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English_Language_Policy_Ecuador_URena_Norma

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English_Language_Policy_Ecuador_URena_Norma

  1. 1. Executive  Summary   The   Ecuadorian   government   implemented   three   initiatives   in   order   to   improve   the   quality   of   English   education  in  the  public  sector.  The  Ministry  of  Education   designed   a   new   National   English   Curriculum   and   established   an   English   language   requirement   for   English   teachers.   The   National   Institution   of   Higher   Education,   Science,   Technology   and   Innovation   (SENESCYT   in   Spanish)   offers   opportunities   to   students   and   English   teachers   to   study   abroad   with   full   funding.     These   initiatives  seem  to  be  the  best  solution  to  the  problem  of   quality  of  English  Education;  however,  the  following  two   gaps  are  found:  1)  A  B1  level  of  language  proficiency  does   not  give  high  school  graduates  the  language  skills  needed   to  succeed  while  studying  in  an  English-­‐speaking  country,   2)   The   English   language   requirement   for   teachers   does   not   guarantee   quality   of   English   instruction.   In   order   to   improve  the  quality   of  English  Education   the   Ministry   of   Education   must:   1)   Re-­‐design   the   curriculum   so   that   English  instruction  begins  at  1st  grade  and  an  all-­‐content   class   in   English   is   taught   in   12th   grade.   2)   Increase   the   English   language   requirement   for   secondary   school   English  teachers  (9th-­‐12th)  to  a  C1  level.  3)  Create  an  entity   that  is  in  charge  of  offering  periodic  teacher  trainings  in   approaches  to  Teaching  English  as  a  Foreign  Language.   Table  of  Contents   Executive  Summary  ........................  1   Why  English?  ......................................  1   Introduction  ......................................  2   Background  .......................................  3   National  English  Curriculum  .........  3   Communicative  Functional     Language  Approach    .................................  3   Common  European  Framework  of     Reference    (CEFR)  .....................................  3   National  English  Curriculum   Guidelines    ....................................................  4   English  language  requirement     for  English  teachers    ........................  5   SENESCYT  Scholarships    .................  6   “Go  Teacher”  Scholarship    .....................  6    University  of  Excellence      Scholarship  ..................................................  6   Analysis    ..............................................  7   B1  CEFR  Level  &  Opportunities     to  Study  Abroad  ....................................  7   National  English  Curriculum  &     The  Role  of  English  Teachers    .......  10   Recommendations  .......................  12   References  ......................................  13   Speaking   English   is   important   to   advance   in   education,   and   is   seen   as   a   necessary   tool   to   survive   in   this   world   where   technology,  research  and  job  opportunities   are   more   accessible   to   people   who   speak   this  language.   According   to   Pike   (2013)   there   are   five   important   reasons  to  learn  English:   1. Professional  opportunities.   2. Social  networking  and  relationships–   becoming  a  global  citizen.     3. Entertainment  and  cultural      understanding.   4. Education–research  and  academics.   5. Access  to  knowledge  –  the  Internet.   Why  English?   Ecuador   Norma E. Ureña Moreno nurena5@gmail.com  
  2. 2. ; Lorem Ipsum Dolor Spring 2016 2 Communication  among  people  from  different  countries  is  no  longer  dependent  on   borders.   Nowadays,   English   is   recognized   as   lingua   franca   and   used   as   a   tool   of   international  communications.  In  terms  of  English  language  proficiency,  Latin  America   is  still  far  behind  the  rest  of  the  world.  According  to  Education  First  (2013),  more  than   half  of  the  countries  in  this  region  have  the  lowest  English  proficiency  in  the  world.     Ecuador  was  ranked  46  out  of  60   countries,   having   one   of   the   lowest   English   language   proficiencies.   Ecuador   is   moving   towards   a   knowledge-­‐based   economy   where   investing   in   education,   infrastructure,   skills,   and   technology   is   essential.   In   order   to   improve   future   innovation,   become   more   competitive   internationally   and   provide   mobility   through   education,   countries   such   as   Ecuador,   Peru,   Chile   and   Brazil   created   scholarship  programs  for  local  students  to   study   abroad   in   the   best   universities   around  the  world.     In  the  case  of  Ecuador,  different  types  of  scholarships  to  study  abroad  have  been   presented   to   Ecuadorians   by   the   SENESCYT.   These   scholarships   offer   students   the   unique  opportunity   to   continue  their   studies  in   the  best  universities   in   the   world   with   full   funding.   Most   of   these   universities   are   either   located   in   English   speaking   countries  or  use  English  as  a  medium  of  instruction.  Thus,  if  high  school  graduates  want   to  study  abroad,  they  need  a  high  level  of  English  language  proficiency.  The  degree  of   exposure   that   Ecuadorian   students   have   to   English   varies   depending   if   they   attend   a   private  or  public  school.  