Monographs

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Monograph nº 9

          The influence of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (CEFR) on language learning, teaching, and assessment thirteen years after its publication is unquestionable. The document has been translated into all European languages, and its scales are now available in more than 40 languages, including sign language. The CEFR levels and its scales have become currency in Europe and beyond, and its recommendations—having seduced governments and institutions—are slowly finding their way into everyday practice.

         However, despite the wealth of article and reviews on the CEFR, also including criticisms and challenges, APAC felt there was still room for one more text on the CEFR that could be informative for its members in the context of foreign langauge education in Catalonia. This Monograph is - we feel - especially relevant after the publication of the key findings of the European Survey on Language Competences (http://ec.europa.eu/languages/languages-of-europe/language-competence_en.htm) and now that educational authorities in Catalonia have taken a stand to enforce CEFR-related levels of achievement in langauge learning. 

     

Monograph nº 8

          This Monograph takes us to the heart of the teaching-learning process in EFL: the classroom. The main concern teachers have always had is how to make their classes successful, how to engage their students and how to make learning happen, although in recent years the impact of IT and the changes in the composition of our society have affected schools. No matter the resources available, and no matter the origin and background of the students, what happens in a classroom is related to the teacher’s beliefs, attitudes and training, which influence the way students are involved (or not involved) and determine the selection of what is considered crucial and necessary and what is accessory.  The four contributions to this Monograph represent four different views on classroom management understood widely. They have been selected precisely because of their different nature and have been organized in such a way as to zoom in from the most general to the most concrete, and APAC is very grateful for their generosity in providing their texts and sharing their experiences.  

            Scott Thornbury’s text may not be as provocative now as when it was first published in 2001, but it is still very relevant. It is meant to have a sobering effect now that all classrooms worth being in have to be furnished with the latest hardware and software, boasting what Thornbury labels as “an embarrassment of complementary riches”. 

          Tom Maguire’s text tackles the other topic which has often blurred the attention to classroom management: discipline.   And his approach goes back to Neuro-linguistic programming and to the importance of grabbing the students’ attention and, having done so, keeping it. Maguire draws our attention to the potential of teachers as “people’s people” who can create positive ties with students through optimising their own resources and emotional intelligence.

          The text by Natalia Maldonado and Pilar Olivares clearly advocates for a holistic and humanistic approach to classroom management, which they rename as “teaching and learning management”, and which presents a three-legged approach, including the teacher – of course –, the curriculum and the students. Maldonado and Olivares not only help us see how the official documentation as published in the DOGC can serve as a starting point to develop democratic classrooms, they also manage to very clearly outline how caring and sharing is still possible.

           The last text is written by two grassroots teachers, Lourdes Roviras and Gemma Vinyals, and provides a magnificent illustration of how many of the proposals in the preceding sections of the Monograph can be put into practice. Roviras and Vinyals  have managed to create a world of their own in a state school and their positive experience and enthusiasm shows that success is possible. It is true that they have put a lot of work in the project, but it is also true that they have managed to make excellent use of the skills and resources their students have already at their disposal in the real world. Their experience shows classroom management at its best: teachers presiding over and facilitating, students working.APAC hopes this Monograph contributes to focussing again on the classroom as a scenario where learning happens, a scenario where the teacher and the students are the main actors. Happy reading!

 

Special Edition

    This is a special monograph jointly edited by APAC and the British Council. The contributions are organised into three parts. In Part I you will find a very informative introductory chapter on Britlit by Fitch O’Connell, followed by methodological texts for primary and secondary by Sandie Mourao and Claudia Ferradas respectively. With The voices from Britlit section in Part II, the Britlit spirit comes alive through the accounts of two Catalan teachers who have already used Britlit in their classrooms and of two Britlit authors on their visits to schools. Part III is aimed at those who are willing to give Britlit a try and contains sample materials for the classroom.These Britlit kits have been been created, used and exploited by teachers from APAC’s sister association in Portugal (APPI). For those of us teachers who started to love the English Language through literature, getting involved in the BritLit project can helps us to pass on our love of words to our students!

     

Monograph nº 7

    It looks as though teachers have had a lot to choose from in terms of training, if we consider the huge amount of resources that for over twenty years now the Programa d'informàtica educativa (PIE) at the Department of Education has devoted  to mediating between technology and teachers. These resources are now offerd by the Servei de Tecnologies de la Informació  at http://www.xtec.cat/formaciotic.                                                                                             

    Because so much is already on offer in terms of training and hands on materials, and since rapid change makes updates a must, this Monograph has been created to look forward and visualise how technology could impact ELT in the years to come. We are sure that you will find the articles thought-provoking and we hope they will contribute to a better understanding of the role of technology in our future professional lives.

     

Monograph nº 6

The sixth Monograph is a universe of its own, and provides a multi-faceted product. It contains a very substantial introduction with the theoretical underpinnings for CLIL by professor Do Coyle, from the University of Nottingham and a regular visitor to many Catalan primary and secondary centres. It follows with a historical view on the work done so far and the future that lies ahead kindly written by the Centre de Recursos de Llengües Estrangeres at the Department of Education, which also includes very useful information on administrative matters for teachers in the public sector in Catalonia. Most importantly, the Monograph contains the voices of the grassroots teachers who have willingly embarked on what in many ways has been pioneer work. Through these accounts we can also hear vividly the students' voices and imagine how the landscape of English learning in Catalonia can change thanks to CLIL.

Monograph nº 5

This article reports on the research carried out to describe the learners' dictionary consultation using a web-based program called ImPRESSions (c), designed to foster second language learners' reading and listening skills and language learning strategies. The study presented here is part of a wider research study (Pujolà 2000) which investigated the strategies learners deployed when using the help facilities provided by the program. This paper explains the conceptualisation of the design and implementation of the dictionary facility and on how learners used it.

Monograph nº 4

The general feeling is that both users -students of foreign languages - and specialists - teachers or applied linguists - are unhappy with the present situation in the teaching and learning of speaking. But there is very little research that pins down why learning to speak a foreign language is so difficult or why all those concerned are unhappy with the present situation.

These two articles - one by Cristina Escobar and the other by Angela Hasselgren - try to provide us with some answers on the topic.

Monograph nº 3

Evaluation and assessment are terms which are becoming very common in education today. More and more, accountability and results seem only to be available through the use of exams, but exams need not be automatically equatable to evaluation and assessment. 'Four perspectives in classroom assessment' proposes possible courses of action.

Professor Andy Hargreaves is a world authority on this field and has first-hand information about the current state of reform implementation in our schools.

Monograph nº 2

This monograph is intended to bridge the gap between SLA (second language acquisition) research and the reality of language teaching. The articles it includes are based on research with children in the early stages of learning. They all insist on the crucial influence that age, the L1 and the exposure to a L2 have upon the acquisition of a foreign language.

The authors have wide experience as teachers of EFL and have been doing research at university for some years now.

Monograph nº1

APAC Monographs nº 1 is about experiential teaching. It is a reflection about the kind of teaching that is practiced all over the world every day. It includes the transcript of the Plenary Session of the APAC ELT Convention 1996, devoted to this topic.

Ramon Ribé inspired the foundation of APAC some years ago and has been its President until 1995. He started the Jornades d'Anglès de Catalunya and, with the help of different teams, has coordinated their organization so far.