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Teacher competencies

In order to enact the principles in classroom practice, teachers need corresponding competencies. Each principle is followed by the teacher competencies needed in order to develop learning experiences that are consistent with the principle. For example, in order to carry out principle 1, English facilitates two-way communication with the world, one of the teacher competencies is the following: The teacher uses and plans activities that allow learners to practice and develop real-life communication skills for reading, writing, speaking and listening. This teacher competency is essential for this principle because in order to communicate something about themselves in English to people in other parts of the world and to learn about others, students need to engage in activities that develop real-life communication skills. Because the principles are closely interrelated and mutually compatible, one teacher competency may appear with more than one principle. For example, the teacher competency The teacher uses and plans activities that allow learners to practice and develop real-life communication skills for reading, writing, speaking and listening.

1. Communicative competence is the aim of language learning

Communicative competence in English involves interacting with others using receptive/interpretive skills reading and listening) and productive skills (speaking and writing), supported by the ability to use vocabulary and grammar appropriately and employ a range of language strategies that help convey and clarify meaning.

2. Successful learning depends on supported and purposeful development

Learners benefit and get more involved when each activity builds on previous material so that knowledge and skills build logically towards achieving and developing specific competences.

3. Active Learners are successful learners

Learners acquire and retain language best when the topics meet their interests and when they are active participants in their learning: finding personal meaning, learning cooperatively with peers, and making connections to life outside of class.

4. Meaningful activities and tasks support and encourage learning

Classroom activities and tasks should draw on learners’ lives and interests and help them to communicate ideas and meaning in and out of class.

5. Learning is an active, evolving process

Learning a language requires opportunities to use what one knows for communicative purposes, making mistakes and learning from them. The aim is to perform competently, while recognizing that errors may still occur.

6. Assessment is an ongoing part of learning

Ongoing, or regular, assessment should take various forms and address the competencies that have been learned in class, so that the assessment can provide useful information on individual progress and achievement, which teachers and learners can review to aid learning.

7. Teachers are facilitators of learning

Teachers support learner learning by taking a primarily facilitative role in the classroom: designing and structuring learning experiences with learners’ interests and needs in mind; guiding and monitoring learners’ learning; assisting learners in contributing to their own learning in a learner-centered teaching environment.

Teachers foster a supportive learning environment and effective classroom management Teachers have a positive impact on learner learning by creating a supportive and relaxed learning environment and using appropriate classroom management: communicating warmth and respect for learners, encouraging them to participate and work cooperatively and to develop self-confidence.

Teacher competencies:

A comprehensive list of the 30 teacher competencies

1. The teacher uses and plans activities that allow learners to practice and develop real-life communication skills for reading, writing, speaking and listening (e.g. interviewing a classmate, writing about a past experience, reading an email, listening to a phone message).

2. The teacher chooses topics and tasks that allow learners to develop skills in learning and communicating about themselves and their community, and about their country and the world.

3. The teacher introduces a variety of topics of interest to the learners that are related to other cultures, comparison of cultures and international issues.

4. The teacher varies patterns of interaction (e.g. teacher eliciting from class, pair work, learners presenting to class, learners mingling) within the lesson to support the objectives of the class and the feeling/energy of the group

5. The teacher plans lessons that have communicative objectives and whose steps build toward meeting them.

6. The teacher introduces grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary in context, with a focus on communicating meaning.

7. The teacher teaches learners how to use language strategies to aid in their learning and communication.

8. The teacher breaks down functions, genres and skills into smaller components/ skills/parts in order to present realistic ‘chunks’ of the language (or material) for learners to process.

9. The teacher stages the lessons so that what the learner learns/practices in each step prepares for the next ones.

10. The teacher plans lessons that are interconnected and work together as a series to build toward short term goals and long term competencies.

11. The teacher supplements and adapts the textbook to plan activities related to learners’ interests, prior knowledge and experience.

12. The teacher sets tasks that allow the learner to discover how the language works in its form, meaning and use and ensures that each is clear for students.