In  2012,  in  order  to  stop  this  inequity  and  improve  the  quality  of   English  education  in  the  public  sector,  the  Ministry  of  Education  designed  a  new  National   English   Curriculum   that   governs   English   instruction   in   public   schools   and   established   a   language  proficiency  requirement  for  English  teachers  in  the  public  sector.     This  policy  brief  is  addressed  to  the  Ecuadorian  Ministry  of  Education  to  provide   recommendations  on  what  must  be  done  to  improve  the  quality  of  English  education  in   the  public  sector.  It  presents  an  analysis  of  the  relationship  among  the  initiatives  taken  by   the   government   in   order   to   expose   some   of   the   gaps   among   them   and   provide   the   following  recommendations:     1. Re-­‐design   the   curriculum   so   that   English   instruction   begins   at   1st   grade   and  an  all-­‐content  class  in  English  is  taught  in  12th  grade.   2. Increase  the   English   language  requirement   for   secondary   school   English   teachers  (9th-­‐12th)  to  a  C1  level.   3. Create  an  entity  that  is  in  charge  of  offering  periodic  teacher  trainings  in   approaches  to  Teaching  English  as  a  Foreign  Language.   Introduction  
  3. 3. ; Lorem Ipsum Dolor Spring 2016 3 Sed et tellus at quam sagittis pharetra. Donec faucibus sagittis justo. Background   In  Ecuador,  English  is  taught  as  a  foreign  language  and  not  as  a  second  language   as   commonly   believed.   According   to   the   Cambridge   Dictionary   Online   (2014),   English   is   taught  as  a  foreign  language  when  learners’  main  language  is  not  English  and  live  in  a  country   where  English  is  not  the  official  and  main  language.  In  the  Ecuadorian  context  the  exposure   that  students  have  to  English  is  limited  to  schools  hours.    In  order  to  improve  the  level  of   English  language  proficiency  that  high  school  graduates  acquire  in  the  public  sector  the   Ministry  of  Education  implemented  the  following  innovations:   1. A  new  National  English  Curriculum   2. English  language  requirement  for  English  teachers   Additionally,  SENESCYT  introduced  the  following  innovation:   3. Scholarships  to  study  abroad.     These  three  innovations  are  discussed  in  depth  in  the  following  sections.   1.  National  English  Curriculum   In  2012,  the  Ministry  of  Education  designed  the  new  National  English  Curriculum  that   governs   English   instruction   in   the   public   sector.   It   was   designed   to   contribute   to   the   development   of   students’   ability   to   live   together   in   their   local   communities   and   to   take   a   proactive  role  as  world  citizens  in  the  21st  century.     The   Ministry   of   Education   acknowledged   the   importance   of   English   as   a   tool   to   prepare   individuals   to   understand   people   and   cultures   beyond   linguistic   and   geographic   boundaries.   Therefore,   it   was   designed   to   help   students   develop   their   communicative   language   skills.   The   Ministry   of   Education   integrated   the   Communicative-­‐Functional   Language   Approach   and   the   Common   European   Framework   of   Reference   (CEFR)   while   designing  the  National  English  Curriculum  Guidelines.  These  two  components  are  described   below  in  order  to  better  understand  the  curriculum  guidelines.       The   Communicative-­‐Functional  Language   Approach   has   been   used   internationally   because  it  includes  a  set  of  principles  about  the  nature  of  language  and  language  teaching   and   learning   that   empathizes   authenticity.   It   organizes   the   syllabus   in   terms   of   the   different  language  functions  that  learners  need  to  master  in  order  to  communicate   effectively.         The   CEFR   provides   a   common   basis   for   the   elaboration   of   language   curriculum   guidelines  and  syllabi.    It  has   played  a   role  in  language  and  education  policy  worldwide   because  it  describes  “what  language  learners  should  be  able  to  do  at  different  stages   during  the  process  of  learning  [and]  what  knowledge  and  skills  must  be  developed  in   order  to  communicate  effectively  in  the  target  language”  (MOE,  2012,  p.4).      
  4. 4. ; Lorem Ipsum Dolor Spring 2016 4 National  English  Curriculum  Guidelines   After  adopting  the  two  components  explained  above,  the  Ecuadorian  National   English  Curriculum  has  the  following  characteristics  and  overall  objectives.     Characteristics   Ø English  teaching  is  optional  from  1st  grade  (2doEGB)  to  6th  grade  (7mo  EGB).     Ø English  is  taught  from  7th  grade  (8voEGB)  to  12th  grade  (3roBACH).   Ø Five  weekly  45-­‐minute  class  periods  of  English  are  mandatory.                                                                                                                        Overall  Objectives  of  the   National  English  Curriculum  Guidelines     Ø “To  ensure  high-­‐school  graduates  reach  a  minimum  B1   language  proficiency  level  according  to  the  CERF.     Ø To   build   up   learners’   communicative   language   competence   [and]   its   linguistic,   sociolinguistic   and   pragmatic  components  through  the  development  of  the  four   language   skills:   listening,   speaking,   reading,   and   writing”   (MOE,  2012,  p.7).     www.educacion.gob.ec The   CEFR   proposes   a   scale   of   six  language   proficiency   levels   that   starts   at   A1   for   students  in  the  beginning  level  and  ends  at  C2  for  students  who  can  use  the  language  at  high   levels   of   discourse.   Table   1   shows   the   different   levels   with   their   corresponding   levels   of proficiency  in  the  target  language.
