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Dear Joe: Teacher's level of the language in order to teach it

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by nuriavv, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. Dear Joe,

    As a teacher of Spanish, I would like to offer German, too. According to the Common European Framework, I think that I have a C1 level of German, though it used to be better. In fact, I was placed at C2 level in a Summer course at the University of Vienna, but that was 5 years ago, and I don?t think I still have that level. Anyway, I would like to know if a C1 level of German is enough to teach up to GCSE level.

  2. dalej

    dalej New commenter

    Dear nuriavv,
    According to the description of C1 on Wikipedia I would say you would be able to teach GCSE with this level, but I'm no expert.
    Best wishes
  3. C1 should be enough. It means that you can speak rather fluently. Here in Germany, the different states expect at least C1 to teach at any level - even A-Level. Bavaria expects C2 (because they think they're better than everybody else ;-)).
  4. Great! Then I will apply to teach Spanish and German. Anyway, I will take German lessons again to improve my level and feel more confident when teaching.

    Thanks Joe and sarahger
  5. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    The first table on that Wikipedia page is very interesting. I'd put GCSE at no higher than A2 and A2 at B1 and some of B2. Does anyone else have any thoughts on this?

  6. Just this morning I found this table with the equivalences with the CEFR levels: http://www.cilt.org.uk/home/standards_and_qualifications/languages_ladder.aspx

    Is that the reality in your schools, or just an aspiration? I'm still trying to find my first post as a teacher of MFL, and it would be helpful for me to know it since I am more familiar with CEFR levels.

  7. I have just completed a German extension course, prior to starting my PGCE. The TDA states that they require you to be at B1 to teach to Key Stage 3 level. I reached B2, so can teach to GCSE. There is a big knowledge gap between B2 and C1, a bigger gap than between any of the other levels. If you wanted to teach to A-level standard, you would imagine you'd have to be at C1 level, however a B2+ would probably be fine. Having C1 already is perfectly acceptable, you don't need to worry. C1 is the equivalent of completing a bachelor's degree in the language. You would only technically need C2 to teach at undergraduate level or beyond.
  8. Thank you very much, judodan. This really helps.
  9. I've never been asked in an interview what my CEFR level is in each language I teach. You can be a C2/native speaker in a language and yet rubbish teacher of it.
    I know people with a degree in a foreign language and just a good GCSE in another - and they teach the "other" to KS3 with a little extra planning, confidence and good teaching skills.
    I also know someone that was "required" to teach Spanish at the whim of a new headteacher despite not knowing a word of Spanish. Luckily, she kept a page ahead of the kids and had the confidence to push through the lessons. She's now been teaching Spanish for 20 years without any formal training in Spanish and reguallary gets A* at GCSE in her classes.
    I could spend a lot of time picking apart the CEFR levels. I once read that A-C GCSE is B1 but I know many kids that scrape a C at GCSE who can barely put a decent sentence together without support, 6 hours preparation time and the pressure of an exam.
    There's a big gap between B2 and C1 in my opinion. I'd be interested to now how many language teachers could produce a detailed text on a complex subject on demand..... in fact I'd be interested in how many native speakers of English could do that!

  10. Depends on what a "complex subject" is for you. In last year's Spanish text production exam for future teachers in Bavaria, the candidates hat to summarise a German text on the abolition of bull fighting in Catalonia and give their opinion on it, summarise a German text on problems of migrant students in German schools for a hypothetical teacher's magazine and write a forum post about the behaviour of teenagers, based on a Spanish newspaper article about the topic. Each piece 350 words. In this autumn's English text production exam, we had to convince a friend that spending their holidays in Britain could actually be interesting (250 words), translate a German text on staycationing into English and write an essay on the topic "Why travel broadens the mind" for a hypothetical British Airways writing competition (450 words). Do you consider these subjects complex?
  11. It depends where you're teaching
    In the UK we dole out MFL degrees to people who are barely fluent, and can't even read a foreign language newspaper, let alone know anything about culture. In other words, if you're a genuine C1, you'll be streets ahead of most of them
    You just need a bit of paper to prove you're a C1. Otherwise the the B1-level "BA" clowns will trump you
  12. Yes, genuine C1. And I often read newspapers and books in German. In fact, I have translated a couple of books from German into Spanish, though I ususally translate from English.

    Thanks, JuHa5
  13. See Module 4.1 at the ICT4LT website. It's main focus is on Computer Aided Assessment (CAA), but there is a detailed table in Section 2.2, which shows the correspondences between the CEFR levels, our national exams and Cambridge ESOL exams. C1 is a high level, topped only by C2. I used to teach English-language students preparing for the Cambridge Proficiency in English exam, which corresponds to C2. Most of them were close to native speaker level. C1 is an adequate level for teaching up to GCSE. See:
    ICT4LT Module 4.1, Section 2.2
    GCSE, according to the Languages Ladder, is supposed to embrace CEFR levels A2 and B1. However, I think this is a bit optimitistic. Having taught native German students with a B1 qualification in English, I would say that the German students were way ahead of British students with a good GCSE.

  14. B1 is definitely optimistic, and it's hard to see how anyone with a GCSE could have reached that level, unless he had an unusually strong interest in the language and/or had access to a native speaker or someone as proficient as yourself
  15. There is no denying that the standard of education is higher in Baveria!!! The whole Land is doing better than therest of Germany.
  16. That's what they say, but is there any evidence for it?
    [tongue in cheek] It's true they have spectacular landscapes, and this gives it merit, but why is one reminded of this little gem (in Brockhaus, no less) ?
    Zitat aus dem alten Brockhaus: "Bajuwaren: Ein räuberisches
    am Rande der Alpen" [​IMG]

  17. Do you have any evidence for that?

    If it's true, then it's a complete vindication of those, bitterly denounced by teachers, who say exams have been thoroughly "dumbed down". I graduated in French, Spanish and English in 1966 and, believe me, I was fluent. How could it be otherwise after 6 months in each country? We did the grammar inside out - we had to learn "Anglo-Saxon" grammar to cope with the literature. I've just looked back to check that in Sp we "did" the Fut Subjunc at A-level: I remember being surprised later at a gathering of teachers when mention of it caused one, not much older than me, to question its existence. In Fr we met the Temps surcomposés at uni, but I wonder if they're taught now. I came to resent the over-50% of time we spent on Lit. I'd have read key texts any way, and saw no point in "analysis", which is mere opinion. In the same time I could have learned another language (FL teachers were then being seconded for a year to learn Russian lang to degree level).

    Some years later, I met a French teacher of English seconded over here for a term. She said she had always wondered, somewhat contemptuously, how MFL teachers here failed so miserably, in 5 years' teaching, to produce any useful communicative competence in most of their pupils. Now, she was equally uncomprehending of how in 2 years they got some of the same pupils to have the linguistic competence required for A-level, as well the ability to read entire classical, verse texts in the original, and analyse them, which was not something they attempted for the Bac in Fr.

    All the FL teachers in my school and that of my children had degrees and so did all my MFL colleagues. I was contemptuous when I discovered, through these Forums, that UK schools now will employ as "teachers" those who are happy to confess that they are no more than a chapter ahead of their pupils, and Primaries seemed to be relying on this for the (defunct?) compulsory MFL at KS2 (too late anyway). I don't want the EU imposing more obligations on us, but I'd be happy if they decided that Freedom of Establishment (work) would depend on B1 competence in at least one non-native EU language.

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