Global Scale of English Ambassadors

Leaders in English language learning

 

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Handpicked experts shaping the future of English language learning

GSE Ambassadors are dedicated advocates of the Global Scale of English (GSE), driven by their belief in its ability to inspire learners, fast-track progress and build their confidence in English language.

Our GSE Ambassadors have a wealth of ELT experience between them, as teachers, authors, researchers and academics. They actively engage on social media, lead informative webinars, contribute thought-provoking blogs, and deliver impactful presentations at both local and international English language events.

We are proud to partner with them to introduce the GSE and its benefits to the language learning community around the world.

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Partner with us and become a GSE Ambassador to raise the profile of the GSE and you as an expert in ELT. 

Mike Mayor

The driving force behind the GSE Ambassadors program

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  • Students sat at a table with a teacher stood with them interacting with them

    Why don’t my students speak English in class?

    By Silvia Minardi
    Reading time: 3 minutes

    Last year, I contributed to a national research project with an article titled “My Students Don’t Speak English in Class: Why?”. The title originated from a concern expressed by a language teacher involved in the project, highlighting a common challenge faced by numerous language teachers. The difficulty of developing learners’ production and interaction skills is a well-known issue in language education.

    Large and increasingly diverse classes, limited time, and learners’ reluctance to speak in class are significant hurdles. During pair and group work, students often revert to their first language (L1), they lack confidence in speaking activities and end up avoiding all interaction in English. These observations are consistent with recent Global Scale of English (GSE) research findings, which indicate that 52% of English learners leave formal education without confidence in their speaking skills.

    Factors contributing to learners’ reluctance

    Several factors contribute to students’ reluctance to speak English in class. Psychological barriers such as lack of motivation, shyness, low self-confidence, fear of making mistakes, anxiety and concerns about negative evaluation play a crucial role. Linguistic challenges, including limited vocabulary, poor pronunciation, and insufficient grammatical skills, further exacerbate the problem.

    Task-related issues can also hinder speaking, especially when tasks are not well-matched to the learner’s proficiency level or focus more on accuracy than communication. Additionally, the classroom environment may not always be conducive to speaking, particularly for learners who need more time to formulate their thoughts before speaking.

    Positive teacher impact

    Fortunately, teachers can positively influence these intertwined factors. By creating a supportive classroom atmosphere and implementing well-designed tasks that prioritize communication over perfection, teachers can encourage reluctant students to participate more actively in speaking activities.

    Leveraging technology: Mondly by Pearson

    One effective tool that can help address these challenges is Mondly by Pearson. This learning companion is especially beneficial for learners who are hesitant to speak in class. Mondly by Pearson offers over 500 minutes of speaking practice, encouraging learners to use English in real-life situations and tasks that prioritize action and communication over accuracy. This approach allows for mistakes - they are part of the game - thus fostering a positive mindset, which is essential if we want to enhance our learners’ speaking skills.

    AI-powered conversations

    A standout feature of Mondly by Pearson is its AI-powered conversation capability, thanks to advanced speech recognition software. Learners can engage in interactive role plays and conversations on topics of their choice, at their own pace, both in class and outside school. This flexibility helps build self-confidence and allows students to experiment with various production and interaction strategies. The instant feedback provided by Luna, the incorporated AI friend, is highly motivating and can significantly enhance the learning experience.

    Comprehensive skill development

    Mondly by Pearson is designed not only for speaking but also to develop all four language skills—listening, reading, writing and speaking—and is aligned with the Global Scale of English. The vocabulary for each topic is selected from the GSE vocabulary database, ensuring that learners are exposed to level-appropriate words and phrases.

    Integration into classroom teaching

    To facilitate the integration of Mondly by Pearson into classroom teaching, three GSE mapping booklets have recently been published. These booklets cater to different proficiency levels:

    • Beginner (GSE range: 10-42 / CEFR level: A1-A2+)
    • Intermediate (GSE range: 43-58 / CEFR level: B1-B1+)
    • Advanced (GSE range: 59-75 / CEFR level: B2-B2+)

    These resources provide practical guidance on how to incorporate Mondly by Pearson into lesson plans effectively, ensuring that the tool complements classroom activities and enhances overall language learning.