  5. 5. ; Lorem Ipsum Dolor Spring 2016 5                          Taking   into   account   the   first   overall   objective   of   the   National   English   Curriculum,           Table   2   shows   the   grades   in   the   Ecuadorian   Educational   System   with   its   corresponding   levels  of  language  proficiency  established  by  the  CEFR.     Level    Group   Level  name   Level   School  Grade   -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐   -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐   English  is  not  required     1st-­‐6th  grade  (2do-­‐7mo  EBG)       A   Basic   User   A1   (beginner)   7th  grade  (8vo  EGB)   8th  grade  (9no  EGB)   A2   (elementary)   9th  grade  (10mo  EGB)   10th  grade  (1ro  BACH)     B   Independent   User   B1   (intermediate)   11th  grade  (2do  BACH)   12th  grade  (3ro  BACH)   B2     (upper  intermediate)   -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐   -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐     C   Proficient  User   C1   (advanced)   -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐   -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐   C2   (proficient)   -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐   -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐   Table  2.  CEFR  Reference  Levels  in  the  Ecuadorian  Educational  System                                Source:  Ecuadorian  National  English  Curriculum  Guidelines  (2012)     2.  English  Language  Requirement  for  English  Teachers     Also  in  2012,  along  with  the  implementation  of  the  National   English   Curriculum,   the   Ministry   of   Education   established   a   language  requirement  for  English  teachers  working  in  the   public   sector   in   order   to   improve   the   quality   of   English   instruction.     In  July  2012,  President  Rafael  Correa  signed  a  contract  with  the  Educational  Testing   Service,   a   non-­‐profit   organization   dedicated   to   educational   measurement   and   research,   primarily   through   testing   (ETS,   2014).  This   contract   was   signed   in   order   to   evaluate   the   English  language  proficiency  of  all  English  teachers  in  the  public  sector.     Teachers  are  required  to  take  the  Test  of   English   as   a   Foreign   Language   (TOEFL)   and   must  score  a  B2  language  proficiency  level   in   the   CEFR,   or   its   equivalent   in   other   international  exams.  In  order  to  clarify  what  the   standard  is,  Table  3  presents  the  B2  equivalent  in   other  international  exams  that  teachers  can  take.     Teachers  who  do  not  obtain  a  certification   of  a  B2  level  in  the  CEFR  or  its  equivalent  in  the   other   international   exams   have   the   opportunity   to   attend  English   language   training   courses   and   retake  the  exam.  The  language  training  has  three   modules:   A2-­‐B1   Module,   B1-­‐B2   Module   and   TOEFL  Module  (MOE,  2014).         www.conocimiento.gob.ec   CEFR’s  International   Standardized  equivalent   Exams     B2  equivalent   scores   Test  of  English  as  a  Foreign   Language  Internet  Based  Test   (TOEFL  iBT)   87   International  Language  English   Testing  System  (IELTS)   Band      6   First  Certificate  in  English  (FCE)   70   Certificate  in  Advance  English   (CAE)   45     Table  3.  CEFR  B2  equivalent  scores                                              Source:  Ministry  of  Education,  Ecuador  (2014)    
  6. 6. ; Lorem Ipsum Dolor Spring 2016 6       President   Correa   believes   that   “without   human   talent,   Ecuador  won’t  advance…  we  lack  the  minimum  critical  mass  of   top   flight   professionals   needed   to   spur   the   country’s   development”(Custer,  3013).  With  this  in  mind,  the  Ecuadorian   government,   through   SENESCYT,   aims   to   improve   Ecuador’s   global   competitiveness   by   strengthening   and   opening   opportunities   for  the  development   of   Ecuadorians  studying   abroad.  In  order  to  offer  opportunities  for  Ecuadorians  to  study  abroad,  SENESCYT  grants   full   scholarships   to   Ecuadorians   -­‐living   in   Ecuador   or   abroad-­‐   who   wish   to   pursue   their   undergraduate  and  graduate  studies.  For  the  purpose  of  this  policy  brief,  the  “Go  Teacher”   and   the   University   of   Excellence   Scholarships   are   described   below   in   depth   because   they   offer  opportunities  for  English  teachers  and  high  school  graduates  to  study  abroad  in  English   speaking  countries.     