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    Mediation in teaching, learning and assessment
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    Design process

Mediation in teaching, learning and assessment

How to design mediation tasks: what to consider

This section provides an overview of some of the steps that teachers might wish to follow when creating their own mediation tasks.

Stage 1: Planning for mediation 

I. Setting the aims, topics and task type

In order for teachers to create their own mediation tasks, the very first step is to decide on the content and the type of activities to be carried out on the basis of the aim and the specific objectives of the task. It is also important to consider learners’ (CEFR) proficiency levels in different languages, in general, and in the target language in particular, together with the specific characteristics of the learners and the situational context. The teacher will also decide whether the focus of the task will be on oral mediation (producing an oral text on the basis of a written or another oral text) or written mediation (producing a written text). 

II. Selecting (or adapting) the relevant CEFR-CV can-do statements 

The CEFR Companion Volume can provide valuable support to learning. This entails that the teacher decides which descriptor scales can be useful for the learners in carrying out a specific task. For instance, if the teacher’s goal is to teach summary writing in the target language through written mediation tasks, the set of descriptors relating to ‘Processing text in writing’ could be a starting point for designing specific task activities. An example of such a (B1 level) descriptor is: ‘Can summarise in writing the main points made in straightforward informational texts regarding subjects that are of personal or current interest.’ Choosing the appropriate and most relevant scales and descriptors is not an easy process. 

For this reason, the METLA team provides: 

A table with examples of METLA tasks aligned with CEFR-CV descriptors. For teachers to be aware of the rationale behind METLA activities and to create similar tasks for their own purposes, it is important to understand the way we have linked our activities to the CEFR-CV scales and descriptors. The first column provides the scales, the second column the proficiency level as well as the descriptors in the particular scale. The third column presents selected steps from METLA tasks which relate to the specific descriptors.

III. Selecting relevant, authentic and linguistically appropriate source (Language A) texts

The selection of (authentic) source texts is an important step when designing cross-linguistic mediation tasks since the whole mediation activity is based on sources. Apart from authenticity of materials, relevance of the topic and learners’ needs, age and interests, the teacher also needs to take into account: the genres of the source and the target texts: using genre-appropriate language is likely to be one of the goals of the task. For instance, the language teacher may intend to help learners practise writing an email in the foreign language.

IV. Writing clear task instructions and creating a realistic context

Clear task instructions are a very important aspect of a mediation task. The learner needs specific information about the context of mediation, the purpose of mediation and the addressee(s) of the target text in order to relay the information that is most relevant, useful or interesting to the target audience. 

V. Using the METLA (or other) checklists for the process of creating a task 

The METLA team offers two checklists, a short and a more extended one, for teachers who wish to check to what extent they have considered the above-mentioned aspects of mediation task design. The use of self-assessment or reflection checklists will help teachers monitor their lessons in a systematic way.

Download Checklist 1 and 2

Stage 2: The design process 

The METLA task template

For the purposes of task design, the teacher can use the METLA template, which consists of two parts: a first part for the teacher and a second part for the learner.  It guides the teacher as to what information to include in relation to the task (e.g., the type of task - role play, project etc, the task description, its aims, the languages involved, duration, the CEFR language proficiency level, CEFR-CV mediation descriptors). The second part of the template can be used by the teacher to present the actual texts and tasks. It is actually the worksheet for the learners. Grids for self-assessment and reflection can also be included here. See Chapter 3 of the Teaching Guide for further information on the use of the METLA task template.

Download the template here.

Some considerations when creating mediation tasks

This section focuses on how mediation can be taught, and offers some important considerations in relation to the incorporation of learners’ home languages, the promotion of (inter/pluri)cultural elements, the introduction of multimodality and of different media, the authenticity of texts and tasks, the development of collaborative interaction, the development of learners’ mediation strategies, and how teachers can bring a variety of genres into the classroom through mediation tasks. Finally, the METLA team offer some ideas as to how mediation can be assessed through means of alternative assessment.