their teachers are first of


all a teacher-student relationship based on confidence and mutual respect as
well as a learning and classroom climate that allows for free speech on the
side of the learners. To establish a favorable relationship and a learning at-
mosphere in which feedback that deserves this name is really possible takes
a very long time as well as efforts on both sides.
What can teachers do? How can they come closer to formative assess-
ment described above? A procedure that leads in the right direction is the
self-evaluation of teachers in front of the students in the classroom. In short
Feedback: formative assessment 293

intervals teachers can verbalize an evaluation of their proceeding mention-


ing those parts of the teaching and learning processes that seem problematic
to them. This is an important step forward on the way to a constructive crit-
icism and already presupposes a good teacher-student relationship. Anoth-
er possibility consists in establishing a consultation hour (once a week) for
feedback: Students can profit from this possibility to treat more delicate sub-
jects with the teacher, alone or together with a classmate. As it is not easy for
learners to overcome the obstacles, the teacher can encourage hesitating stu-
dents presenting the prospect of individual help with a particular task.
A milestone on the way to reciprocal feedback is the project EMU
(Evidenzbasierte Methoden der Unterrichtsdiagnotik und -entwicklung) elab-
orated and implemented by Andreas Helmke and his team several years ago
(Helmke 42012, 268–303). EMU is not limited to student-teacher-feedback
but comprises various forms of assessment from student to teacher, from
teacher to student and also between colleagues from teacher to teacher.
Helmke and his team describe which aspects of educational diagnostics
are in the focus of interest, i.e. 1. classroom management, 2. a positive learn-
ing atmosphere, 3. teacher clarity and 4. the activation of the learners. These
aspects are balanced up by three perspectives, those of the students, those of
the teachers, and those of colleagues.

Schülerfragebogen Lehrerfragebogen Kollegenfragebogen

Ich konnte in dieser Unter- Die Schüler/innen konnten Die Schüler/innen konnten
richtsstunde ungestört arbeiten. ungestört arbeiten. ungestört arbeiten.
Wenn der Lehrer in dieser Unter- Wenn ich eine Frage ge- Wenn der Kollege eine Frage
richtsstunde eine Frage gestellt stellt habe, hatten die Schü- gestellt hat, hatten die Schü-
hat, hatte ich ausreichend Zeit ler/innen ausreichend Zeit ler/innen ausreichend Zeit
zum Nachdenken. zum Nachdenken. zum Nachdenken.
Mir ist klar, was ich in dieser Den Schüler/innen war klar, Den Schüler/innen war klar,
Stunde lernen sollte. was sie in dieser Stunde was sie in dieser Stunde ler-
lernen sollten. nen sollten
Ich war die ganze Stunde über Die Schüler/innen waren Die Schüler/innen waren die
aktiv bei der Sache. die ganze Stunde über aktiv ganze Stunde über aktiv bei
bei der Sache. der Sache.
Ich habe in dieser Unterrichts- Ich habe die Lernziele Der Kollege hat die Lernziele
stunde etwas dazu gelernt. dieser Unterrichtsstunde dieser Unterrichtsstunde
erreicht. erreicht.

(http://www.unterrichtsdiagnostik.info/downloads/fragebogen/; last accessed August 2017)


294 Feedback: formative assessment

In the meantime Helmke and his team, in numerous publications, have fur-
ther developed the original initiative and continue updating the question-
naires and other measurement instruments. At Helmke’s website dedicated
to the EMU project you can find a detailed introduction answering ques-
tions such as: Educational diagnostics – what is it, and why is it necessary?
Which are the scientific foundations of EMU? How is EMU structured, and
which instruments is it composed of? What help does the evaluation/mea-
surement instrument offer? How can teachers motivate their colleagues to
participate? Links lead to all details, e.g. to the numerous variants of ques-
tionnaires for different school types and to further information: http://www.
unterrichtsdiagnostik.info/ (last accessed August 2017).
In the context of EMU interested pre- and in-service teachers can use
(for free) video graphed lessons and other video graphs of feedback-related
topics http://www.unterrichtsdiagnostik.de/media/files/Unterrichtsvideos.pdf
(last accessed August 2017).

Conclusion
In a realistic perspective, elaborated and sophisticated written surveys
such as the EMU questionnaires are a good means to improve teaching
and learning through insights into teaching and learning in a particular
classroom. Nevertheless the results do not provide teachers with infor-
mation about the learning processes and problems of individual students.
Whether it would be ideal if teachers manage to see learning through the
eyes of their students (as suggested by Hattie) is an open question. Per-
haps it would be even better if teachers see themselves as learners. In this
context, feedback given by students to teachers is decisive.

Review, Reflect, Practice


Read the review of Nuthall’s The hidden lives of learners (2007) by Andrew
Warner
https://andywarner78.wordpress.com/2014/05/17/the-hidden-lives-of-
learners-by-graham-nuthall/; (last accessed August 2017)
Why does the reviewer on his blog end up recommending Nutthall’s book
despite his criticism?
Feedback: formative assessment 295

Recommended Reading
For a concise introduction into feedback in FLT read the following article:
Schmenk, Barbara. (22017). Feedback. In: Surkamp, Carola (eds.). Metzler Lexikon
Fremdsprachendidaktik. Ansätze – Methoden – Grundbegriffe. Stuttgart & Wei-
mar: Metzler, 67–68.

In a general review of research into teaching and learning Frank Lipowsky tries
to answer the question what we know about successful teaching:
Lipowsky, F. (2007). Was wissen wir über guten Unterricht? In: Becker, Gerold et al.
(eds.). Guter Unterricht. Maßstäbe und Merkmale – Wege und Werkzeuge. Frie-
drich Jahresheft XXV Seelze-Velber: Friedrich, 26–30.
15 Feedback: summative assessment

15.1 Formative and summative assessment:


common features of feedback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .297

15.2 Summative assessment: general traits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .298

15.3 Guidelines, regulations, laws . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .299

15.4 Suggestions for meaningful summative assessment . . . .304

In 15.1 the connectedness between formative and summative assessment


is underscored in order to show that both forms of feedback have to be
seen as a whole. Their overall aims, under different conditions, are con-
tributing to identity building, fostering self-esteem and increasing moti-
vation. Summative assessment is more or less based on legal prescriptions
depending on the different Federal States.
These guidelines, regulations, and laws (15.2) concede great freedom
to teachers when they grade oral proficiency in form of participation dur-
ing the lessons, homework or presentations. When it comes to written
class tests the prescriptions are quite strict because of legal consequenc-
es: The access to the next class and the attribution to the different types of
secondary schools depend on grading.
For further insights and discussions, in 15.3, details of requirements
and the respective grading for secondary schools until the end of compul-
sory education and for higher secondary education until final examina-
tions (Abitur) are presented in an exemplary way.
In the concluding section (15.4) suggestions for meaningful assess-
ment beyond grades and points should lead to a better use of the multiple
forms of feedback in TEFL classrooms.
Feedback: summative assessment 297

15 Feedback: summative assessment


15.1 Formative and summative assessment: common features
of feedback

Feedback – whether referring to oral encouragement of the students during


the lessons or to grades on written tests – has to be seen as a whole. Teach-
ers sometimes do not care with due engagement about formative feedback.
In their view, learners receive sufficient feedback through summative assess-
ments of their class tests (Klassenarbeiten) or their written exams (Klausu-
ren). But grades or points and, at best, some written comments by the teach-
er do not provide effective feedback to most students.