3.  SENESCYT  Scholarships     Opportunities  to  Study  Abroad     www.senescyt.gob.ec   “Go  Teacher”  Scholarship     This  scholarship  seeks  to  improve  the  English  language   proficiency   of   Ecuadorian   teachers   of   English.   It   gives   teachers   the   opportunity   to   be   immersed   in   English-­‐speaking   countries   for   a   period   of   time,   allowing   them   to   interact   with   different   cultures,  practice  their   language   skills  and   learn   new   teaching   methodologies.   English   teachers   interested   in   this   scholarship   can   chose   from   two   different   programs:   Teaching   English  as  a  Second  Language  (TESL)  Training  or  a  Master’s  in   Curriculum  Design  and  TESL  Teaching.         This   scholarship   is   only   granted   to   Ecuadorians   living   in   Ecuador.   Candidates   must   have   a   bachelor’s   degree   in   Educational   Sciences   with   an   English   language   focus,   English   Teaching,  Linguistics,  and  Applied  Linguistics  or  have  an  undergraduate  degree  in  any  career   with  a  minimum  of  one  year  of  experience  teaching  English  (SENESCYT,  2014).     www.programasbecas.educacionsuperior.gob.ec   University  of  Excellence  Scholarship       The   main   purpose   of   this   scholarship   is   to   give   Ecuadorians   the   unique   opportunity   to   study   in   the   best   universities   of   the   world   with   full   funding.   It   is   granted   to   Ecuadorians,   living   in   Ecuador   or   abroad,   who   wish   to   pursue   their   undergraduate   and   graduate   studies   in   the   top   175   best   universities   in   the   world,   as   recognized   by   SENESCYT.   To   make   sure   that   students   come   back   and   work   for   the   benefit   of   the   country,  the  only  condition  of  the  scholarship  is  to  return  to  work   in  Ecuador  for  two  years  for  every  year  spent  abroad. www.blogs.salleurl.edu
  7. 7. ; Lorem Ipsum Dolor Spring 2016 7       Ecuadorians   accepted   to   the   top   50   universities   have   the   opportunity   to   choose  the  program  they  would  like  to  study,  whereas  those  accepted  in  the  rest  of  the   universities   must   choose   a   program   in   the   following   areas:   life   sciences,   production   and   innovation,  social  sciences  and  natural  resources.  Within  the  top  50  universities,  90%  of  the   universities   are   located   in   the   U.S.A,   the   U.K,   Canada   and   Australia,   where   English   is   the   national  language.  The  rest  of  the  universities  are  located  in  Japan,  Switzerland,  Hong  Kong   and   Singapore,   where   universities   use   English   as   medium   of   instruction   for   the   programs  offered  to  international  students  (SENESCYT,  2014). Country   Language   Required   Number  of   Universities   Percentage   U.S.A   English   33   66%   U.K   English   7   14%   Canada   English   3   6%   Australia     English   2   4%   Japan     English   2   4%   Switzerland   English   1   2%   Hong  Kong   English   1   2%   Singapore   English   1   2%   Table  4.  The  Top  50  Universities  of  Excellence  by  country                                                                                                                                                                                        Source:  SENESCYT  (2014)       Analysis     Relationship  among  the  three  initiatives       The   Ecuadorian   government’s   three   initiatives   to   improve   the   quality   of   English   education  in  the  public  sector  were  needed  in  the  country  for  so  long.  When  the  initiatives   are  analyzed  individually  as  in  the  previous  section,  they  seem  to  be  the  best  solution  to  the   problem  of  quality  English  education  in  the  public  sector.  However,  the  following  two  gaps   can  be  found  when  analyzing  the  relationship  among  these  initiatives.       Language  proficiency  at  the  high-­‐school  level  and     the  opportunities  to  study  abroad         This  analysis  begins  with  the  relationship  between  the  National  English  Curriculum   and  the  opportunities  to  study  abroad  through  the  University  of  Excellence  Scholarship.  This   analysis  considers  only  the  top  50  Universities  of  Excellence  because  they  allow  students  to   choose   the   program   they   would   like   study.     The   high   school   graduates’   level   of   English   language  proficiency  determines  their  opportunities  to  study  abroad.  
