Mind the gap: using the GSE to fill in your curriculum

Harvest English Institute GSE Pearson English

We launched the Global Scale of English (GSE) five years ago – and it’s gone by in a flash. Teachers, institutions and ministries all over the world are using the GSE to help monitor student progress, identify goals, create lesson plans, find content to scaffold with and adjust curriculum to meet their students’ needs. 

The Harvest English Institute is just one of those organizations. The institute is recognized internationally as a center of excellence in English teaching and has been committed to providing high-quality learning programs for 20 years. Jerry Docarmo, president and CEO, is renowned for his forward-thinking leadership in ESL teaching and training. 

In today’s post, Jerry shares with us his experience of using GSE. He explains how the Harvest English Institute used it to redesign its learning objectives and revamp its curriculum. He also talks about the impact it’s had on both student learning and the institute itself. 

The benefits of the GSE for students, teachers, and institutions

 As a self-titled futurist ESL professional, I am always intrigued by how people learn. After diving into hundreds of fascinating research articles and exploring many facets of education, I’ve come to one main conclusion. Sometimes we overcomplicate the linguistic field. We get fixated by “sophisticated” practices that are too challenging to actually use in any meaningful or effective way. There is a need for a simple, practical tool that provides quick and tangible results. That is where the GSE and the GSE Teacher Toolkit come in!

The GSE is an invaluable tool that makes learning, teaching and measuring English easy. Students are given a simple way to track their progress and set goals. Teachers also have the GSE Teacher Toolkit at their disposal. It offers a wide variety of resources to use both in the classroom and while planning their lessons. Schools are provided with a reliable and convenient way to create effective and coherent plans of study between levels.

How the GSE worked for the Harvest English Institute

At first, there was a feeling that the GSE came to replace the CEFR. But that was quickly gone, as we soon realized that it complemented and modernized it in a much-needed way. In fact, GSE worked beautifully for us because the scale makes it extraordinarily easy to identify appropriate objectives. What’s more, it is also flexible within the four skills. 

In our case, we used the GSE primarily to close gaps that we found in our curriculum. Especially at the B2-C1 levels, the GSE helped us to see where our student learning objectives were not well-designed to help students make significant and measurable progress. We also noticed where we lacked focus on certain skills at the upper levels. The alignment of the GSE with our textbook series made it easy to revamp our curriculum, syllabi, and assessments to better meet our students’ linguistic needs.

Fulfilling our accreditation requirements

Harvest Institute Pearson English

Since we started using the GSE at The Harvest English Institute, our reporting requirements for accreditation in the student learning objectives and assessment areas are down to zero. In 2019, we were happy to have received a clean, no reporting requirements 10-year accreditation for two of our campuses, and credit much to this type of research.

For us, the impact has really been one of the most meaningful changes in the industry since Professor John Rassias, one of my favorite language professors of all time, declared to the world that teaching a language is an art form. He explained that language teaching requires many different approaches in the evolution of understanding and said that learning can be done in a fun but demanding way. In his view, it is essential that we provide measurable results that are meaningful, not only to the institutions and accreditation bodies but fundamentally to the students.

Today, the GSE is a permanent part of our training and professional development for the faculty at The Harvest English Institute. We feel incredibly comfortable with relying on such a precise and efficient tool for our institutional needs.

Interested in reading more about how others are using the GSE? Head over to the blog now:

Have you used the GSE and the GSE Teacher Toolkit at your institution? Or perhaps you’ve tried it in one of your classes? Share your experiences with us in the comments.

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