The major aims of feedback in form of formative and summative assess-


ment are – apart from documenting learning progress and performance
– the development of the learner’s personality, the fostering of his or
her self-esteem and the increase of motivation. These objectives can be
reached more easily when teachers and other education practitioners do
their best to integrate and entwine all forms of student evaluation, includ-
ing assessment by the learners themselves. That is to say, formative assess-
ment (dealt with in chap. 14) should always show the individual students
what they have done well and in what ways they can improve their learn-
ing and its outcome. That is why general praise is unproductive and has
nothing to do with real feedback. On the other hand, summative feedback
(dealt with in this chapter), in another form, indicates the learners where
they stand and how they can improve their learning outcome (and thus
their grading). That is why grades or points without any explication or
comment for individual students are rather ineffective.

Despite the similarities, there are differences between feedback as formative


and as summative assessment. The existing differences should not induce
teachers to give more importance to summative assessment neglecting other
important characteristics of feedback. Whereas formative feedback depends
mostly on the engagement and the empathy of the teacher, teachers are not
free when it comes to summative assessment. In all Federal States there are
prescriptions and laws that regulate somehow the awarding of grades in the
respective subject matter, thus also for TEFL. In some Federal States the
298 Feedback: summative assessment

regulations are quite strict and detailed whereas in others the teachers are
called upon to adapt broad suggestions of their Federal State to the particu-
lar needs of their students. Some overall similarities for different types of
schools (Hauptschule, Realschule, Gymnasium, Gesamtschulen) and different
levels of education (Grundschule, Sekundarstufe I, Sekundarstufe II) are pre-
sented for TEFL in 15.3.

15.2 Summative assessment: general traits

In the German-speaking countries (as well as in many others) achievement


evaluation is based on the performance of the single student. The respective
grading refers to oral participation during the lessons, homework, various
forms of presentations (Referate, Präsentationen), written tests (Klassenar-
beiten, Klausuren) and final examinations (Abschlussarbeiten). In most Fed-
eral States the results are summarized in school certificates (Zeugnisse) in
numbers from one to six. (For a description of grades and points see https://
de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schulnote; last accessed Sept. 2017). In some states the
certificates for children in elementary schools are given in a verbal form, the
wording more or less prescribed by the authorities. What is true for primary
and elementary education is often true for private schools: Waldorf schools
e.g. release ample comments on any individual student with regards to the
different subject matters. More details, i.e. pros and cons of verbal summa-
tive assessment, are examined in 15.4, the concluding section of this chapter.
The most salient feature of summative assessment is its legal character.
That is why all German Federal States release more or less detailed guide-
lines, regulations, and laws. Teachers have a broad pedagogical discretion
(pädagogischer Ermessensspielraum) to decide how to assess and grade all
above mentioned forms of achievement evaluation from oral participation to
presentations. In contrast to this relative freedom, for written class work and
final examinations they have to follow scrupulously the regulations and laws
of the respective Federal State. This distinction becomes more comprehensi-
ble when we consider that school certificates function as allocation and se-
lection for certain jobs and the access to university studies and can be con-
tested by legal means.
Despite the general function of grades, the accentuation in the various
guidelines and regulations of the Federal States is different and rather heter-
ogeneous. Whereas some States limit their nevertheless quite detailed expli-
Feedback: summative assessment 299

cations to content and language of written (test) examples, other States refer
to the whole learning development of the student, not only his or her knowl-
edge and skills in the respective subject matter, but also to the commitment
and dedication as well as the conduct of the learners.
The form of grading is connected with two arguable questions: Is it use-
ful for students and their learning processes to be graded so that they can be
forced to repeat a school year? A vast literature examines the pros and cons
of this procedure. Another point often discussed with reference to the Ger-
man school system is the attribution of learners to different types of schools
at the end of elementary school. Even though changes have been effectuated
in some Federal States – e.g. integrating or pooling Haupt- and Realschulen
– , the main question remains: At what age and on what basis should learn-
ers be attributed to different school types? What about countries as e.g. Swe-
den which have comparable or even better results of schooling without grad-
ing their students until 8th grade, teaching them all together and renouncing
at disciplinary measures such as having to repeat a school year?

15.3 Guidelines, regulations and laws

When comparing guidelines, regulations, and laws of different Federal States


there are some commonalities. The number of written class tests and work
exams is fixed by law in every single State for the different subject matters.
With regards to the secondary level until grade 9 or 10 (the end of compul-
sory education) it is the teacher or the body of teachers of the same subject
matter at the same school to fix their own guidelines when grading a writ-
ten test.

The most frequent distinction is between content and language, the for-
mer determining the grade by 40 %, the latter by 60 %. In general, teach-
ers make a further subdivision with regards to language: Style – often the
variety of vocabulary and structures – counts for 30 %, whereas correct-
ness amounts to the same percentage.

It is clear that this is a very broad basis for effective assessment. What is
good style? Why vary words and expressions if they refer to the same thing
or concept? What is considered incorrect by the respective teacher? Is it
what a native speaker would consider as erroneous? Or is it what has been
300 Feedback: summative assessment

already dealt with in class (considering not already learned forms as less se-
rious mistakes)?
In contrast to that, the instructions and prescriptions are very detailed
and explicit for central written examinations which take place in the State
of Hesse (as well as in others) every year for students at the end of compul-
sory education. These examinations as well as those for higher types of sec-
ondary education (see below) are all based or oriented on the CEFR mostly
from A2 to B1 and B2. For the two types of schools of compulsory edu-
cation (Hauptschule, Realschule) there are separate indications for the four
features taken into account:
A. Listening Comprehension – 25 %
B. Reading Comprehension – 25 %
C. Use of Language – 25 %
1. Mediation (in both directions)
2. Words and structures
D. Text Production – 25 %

For every one of the four features text types and task formats are listed fol-
lowed by very detailed guidelines differentiating between the two school
types. On the next pages the overview of D. Text Production for Realschu-
len is reproduced in order to allow for further insights (http://zaa.schule.hes-
sen.de/fachspezifische_regelungen_englisch/index.html; last accessed Sept.
2017).

