EFCT Terminology

The definitions presented here seek to situate key terms used in the European Framework for CLIL Teacher Education within a defined scope of meaning. Where pan-European bodies have already defined terms, those definitions are given preference.

Attitude

(Preconceived) ideas or beliefs which a person has towards other persons, situations, members of society, ideologies, events, etc. Sarnoff (1970) defines attitude as ‘a disposition to react favourably or unfavourably to a class of objects.’ Attitude becomes visible through behaviours and an outward expression of beliefs or feelings and can either support or impede learning. Critical reflection and dialogue about the socially constructed nature of attitude can help individuals to better understand and manage their own attitudes and learning, as can meta-affective and meta-cognitive awareness.

Assessment

A process of collecting and interpreting evidence for some purpose. In education, assessment is intended to be a tool that supports learning and helps measure progress being made toward achieving planned learner outcomes. The term assessment is sometimes used interchangeably with the term ‘evaluation’. Assessment more often relates to individual students’ achievements, whereas ‘evaluation’ deals with systems, materials, procedures and their values.

A distinction is made between formative and summative assessment. In formative assessment the student’s learning (attitudes, skills, habits and knowledge) is analysed with the student over longer stretches of time and used to improve learning and teaching. Summative assessment is based on discrete-point testing of a student’s learning, often at the end of a unit or year of study.

Summative assessment procedures are often linked to external tests validated by statistical measures and are often used to make very important decisions about students (e.g., pass/fail) and/or teachers (e.g., adequate/inadequate teaching performance). Whereas formative assessment helps build learner and teacher autonomy including the capacity to better manage learning, so-called ´high-stakes´ summative assessment is considered by many researchers to lead to significant negative consequences including reduced learning outcomes.

Change models

Change models are frameworks that support organisations in managing change such as the introduction of innovation in education. Kotter (1995, 2002) details eight steps that characterise change: establishing a sense of urgency; creating a guiding coalition; developing strategy and vision; communicating the change vision; empowering broad-based action; generating short-term wins; consolidating gains and producing more change; and anchoring new approaches in culture.

Fullan (2001) proposes: maintaining a focus on moral purpose; understanding change; increasing coherence among various aspects of a planned change; relationship-building; knowledge creation and sharing; and building commitment among an organisation’s internal and external members (stakeholders).

Bennet and Bennet (2008) suggest professionals undertake the changes they see fit. Individuals are encouraged to manage their own learning, and to plan change by taking into account the following factors: awareness, understanding, personal feelings and beliefs, ownership, empowerment, and impact. Awareness of change models can help educators manage change more effectively. Moreover, awareness of and building skills in using these models can help both educators and students develop autonomy and agency.

CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning)

CLIL is a dual-focused educational approach in which an additional language is used for the learning and teaching of content and language with the objective of promoting both content and language mastery to pre-defined levels (Maljers, Marsh, Wolff, Genesee, Frigols-Martín, Mehisto, 2010).

Competence

The demonstrated ability to use knowledge, skills and personal, social and/or methodological abilities, in work or study situations and in professional and personal development. In the context of the European Qualifications Framework, competence is described in terms of responsibility and autonomy (European Commission, 2008).

(European key) competences for lifelong learning

These eight interdependent key competences describe the essential knowledge, skills and attitudes central to lifelong learning. They all emphasise critical thinking, creativity, initiative, problem solving, risk assessment, decision taking, and constructive management of feelings.

The eight key competences are: communication in the mother tongue; communication in foreign languages; mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology; digital competence; learning to learn; social and civic competences; sense of initiative and entrepreneurship; cultural awareness and expression (European Parliament and the Council, 2006).

Evaluation

The term is often used “to denote the process of collecting evidence about programmes, systems, procedures and processes” and the interpretation of that evidence with respect to stated or desired objectives (Harlen, 2007). For example, evaluation provides information about the quality of a curriculum, a study programme or teaching. Like assessment (cf.), evaluation makes use of formative and summative approaches; but instead of assessing the student’s individual efforts and results these are analysed with respect to wider ‘system-based’ issues such as a whole programme, significant parts of the programme or key features such as how teachers teach and how groups of students learn.

Grounded Professional Confidence

Knowing when one’s thinking and skills are sound enough to make one’s own decisions, and taking action thereon when appropriate, whilst maintaining a high level of professional standards and advancing one’s own learning (Mehisto, 2010).

Knowledge

The outcome of the assimilation of information through learning. Knowledge is the body of facts, principles, theories and practices that is related to a field of work or study. In the context of the European Qualifications Framework, knowledge is described as theoretical and/or factual

Learner autonomy

‘The ability to take charge of one’s own learning’ (Holec, 1981). Expanding on this definition, David Little (1991) states that learner autonomy includes a ‘capacity for detachment, critical reflection, decision-making and independent action’.

Learning outcomes

An outcome describes the enduring knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes which allow a student to exercise and apply learning in his or her personal and professional life. More simply expressed, it is what a student knows and can do as a result of what he or she has learnt. Outcomes are often defined in terms of competences.

Professional Learning Communities

‘A professional learning community is an inclusive group of people, motivated by a shared learning vision, who support and work with each other, finding ways, inside and outside their immediate community, to enquire on their practice and together learn new and better approaches that will enhance all pupils’ learning’ (Stoll and Seashore-Louis, 2006).

Professional learning communities tend to:

  • have shared values and visions;
  • assume collective responsibility for student learning;
  • foster reflective professional inquiry;
  • facilitate collaboration, which includes open and frank debate; promote group, as well as individual learning (Bolam et al., 2005).

Skills

The ability to apply knowledge and use know-how to complete tasks and solve problems. In the context of the European Qualifications Framework (European Parliament and Council, 2008), skills are described as cognitive (involving the use of logical, intuitive and creative thinking) or practical (involving manual dexterity and the use of methods, materials, tools and instruments).
 

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