ELAINE GALLAGHER – 4
Most of you probably know some English, but might not have the fluency you want. That will come with practice, the same as playing basketball. The more you listen, the more you attempt to repeat or speak, the more fluent you’ll be. Of course, your vocabulary level is important, too, and helps greatly with fluency.
Let’s look now at one of the six language levels. Remember the six levels, as designated by the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference to Language Learning) are: A-1, A-2, B-1, B-2, C-1, C-2. The levels can refer to ANY language, not only English, and they include the abilities of listening, speaking, reading, writing.
The A-1 level is basic English. It is NOT, however, the very beginning level, such as an ELL (English Language Learner) at kindergarten or first grade level. For a child in a school with a true bilingual program (50% Spanish/50% English), the A-1 level should be reached by the end of second grade or primary school.
But what if the child has English only an hour a week? Or, what about students who begin to study in their teen or adult years? Let’s look at the observable characteristics of Levels A-1 described as «Basic English Users».
In general, at A-1, the ELL can understand and use expressions of daily habits, such as «Hello. How are you?». Can ask basic questions about home, preferences, personal belongings, to persons they know. Can understand others if they speak slowly and clearly and have an attitude of helping the new language learner. Can give their name and address to friends, and use simple phrases to meet personal needs.
I can recognize familiar words and very basic phrases concerning myself, my family and immediate concrete surroundings when people speak slowly and clearly.
I can use simple phrases and sentences to describe where I live and people I know.
I can interact in a simple way provided the other person is prepared to repeat or rephrase things at a slower rate of speech and help me formulate what I’m trying to say. I can ask and answer simple questions in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics.
I can understand familiar names, words and very simple sentences, for example on notices and posters or in catalogues.
I can write a short, simple postcard, for example sending holiday greetings. I can fill in forms with personal details, for example entering my name, nationality and address on a hotel registration form.
Now you are more familiar with the first CEFR level, A-1.
Next blog, I’ll describe A-2. As you read the next few blogs, see if you can figure out YOURpersonal English level.