When we have a look at higher levels of secondary education (Sekundarstufe


II), especially at final examinations (Abitur), the guidelines, regulations, and
laws are understandably more detailed just for legal reasons. Furthermore,
during the last decades they have become more homogeneous and compara-
ble in order to allow students to continue further (university) studies in Fed-
eral States different from those where they have frequented schools.
Written tests (Klausuren) and final written examinations (Abschlussar-
beiten, Abiturarbeiten) in most Federal States consist of a threefold activity
dealing with a fictional (or non-fictional) text: comprehension (in form of a
summary), analysis and comment. To these three formats, mediation can be
added if the teacher thinks that this is adequate for the chosen text and cov-
ers the interests of his or her students.
Feedback: summative assessment 301

Hessisches Kultusministerium
Abschlussarbeit Englisch
Bildungsgang Hauptschule
Lösungs- und Bewertungshinweise

D. Text Production 25 pts.

Die Gesamtpunktzahl setzt sich aus den vier Bewertungsbereichen „Inhalt und kommunikative Ab-
sicht“ (10 Punkte), „Organisation“ (5 Punkte), „Grammatik“ (5 Punkte) und „Wortschatz“ (5 Punkte)
zusammen. Innerhalb dieser Bewertungsbereiche sind jeweils verschiedene Qualitätsmerkmale aufge-
führt, welche eine Beurteilung der Schülerleistungen auf drei verschiedenen Niveaus (oberes, mittleres
und unteres) ermöglichen. Besteht überhaupt kein inhaltlicher Bezug zu dem in der Aufgabenstellung
geforderten Thema, so ist der gesamte Teil D Text Production mit null Punkten zu bewerten.
Enthält eine Schülerleistung im inhaltlichen Bereich Qualitätsmerkmale zweier angrenzender Niveaus,
so ist die entsprechende Punktzahl des grau markierten Übergangsbereichs zu vergeben.

10 Inhalt und kommunikative Absicht 5 Organisation


Punkte Punkte
• Alle geforderten Leitpunkte werden Kohärenz
aufgegriffen und schlüssig ausge- • Der Text ist weitgehend logisch auf-
führt. gebaut.
• Alle aufgeführten Ideen stehen im Kohäsion
10–9 Zusammenhang mit dem in der Auf- • Häufig verwendete Konnektoren (z.B.
gabenstellung geforderten Thema. 5–4 and, but, because) werden benutzt, um
einfache Sätze miteinander zu ver-
binden.
• Der Text verfügt über angemessene
äußerliche Strukturierungsmerkmale
8 Übergangsbereich (z.B. Absätze).
• Nur einige Leitpunkte werden aufge- Kohärenz
griffen und behandelt. • Der Text lässt einen logischen Aufbau
• Die aufgeführten Ideen stehen größ- erkennen.
tenteils / nur teilweise im Zusam- Kohäsion
7–5 menhang mit dem in der Aufgaben-
3–2 • Sätze oder Wortgruppen werden teil-
stellung geforderten Thema. weise durch einfache Konnektoren ver-
knüpft.
• Trotz weniger äußerlicher Strukturie-
rungsmerkmale ist eine Struktur des
4 Übergangsbereich Textes noch zu erkennen.
• Die Leitpunkte werden nur unzurei- Kohärenz
chend aufgegriffen. • Ein logischer Aufbau ist nur im An-
• Die aufgeführten Ideen stehen in ge- satz / nicht erkennbar.
3–1 ringem Zusammenhang mit dem in Kohäsion
der Aufgabenstellung geforderten 1–0 • Konnektoren werden kaum/nicht ver-
Thema. wendet.
• Eine äußerliche Struktur des Textes ist
0 siehe Einleitungstext oben kaum/nicht zu erkennen.
302 Feedback: summative assessment

Hessisches Kultusministerium
Abschlussarbeit Englisch
Bildungsgang Hauptschule
Lösungs- und Bewertungshinweise

Grammatik Wortschatz
5 5
(Strukturen und Satzmuster) (Wortwahl und Rechtschreibung)
Punkte Punkte
Verfügbarkeit der sprachlichen Mittel Verfügbarkeit der sprachlichen Mittel
• Einfache grammatische Strukturen • Ein Grundwortschatz zu allgemeinen
(z.B. Zeiten, einfache Modal- und Themenbereichen ist vorhanden.
Hilfsverben) werden verwendet.
Korrektheit
• Es werden klare Satzmuster (Subjekt- • Die Wortwahl ist angemessen.
5–4 Verb-Objekt) verwendet. 5–4 • Einzelne Fehler sind nicht verständnis-
Korrektheit belastend.
• Grammatische Strukturen und Satz-
muster werden größtenteils richtig ver-
wendet (nur wenige nicht-verständnis-
belastende Fehler).

Verfügbarkeit der sprachlichen Mittel Verfügbarkeit der sprachlichen Mittel


• Einige wenige grammatische Strukturen • Ein Grundwortschatz zu allgemeinen
werden begrenzt verwendet. Themenbereichen ist weitgehend vor-
• Es sind Satzmuster erkennbar; weit- handen.
gehend vollständige Sätze werden Korrektheit
verwendet. • Die Wortwahl ist größtenteils ange-
3–2 Korrektheit 3–2 messen.
• Nicht-verständnisbelastende Fehler dür- • Nicht-verständnisbelastende Fehler
fen vorkommen; verständnisbelastende dürfen vorkommen; verständnisbelas-
Fehler treten in geringem Umfang auf. tende Fehler kommen in geringem
Umfang vor.
• Der Sprachgebrauch ist teilweise nicht
der Zielsprache angemessen.

Verfügbarkeit der sprachlichen Mittel Verfügbarkeit der sprachlichen Mittel


• Der Gebrauch richtiger grammatischer • Der Wortschatz ist begrenzt / nicht
Strukturen ist limitiert oder nicht er- ausreichend / nicht angemessen.
kennbar.
Korrektheit
• Die Satzmuster sind häufig fehlerhaft. • Die Wortwahl ist nicht angemessen
Korrektheit und/oder ungenau.
1–0 1–0
• Es treten viele, auch verständnisbelas- • Es treten häufig verständnisbelastende
tende, Fehler auf. Fehler auf.
• Der Sprachgebrauch ist größtenteils
nicht der Zielsprache angemessen und
führt zu verständnisbelastenden
Fehlern.