13. The teacher plans lessons so that learners have to think and use their previous knowledge and imagination to prepare for and carry out classroom activities.

14. The teacher sets tasks that develop cooperative learning and encourages peer help and readiness to exchange with others.

15. The teacher teaches learners how to use language strategies to aid in their learning and communication.

16. The teacher contextualizes the activities and provides a communicative purpose for them.

17. The teacher provides a balance of activities that focus sometimes on accuracy, sometimes on fluency.

18. The teacher plans activities within each lesson in which learners use the language freely without worrying about errors, so that they can focus on fluency and communication.

19. The teacher plans activities in which learners use previously-studied language and skills and incorporate new language and skills.

20. The teacher gives learners opportunities to recognize errors and figure out for themselves how to correct them.

21. The teacher plans lessons that are interconnected and work together as a series to build toward short-term goals and long-term competencies.

22. The teacher regularly assesses learners’ learning using a variety of assessment activities including more informal activities (e.g. monitoring during activities and peer/self-assessment) and more formal ones (e.g. tests, presentations and projects).

23. The teacher plans and uses assessment activities that assess not only what learners know about language, but also what learners are able to do as speakers, listeners, readers and writers.

24. The teacher teaches learners to assess themselves and their peers so that they are aware of their progress.

25. The teacher finds out the needs, interests, and language difficulties of the learners.

26. The teacher selects and introduces activities and materials for language work that meet learners’ needs and interests.

27. The teacher fosters a group feeling (cooperation, respect, enjoyment, trust, etc.).

28. The teacher organizes learners (using space, classroom furniture, time, etc.) to facilitate interaction so that the teacher is not the focus of the lesson.

29. The teacher ensures that all the learners find their involvement sufficiently challenging.

30. The teacher creates a friendly atmosphere (e.g. by using learners’ names, encouraging them, using positive reinforcement like praise and rewards, employing games to practice and review material).

31. The teacher uses effective techniques to build learner self-confidence (e.g. scaffolding, so learners can succeed, using informal types of assessment that produce less anxiety, giving feedback to learners on their work in an encouraging way; employing self assessment and goal setting).

32. The teacher manages the class so learners know what is expected of them (e.g., sharing the daily agenda and classroom rules, providing rubrics for learner performance, giving clear instructions appropriate to the level of the learners and checking that learners understand them).

Language Portfolio is:

  • a learning tool;
  • a means of celebrating children’s language-learning experiences;
  • an open-ended record of children’s achievements in languages;
  • a document which can be kept by the child or the teacher;
  • a valuable source of information to aid transfer to the next class or school.

Languages Portfolio aims to introduce primary school children to a language-learning process which lasts for life. It helps children to:

  • become more aware of the importance and value of knowing different languages;
  • value and promote cultural diversity;
  • reflect on and evaluate ways in which they learn;
  • develop responsibility for their learning;
  • build up knowledge and understanding.

Teacher evaluation

Teacher evaluations are an important and increasingly mandatory process in the management of teacher performance and professional development.

  • Classroom observation

Teaching practices and evidence of student learning are likely to be the most relevant sources of information about professional performance. As a result, teacher evaluation is typically firmly rooted in classroom observation.

  • Objective setting and individual interviews

Most teacher evaluation models require the individual teacher to set performance objectives for a given period of time in agreement with the school management.

  • Teacher self-evaluation

It allows teachers to express their own views about their performance, and reflect on the personal, organisational and institutional factors that had an impact on their teaching.

  • Teacher portfolio

An instrument which typically complements teacher self-evaluation is a teacher portfolio, providing evidence about key aspects of the teacher‟s teaching.

  • Teacher testing

In some countries, for particular purposes such as the access to a permanent position or entry into the profession, teachers are the subject of testing to assess their general and subject-matter competencies. In some instances, the results of such tests can be used for teacher evaluation.

  • For instance: Cambridge English exams by CEFR level/li>

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is an international standard for describing language ability. It is used around the world to describe learners’ language skills.

  • Student results

Student results are not commonly used as sources of evidence for teacher evaluation in countries.


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