Birzeit University launches its New English Language Instruction Curricula

Birzeit University launches its new English language education program for its undergraduate students starting this academic year 2016/2017. The new curriculum is aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) in its learner-driven philosophy and it describes six levels of language attainment starting from level A1 at the basic user level to level C2 at the proficient user level of English language competence.

The new approach comes in response to the university strategic commitment to advance the teaching of languages in its curricula with emphasis on English language instruction. It responds to the need of equipping BZU students and graduates with the level of language fluency and competency that can support their progression through the demands of their academic programs as well as improve their competitiveness and employability in the labor market.

The new curricula emerged after rigorous needs assessments, review of current practices, and piloting of interventions, all endorsed and supported by the university faculty and staff to ensure its smooth deployment. The new courses adopt a blended approach with weekly face-to-face sessions coupled with an online learning component of supporting activities and assessment to advance students’ four skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing, while promoting their learner autonomy and providing the practice needed to advance their language competence.

A new placement test, APTIS, a modern English language proficiency test designed and accredited by the British Council, was also employed in the assessment of the students’ language proficiency to place them in the appropriate CEFR level from the start of their studies at the university.

The new English program aligns with recognized international standardized testing for language proficiency and shall improve our students and graduates’ ability to seek and compete for exchange programs, scholarships, and employment graduate studies opportunities locally, regionally and internationally.