    Conclusion

    Encouraging students to speak English in class is a multifaceted challenge, but it is not insurmountable. By understanding the various factors that contribute to learners’ reluctance and leveraging innovative tools like Mondly by Pearson, teachers can create a more engaging and supportive learning environment. This approach not only boosts students’ confidence in their speaking abilities but also fosters a more inclusive and interactive classroom atmosphere.

    Embracing technology and aligning teaching practices with modern educational standards, such as the Global Scale of English, can lead to significant improvements in language proficiency and student engagement.

  • A woman teaching in front of a laptop with a noteboard behind her

    Implications for educators on fostering student success

    By Belgin Elmas
    Reading time: 5 minutes

    Pearson’s recent report, “How English empowers your tomorrow,” carries significant implications for educators. It underlines that increased English proficiency correlates with improved economic and social outcomes. Educational institutions play a crucial role in preparing students for professional success, employing various pedagogical approaches and teaching methods to meet the diverse needs of learners across universities, colleges and schools. However, the main unfortunate result of the report for educators is the argument that learners are leaving formal education without the essential skills required to achieve these better outcomes.

    Furthermore, as stated in the report, many of them are not lucky enough to be adequately equipped for the demands of their professional roles as they continue their careers. This emphasizes educators’ underlying responsibility to critically evaluate their teaching and assessment methods to ensure their students are effectively prepared for real-world challenges, especially as they transition into higher education where the stakes for academic and professional success are significantly elevated.

    The data of the report comes from five countries, and while Turkey is not one of them, many of the findings are still relevant to the English language education system in Turkey. Given the significant investment of time and effort, with foreign language education starting in the second grade for the majority of students in the Ministry of National Education schools, better outcomes would be expected in mastering the global language.

    Numerous reasons contributing to this failure could be listed but I would put the perception of how language is defined, taught and assessed within the education system in first place. English language classes are generally approached as “subjects to be taught” at schools, and rather than focusing on finding ways of improving learners’ skills in the foreign language, the curriculum includes “topics to be covered” with a heavy focus on grammar and vocabulary.

    This, of course, extends to assessment practices, and the cycle continues primarily with teaching and assessing grammar and vocabulary proficiency. Participants in Pearson’s report claim the heavy emphasis on teaching grammar and vocabulary, and not having enough opportunities to practice the language both inside and outside the classroom, as the three primary factors contributing to their lack of communication skills. If this was asked to Turkish learners, it’s highly likely that we would get the exact same three top reasons. The implication for educators here is very explicit: we must first revisit the definition of what “knowing a language is” and align our definition with our teaching and assessment methodology. What use is knowing a language without being able to communicate with it?

    New opportunities needed for practice

    Another clear implication for learners’ lack of opportunities to use the target language both in and outside the classroom is evident; teachers must refrain from dominating classroom discourse and instead create opportunities for learners to actively engage with the language. Recognizing common learning barriers in this context is crucial, as these barriers can significantly hinder students' ability to practice language skills effectively in corporate settings, professional development, and adult learning environments. Especially in a foreign language context, like in Turkey, this would gain even more importance for the students who lack opportunities to practice their target language in their daily lives.

    Understanding different learning styles is essential in this process, as it allows teachers to design engagement strategies that accommodate visual, kinaesthetic, or auditory learning preferences, thus addressing the limitations and specific needs of individual learners. Teachers, who are reported to dominate 80% of class time with their own talk, have the primary responsibility for this issue. These teachers, which refers to the majority, should monitor themselves to ensure they are creating opportunities for active participation and language practice for their students.

    Encouraging the learning process as an everyday habit

    Students seem to need guidance for practicing the language not only inside but also outside the classroom to improve their proficiency, where external factors such as limited access to resources and environmental distractions can significantly hinder their ability to learn. Integrating technology into education and guiding students to continue their learning beyond classroom settings would undoubtedly be valuable advice. Language learning apps and especially social media can empower students to engage with the language in creative and meaningful ways, addressing extrinsic barriers by providing access to resources and support that overcome the lack of support from teachers or peers and environmental distractions.