Bewertungsschlüssel

Note 1 2 3 4 5 6
Punkte 100–90 89,5–75 74,5–60 59,5–45 44,5–20 19,5–0
Feedback: summative assessment 303

As aforementioned the achievement is divided in content (40 %, 60


points) and language (60 %, 90 points). For the comprehensive assessment
the following table Kriterien zur Bewertung der Sprachlichen Leistung/Dar-
stellungsleistung is often used as point of reference: (https://www.stand
ardsicherung.schulministerium.nrw.de/cms/zentralabitur-gost/faecher/get
file.php?file=3715; last accessed Sept. 2017)

Notenspiegel: Inhalt 60 Punkte + Sprache 90 Punkte

Note: 1+ 1 1– 2+ 2 2– 3+ 3
Punkte: 150–143 142–135 134–128 127–120 119–113 112–105 104–98 97–90

Note: 3– 4+ 4 4– 5+ 5 5– 6
Punkte: 89–83 82–75 74–68 67–58 57–49 48–40 39–30 29–0

As it is already demanding for teachers to apply the rules of achievement


evaluation valid in their Federal State, it is much more difficult for students
who want to prepare for written examinations. Beside the overall challeng-
es of content and language they have to be test wise or rather acquire ‘exam
wisdom’ in order to concentrate on the important features of the future ex-
aminations. An opportunity to become acquainted to the most relevant
features is to be found in guide books edited by publishers separately for
the most important Federal States entitled e.g. Abitur 2018 – Original-Prü-
fungsaufgaben mit Lösungen – Englisch (Hessen) (Stark 2017) (https://www.
stark-verlag.de/schueler/gesamtkatalog/abiturprufung-hessen-englisch-gk-lk;
last accessed Sept. 2017).

The guide contains:


• original examination tasks (years 2013 to 2017)
• short interpretations of required reading (LK)
• glossary of literary terms
• indications for exam requirements
• complete, student-adapted solutions of all tasks

It is mostly for the reader-friendly introduction that these guides are not
only of help for learners in schools but also for pre-service teachers (even
though the publishers edit comparable guide books for teachers).
304 Feedback: summative assessment

15.4 Suggestions for meaningful summative assessment

As grades or points in numeral form are not very expressive, especially


for younger learners, educationalists and practitioners alike have proposed
achievement or proficiency evaluations in worded form (see 15.2). They un-
derscore the opportunity and importance of verbal reports with the aims
and functions of summative assessment.

We can at least distinguish three types of benchmarks:


• criteria-oriented benchmarks with reference to goals and/or content;
• social benchmarks, i.e. comparison with others;
• individual benchmarks regarding the personal learning development.

It is a challenge for teachers to comment on all three benchmark types for


the same test or exam.
• First, it means to make comprehensible for the students to what degree
they met criteria fixed from outside, e.g. the CEFR (2001) and the Com-
panion Volume with New Descriptors (2017).
• Second, reasons for further motivation and personal development are to
be seen in the possibility to compare the performance of the individual
student to that of others as class tests refer to the student’s class average.
This comports the consequence that grades are very relative when com-
pared to grades of other classes even of the same school and much more
when confronted with grades awarded in other schools. To increase com-
parability teachers would have to detail at least the ability and aptitude of
every single student as well as all features of language and content dealt
with in the respective class.
• Third, grades or comments on grades should inform the single student
about what progress he or she has made in recent times and about what
can be done to come closer to the desired results.

It is an open question if summative assessment expressed in numbers or in


words is more effective despite the tendency of educationalists to proclaim
the higher effectiveness of written reports for the students. As summative
assessment has also legal functions for future employers, higher secondary
education and university access, the decision makers tend mostly to clear-
cut results may it be to grades from one to six or points from one to fifteen.
Feedback: summative assessment 305

Among possible solutions for this dilemma, text supplements with further
remarks and indications may be an option.

The official certifications may be accompanied by different forms of feed-


back for the students (and their parents):
• reports of learning development and progress;
• self-evaluation of the students,
• observations of peers,
• cooperative assessment,
• class- or age-group ranking,
• portfolio
• learning diary,
• evaluation sheets,
• discussions about learning results,
• …

With reference to digitization it has to be mentioned that there are several


apps that enable teachers to comment directly on oral or written results of
individual students. What at first seems very time consuming pays off after
teachers have become acquainted to the respective digital tools, for example:
ClassDojo
Class Dojo is a simple to use classroom format that does it all. Teachers
can text students when they are doing well, and give them points and oth-
er positive reinforcement right away. This can be transmitted to parents,
allowing them to feel more connected to their students throughout the
day. Pictures and text messages can be sent to parents safely. Also students
can add their work to a portfolio that they would like their parents to see.
[…] (http://www.theedadvocate.org/top-5-apps-for-teacher-communica-
tion/; last accessed Sept. 2017)

The use of similar apps as well as of other digital tools in class presupposes
in any case a classroom management that has prepared the learners for us-
ing digital media as a means of learning (and not as something that may dis-
turb or disrupt). It is a long way for both parts – teachers and students – to
reach a useful balance.
306 Feedback: summative assessment

In conclusion, a detailed overview of different forms of formative and sum-


mative assessment is presented as a starting point for further reflection and
discussion (Winter 2017, 16). This synopsis may stimulate a compromise be-
tween motivating aspects and selective functions of feedback:

Verfahren Vorzüge / Möglichkeiten Nachteile / Schwierigkeiten


Verfahren zur gesonderten Oberprüfung und Beurteilung von Leistungen
Klassenarbeit zeitnahe Lernkontrolle, beschränkte Aufgabenformate,
Nachdruck für die Lernforderung notwendig
eher wissensakzentuiert, z. T.
fehlerzentriert
Lernkontrollen diagnostische Lernkontrolle, eher wissensakzentuiert
(Probearbeiten) Verbesserungsmotivation
Schulleistungstests vergleichbare Leistungsinformation, nur ausschnittartig möglich,
(Lernstandserhebung) Bildungsmonitoring unterrichtsfern, nicht geeignet für
individuelle Leistungsbeurteilung,
Auswertung in den Schulen
schwierig
Verfahren zur integrierten Überprüfung und Beurteilung von Leistungen
Fragen und Gespräche flexibler Einsatz, Fragen werden oft nur an Einzelne
im Unterricht Möglichkeit, tiefer zu prüfen gerichtet und verleiten zu
und unmittelbar zum Lernen unbedachtem Einsatz.
überzugehen Gespräche über Qualitäten muss
man üben
(Lern-)Aufgaben Vorwissen, Vorstellungen und Auswahl von geeigneten Aufgaben,
mit diagnostischem Konzepte werden sichtbar Anforderungsanalyse der Aufgaben
Potenzial Bezug zu Kompetenzen
Lernjournal Vorwissen, Vorstellungen und Zeitaufwand, diese Kultur muss
Konzepte werden expliziert, längerfristig aufgebaut werden
selbständiges Denken und Erklären
Portfolio größere, selbständige, persönlich erfordert Umstellungen im
(hier vor allem als bedeutsame Arbeiten sind möglich, Unterricht,
Projektportfolio) authentische Aufgaben, komplexe Leistungserbringung weniger von
Kompetenzen der Lehrperson kontrolliert
Sozial gerahmte, gemeinsame Leistungsbeurteilung und Entwicklungsberatung
Feedback, Reflexion Übertragung von muss eingeübt werden,
Selbst- und dialogische Beurteilungswissen, prozeduralem Reflexionen müssen genutzt
Beurteilung und metakognitivem Wissen auf die werden,
Lernenden Zeitaufwand
Präsentation Prüfung und Förderung über- Zeitaufwand für Präsentationen,
fachlicher Kompetenzen, Umstellung des Unterrichts,
vermittelt Sinn und Anerkennung, Sicherung einer gemeinsamen
demokratische Leistungsbeurteilung Wissensbasis, Organisation guter
Rückmeldung
Lern-Entwicklungs- mehrperspektivische Beurteilung, Aufwand für die Vorbereitung,
Gespräche Zusammenarbeit Elternhaus und Organisation und Durchführung
Schule
Feedback: summative assessment 307

