Bringing the Standards for Foreign Language Learning to Life

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Abstract ABSTRACT Since the release of the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in , many teachers have been attempting to integrate communication, culture, connections, comparison and community standards into their classes and curricula. Citing Literature.

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Volume 31 , Issue 4 December Pages Related Information. Close Figure Viewer. Browse All Figures Return to Figure. Several countries aiming at their economic and scientific growth, like Colombia, have chosen English as the official foreign language, standing as a subject alone with no evident linkage with the rest of the curriculum that is taught in the L1. The rationale behind these changes is rooted in the social imaginary of what the English language has come to represent: power, along with the understatement of being powerless where it is not in the official agenda.

The question of language as a window to the human mind, as well as a means of codifying reality and exchanging existential experience amongst two or more speakers, needs to be differentiated from the codes stated in a forthcoming national syllabus, in this case Spanish and English.

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Reference to the implications of this notion call on the necessity to be revisited by the government, especially for it to consider two main aspects: 1 a bilingual programme, even at its preliminary stage, must entail bi- and multi-literacy as an educational mission; this has beenstated for decades as an Ibero-American priority in the sense of how essential reading and writing are; and 2 in such an endeavour, educators must promote students' development of BICS: Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills, and CALP: Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency Cummins, so that these skills can permeate their linguistic repertoire.

Mastering a target language entitles the speaker to a membership to the economic, cultural, geographical, and socio political benefits held by the verbal community of native speakers. This goal however may ultimately become twofold: on the one hand, governments might make the best effort for providing their citizens with a linguistic passport to access the literary, scientific, sporting, academic, and commercial benefits of the cultural products from the target verbal community; whereas on the other, governments might simply make an effort to have their citizens become literate in the target language so as to sell them as a skilled labour force that can understand the orders of new foreign employers, namely: multinational corporations investing in the country.

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  • It should be a feasible alternative for any government to set forth a national, overarching bilingualism or, better yet, multilingualism programme, led by national, democratically appointed parties of scholars, teachers, and researchers that can propose a more suitable implementation of the Ministry's initiative without accepting overseas domination from institutions whose main goal is cultural display in the form of books, learning materials, teaching training and assessment, as well as proficiency evaluation see Pennycook, Likewise, the goal needs to be set in the willingness to educate bilingual human beings, rather than to shape bi-literate, low-tier, minimum-wage workers.

    Countries striving for giving its citizens the opportunities of accessing a better quality of life should also guarantee the means to hold linguistic membership to as many cultures and views of the world as possible. Also, it is important to highlight the current administration's intention in reformulating the CVW programme.

    It remains unclear though to what extent they acknowledge its flaws and implications. This plan, as a nation-wide initiative, with the united sources of other departments and ministries ICT and employment clearly suggested an innate philosophy of employability and job-training as the sole drive for education. CVW was mainly crafted by a foreign company whose field of expertise is financial consulting and no signs of contribution by educators, researchers, or scholars in the field were given.

    We could establish a link with these two facts to the emerging concern of the graphics and rationale given by the Ministry of Education to boost the teaching of English. The pivotal reasons are based on the need to supply the business process outsourcing sector BPO , tourism and technical-level employment vacancies, unlike other initiatives for bilingualism, where the focus is set on the preparation of graduate students to achieve academic mobility, internationally-competitive scientific production, or upgrade the ranking of universities.

    The latter holds itself accountable for only a portion of the country's institutions. This brings up numerous issues for students and teachers who would not benefit from the same resources as the focal areas. Their role derives from a co-teaching and complementary strategy where the main outcome will be to help students communicate effectively in the L2. English will be included as a compulsory requirement for all technical and professional university programmes striving for accreditation. More worryingly, all Bachelor programmes in English will also need to have native English speakers, as well as provide their students with internships abroad.

    CB's aspirations affect the structure of undergraduate-level teacher training programmes and the general evaluation system. If this new layout comes from the previous CVW unaltered, then doubts and concerns should remain since CVW was obscure in much of its recommendations when a web-based methodological support was announced, which method would be followed? It is also clear that the intended goal is to place English amongst other technical skills to shape the incoming generations of blue-collar wage-earners in the lower steps of the BPO and tourism sectors, rather than amongst the productive, entrepreneurial freethinkers of tomorrow.

    In keeping with the previous literature review, the actions undertaken by the Ministry, and the current perspectives of CB, several questions emerge. We will attempt to briefly discuss them as a whole with the hopes of stirring conversation between the government officials, schools, universities, technical institutions, teachers, professors, scholars, administrative staff, parents, and, importantly, undergraduate students in Licenciaturas.

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    The answers to Questions could be associated with several conversations and fields. Therefore, it could be argued that CB and precedent policies defend a specific education paradigm. It is true that having a sound educational philosophy is a key component in curriculum development and therefore in governmental mandates; however, this policy does not necessarily mean it is beneficial for its users.

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    In the current policy, it is apparent that foreign language learning is regarded as separate from other disciplines. Even more disconcerting is that the policy predominantly configures itself around a linguistic fashion: the erroneous idea that language principally consists of grammar memorization and metalinguistic knowledge. Having said this, this paper argues that CB and precedent policies are evidently including English in the curriculum to attain a mechanical level of the language. The problem behind such a goal lies in a contradiction: Nowadays a high competence in English is strongly needed as it is the language of problem-solving, technology, and global communication.

    It is counterintuitive to educate people to be automatised in an era where machines have taken over many of human beings' traditional duties and where critical thinking has become essential to survive.

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    It is worth noting that these areas are given an advantage regarding other institutions; however, the reasons behind this decision need to be clarified. It is likely that this justification could imply the recognition that the previous programs were too ambitious to ensure significant outcomes in the entire country or that CB intends to ensure a considerable percentage of significant outcomes increased number of hours in English, incorporation of technological support, enhanced levels of the language, covered training sessions and immersions, observations by the MEN, etc.

    Whichever the case, it is necessary to have these justifications stated publicly since there are many cities, rural villages, and communities whose education agenda will not change as a result of the policy and this fact has many problematic implications. Finally, Questions lead us to two of the most resonating topics in the recent literature on language teacher education: empowerment and multi-literacies pedagogy Cummins, A key element of today's education goals is to be leadership-oriented.

    This means that students and teachers are enabled to make autonomous decisions, solve problems that affect their community, and put their strongest intuitions into practice in order to engender change for a better world. All of these skills can only be achieved through the critical literacy perspective that fosters understanding our role in society and that of the others around us. It also entails collaboration, mastering technologies as well as reading and thinking in multiple formats. It is our hope that Colombia will rather pursue this educational paradigm through teacher training programs that should necessarily go beyond a linguistic understanding of language acquisition; it is our belief that a paradigm incorporating the aforementioned additional characteristics would provide the necessary ingredients to reach our most important goals as a country: eradication of poverty, the reduction of inequalities, and the termination of the war.

    Kirkpatrick, Careful consideration of Santos's , pp. The levels are comparable to the traditional distinction of basic, intermediate, and advanced proficiency, where the letters A, B, and C represent each level accordingly. Abouchaar, A. A perspective of the implications of the Common European Framework implementation in the Colombian socio-cultural context. Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, 7 , Baker, C.

    Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters. Revista de la Universidad de La Salle, 59 , Cano-Morante, E. Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia. Bilingual Colombia: Are we ready for it? What is needed? Campinas, BR: Pontes. Congreso de Colombia. Ley No.