LanQua Toolkit: The Quality Model

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Introduction

The LanQua Quality Model has been developed to guide practice and reflection on practice in order to enhance the quality of the learning experience for those engaged in the learning and teaching of languages. It approaches quality from a teacher and learner perspective and supports a bottom‐up view of quality assurance which is based in practice and which has a mainly enhancement function that can work alongside and complement other more formal quality assurance processes within and external to higher education institutions.

The graphical representation of the LanQua Quality Model describes an iterative approach to quality intended to inform the planning and review of teaching and learning within a subject area, in this case languages. In general, formal processes of quality assurance consider quality in broad terms – the institution, the programme and/or the subject. The model presented here can be used in any of these contexts but is also relevant to questions of quality (of the learning experience) at the level of an individual module, lesson (lecture, seminar), task (learning or assessment) or classroom interaction. Also included will be continuing professional development activities or other initiatives that relate to quality enhancement (e.g. peer review of teaching). Many of these instances of micro‐level quality assurance are considered during formal quality assurance but many others are unrecorded or overlooked when measuring quality in student learning. However, much teacher reflection which occurs during planning and practice has a key role to play in the delivery of quality and contributes to the ‘quality story’ that a course team or institution needs to tell its students, their parents, employers and other stakeholders as well as quality agencies and other bodies with a formal role in quality evaluation. This model is intended to support HE practitioners in using what they already ‘know’ about their practice and making this explicit to inform and enhance quality processes at the level of teaching practice and learning development. The model presented here offers practical suggestions and reflective questions to support planning and review of teaching which are illustrated by case study examples drawn from a range of institutions and languages sub‐disciplines around Europe. It has been developed by HE teachers for HE teachers to stimulate reflection and discussion, and provide tools which can be used to demonstrate good practice to a range of key agents in the quality process.

Although this is a model which can be applied across disciplines it is presented here in the context of a single disciplinary field: languages. It has been well established that the academic community is best engaged in discussions of pedagogy and quality assurance through its discipline communities (e.g. EU Tuning Project http://tuning.unideusto.org/tuningeu/, UK Higher Education Academy Subject Network www.heacademy.ac.uk) and this has been the approach in the development of the Quality Model presented here. The model was developed by a team drawn from higher education institutions across Europe who worked in five sub‐groups: Language Learning, Intercultural Communication, Literature and Culture, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) and Language Teacher Education to develop the model and its complementary resources – case studies, learning outcomes and Frame of Reference – which together make up the LanQua Quality Toolkit.

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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