Competence Oriented Teaching. From Form and Function to Intercultural Communicative Competence

Term Paper, 2012

20 Pages, Grade: 1.0


Table of contents


Chapter 1: theoretical part
1.1 The Common European Framework
1.2 Levels of CEF
1.3 CEF and Bildungsstandards
1.4 Bildungsstandards and the Curriculum

Chapter 2: teaching lesson
2.1 The learner group:
2.2 Object analysis
2.3 Didactically considerations
2.4 Methodical considerations

Chapter 3: Conclusion

Chapter 4: References

Chapter 5: Appendix


“Ein Englischunterricht, in dem kein Englisch gelernt wird - z.B. weil Shakespeare auf Deutsch gelesen wird […] annulliert sich als Schulfach selbst (Beck 2007: 292). This basically means that the importance of teaching English lies in the language itself.

Paradigm shifts always appear by the time the old paradigm is not able anymore to handle the problems in the old paradigm anymore or is over rolled by the society. A paradigm shift has just begun in Germany. It concentrates on school and the teaching system (cf. Hallet: 2006: 21).

Teaching English in the English as a second language classroom (ESL), has changed in the same way, the world has changed. Many years ago, the main point was set on how to teach and teaching grammar and vocabulary (input-oriented). The form ruled the function. English as a second language did not play a big role in life and society. Looking at the world of today, in a world of mega trends and lifelong learning, English became more and more important. People in almost every job have to be able to communicate in English, as a lingua franca. For this reason, a new transparent comparison formed in standards had to be created. Gehring also talks about a leveled requirement of the intercultural competence (cf. 2010: 90). For this comparison it was necessary to define the aims of competences into “CAN-DO” formulations (cf. Hallet 2006: 21).

Immerhin: eine Output-Orientierung des Systems anstelle der bisher vorherrschenden, empirischer Überprüfung gegenüber unzugänglichen InputOrientierung ist von zentraler Bedeutung (Beck, 2007: 293).

The following term paper „Competence Oriented Teaching“ was written for the seminar Competence Oriented Teaching conducted by at the Justus-Liebig University Gießen. The aim of this term paper is to clarify the importance of the “Common European framework of reference” in view of second language acquisition. With this intention I will specially show the planning of a competence oriented lesson in addition to the so-called “backward planning” and why this gives a better alternative to plan it in this way. For this reason I will start to talk in chapter one about the necessary terms “Common European Framework” and its levels, the “Bildungsstandards” and the German curriculum for English as a second language. I will give an insight of the main points of these systems and will show the differences and similarities between them. In chapter two I will show a “competence oriented lesson” in view of the listening and reading skills and their competence development by the backward planning method.

Chapter 1: theoretical part

1.1 The Common European Framework

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (short: CEF) is the basis for competence oriented teaching. The main point of this system is set in learning, teaching and assessment. The CEF is a system which formulates criteria. These criteria are supposed to make the learning, teaching and judging of language competences transparent and descriptive. Meanwhile, it serves in the European area as an established framework and an important basis for „the development of syllabuses, curriculum guidelines, textbooks (and) teacher education […]” (Beck: 2007: 306). The goal is to reach a transparency and comparability between the countries of Europe referring to their language competences. This becomes reachable through the description of knowledge and competences, which the learners have to achieve to be able to communicate in the second language. Furthermore, the CEF defines levels of competences, which makes the process of learning measurable. In the foreseeable future it should be possible, to archive a mobility during the countries.

1.2 Levels of CEF

CEF levels consist of three levels, each split in two ‘sublevels’. The skills and competences for all these levels are the same, but increase in difficulty the higher the level is.

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Fig.1 (Common European Framework p.23)

Due to the size and complexity of the level’s descriptions, the figure above will have to suffice in this paper (FFR Council of Europe 2007: 22-24).

1.3 CEF and Bildungsstandards

The “Bildungsstandards” can be seen as a direct descendant of the CEF standards. The PISA test of 2001 had a great influence in the revision of the German curriculum and on the future of the education system.

The PISA test was a proficiency test - the association wanted to see how well learners would perform in a test with partially unknown topics. However the curricula in Germany were not designed for such tests, which will be further discussed in section 1.5.

