Chubu English Language Education Society Conference: Designing tasks informed by CEFR and CLIL to develop cognitive and intercultural skills

JALT Group: 
Event Speaker: 
Dr. Naoyuki Naganuma, Tokai University
Fee for JALT members: 
1,500 yen for 2-day conference
Fee for non-JALT members: 
1,500 yen for 2-day conference
Sunday, June 25, 2017 - 10:50am to 12:00pm

Under the current discussion for the direction the MEXT committees are taking for both primary and secondary education, deep learning, dialogical (collaborative) learning, and active (autonomous) learning are developing as the three key concepts in their plan. The MEXT committee's curriculum direction is not limited to the area of foreign language, but includes all subject areas. The idea of deep learning is often discussed with the development of cognitive (thinking) skills, which naturally require sophistication of language and content, but we may need to consider the needs of thinking activities even at the lower language proficiency level when one thinks about the role tertiary level education plays.

The CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) is now attracting more and more attention over the world as a reference of second/foreign language development describing skills ranging from more familiar basic communicative ones to more academic or professional ones, but what can the majority of A2 (waystage) and even A1 (breakthrough) level learners learn beyond BICS (Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills)? How can we foster their CALP (Cognitive/Academic Language Proficiency)? The CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) approach seems to be one of the possible solutions. We can design our language tasks gradually shifting the focus from LOTS (lower-order thinking skills): remembering, understanding and applying to HOTS (higher-order thinking skills): analyzing, evaluating, and creating. We need to scaffold not only their language skills but also their thinking skills to elicit curiosity and more involvement of the learners in the content they learn to activate their deeper thinking.

Another generic, non-linguistic, skill to be developed is the skill to cope with diversified society and cultures. Mutual intercultural understanding and communication are essential even among learners. The INCA (Intercultural Competence Assessment) framework describes six key competences from the points of openness (respect for otherness and tolerance of ambiguity), knowledge (knowledge discovery and empathy) and adaptability (behavioral flexibility and communicative awareness) in three levels (basic, intermediate and full). Informational and relational aspects are two sides of the same coin of language communication, and we cannot ignore the importance of rapport management when we pursue language tasks. Critical cultural awareness helps us to think more logically, and from various perspectives, while empathizing with others. Thus it is necessary to sophisticate both cognitive and intercultural competences in this rapidly globalizing world.

Naoyuki Naganuma, Ph.D., is a professor of the International Education Center at Tokai University. He got his doctor's degree in 2006 from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. His research interests are mainly on language learning motivation and language testing, especially can-do oriented assessment to promote learning and motivation. He was a committee member of MEXT for setting learning attainment targets in the form of can-do lists in foreign language education.

There will also be presentations by local members, Greg Birch and Dr. Sue Fraser, as well as a panel discussion about team teaching. Visit our website at jalt.org/shinshu for more information.