  8. 8. ; Lorem Ipsum Dolor Spring 2016 8 According   to   the   National   English   Curriculum   Guidelines   “Ecuadorian  students  in  the  public   educational   system   will   be   able   to…access   more   labor   and   professional   development   opportunities   within   Ecuador   or   abroad…”  (MOE,  2012,  p.4),  and  so   are   expected   to   reach   a   minimum   B1   language   proficiency   level   in   the   CEFR.   Students   at   this   level   will   become   independent  users  of  the  language   with   an   intermediate   level   of   proficiency.   The   language   skills   that   students   will   develop   at   this   level  are  presented  in  Table  5.  The   bolded  sentences  in  the  table  show   that  these  skills  enable  students  to   communicate   in   English   using   everyday  language.     In  the  CEFR  common  reference  level  there  are  three  levels  of  language  proficiency   above  the  B1,  the  upper  intermediate  (B2),  the  advanced  (C1)  and  the  proficient  level  (C2).     With  this  in  mind,  the  following  question  must  be  asked,            Students,   whose   native   language   is   not   English,   applying   to   universities   where   English  is  used  as  the  medium  of  instruction,  are  required  to  take  an  English  language  exam.   The   Test   of   English   as   a   Foreign   Language   (TOEFL)   is   preferred   and   required   by   most   universities  around  the  world.  The  scores  required  to  apply  are  different  for  undergraduate   and  graduate  programs  among  universities.       The  equivalent  score  of  the  B1  CERF  level  in  the  TOELF  scale  is  in  the  range  of   57-­‐86  out  of  120.  Ecuadorian  high  school  graduates  reaching  a  B1  language  proficiency  will   be  able  to  apply  to  only  10  universities  of  the  top  50  Universities  of  Excellence.  They  also   might  be  able  to  apply  to  3  universities  that  only  require  taking  the  TOEFL  without  asking   for  a  minimum  score  as  shown  in  Table  6.     Listening     *Understand  the  main  points  of  clear,  standard   speech  on  familiar  matters  regularly  encounter   informal  situations  at  school,  work,  leisure,  etc.     *  Understand  the  main  point  of  many  radio  or  television   programs  on  topics  of  personal  or  professional  interest   when  the  delivery  is  clear.    Reading     *Understand  text  that  consist  mainly  have  high   frequency,  every  day  language.   *Understand  the  description  of  events,  feelings  and   wishes  in  personal  terms.   Speaking   *Deal  with  most  situations  likely  to  arise  while  traveling   in  an  area  where  the  language  is  spoken  (basic  social   language)   *Enter  unprepared  into  conversations  that  are  familiar,   of  personal  interest  or  pertinent  to  everyday  life.   *Connect  phrases  in  a  simple  way  in  order  to  describe   experiences  and  events,  dreams,  hopes  and  ambitions     *Give  brief  reasons  and  explanations  for  opinions   and  plans  and  describe  their  reactions  to  the  plot  of  a   book  or  film     *Narrate  an  story     Writing   *Write  simple  connected  text  on  topics  which  are   familiar  or  of  personal  interest   *Write  personal  letters  describing  experiences  and   impressions     Table  5.  Level  B1  of  the  CEFR  language  skills              Source:  Ecuadorian  National  English  Curriculum  Guidelines  (2012)  
  9. 9. ; Lorem Ipsum Dolor Spring 2016 9 Table  6.  List  of  TOEFL/CEFR  scores  required  for  undergraduate  studies   by  the  top  50  University  of  Excellence     English   Proficiency   (Ecuador)   Score   TOELF   CERF   Country   University   110   U.K   *University  of  Oxford   105   U.S.A   *Northwester  University   104   U.SA   *Harvard  University   102   U.S.A   *Carnegie  Mellon  University   100   U.S.A   *Massachusetts  Institute  of  Technology's   *University  of  California  Berkeley     *Columbia  University   *University  of  Pennsylvania   *Cornell  University       *Yale  University   *University  of  Chicago     *Johns  Hopkins  University   *Duke  University   *University  of  Illinois  at  Urbana  Champaign   *New  York  University   *The  University  of  North  Carolina  at  Chapel    Hill   *McGill  University   *University  of  South  Carolina   *University  of  Maryland,  College  Park   *University  of  Pittsburgh   *Brown  University   100   U.K   *University  of  Edinburgh   C1   U.K   *Cambridge  University   C1   Switzerland   *ETH  Zurich   95-­‐105   U.S.A   *University  of  Wisconsin-­‐Madison   94   Australia   *The  University  of  Melbourne   93   Canada   *University  of  Toronto   U.K   *King  College  of  London   92   U.S.A   *University  of  Washington   92-­‐109     U.K   *University  College  London     (scores  depend  on  the  program)     90   Canada   *The  University  of  British  Columbia   Hong  Kong   *University  of  Hong  Kong   88-­‐100     U.S.A   *University  of  Michigan   (scores  depend  on  the  program)   B2   U.K   *University  of  Manchester   B1 (CERF) (57-86) (TOEFL) 85   U.K   *Imperial  College  of  London       85   Singapore   *NUS  Singapore  University   83   U.S.A   *University  of  California,  Los  Angeles   80   U.S.A   *University  of  California  San  Diego   *The  Pennsylvania  State  University   *University  of  California  Santa  Barbara   *The  University  of  California,  Davis   80   Australia   *Australia  National  University   79   U.S.A   *University  of  Texas  at  Austin   70   U.S.A   *University  of  Minnesota,  Twin  Cities   N/A Strong   Command  of   the  language     U.S.A   *Stanford  University   N/A Strong   Command  of   the  language     U.S.A   *California  Institute  of  Technology   N/A Command  of   the  language   U.S.A   *Princeton  University   N/A TOEFL   Required   U.S.A   *University  of  Washington  in  St.  Louis   N/A TOEFL   Required   Japan   *Kyoto  University   N/A TOEFL   Required   Japan   *The  University  of  Tokyo     Besides   showing   a   high   level   of   English   language   proficiency   by   taking   the   TOEFL,   students   applying   to   any   university   in   the   U.S.A   are   required   to   take   the   Scholastic   Aptitude  Test.  This  exam  is  only   offered   in   English   and   it   is   not   an  English  language  exam;  it  is  a   university   admission   test   that   shows   how   much   students   know   and   how   well   they   can   apply   that   knowledge.   It   tests   students’   knowledge   in   three   areas:   reading,   math   and   writing   (SAT,   2014).   The   following   question   must   be   considered   to   move   on   in   the   analyses.         Source:  All  this  information  was  retrieved  from  all  the  universities’  websites.     The   low   quality   of   English   education   in   the   public   sector   has   caused   inequalities   of   access   to   the   University   of   Excellence   Scholarships   between   the   private  and  public.  