    Being able to function in a foreign language, such as negotiating, giving opinions, and making suggestions, were indicated as areas where the gap exists between what is needed and what students possess in language skills. Such a result would again require a shift towards more communicative and task-based language teaching approaches, giving opportunities for students to exercise these skills not only in professional but also in academic and social contexts.

    Raising awareness among students about the benefits of language proficiency can be suggested as another implication that will also inspire them. Aligning educational curricula with real-life needs and raising awareness of both students and teachers about the rationale behind it is crucial for helping students set their own goals more accurately while their teachers guide them with realistic expectations.

    Understanding motivational learning barriers

    "I didn’t feel as if I was making progress" was one of the barriers participants indicated was stopping them from achieving greater proficiency, highlighting an emotional learning barrier that stems from internal challenges such as peer pressure and resistance to change. This gives another implication for assisting students to recognize and appreciate how much they have achieved in their learning process and how much more there is to achieve. Additionally, motivational barriers play a significant role, as they reflect the obstacles that arise from losing curiosity and desire for learning, leading to students missing classes or refusing to take courses. The Global Scale of English (GSE) is definitely a valuable tool to track learner progress by providing a concrete framework and by improving their confidence, thereby helping to overcome both emotional and motivational barriers.

    In conclusion, while the list of implications for educators might be enhanced, the most significant suggestion lies in reconsidering our perception of language learning and proficiency. This shift in perspective will have a great impact on all aspects of language education, particularly teaching and assessment methodologies. Embracing this new understanding of language teaching will not only enhance the effectiveness of language education but also better prepare learners for real-world language use and interaction and better life conditions.

  • A teacher helping students at a table. The GSE ambassador logo is to the left of them.

    Empowering future educators: Integrating the GSE into pre-service teacher training

    By Belgin Elmas
    Reading time: 6 minutes

    When we used to go somewhere by car, my son, who was just three years old, would repeatedly ask me, "How far do we need to go?" every five minutes. He was curious to know where we were and how close we were to our destination. Even though the answer was just a number, it would satisfy him and relieve his curiosity.

    For language learners, it is important to maintain a high level of curiosity about progress and the distance needed to cover in their language learning journey. This can help identify areas for improvement and help them stay motivated. For teachers, it is also important to have a tool that can assist their students in visualizing their language learning goals more concretely. The Global Scale of English (GSE) is a valuable resource for this purpose. It not only indicates learners' current proficiency levels but also provides learning outcomes to help them progress in their abilities. The scale ranges from 10 to 90 and offers a personalized pathway for improvement in each individual skill based on global research. By using the GSE, both learners and teachers can work together to achieve language learning success.

    I believe the GSE is one of the most valuable resources a language teacher needs in teaching English; the learning outcomes provide clear guidance on what to teach, tailored to the specific needs of learner groups. With five options designed for pre-primary, young, general adult, professional and academic English learner groups, the GSE offers educators clear paths to customize their teaching strategies effectively. It also assists teachers in motivating their students by showing their progress regularly, which provides precious support throughout their learning journey.

    I also believe that the sooner we introduce teachers to this valuable tool in their teaching careers, the better equipped they will be to help their learners. With this belief in mind, we integrated the GSE into our pre-service teacher education program, making it the cornerstone for lesson planning and assessment. This blog aims to explain our implementation process at TED University's Education Faculty English Language Teaching Department, hoping to provide a model for other programs interested in adopting a similar approach.  

    Implementing the GSE

    Our implementation process started with conducting in-service training sessions for the faculty members, many of whom were also unfamiliar with the GSE. To ensure comprehensive understanding, we organized meetings with the teacher trainers responsible for teaching the methodology courses. These sessions consisted of in-depth discussions on the nature of the GSE, its significance in language teaching and practical guidance on integrating it into the curriculum we were following.

