COURSES 2008 | 2009
are the principal means of communication between
individuals as members of society. Consequently, as people,
we are interested in being able to communicate with others,
so that we understand them and can make ourselves understood,
in a variety of situations and contexts. This interest in
communicating, in interacting, is people's main objective
when they speak and, as a result, should also be the objective
of a student learning a foreign language. In order to achieve
this objective, the learner needs control of the language
and that involves equipping oneself not only with a wide
range of words and grammatical structures but also, particularly,
learning to use the words in different situations and for
a variety of purposes.
On UAB Idiomes courses, we attempt to have the student
actively use the language during class to carry out communicative
tasks that resemble what we do in real life, in a variety
of different situations. Study of grammar and vocabulary
thus falls within a more global approach that sees language
as a series of linguistic functions. A function is what
we do with a language for a given purpose or objective;
when we wish to apologise for having done something wrong,
for example, or when we want to obtain further information
on a particular matter. Linguistic functions encompass
the (written and spoken) tasks of receiving and producing
in a communicative situation and are a fundamental part
of the course programmes.
On the programme for each language, we will find that,
for each regular course, a series of general objectives
have been established which are further specified with a
description of linguistic functions and grammar content.
These functions, and grammatical knowledge of the language,
help us learn to communicate, both in speech and in writing.
The objective of classes at UAB
Idiomes is to achieve the objectives specified on the
programme; to this end, given the importance functions
have for communication, in the classroom we put the emphasis
on interaction. This interaction involves the active
participation of the student, who is seen not as a passive
being, listening and taking notes, but as the principle
vehicle for learning. It is thus vital for the student to
communicate, not just with the teacher but also with classmates.
Transmitting and receiving information is what we do in
our mother tongue and it is what we are attempting to learn
to do in the language classroom. For this reason, the teacher
designs and uses activities in which the student is an active
participant and that participation is fundamental to
the learning of a language. We can thus say that, at UAB
Idiomes, our methodological approach is a communicative
In order to foster communicative
competence in a language, it is necessary to find activities
that resemble the sort of activity the student would have
to carry out in life outside the classroom. For that reason,
the teacher uses activities in which the student has to
work in pairs or in groups. Activities of this sort,
carried out in groups of students with the teacher's constant
supervision, have the advantage of making it possible for
each student to have a real opportunity to use language
in the classroom. In interaction, each student puts to work
not only lexical and grammatical knowledge but also all
the strategies that are necessary in order for communication
to be successful, whether this involves listening or reading,
speaking or writing. Thanks to interaction, we learn greater
communicative competence. In communicative activities, it
is the student that is responsible for the task being carried
out; it is an approach that is action-oriented, one in which
all of the student's linguistic abilities come into play
and are of importance.
Activities outside the classroom
Learning a language is not something
that ends when the student leaves the classroom. It is vital
not to lose contact with the language being studied, in
order to be able to maintain and improve on everything that
has been learnt in class.
How do we evaluate?
The evaluation system used on our regular courses bears
in mind the progress the student makes during the course,
as well as whether or not the objectives established
for the programme have been achieved. For students on
UAB Idiomes courses there is thus continuous assessment
as well as a final examination.
The continuous assessment tests and examinations at UAB
Idiomes reflect the focus used in class. As a result, the
student has to demonstrate an acceptable level in the four
linguistic skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing).
Grammar and vocabulary, while obviously part of any act
of communication, are not evaluated separately -except in
the case of Catalan and Spanish; the student's lexical and
grammatical knowledge is reflected in the evaluation made
of the four linguistic skills.
UAB Idiomes Barcelona 2008 - 2009 | Design : Linguaweb