The Proficiency Approach

Proficiency is an approach used in teaching a foreign language that aims to assist learners in developing their ability to perform in the learned language in ​all four skills:

​      Reading


​                  Listening



Why Proficiency?

It Allows a Flexible Curriculum:
The goal of the Proficiency Approach is to promote the learners’

functional abilities according to a fixed set of criteria. Therefore, it

allows each teacher and institution to select the most suitable material

or teaching method that will maximize their learners’ language acquisition process.


It Helps Articulate Learning Goals:
By describing the nature of each level of performance in each language skill the guidelines provide us with the tools to create a path for our learners to move from one stage to the next.  The criteria used in the guidelines help language educators create and articulate clearly specific performance goals for their learners of all language skills.

It Supports Language Acquisition:
The Proficiency Approach is the most efficient framework that allows the acquisition of a learned language in an academic setting in which the contact hours are relatively limited.  By adopting the notion of performance as the core principle, the Proficiency Approach focuses on the learners’ abilities in the target language by concentrating simply on what the learners know about the language.  This approach helps learners internalize the language.

It Creates a Learners-Centered Environment:
Aiming to bring learners to a high level of performance in the target language demands an understanding of who they are as learners.  Language educators must know their learners’ variables and take them into consideration while creating the curriculum.  These variables include their motivation, appropriate language learning style and learning strategies, level of anxiety, predisposition toward the language, and level of aptitude to acquire it.

It Helps Assess Learners’ Performance:
Using the guidelines criteria makes it easier to assess learners’ language abilities in all four skills for the purpose of making decisions on placing learners into their appropriate learning groups as well as for making decisions relating to articulation of learning goals.


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