    As the second step, we designed a lesson plan to be used for the first methodology course our pre-service teacher trainees would undertake for the same objective we had for in-service teacher training sessions. In this initial lesson, we started by discussing the aims of CEFR and GSE, highlighting their differences.

    Then, we facilitated discussions on how GSE helps to monitor the progress of learners, what the main features are that the GSE has been built upon, and most importantly, we focused on increasing our future teachers' consciousness on how learning objectives can help a teacher. The lesson proceeded with an introduction to the GSE Toolkit, clarifying its categories, contained skills, and the target language learners it caters to. After providing diverse samples across various skills and outcomes, we demonstrated how our pre-service teachers can find learning objectives within the scale and how they can use them. 

    The lesson then transitioned into practical exercises designed to familiarize the teachers with the toolkit. Through guided instructions, such as selecting a target group, a skill, and a proficiency range, we prompted them to engage in activities aimed at perceiving the usefulness of the toolkit. We then asked them to report on some chosen parameters, such as the selected range, the number of objectives identified, and the potential text materials applicable to the chosen skill (e.g., reading comprehension). We followed a similar process for the other skills. 

    The second part of the lesson illustrated how different teaching materials were mapped with the GSE framework, utilizing sample coursebooks like Speakout, Roadmap and Startup. The lesson concluded with getting reflections from the pre-service teachers on their perceptions of the GSE. We gathered their insights on its usefulness, including its impact on curriculum design, teaching methodologies, and skill assessment practices.

    After being introduced to the GSE, we asked our pre-service teachers to integrate it into all their teaching-related courses. They now plan their lessons based on the learning outcomes provided in the toolkit, benefitting from the additional resources it offers to enhance their instructional practices. Teaching Skills, Teaching English to Young Learners, and Material Development can be given as samples of the courses the GSE was integrated into; there is no need to mention that all teaching practicum-related courses are in the integration part as well.

    The benefits 

    What did we gain by integrating the GSE into our pre-service teacher education program? Quite a few significant benefits, actually. Firstly, it standardized the language and terminology used throughout the department; when we refer to terms like 'learning outcomes', 'proficiency of language learners' or 'learner progress', everyone understands the set of terms uniformly across our department. No need to mention that our pre-service teachers gained the privilege of being introduced to a widely recognized toolkit in the field. While their peers may not yet be familiar with the GSE, our students gain early exposure to this valuable resource. Incorporating the GSE into our program also has allowed our pre-service teachers access to a range of valuable resources.

    In addition to the GSE Toolkit, resources such as Text Analyzer or instructional materials aligned with the GSE help our future teachers plan and deliver language instruction more effectively. As a result, our pre-service teachers enter the field with a deeper understanding of language assessment, proficiency levels, and learner needs.

    Next steps

    What's next? There's still much to accomplish and a considerable journey ahead of us. Currently, our primary focus is on making our initiatives more public, aiming to share our experiences with other pre-service teacher education programs considering integrating the GSE into their curriculum. In addition, introducing the GSE to in-service teacher programs in Turkey and globally could also be valuable for enhancing language teaching practices and the professional development of language teachers worldwide.

    Publishing articles, presenting at conferences, hosting workshops, or developing online resources might be some of the sources for sharing our practices. Increasing the awareness of policymakers, school administrators, and language teachers on the GSE and highlighting the benefits of using a standardized granular framework like the GSE can encourage broader adoption and implementation across educational settings. Collaboration opportunities with other institutions and stakeholders in language education will help all of us to reach our destination more quickly and efficiently. Finally, research on the impact of the GSE in language education is required to refine our approaches.

    As a result, we are very pleased with the integration of the GSE into our teacher education program, as it has paved the way for significant advances. While recognizing there's still a considerable journey ahead, we also celebrate the progress we've made thus far and are curious about the other possible opportunities that lie ahead.

Brazil

Renata Condi
Leonor Corradi

Argentina

Turkey

Belgin Elmas
Billie Jago

United Kingdom

Italy

Silvia Minardi
Lukasz Pakula

Poland

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