NGPT and Quality Language Teaching
Taking the concept of Communicative Competence (Hymes, 1967) as our departure point, we undertake to give due consideration to the concept of quality language teaching in order to ensure the quality, strength and durability of the impact of our Next Generation Placement Tests.
The concept of quality language learning mirrors the process of quality language teaching. These are the two sides of the same process, with identical aims and objectives. From the aspect of language teaching professionals, language learning is the ‘flip side’ of the teaching process, guided and controlled by the teaching itself. The higher the quality of teaching, the higher the quality of learning.
The aims and objectives of language learning include the development of the four language skills, as well as mastery of the vocabulary and structure of the target language. In order for the language teaching process to be of adequate quality, the aims, objectives, and outcomes of the learning process must be clearly defined within a framework of time and cost-efficiency.
Quality language teaching, however, goes beyond the sphere of the language structure itself, enabling and guiding learners to develop a number of other skills such as learning to learn, critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, collaboration, social responsibilities, and professional accountability.
It can therefore be argued that quality language teaching plays an important role in the actual use of the target language by fast-tracking the learners towards their independent and effective use of the target language.
As part of the language learning process, Next Generation Placement Tests embrace this assumption, aiming to make a strong contribution to the practice of quality language teaching.
The majority of Next Generation Placement Tests end-users will be adults, seeking an opportunity to engage in learning in one or more of the three broad learning environments known as Formal, Non-formal, and Informal Education.
However, the spread of quality language teaching is not even across these three categories: Whereas the sector of Non-formal Education arguably contains the highest percentage of quality language teaching, the sector of Formal Education can be seen as having quite a large proportion of only partial or inconsistent utilization of quality standards in language teaching, with many young adults leaving formal education lacking a good knowledge of foreign languages. Finally, the sphere of Informal learning is perceived as a highly heterogeneous and volatile area, in which the concept of quality language learning is at risk of being substituted by a commercial promise of easy success in learning.
Figure 1: Spread of Quality Language Teaching across sectors of Formal, Non-formal and Informal Education
With this in mind, Next Generation Placement Tests make a strong, positive impact on the spread of quality language teaching. We ensure this aspiration by continual revision of quality through all the stages of NGPT planning, preparation, design, and implementation.