How we remapped our English curriculum using the Global Scale of English


As an extension of the CEFR framework, the Global Scale of English (GSE) is being used in institutions worldwide to help them audit, validate and raise the standards of English teaching and learning. At our establishment, Anadolu University in Turkey, our aim is to improve the confidence, motivation and proficiency of our English learners so that we can provide them with better opportunities and the ability to communicate effectively with global colleagues in the workplace. Two years ago, we remapped our English curriculum using the Global Scale of English and the benefits soon emerged. In just the first year of using the new curriculum, student progress increased by 33 per cent – and this rose to 50 per cent in the second year.

This is a fantastic result because many of our students arrive with a low level of motivation for learning English. They start learning the language in the second grade and, after having 11 years of instruction in their previous education, most of them start from the beginning when they come to us. They already have a feeling that English is a difficult language to learn and they have already tried, but could not achieve in the time they are with us.

Breaking down the bigger picture into small pieces is much more motivating and realistic for everybody involved in the English learning process. This is the main reason we love the Global Scale of English. It provides us with a clearer picture of what a learner can do at a certain level – it shows clearly how much students have already achieved and how much more they need to learn.

How we adopted the Global Scale of English

While we remapped the curriculum, it was important that we collaborated with both teachers and students. We used the GSE and the GSE Learning Objectives as the basis of selecting and organising content, learning experiences, and evaluation procedures. They provided a basis to answer the relevant questions around what materials were needed, how we could test various outcomes, and how we would evaluate the effectiveness of our new curriculum.

Although there were some challenges in getting our organisation as a whole committed to this new paradigm, our ongoing communication with teachers and students helped us to deal with this. GSE also helped us to ensure that all the stakeholders shared a common perspective in reaching a common goal. It facilitated a healthier and a more effective communication among all the parties; test developers, the material writers, learners and teachers.

Our new curriculum was rolled out during the 2014-2015 academic year, and we gathered feedback throughout the year on almost every single component.

The benefits of our new curriculum

The student progress that was achieved in the first and second years was a vast improvement – considering that two-thirds of our learners start at a beginner or very low level. It is also great to see increased motivation among our students, and this is because they are clearer about what they have achieved and more aware of how to achieve the goals they aim for. This led to one student commenting: “The quizzes, the exams, tasks, everything we do is aligned with each other.”

Motivated students also result in motivated teachers – and this is definitely the case here at Anadolu. And the GSE helped to boost their confidence by providing a more concrete, aligned learning process that they can follow. This helps our teachers to become more aware of what they were doing, where their students were in the process, and how they could guide them to make further improvement.

We’ll continue to make further revisions based on student and teacher feedback, and we have also adopted Pearson’s Speakout and Progress solutions so we can deliver even better results with the help of GSE.

To hear more about how we implemented the Global Scale of English at Anadolu University, watch this video…

This case study and others from around the world are featured in Pearson’s latest report on how the GSE is helping to raise standards and improve life chances. To view it, click here.

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