Instrumente oder Hilfen zur Beurteilung und Bewertung von vorliegenden Leistungen
Verbalbeurteilung und vielseitig und flexibel einsetzbar, wird oft missverstanden,
Textzeugnisse inhaltliche Aussagen und zeitaufwändig, muss gut gelernt
persönliche Ansprache möglich sein,
bei Textzeugnissen zu weit weg
vom Lernvorgang
Zertifikate inhaltlich beschriebener Aufwand für Ausarbeitung
Kompetenznachweis und bei der Überprüfung –
Erwerb möglich, wann man will Zusammenarbeit mit externen
Organisationen günstig
Beurteilungsraster mehrdimensionale Beurteilung, Konstruktion guter Raster ist
differenzierte Rückmeldung, aufwändig,
Transparenz von Kriterien, enger vorgefertigte Raster sind oft
Unterrichtsbezug möglich schlecht oder unangemessen,
Raster verleiten zu falscher
Summenbildung
Kompetenzraster Bezug zu Bildungsstandards Basis für die Einschätzung meist
nicht gegeben, problematische
Selbsteinschätzung, Normierungs-
druck für die Bildung
Noten leicht zu machen schwer zu transportieren keine
bestreiten inhaltliche Information, starke
Referenzgruppeneffekte

Figure 11: Synopsis formative and summative assessment (Winter 2017, 16).

Conclusion
The main functions of feedback, formative as well as summative assess-
ment, are contributions to students’ identities, their self-esteem and their
learning motivation. For these reasons feedback, even though there are
differences between formative and summative assessment, has to be seen
as a whole.
In the case of written class tests and (central) final examinations teachers
have to follow scrupulously the guidelines, regulations and laws of their
respective Federal State if they want to avoid legal consequences.
Most legal prescriptions are based on the following general rule: In order
to privilege the foreign language, proficiency determines 60 % of the final
grade, whereas the content is counted by 40 %.
Beside grades and points, teachers can contribute to students’ personali-
ty and learning by oral or written comments on their achievement evalu-
ations. Furthermore there is a broad offer of student-centered evaluation
procedures and activities.
308 Feedback: summative assessment

Review, Reflect, Practice


1. What are the overall aims of feedback?
2. Why should formative and summative assessment be seen as a whole?
3. What is the main difference between formative and summative assess-
ment?
4. Why are written class tests and (final) written examinations so im-
portant?
5. Do you think it is right to privilege language proficiency over cont-
ent? Why? Why not?
6. What is your personal position towards errors and mistakes in stu-
dent work?
7. Why are the results of central tests, e.g. at the end of compulsory edu-
ation, not really comparable?
8. Which are the three important benchmark types of tests and exams?
What do they refer to?
9. Why is it so difficult for teachers to comment on all three for the
same test?
10. What possibilities are there in class in order to not limit summative
assessment to the (public) announcement of grades or points? Which
of these do you refer and why?

Recommended Reading
Useful summaries of assessment and of new evaluation culture are written by
Konrad Schröder:
Schröder, Konrad (22017). Leistungsbewertung. In: Surkamp, Carola (ed.). Metzler
Lexikon Fremdsprachendidaktik. Ansätze – Methoden – Grundbegriffe. Stuttgart &
Weimar: Metzler, 209–211.
Schröder, Konrad (22017). Leistungsermittlung. In: Surkamp, Carola (ed.).
Metzler Lexikon Fremdsprachendidaktik. Ansätze – Methoden – Grundbegriffe.
Stuttgart & Weimar: Metzler, 211–214.

For practical suggestions how to deal with class tests and written examinations
have a look at:
Kieweg, Werner (ed.) (2015). Der fremdsprachliche Unterricht Englisch 133: Klassen-
arbeiten und Klausuren.

It is recommendable to read the guidelines, regulations, and laws of your Feder-


al State or another of your choice in some detail. By entering Leistungsbeurtei-
lung or Leistungsbwertung into a search engine you will find overviews based on
Feedback: summative assessment 309

the most populated Federal States. Furthermore, the websites of quite all Feder-
al Ministries of Education inform about their grading regulations.
Further suggestions and regulations for the final exam of Abitur are to be
found on the respective site of the IQB; especially useful is the link Operator-
en. https://www.iqb.hu-berlin.de/abitur/dokumente/englisch; last accessed Sept.
2017
Conclusion: simple, unexpected, concrete,
credible, emotional and narrative

Answer the introductory questions possibly in all details you know now:
1. How can we, my students and myself, reach the general goals and specif-
ic objectives of the curriculum?
2. In what ways should I teach in order to yield the best results for every
individual learner?
3. How can I motivate my students to persist in their learning efforts?
4. What topics should we deal with in order to attain communicative com-
petence? What literary texts might we read?
5. What are appropriate strategies to combine reliable methods with digital
tools?
6. How can I promote the ability of my students to use digital media for
their learning and help them develop a critical attitude toward digitiza-
tion?
7. How can I engage my students to participate in the choice of teaching
content and methodology?
8. What are appropriate methods of classroom management to deal with
challenges like behavioral issues and off-task behavior during class time?
9. How can I build a rapport with students that balances friendliness with
professional distance?
10. What are the best forms of feedback and assessment including self-eval-
uation of the learners?
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Glossary
Important terms related to digitization

algorithm (Algorithmus)
An algorithm is one code among others that allows transforming analog in-
put into a computer-readable format. In the context of electronic media, al-
gorithms are the best known and widely diffused codes used for unambigu-
ous specification. Today, algorithms are used for calculation, data processing
and automated reasoning tasks. You start from an initial input and then pro-
ceed in accordance with the computation instructions in order to arrive at a
final state.

analog/analogue/analogical/analogous (interchangeable) (analog)


An analog procedure is based on, involves, or expresses an analogy, i.e. it
compares features or qualities of two things in order to make clearer the na-
ture of the two things compared. Analog signals are infinitely variable (with-
out steps or grades) and produce infinitely exact information. Nature always
functions in an analogical way. Therefore the opposition of analogous vs.
digital is not correct. Digitization is always based and furthered by analogi-
cal competences, so that both – analogical and digital media – will continue
side by side.