CEF standards were invented to provide a common set of skills, put in six levels (see 1.2) to ensure a Europe-wide basis for second language learning. The skills and level were integrated in the “Bildungsstandards” in order to ensure better outcomes in future international tests and to overall improve the learner’s education. Bildungsstandards and CEF both define skills and competences learners should have reached or are able to reach by a certain age or as in “Bildungsstandards for Realschule” is defined a certain CEF level by the end of school.

1.4 Key competences of the Bildungsstandards

The key competences, presented in the “Bildungsstandards”, are mainly split into communicative, intercultural and methodical competences. These include among others the ability to understand (read and hear), speak and write in the foreign language. This naturally has the basis of vocabulary and basic grammar. Besides this, the intercultural competence goes beyond the borders of simple language learning and increases it by making students to be aware of cultural differences and similarities and to provide the learner with a sufficient knowledge to prevail in a real life situation.

Of course, this can only be achieved if learners have the basic methodical competences reached, such as text reception, social interaction capability or learning strategies.

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Fig. 2 (Bildungsstandards für die erste Fremdsprache (Englisch/Französisch) für den Mittleren Schulabschluss p.8)

1.4 Bildungsstandards and the Curriculum

“Bildungsstandards” as well as the CEF standards define a certain ‘outcome’, so basically what a learner should be able to perform or be able to do after a school year. At this point it is to say that the curriculum will not be replaced by the “Bildungsstandards”, but will rather be enhanced by them. As mentioned in 1.4 the standards include the CEF levels of competence.

The differences and similarities will be shown by the curriculum of a hessian Realschule, which in relation to CEF learners should complete while reaching the B1 level in language use.

„Zum Ende der Sekundarstufe I sollen sich die Lernenden in der Fremdsprache Englisch an den Kriterien der Kompetenzstufe B1 messen.“

(Hessisches Kultusministerium 2002:4)

The curriculum, as already said, is enhanced by the “Bildungsstandards” in matters of competences and skills, which are now a solid part of the curriculum. (FFR Hessisches Kultusministerium 2011: 21-23)

Other than “Bildungsstandards”, the German curricula focuses on the ‘input’. Therefore, it clearly and specifically defines the content for each school grade and tells in that prescriptive way, what is to be learned. So curricula define the factual knowledge and the “Bildungsstandards” define descriptively the skills, learner should acquire.

1.5 Backward planning

Während traditionelle Lernziele den unterrichtlichen Input beschreiben, geben Standards den Output an. Standards beschreiben also die Lernergebnisse, die Lernende nach dem Durchlaufen eines Bildungsplans erreicht haben sollen. Als weitere Neuerung schaffen Standards die Möglichkeit, Leistungen valide zu überprüfen. Denn es wird genau beschrieben, was von Schüler auf ihrer Niveaustufe in einem Kompetenzbereich erwartet wird (Gehring 2010: 91).

The term “backward planning” describes a method to plan a teaching lesson from the main point of teaching a competence in mind. Starting out from this point and leaving topics and methods beside, it concentrates on the competences firstly and then concentrates on tasks and topics - so the lesson will be planned backwards. It concentrates on the outcome instead of the input. “In einem solchen outcomeorientierten Ansatz bestimmen sich die Inhalte eines Lehr- und Bildungsgangs also von seinem Ende her” (Hallet 2006: 21).

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Chapter 2: teaching lesson

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4.Semester L2 Englisch/Arbeitslehre

Teaching lesson Subject: Englisch

Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen

Class: 8 B-Kurs Date: 25.09.2012 Time: 9.35-11.10 h

Theme of the lesson: Ellis Island/ Immigration

Theme of the unit: USA - New York


Aim of the teaching lesson: communicative competencies - reading/ listening/

The learners develop their Listening competence through hearing the song “Ellis Island”.

The learners also gain their text understanding and reading comprehension by taking information out of the song and setting it into a completion test.


Excerpt out of 20 pages


Competence Oriented Teaching. From Form and Function to Intercultural Communicative Competence
Justus-Liebig-University Giessen  (Anglistik)
Competence Oriented Teaching
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ISBN (Book)
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from, form, function, competence, oriented, teaching
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Nadine Custer (Author), 2012, Competence Oriented Teaching. From Form and Function to Intercultural Communicative Competence, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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