Competency-Based Teaching and Learningby Edda Polz and Senad Bećirović
Although competency-based teaching and learning can be considered state of the art, it is not yet fully implemented in Austrian primary schools in regard to English as a foreign language. Furthermore, English has still to be established as a compulsory school subject in Austrian primary schools. Nevertheless, students are expected to acquire a solid foundation in the target language. To meet this requirement, a framework concept called “GK2/GK4” was developed. “GK” is the German abbreviation for „Grundkompetenzen”, meaning “basic competencies”. They provide teachers with a framework of basic linguistic and intercultural proficiencies that every student should achieve in the first two or four years of learning English at school. In addition, they are designed to facilitate the transition of students into secondary school through enhancing the quality of English teaching in primary school by supporting competency-based and result-oriented foreign language learning.
In our mixed-method study, we investigated the effectiveness of GK2/GK4 in teaching English on primary level and revealed teachers’ perspectives on this framework concerning its potentials and challenges in teaching EFL. Our results demonstrated that GK2/GK4 are an effective approach for increasing students’ learning outcomes in EFL. Those students learning English with GK2/GK4 generally achieved better results than those studying English with traditional approaches.
Based on the outcomes of our study, we concluded that a comprehensive utilisation of GK2/GK4 would increase the quality of primary EFL and would require measures such as the legal anchoring of English as a mandatory school subject in primary school with an assigned teaching time and grading system, the promotion of linguistic professionalization of pedagogues, the supply with appropriate teaching, as well as supervision to guide and control the implementation process.
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