Artificial Intelligence (AI, Künstliche Intelligenz)


AI is an important domain of Applied Computer Science. In general, AI re-
fers to the intelligence of machines in contrast to the natural intelligence of
humans and animals. The best known field of AI is the creation of robots,
especially those which substitute human work force and therefore has caused
and will determine the elimination of many jobs.

asynchronous (asynchron)
Asynchronous exchanges do not exist or occur at the same time, e.g. emails.

Big Data (Big Data)


The term refers to amounts of data that are too huge, too complex, too fast,
and insufficiently structured so that they cannot be manipulated with usu-
al methods of data processing. In a wider sense, Big Data is used to describe
330 Glossary

digital technologies that have determined a new age of communication and


data processing as well as of societal changes.

Blended Learning (Blended Learning)


Blended Learning stands for a combination of off- and online learning. A
good example is a university seminar that consists in part of face-to-face
teaching alternating with phases of online learning. This blending provides
space for deeper learning and discussions in the course room. In the con-
text of schools, the term Blended Learning is used for supplementary learn-
ing opportunities in or outside the classroom. Further developments consist
in so-called flipped or inverted classrooms.

Blog (Weblog) (Blog)


Blogs (Weblogs) – the best known is the microblog Twitter – in general con-
sist of discussion or information websites published on the WWW. Often,
the single entries are posts in an informal diary-style. They are displayed in
reverse chronological order. Until 2009, blogs were mostly published by sin-
gle individuals and dealt with one topic. Since 2010, multi-author blogs writ-
ten by professionals have developed in increasing quantity. Most blogs allow
visitors to leave online comments. Blogs, thus, reach from personal online
diaries to online brand advertising.

CALL/CELL
Computer-assisted Language Learning (CALL) and Computer-enhanced
Language Learning (CELL) are further developments of CAI (Computer-as-
sisted Instruction) and CMC (Computer-mediated Communication). CALL
– the denomination CELL has gained only little acceptance – comprises a
wide range of Information and Communication technology used in teaching
and learning foreign languages. The term dates back to the 1960s and is syn-
onymous to TELL (Technology-enhanced Language Learning). In contrast
to its beginnings as a behavioristic approach, CALL nowadays refers to stu-
dent-centered application of all sorts of electronic media.

Chat (Chat)
A chat is a (casual) conversation. In the digital era it describes real-time text
message communication through the Internet (online chat). As the majori-
ty of students find it difficult to react immediately to oral stimuli, teachers
often use written chats that allow time to reflect about the answers or the
Glossary 331

next move. Written chats, moreover, can be stored easily in order to revis-
it and revise them in future lessons. This is often necessary not only for con-
tributions of German learners but also for those of native speakers or users
of English as Lingua Franca. Beside Internet Slang, negligent language and
even errors are to be found in almost all types of Web communication. Fur-
thermore, written chats are a hybrid form as they combine oral and writ-
ten features. Nevertheless, chats in the target language are a good means to
bring speakers of different languages together.

Communication Technology (Kommunikationstechnologie)


For decades online communication was limited to unilateral and to asyn-
chronous exchanges via emails. Web users consulted the Internet mostly for
information gathering. Today, Information and Communication Technology
(ICT) are inextricably entwined. With the advent of Web 2.0 a series of So-
cial Media have entered the field of electronic communication technology,
which allow for active use of a great number of digital devices and tools.

Computer games (Computer-/Videospiele)


Under the head of gamification the use of a variety of Computer or PC
games are described, which reaches from learning software (e.g. vocabulary
or grammar games) to Edutainment and PC games for general use. Espe-
cially the latter can enhance foreign language learning in a particular way
as they focus on motivation and content (and not on features of the foreign
language). Computer- or rather video-games are a form of interactive nar-
ratology. Narrative aspects which are determined by the medium are more
highlighted in interactive computer games than in movies or videos. Games
are not based on complete plots but leave the creative sequencing of single
episodes to the user.

Digitization (Digitalisierung)
Digitization, less commonly digitalization, is the process of converting in-
formation into a digital format, in which the information is organized into
bits. In order to make the information computer-readable the originally lin-
ear format is transformed into equal sequences. The result is the represen-
tation of an object, image, sound, document or signal by generating a se-
ries of numbers that describe a discrete set of its points and samples, but
not exactly the original. In most cases, the losses of the conversion from an-
alogical features into digital ones are not important for the user. In mod-
332 Glossary

ern practice, digitized data is in the form of binary numbers, which facilitate
computer processing and other operations. The advantages of digitization are
seen in the secure storing of the data, their fast transmission and their in-
variant quality.

Digital Age (digitales Zeitalter)


The Digital Age, also called Information Age, has its starting point in the
late 1970s with the introduction of the personal computer and the result-
ing technology for mass production and communication. The term is often
equated with the possibility to transfer information freely and quickly even
though its risks are subject to worldwide discussions. The Digital Revolu-
tion with its change from mechanical, analog technology to digital electron-
ics began already in the 1950s, but, only twenty years later with the advent
of Web 2.0, it became a mass phenomenon. The term Digital Age also refers
to the profound societal and global changes caused by the advent of elec-
tronic technical devices and tools including the Internet and mobile phones.
The social modernization of the Digital Age is often compared to the out-
comes of the Agricultural Revolution and the Industrial Revolution of past
centuries.

Digital media (digitale Medien)


Digital media is encoded in computer- or rather machine-readable format
allowing for the creation, vision, distribution, modification and storage of
all forms of information on electronic digital devices. Among the digital
media most useful for TEFL are web pages and web sites including social
media, learning software and learning management systems as well as vid-
eo games and all forms of images, sounds, and video. Ample discussions of
copyright and intellectual property laws did not lead until now to satisfac-
tory solutions. In the context of TEFL (as in all subject matters) the pitfalls
and dangers of digital tools such as social networks are not always dealt with
by sufficient emphasis. Furthermore, Digital media has caused disruptive in-
novations of the job market by the introduction of different types of robotics

Educational Technology (ET; Bildungstechnologie)


ET is an overarching term that includes all devices and modes applied to
promote learning. The term does not only refer to digital tools but to all
technological devices and media that are used to facilitate and to improve
learning. ET comprises the whole field of theoretical, algorithmic or heuris-
Glossary 333

tic processes (based on systematic personal procedures; Heuristik). Further-


more, ET does not only refer to material tools but also to the theory of edu-
cational approaches and their underlying ethical practice.

E-Learning (computergestütztes oder webbasiertes Lernen)


E-Learning is an overarching term that describes all forms of learning that
use electronic or digital media for the presentation and distribution of learn-
ing materials as well as for the support of human communication. Synonyms
are online learning, multimedia learning, computer-assisted or enhanced
learning, computer-based training and open and distance learning. This enu-
meration shows that E-Learning is not limited to learning in schools and
universities but comprises a wide range of professional training. E-Learning
is based on cognitive science, especially on Cognitive Load Theory, that sug-
gests which media to select in order to avoid an over-stimulation.

