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Studying examples of learners’ curricula for the language of schooling

This section contains two examples with reflection questions.

TASK A Read the specification of language-related competences for students aged 11-14 in Northern Ireland on this webpage: https://ccea.org.uk

Read details

Now reflect on the following questions:

i. Give examples of some of the language-related competences required of teachers to enable learners to develop the competences indicated in

  • Talking and Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing

ii. Are the language-related competences specified for learners at age 11-14 in Northern Ireland also applicable for learners of the same age in your context? Are any additional competences required? If so, what are they?

iii. In your experience, how well does teacher education in your context prepare future and practising teachers to meet curriculum requirements such as those listed in the Northern Ireland curriculum? What changes, if any, in teacher education for teachers of any subject are needed to ensure that teachers are better able to meet the challenges implied?

For more details on teacher competences for language-sensitive education, please refer to Building block 6.

TASK B Read the excerpt from the language of schooling curriculum for Austrian Unterstufe pupils, aged 11-14.

"Educational and teaching aims for German

The aim of German lessons is to foster students' communication and interaction skills by learning through and about language. In particular, the students should be able to:

  • use language to exchange experiences and ideas, to shape relationships and to become aware of one another's interests;
  • gather process and communicate factual information and deal with factual topics;
  • understand the forms of expression used in texts and the media and their impact, as well as use tools for expressing themselves creatively.

Students should gain insights into the structure and function of language. Their use of oral and written German should be free of major linguistic or spelling errors. German lessons should be seen as intertwined with the other subjects taught. German lessons should secure and expand the range of linguistic means available to students so that they can communicate appropriately about factual topics, about relationships and about language itself. In the case of students for whom German is a second (third or fourth) language, German lessons should support their linguistic and cultural socialization while taking account of their previous experiences of learning and life so that these lessons provide a firm foundation for their integration into school life and (Austrian) society. A student's first language is to a great extent the basis for acquiring a second language. Whenever possible, students' first languages should be taken account of when they are learning [German as] a second language."

Read original version

Now, reflect on the following questions:

i. In your context, are the language-related competences required of teachers to enable learners to develop the competences indicated in this excerpt different from those needed to meet the requirements of the Northern Ireland curriculum in task A above?

ii. How similar are the language-related competences specified in the Austrian curriculum to the competences required of learners of the same age in your context? What are the main differences?

iii. Thinking about the courses for (future) teachers of any subject that are taught in your teacher education context, which teacher competences are required for teachers to enable their learners to meet the requirements in the learner curriculum excerpts exemplified in tasks A and task B of the curriculum? How can the attention given to these teacher competences be enhanced, if necessary?

For more detailed information on teacher competences, please refer to Building block 6.