Publication details

Quality Assurance: A Balancing Act

Authors

ŽVÁČKOVÁ Jitka

Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source CASALC Review
MU Faculty or unit

Language Centre

Citation
Field Pedagogy and education
Keywords quality assurance; quality assessment; feedback; observations
Attached files
Description Language Centre Quality Assurance can be used for a wide range of purposes, from audits of services and procedures to reflection on best practices and improvements of language education. Quality Assurance systems across Europe differ considerably. The Czech Republic, unlike the UK or Spain, applies no unified national standards, therefore, the Masaryk University Language Centre (CJV MU), in compliance with the Masaryk University strategic plan, is obliged to set its own standards and procedures. In order to achieve desired goals, CJV MU has adopted Quality Assurance systems developed, tested and used by University Language Centres associated in CercleS and focused on three major areas: the learner, the teacher and the Language Centre management. While the learner area follows a traditional path of standard questionnaires and the management quality is assessed in collaboration with external auditing companies and professionals, the teacher area represents a considerable challenge to the CJV MU. This paper shares our experience with the Quality Assessment of teaching. It overviews areas incorporated and strategies applied in CJV MU in the period 2012-2014, such as self-assessment questionnaires, course and individual lesson plan analyses, observations and feedback. It shares experience with some critical moments that threatened to undermine the credibility of usefulness of the whole process and lessons learnt from that experience. Finally, it identifies current results, concrete benefits and possible directions that could guarantee a high-quality teaching in a long term perspective.