Email (E-Mail)
Electronic mail (elektronische Post) is a system to administer and send in-
formation in a letter similar format with the help of computer networks,
especially via the Internet. Not only the transmission system but the in-
formation itself is called email or mail. Long before the World Wide Web
was created email has been the most frequently used service of the Inter-
net due to the possibility to send news and attached digital documents with-
in seconds around the world. In contrast to chats emails are an asynchro-
nous communication medium because they are sent independently of the
fact whether the addressee can receive them immediately or not.

Facebook (Facebook)
Launched in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and some fellow students, Face-
book is the most popular online social media and social networking service.
Whereas in the beginning Facebook has been limited to university students
since 2006, anyone who is at least 13 years old (with local variations) can be-
come registered as a Facebook user. The service can be accessed via the In-
ternet by a wide range of electronic devices such as desktops, laptops, tablet
computers and smartphones. After registration the users can create a per-
sonal profile and post digital photos. Furthermore, they can add other users
as “friends” and join groups of common interest. As users often submit huge
amounts of data to the service, the Facebook (for-profit) corporation is of-
ten criticized for its insufficient privacy policies. Facebook makes enormous
334 Glossary

profits from advertisements which appear on the screen tailored to the indi-
vidual user.

Gamification (Gamification: Verwendung spieltyischer Elemente)


In the context of learning, Gamification is defined as the use of video game
design and game elements in order to motivate students and influence their
behavior in non-game contexts. Some scholars and practitioners distinguish
between gamification in learning and game-based learning, the latter being
a much wider approach. Gamification is based on video games that offer a
learning experience centered on serious stories. These games do not focus
on items of the foreign language but on content coming close to real-life sit-
uations. The students don’t create their own games but are invited to alter
parts in existing games, such as for example Minecraft.

Hypertext/Hyperlink (Hypertext/Hyperlink: elektronische Übertragung)


Websites are hyper-documents that consist of different parts of texts and
other media that can immediately or progressively be accessed by the user
according to his interests. Hyperlinks often activated by a mouse click re-
fer also to other interconnected documents. Hypertext can thus be defined
as “an arrangement of the information in a computer database that allows a
user to get information and to go from one document to another by clicking
on highlighted words or pictures” (Merriam-Webster Learner’s dictionary,
last accessed Oct. 2017).

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language; HTML)


Web pages formatted with Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), – not only
text documents but also images, video, audio and software components –
can be accessed over the Internet.

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol; Hypertext-Übertragungsprotokoll)


HTTP is a protocol used to transmit data through a computer network. It
mostly serves to download websites, i.e. hypertext-documents, from the
World Wide Web on a web browser.
Glossary 335

Information and Communication Technology (ICT; Informations- und


Kommunikationstechnologie)
ICT is an important subfield of ET as it comprises most online activities.
It deals with the infrastructure and the components necessary for modern
computing and interacting in the digital world.

Interactive Whiteboards (IWB; interaktive Whiteboards or Smartboards)


An Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) is an interactive digital board connect-
ed to a computer. The content to be shown is projected with the help of a
beamer on the board’s white surface. An IWB is primarily nothing else but
a huge screen. Depending on the technical equipment – there are many va-
rieties – the Whiteboard is used to operate the connected computer by fin-
ger touch or using a special pen. Furthermore, there are many supplementa-
ry software tools for most IWBs that enable the interaction between teachers
and students.

Internet (Internet)
Usually information stored on the World Wide Web is accessed through the
Internet. The Internet is not the information itself but the most common
possibility of using a browser to view webpages. The Internet refers to all in-
terconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite (IP) to
link devices all over the world. It consists of private, public, academic, busi-
ness and government networks of local and global reach. The Internet com-
prises a wide range of resources such as hypertext documents and applica-
tions of the World Wide Web, but also email, telephony and file sharing.

Instagram (Instagram)
Instagram is a popular social networking service that allows registered users
to upload photographs and videos in order to share them with other users.
First created for certain mobile devices, Instagram and its multiple tools can
be used since 2016 also with all electronic devices including Windows 10.

Learning Management System (LMS; Lernplattform)


Learning management systems are complex software applications. They pro-
vide learning content in a variety of forms and help students organize and
track their learning. One of the most important characteristics of LMSs is
the incorporated possibility for teachers or other tutors to follow students’
learning in detail and to communicate at any point of the procedures and
336 Glossary

processes with the individual learner. The web portal (Bildungsportal) of the
Federal State of NRW defines an LWS as the technical requirement for a
complex web-based E-Learning-infrastructure and details its potential: stor-
ing files, creating authoring tools in form of Wikis, editing and elaborating
tasks and activities, communicating via mail and chat, sending information,
making work plans and integrating e-content. The crucial prerequisites of
LMSs for TEFL are easy navigation, correctness and actuality.

Learning Software (Lernsoftware)


Learning software is an overarching term for all tools created for learning
knowledge and improving skills. In the field of TEFL (as with foreign lan-
guage learning in general) learning software, especially the myriad of prod-
ucts related to textbooks, follow a more or less linear concept of learning.
These types often simply transform paper-and-pencil activities into software
tools. Moreover, learning software in most cases is based on behavioristic
pattern-drill limited to simple vocabulary and grammar exercises with no
claim to further communication in the target language. An advantage con-
sists in the fact that learning software in general allows for a direct feed-
back to the individual student. Even though these tutorial functions are still
quite limited, they contribute to the acceptance of learning software. Many
times, learners are more motivated to practice with learning software than
with text- or workbook exercises.

Mobile devices (mobile Kleingeräte)


In most cases, mobile devices refer to smartphones and tablets, but the term
denominates all computing devices that are small enough to be held and op-
erated by hand. Usually mobile devices are connected to the Internet and
dispose of touch-screen interface for input and output.

Mobile Learning (ML; mobiles Lernen)


With the advent of smartphones and tablets, ML has become a new, rapidly
growing field of E-Learning.

Moodle (Moodle)
Moodle is a free LMS widely used in business and universities, but also in
schools. As with other LMSs the main benefits are its multimodality inte-
grating different media, its adaptability to students learning progress, its in-
teractivity that enables learners to take an active part in the learning process
Glossary 337

and moreover its opportunity to collaborate with other students. Further-


more, Moodle ensures data privacy protection.

Open Educational Resources (OER; freie Bildungsinhalte)


OERs are part of Open Source Software propagated by the UNESCO in or-
der to promote the implementation of LMWs in European schools and class-
rooms. Whereas good LMSs are often quite expensive anyone can legally and
freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them.