  10. 10. ; Lorem Ipsum Dolor Spring 2016 10                                            According   to   President   Correa,   the   scholarships   were   created   to   benefit   students   from  the  middle  and  middle-­‐low  classes.  He  is  conscious  that  this  inequality  of  access  exists   and  he  announced  that  in  the  future,  the  socioeconomic  status  of  the  applicants   would   be   analyzed   in   order   make   sure   that   the   scholarships   are   awarded   to   students   who   cannot   afford  to  study  abroad  independently.  The  reality  is  that  restricting  access  to  the  scholarships   based  on  students’  socioeconomic  status  will  not  fix  the  problem  of  inequality  of  access  nor   will   increase   the   level   of   English   language   proficiency   in   high   school   graduates   from   the   public   sector.   The   solution   to   the   problem   must   be   found   in   providing   a   better   English   education  in  the  public  sector  so  everyone  can  have  the  same  opportunity  to  access  the   scholarships.                                        The  National  English  Curriculum  Guidelines  states  that  teaching  English  is  optional   from  2nd  to  7th  grade  and  the  new  English  curriculum  starts  at  8th  grade.  This  characteristic  of   the   curriculum   has   caused   controversy   among   Ecuadorians.   In   an   online   survey   by   El   Comercio,  a  local  newspaper,  people  were  asked  if  they  agreed  that  English  should  be  taught   starting  at  8th  grade;  out  of  3,185  people  who  voted,  2,980  (93.6%)  do  not  agree  and  205   (6.4)  agree  (El  Comercio,  2014).  The  amount  of  exposure  that  students  have  to  English  can   make  a  big  difference  in  the  process  of  acquisition  of  this  language.  Considering  that  students   are  exposed  to  the  language  only  for  5  hours  a  week  during  the  school  year,  without  a  doubt,   the  earlier  they  start  exposure  to  the  language,  the  better.                                      After   the   analysis   presented   above   it   is   important   to   point   out   that   people   could   argue  that  the  goal  of  the  new  curriculum  states  that  high  school  graduates  are  expected  to   reach   a   minimum   B1   language   proficiency   and   therefore   they   could   score   higher   in   the   language   examinations   and   have   better   opportunities   to   access   the   scholarships.   This   argument  is  valid,  but  it  is  important  to  understand  that  the  level  of  language  proficiency  that   high   school   graduates   reach   depends   on   the   quality   of   English   instruction   provided   by   English   teachers.   English   teachers   play   an   important   role   in   the   implementation   of   the   curriculum   and   it   is   important   to   analyze   the   relationship   between   the   National   English   Curriculum  and  the  role  of  English  teachers  in  the  public  sector.   National  English  Curriculum  and     the  Role    of  English  Teachers      The   day   that   the   Ecuadorian   government   signed   a   contract   with   ETS   in   2012,   President   Correa   emphasized   in   his   speech   the   importance   of   having   qualified   English   teachers   working   in   the   public   sector.   Since   English   is   taught   as   a   foreign   language   in   Ecuador   and   students   are   exposed   to   the   language   only   during   school   hours,   the   role   of   English  teachers  in  teaching  and  learning  is  the  most  important  factor  in  the  acquisition  of   the  language.       The  Ministry   of  Education   initiative   to   make   sure   that   English  teachers   reach   a   B2   CEFR/87   TOEFL   level   of   English   language   proficiency   and   the   scholarships   offered   by   SENESCYT  to  English  teachers  have  been  seen  as  a  big  contribution  to  the  improvement  of   the  quality  of  English  education  in  the  public  sector.  But,  these  initiatives  are  still  not  enough   to  make  the  desired  change  in  the  country.  The  following  question  must  be  asked:    
