The Action-oriented Approach: A Dynamic Vision of Language Education

Author: Enrica Piccardo, Brian North

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Multilingual Matters
Number of pages:
234mm x 156mm

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This book presents the background to the current shift in language education towards action-oriented/action-based teaching, and provides a theorization of the Action-oriented Approach (AoA). It discusses the concepts and theories that paved the way for the AoA and explores their relevance for the way language education is conceived and implemented in the classroom. In the process, it revisits the concept of competence and discusses the dynamic notions of mediation and plurilingualism. The authors explain the way in which the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and its recent update, the CEFR Companion Volume, broaden the scope of language education, in particular in relation to the actional turn. The book provides scholars and practitioners with a research-informed description of the AoA, explains its implications for curriculum planning, teaching and assessment, and elaborates on its pedagogical implications.

This book is a most valuable and timely contribution to the discourse concerning current and emerging paradigms for language education. It brilliantly merges reflections on current perceptions of action-oriented approaches to language teaching and learning and the recently revised and extended descriptors of the CEFR into stimulating and thought-provoking insights. Thoroughly researched, comprehensibly discussed, and also very much practice-oriented.

Bernd Rüschoff, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

With its extensive review of the literature and its innovative approach to language education, Piccardo and North's book effectively bridges the gap between theory and practice. Due to its link to the CEFR, its complex dynamic ecological perspective, and its understanding of the learner as a social agent, I expect that this book will influence curriculum development, language teaching, and assessment for a long time to come.

Diane Larsen-Freeman, Professor Emerita, University of Michigan, USA

This inspiring and timely book comprehensively and clearly demonstrates how AoA represents a paradigm shift in language education. Encompassing and building on an array of theories and practices – communicative, task-based, autonomous, plurilingual and others – AoA offers language educators a holistic and innovative curricular and pedagogical vision that is authentic, engaging, relevant, adaptable, accessible, and meaningful in our complex late-modern age.

Terry Lamb, University of Westminster, UK

Enrica Piccardo is a Professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto, Canada; Head of the Centre for Educational Research in Language and Literacies (CERLL), OISE and Maître de conférences, Université de Grenoble-Alpes, France. She is a consultant for the Council of Europe.

Brian North is an independent researcher in language education. A long-time consultant for the Council of Europe, he co-authored the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and the prototype European Language Portfolio.

Chapter 1. The Emergence of a New Paradigm 

Chapter 2. The Notion of Competence: An Overview

Chapter 3. Towards an Action-Oriented Approach: Theoretical Underpinnings

Chapter 4. Preparing the AoA: Developments in Language Teaching Methodology

Chapter 5. The Common European Framework of Reference and its Companion Volume: A Paradigm Shift

Chapter 6. Towards a Dynamic Vision of Language Education: Plurality and Creativity

Chapter 7. The Action-Oriented Approach

Chapter 8. Conclusion

Postgraduate, Research / Professional
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