Podcast (Podcast)
Podcasts are digital audio or video files for asynchronous use. They are avail-
able for download on all devices, also on an MP3-Player. Users can sub-
scribe to podcasts so that new files arrive automatically on their device. Pod-
casts are usually free of charge, and they can be created by little or no cost.
Nowadays, podcasts are a recognized medium for distributing audio content
via the Internet. In TEFL classrooms podcasts are mostly used as materials
for listening to native speakers even though the creation of one’s own stu-
dent podcasts are an instructive learning experience.

Robotics (Robotik)
Robotics is an important and rapidly increasing field of AI. In many class-
rooms robots are a societal topic as automation has disastrous effects for the
working force. But robots have developed into useful tools for teaching and
learning. Their use in education is possible since robots (and other devic-
es of AI) are able to register and to recognize language. An interesting ex-
ample is the H.E.A.R.T-Project (Humanoid Emotional Assistant Robots in
Teaching) that enables even conversation with robots. At the University of
Marburg two robots have been introduced into university lectures and sem-
inars. The use of the robots in the H.E.A.R.T-Project is different from usual
forms of Blended Learning. One of the two robots is an assistant of the pro-
fessor: During the lectures the robot walks around and helps students with
their questions. Through this organization, the professor has sufficient time
to turn to his or her students for interaction, consultation, discussion, and
competency acquisition in this inverted classroom.

Selfie (Selfie)
A selfie is a photograph that someone has taken of himself. These self-por-
traits are typically taken with smartphones or webcams held in hand or sup-
338 Glossary

ported by a selfie-stick allowing the camera to see more around them. Selfies
are often shared on social networking services such as Facebook, Instagram
or Twitter. Therefore they are usually flattering and made to appear casual.

SMS (Short Message Service; SMS)


SMS is a text messaging service that enables mobile devices to exchange
short text messages based on standardized communication protocols. SMS
is one of the most widely used data application with billions of active users.

Social network (soziales Netzwerk)


With the advent of Web 2.0, a series of Social Media have entered the field of
electronic communication technology. Most people profit from Social Media
in the form of social networking. A social network is a structure that hosts
an online community and allows its users to communicate. Well-known so-
cial network services are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but also LinkedIn
for professional use. In the context of teaching and learning, social network-
ing is a crucial topic to discuss about as its pitfalls and dangers can have se-
vere consequences for the users.

synchronous (synchron)
An example for a synchronous electronic exchange is a (voice) chat as it oc-
curs at the same time.

Twitter (Twitter)
Twitter is a microblog social networking service where users post and in-
teract with messages, the so-called tweets. Since the launching of Twitter
in 2006 the length of a tweet was limited to 140 characters. In November
2017 the limit was doubled to 280 characters for most languages. Only reg-
istered users can post tweets, but unregistered visitors can read them. Twit-
ter gained rapidly worldwide popularity and is used by billions of people for
different purposes.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator; URL)


A URL, e.g. https://www.nytimes.com/ for The New York Times, allows to
identify documents and other Web resources stored on the Web. Nowadays,
many browsers add https and www automatically so that users don’t have to
enter these abbreviations any more.
Glossary 339

Virtual Reality (VR, Virtuelle Realität)


VR is a domain of Applied Computer Science interrelated with AI. It uses
special headsets in order to create images, sounds and other sensations that
simulate a presence of the user in some form of reality. The headset in most
cases allows a look around and even moving in the artificial world in a de-
fined physical space.

WebQuest (WebQuest)
A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented activity or rather a lesson format in
which some or all of the information that learners interact with comes from
web resources. The fact that teachers preselect the sources avoids cognitive
overload and emphasizes information use instead of information gathering.
WebQuests above all foster media competence and improve extensive read-
ing such as skimming (reading a text quickly in order to get a general idea)
and scanning (reading to look for specific information). Usually WebQuests
consist of six subsequent steps: 1. introduction, 2. tasks, 3. information re-
sources, 4. process, 5. guidance, 6. evaluation/ conclusion.

Wiki/Wikipedia (Wiki/Wikipedia)
Wikis are well-known social media applications used in TEFL classrooms,
too. A Wiki (Hawaiian for ‘quick’, ‘fast’) is a hypertext system for websites
which are not only read by users, but offer the possibility to participate in
the creation and alternation of the respective Wiki. The use of a so-called
Wiki-Software or Wiki-Engine stands for an easy access so that almost ev-
eryone can actively intervene. If the creation of one’s own Wiki is too
time-consuming, students should be invited to contribute to existing Wikis
(chosen by the teacher).
The best known Wiki is Wikipedia which students in general recur to
when searching for information. Wikipedia is the most extensive user-cre-
ated encyclopedia which has existed since 2001 and is published in approxi-
mately 300 languages. This information site and the related tools offer about
40 million entries, five and a half million in English and more than two mil-
lion in German. The encyclopedia can be accessed even by mobile-devices
contributing somehow to m(obile)-learning.

World Wide Web (www; Web: weltweites Netz)


The World Wide Web, shortly the Web, is an information space that can be
accessed through the Internet. Web pages and other resources stored on the
340 Glossary

Web are identified by URLs (Uniform Resource Locators). The Web resourc-
es, not only text documents but also images, video, audio and software com-
ponents, are formatted with Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and in-
terlinked by hyperlinks that allow users to get information and to go from
one document to another by clicking on highlighted words or pictures.
The introduction and the development of the Web occurred through dif-
ferent phases from Web 1.0 up to the Web 4.0 of today. The most impor-
tant step was that from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 in the 1980s transforming it into
a writing and participation net. The users of the WWW, free for everyone
since 1993, finally could create content by themselves releasing them from
the role of passive consumers.

YouTube (YouTube)
YouTube (founded in 2005) is a video-sharing website that allows users to
upload, view, rate, share, and comment on videos. Furthermore, they can
subscribe to other users. It offers an ample range of videos including video
clips, music videos, short and documentary films, audio recordings, and oth-
er content such as video blogging, and educational videos. Most of the con-
tent is uploaded by individuals, but corporate media, for example CBS and
BBC, offer some of their material via YouTube. As with other Web portals,
unregistered users can only watch the videos, whereas registered users are
permitted to upload an unlimited number of videos and add comments to
videos of others. In August 2017, YouTube was ranked as the second-most
popular site in the world by a web traffic analysis company.
Schulpädagogik

First of all, teaching and learning English in the ­


digital age means using digital tools in TEFL classrooms.
This introduction exemplifies how to implement them
in a meaningful way in combination with reliable
methods. A further important aspect of digitization is
teaching and learning about media. Teachers have to
create and deploy opportunities that allow students
to develop a critical stance toward media in general
and digital media in particular.
This introduction to TEFL shows that the rapidly
increasing influences of digitization lead to more
internationalized and globalized science-based
approaches to teaching and learning English. In this
perspective, digitization offers an opportunity to
rethink and reshape didactic concepts.

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