  11. 11. ; Lorem Ipsum Dolor Spring 2016 11 According   to   Staehr   &   Kuhlman   (2010),   the   mastery   of   the   English   language   is   a   professional  standard   that  English  teachers   must   meet.  Teachers  must  have  knowledge   of   English   that   goes   beyond   understanding   the   language   as   a   system   of   rules.   They   must   be   aware   and   understand   the   separate   components   of   the   language   such   as   phonology,   morphology,   semantics   and   pragmatics,   how   language   changes   and   how   languages   are   similar  or  different.   Ecuadorian  English  teachers  reaching  a  B2  language  proficiency  level  in  the  CEFR  “can   understand  the  main  ideas  of  complex  text  on  both  concrete  and  abstract  topics,  including   technical  discussions  in  his/her  field  of  specialization.  Can  interact  with  a  degree  of  fluency   and  spontaneity  that  makes  regular  interaction  with  native  speakers  quite  possible  without   strain   or   either   party.   Can   produce   clear,   detailed   text   on   a   wide   range   of   subjects   and   explain  a  viewpoint  on  a  topical  issue  giving  the  advantages  and  independent  disadvantages   of  various  options”  (CEFR,  2014,  p.24).  With  this  being  said,  the  quality  of  English  teaching   would  remain  low  because,  as  presented  above,  the  language  skills  that  English  teachers  will   have  if  they  reach  a  B2  level  of  language  proficiency  in  the  CEFR  are  considered  those  of  an   independent  user  of  the  language.  The  only  difference  between  the  B1and  B2  levels  in  the   CERF  is  that  the  B1  is  an  intermediate  level  and  the  B2  an  upper  intermediate.  See  Table1  on   page  4.    In   2012,   for   the   first   time   in   Ecuadorian   history,   4,089   English   teachers   were   evaluated  on  their  English  language  proficiency,  out  of  which  37.27%  scored  in  the  A1  level,   47.79%  scored  in  the  A2  level,  10.74%  scored  in  the  B1  level,  38  teachers  (0.93%)  scored   in   the   B2   level   and   134   (3.27%)   did   not   show   up   to   the   exam   (Rosero,   2014).   These   numbers  are  shocking  and  show  the  reality  of  English  education  in  the  public  sector.  Some   progress   aiming   to   change   the   data   presented   above   has   already   been   seen;   by   2013,   SENESCYT   awarded   the   “Go   Teacher”   scholarship   to   1,222   English   teachers   and   those   teachers  who  did  not  meet  the  language  requirement  have  been  offered  language  courses  to   help  them  reach  the  established  score.          The   Ministry   of   Education   has   gotten   on   the   right   track   regarding   the   need   to   guarantee  that  English  teachers  speak  the  language  but  has  not  gone  far  enough  to  make  sure   that  their  level  of  language  proficient  is  the  appropriate  level  to  teach.    Also,  nothing  has  been   done  in  order  to  make  sure  that  they  have  had  the  necessary  education  as  foreign/second   language   teachers.   The   following   three   questions   can   be   asked   when   thinking   about   the   relationship   between   the   B2   language   requirement   for   teachers   and   the   first   overall   objective  of  the  National  English  Curriculum.  
  12. 12. ; Lorem Ipsum Dolor Spring 2016 12 Recommendations                                    The  efforts  made  by  the  government  to  improve  Ecuador’s  global  competitiveness   by   strengthening   and   opening   opportunities   for   the   development   of   Ecuadorians   studying  abroad  have  been  remarkable.  But  more  needs  to  be  done  in  order  to  improve   the  quality  of  English  Education  in  the  public  sector  to  make  sure  that  every  Ecuadorian  has   the  same  opportunity  not  only  to  access  scholarships  to  study  abroad  but  also  to  succeed  in   this   globalized   world.   The   following   recommendations   must   be   considered   in   order   to   make  sure  that  high  school  graduates  reach  a  high  level  of  English  language  proficiency  by   receiving  quality  English  instruction.     The  Ministry  of  Education  must:   Ø Re-­‐design  the  curriculum  so  that  English  instruction  begins  at  1st  grade  and  an   all-­‐content  class  in  English  is  taught  in  12th  grade.  This  new  distribution  of  the   different  levels  of  English  language  proficiency  in  the  Ecuadorian  educational  system   can  guarantee  that  high  school  graduates  reach  a  true  B2  level  upon  graduation.  See   Table  7.  Earlier  acquisition  improves  the  opportunities  to  achieve  more  native  like   proficiency.    Also,  exposing  students  to  an  all  class  in  English  will  teach  them  how  to   navigate  content  in  a  foreign  language.             Ø Increase   the   English   language   requirement   for   secondary   school   English   teachers  (9th-­‐12th)  to  a  C1  level.  