European Framework part 1
UCLan’s Adoption of Common European Framework of Reference
There have been many questions about the European Framework and why we have decided to adopt it.
It might be helpful to explain a number points including the fact that it should be remembered that you do not have to follow it one hundered per-cent. It is a tool that offers guidance.
Currently there exist different perspectives about the framework. There are those who whole heartedly support it because it provides a common framework. This means there is familiarity in terms of knowledge with regards to teaching and assessing British Sign Language. There is uniformity in relation to standards/levels, assessment and expectation regarding outcomes.
In the absence of this framework it remains very difficult to ascertain standards between teaching and between other European countries. This generates alot of disparity between standards and qualifications.
Equally there is a school of thought which opposes the concept of a European Framework. The view taken here is that it is simply not necessary and that we managed quite adequately without the framework working within our own systems.
Now, as outlined above, whilst we are aware of the apposing views and appreciate their sentiments, we have nevertheless taken the decision to adopt the framework.
Our decsion centres very much around concerns that for many years there has been no common framework for the teaching of BSL. Subsequently the assessment of sign language remains rather 'young' in relation to other languages, spoken and written. One sees that the teaching of other languages is well established in terms of standards. They have for many years had the opportunity to develop the language discipline and as a result have agreed standards and academic levels. These levels have been reached through disscusion and agreement so appropriate levels have formulised.
Unfortunately, the same can not be said when considering sign language which has been deprived of this process by which standards are developed. Here in Britain, the implications have been that instead of witnessing a rise in standards they have deteriorated. This is due to the lack of consensus about assessments.
There has been no point of reference where by one is assured that suitable levels are being upheld. At the very least standards are intended to provide a benchmark, a measure that one should not fall below - even possibly rise above.
Lack of benchmarks produces confusion and essentially is not good. What is required is a system which everyone is familiar with and guides us in terms of uniform BSL standards.
When attending conferences connected to the QED project we have found that people have often asked about the European framework. We have explained what it can offer in terms of standards and in the main Universities overwhelming respond positively. A student can approach any university with, for example. Level B2. We will know and be able to recognise immediately what level the student has acquired and we will be able to assess the grade of competence presented. The same process takes place for the student with Level B2 French.
Clearly the languages are different but the level or standard reached is the same in terms of knowledge, ability and expectations.
This explains why it remains such a useful tool. Previously we would have had no system in place to ascertain where a students fitted and this in itself presented a number of difficulties.
This is why we made the decision to adopt the European framework. What now follows is further explanation of the framework and how it can be used. You may wish to continuing watching.
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