- Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction and sustained relationships with native speakers quite possible without imposing strains on either party. (CEFR, p.74)
- I can evaluate and select a range of meaningful speaking and interactional activities to develop fluency (discussion, role play, problem solving etc.) (EPOSTL, p.21)
The CEFR descriptor states what learners need to be able to do with language, whereas the EPOSTL descriptor states what teachers need to be able to do to support the development this language competence.
Learner competences relate to two general areas: a) what the learner is able to do with language, comprehensively described in the CEFR, which may be recorded by means of ‘I can’ descriptors, and b) how learners acquire these competences.
In recent years teacher educators and researchers have increasingly taken a learner-centred perspective to language education and have focused their attention on the second area: how learning processes can be optimised both by learners themselves and by their teachers. While it remains a central task of teachers to foster foreign language skill development by means of appropriate methodology, they also need to play an active role in helping learners to make use of appropriate learning strategies and become more autonomous; that is to say, to support life-long learning.
An important resource for evaluating and developing learner competences are the various versions of the European Language Portfolio, which provides a means for language learners to record their language learning achievements and to reflect on their experience of learning and using languages. It is thus concerned with both the ‘what’ and ‘how’ aspects of learner competences.