This  will  help  to  have  better  qualified  teachers  in   the  secondary  level  to  assure  that  students  will  reach  a  B2  level  upon  graduation.   Also,  the  prestige  that  secondary  teachers  will  gain  will  encourage  primary  teachers   to  improve  their  English  skills  so  they  teach  higher  levels.  This  distinction  will  allow   the  Ministry  of  Education  to  work  with  secondary  level  teachers  in  a  short  term  and   with  the  primary  teachers  in  long  term  so  all  will  reach  a  C1  level.     Ø Create   an   entity   that   is   in   charge   of   offering   periodic   teacher   trainings   in   approaches  to  Teaching  English  as  a  Foreign  Language.  This  will  help  to  make   sure  that  those  teachers  who  don’t  have  the  opportunity  to  study  abroad  will  receive   training  on  how  teach  English  as  a  foreign  language  and  how  to  create  a  supported   class   environment.   There   is   a   need   for   sustainable   professional   development   for   teachers  at  all  levels  depending  upon  their  teaching  experience  to  make  sure  that   English  teachers  not  only  speak  the  language  well  but  also  know  how  to  teach  it.     Level    Group   Level  group   name   Level   School  Grade     A   Basic   User   A1   (beginner)   1tst  –  2nd  grade  (2do  –  3ro  EGB)   3rd    –  4th  grade  (4to  –  5to  EGB)   A2   (elementary)   5th  -­‐  6th  grade  (6to  –  7mo  EGB)   7th    -­‐  8th  grade  (8vo-­‐  9voEGB)     B   Independent   User   B1   (intermediate)   9th  (10mo  EGB)   10th  grade  (1do  BACH)   B2     (upper  intermediate)   11th  grade  (2ro  BACH)   All-­‐content  class  in  English  (3ro  BACH)     C   Proficient  User   C1   (advance)   English  teachers     C2   (proficiency)   English  teachers     Table  7.  Proposed  distribution  of    the  CEFR  levels  in  the  Ecuadorian  Educational  System  
  13. 13. ; Lorem Ipsum Dolor Spring 2016 13   Cambridge  Dictionary  Online.  (2014).  English  as  a  foreign  Language.  Retrieve  from       http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/american-­‐english/english-­‐as-­‐a-­‐foreign-­‐language     Common  European  Framework  of  Reference  for  Languages:  Learning,  Teaching,  Assessment  (CEFR)  (2014)  Retrieve  from     http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/source/framework_en.pdf     Custer,  Sara.  (2013,  August  1).  Ecuador:  Scholarships  if  you  return  home.  Retrieve  from   http://thepienews.com/news/ecuador-­‐scholarships-­‐if-­‐you-­‐return-­‐home/     Educational  Testing  Service  (ETS).  (2014).  https://www.ets.org     Education  First.  (2013).  EF  Proficiency  English  Index.  Retrieve  on  March  27,2014,  from   http://www.ef.edu/__/~/media/efcom/epi/2014/full-­‐reports/ef-­‐epi-­‐2013-­‐report-­‐master-­‐new.pdf     El  Comercio.  (2014,  March  23).  Los  alumnos  de  Segundo  a  séptimo  de  básica  ya  no  recibirán  ingles.  Retrieve  from     http://www.elcomercio.com/sociedad/Ecuador-­‐educacion-­‐basica-­‐ingles-­‐malla-­‐curricula-­‐   ministerio_0_1106889399.html     Ministry  of  Education,  Ecuador.  (2012).  National  English  Curriculum  Guidelines;  English  as  a  Foreign  Language.  Quito.   Retrieve  from   http://educacion.gob.ec/wpcontent/uploads/downloads/2013/09/Curriculum_Guidelines_EFL_100913.pdf     Ministerio  de  Educación,  Ecuador  (2014).  Fortalecimiento  del  Ingles.  Retrieve  from   http://educacion.gob.ec/fortalecimiento-­‐del-­‐ingles/     National   Institution   of   Higher   Education,  Science,   Technology   and   Innovation   (SENESCYT).   (2014).  Programas  de  Becas.   Retrieve  from  http://programasbecas.educacionsuperior.gob.ec     Pike,  Corina.  (2013,  April  8).  Five  reasons  why  you  should  learn  English.  Retrieve  from      http://www.bridgeenglish.com/5-­‐reasons-­‐why-­‐you-­‐should-­‐learn-­‐english/   Rosero,  Mariela  (2014,  March  26).  El  deficit  de  profesores  de  ingles  es  un  problema  que  viene  desde  1950.  El  Comercio.     Retrieve  from    http://www.elcomercio.com/sociedad/malla_curricular-­‐ingles-­‐   Ministerio_de_Educacioneducacionensenanza  _0_1108689171.html     Scholastic  Aptitude  Test  (SAT).  (2014).  http://sat.collegeboard.org/home   Staehr  &  Kuhlman.  2010.  Preparing  Teachers  of  English  Language  Learners:  Practical  Applications  of  the  Pre  K–12  TESOL     Professional  Standards,Chapter  6:  Language.  Retrieve  from   http://www.tesol.org/docs/books/bk_preparingeffectiveteachers_738       Bibliography      

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