Event Report:Designing tasks informed by CEFR and CLIL to develop cognitive and intercultural skills

Shinshu JALT would like to thank Dr Naoyuki Naganuma, professor of the International Education Center at Tokai University, for his very informative presentation at the 47th Annual Conference of Chubu English Language Education Society (CELES) held at the Education Faculty of Shinshu University on June 25.

Dr Naganuma began his presentation, entitled “Designing tasks informed by CEFR and CLIL to develop cognitive and intercultural skills,” by highlighting both recent shifts in educational policy and planning which will be implemented by MEXT across content areas by 2020 and also the specific challenges for English education. Two key concepts that were guideposts for me throughout the rest of the presentation were deep learning and dialogical learning which may also be expressed as “sophistication” and “diversification.”

When discussed in the context of language education, the emphases on deep learning and dialogical learning correspond to cognitive and intercultural skills respectively. To respond to increasing attention on these points in language education, Dr Naganuma expressed the need for integrating higher-order thinking skills (HOTS) into lessons at both lower and higher language levels, using scales informed by CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference), and the corresponding need for thinking-scaffolding as well as language-scaffolding. Content-focused lessons like those associated with CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) might more naturally provide opportunities for HOTS and for the second concept of diversification/intercultural skills. Although Dr Naganuma’s presentation focused on primary and secondary education, I found his insights on the importance of deep active involvement tied in well with the earlier university-focused presentations from Shinshu JALT’s Gregory Birch and Sue Fraser on topics related to learner autonomy and motivation.

In his conclusion, Dr Naganuma presented concrete examples from CEFR-scaled textbooks with a focus on critical thinking and suggested we explore the Intercultural Competence Assessment (INCA) framework, a European framework focused on global social skills, for additional ideas. Placing more emphasis on HOTS and on awareness and respect for diversity is no easy task, but this presentation provided us with useful resources for our classrooms and models for our own materials development.

Once again Shinshu JALT would like to thank Dr Naganuma for making the trip out to Nagano and helping to prepare us for the new directions in English education in Japan.

Reported by Colleen Dalton


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