The recently-introduced CSE has a large impact on teachers of English in the Chinese education system. In order to familiarize teachers with the framework and help them apply it to curriculum design and classroom assessment, NEEA and the British Council organized several workshops across China. On July 13th, Beijing Foreign Studies University hosted a teacher training workshop on the China Standards of English (CSE). Besides Cheng Mengmeng from NEEA and Johnathan Cruise from the British Council, Wang Shuhua from Beijing Wuzi University and Yang Lvna from Beijing Normal University were present as speakers to an audience of roughly 40 teachers. Also present and assisting Johnathan were Neil Ryder and Jan Langeslag from the British Council.
While the CSE is not meant to be prescriptive in terms of what exactly to teach or how to teach it, it is intended to align classroom teaching, textbook content and assessment through a transparent common framework. Such a framework is needed in order to streamline levels of achievement in for example Zhongkao tests across China, Gaokao and CET. While the CSE, as its name implies, is designed specifically with the Chinese educational context in mind, it in turn is based on the more general Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). This assists in making comparisons between achievement on Chinese standardized language tests and international benchmarks, which will assist Chinese teachers in preparing their students to meet international expectations and in turn lead to increased value and relevance of Chinese qualifications abroad.
The session of Wang Shuhua and Yang Lvna did a wonderful job familiarizing the audience with the CSE’s level descriptors. Through the use of an online app the audience was invited to identify the skills being tested by different test items. This method mirrors standard setting procedures used to link the Aptis test to the CSE, a project undertaken fairly recently by the British Council.
In the afternoon Johnathan Cruise and Jan Langeslag further familiarized the audience to the CSE level descriptors of the different reading and writing subskills. The focus was on the 6 different functions of description, narration, explanation, argumentation, instruction and interaction. The CSE features level descriptors at levels 1 through 9 for each of these functions in each of the 4 skills of listening, reading, speaking and writing. In their presentations, Johnathan and Jan focused on reading and writing, respectively, having the audience match level descriptors with the appropriate function, reverse engineering IELTS and Aptis tasks using the descriptors and brainstorming possible methods to assess mastery of these 6 functions in ways appropriate for learners of a given level of competence.
Reception was positive and similar workshops will be conducted across China in the future. Here is a list of CSE teacher training workshop to be held this year.
21 Sept – Jinan
28 Sept – Shijiazhuang
28 Sept – Daqing
26 Oct – Shenyang
26 Oct – Ningxia
2 Nov – Chengdu
You will be most welcome to attend one of these sessions. For more information please contact NEAA at [insert email] or the British Council at