Treatment of oral expression of the English language from the Common European Framework of Reference

EDUMECENTRO 2023;15:e2317



Treatment of oral expression of the English language from the Common European Framework of Reference

Tratamiento de la expresión oral del idioma inglés desde el Marco Común Europeo de Referencia


Norma Melitina Nodarse González1*
Ismayasil Gimeranez Gómez1
Yenilen Aviles Contreras1
Yodenis Perez Cabrera1


1 Central University "Marta Abreu" of Las Villas. Villa Clara. Cuba.


* Corresponding author. Email:




The objective of this article is to highlight the importance of the treatment of oral expression as a productive skill in the training of university students with an emphasis on the Medicine career from the new policy assumed for the teaching and learning process of the English language in its study. as a foreign language, which has implied assuming new challenges and trends for the development of the teaching and learning process of this language in the training of different professionals in the context of the Cuban university. The study assumes as theoretical support the Common European Framework of Reference, the communicative approach, the new international standards for the treatment and evaluation of oral expression, as well as previous studies that have addressed this issue from other contexts.

MeSH: communication; speaks; medical education; teaching; learning.


Este artículo tiene como objetivo resaltar la importancia del tratamiento de la expresión oral como habilidad productiva en la formación de los estudiantes universitarios con énfasis en la carrera de Medicina, desde la nueva política asumida para el proceso de enseñanza y aprendizaje del idioma inglés en su estudio como lengua extranjera, lo que ha implicado asumir nuevos retos y tendencias para el desarrollo del proceso de enseñanza y aprendizaje de este idioma en la formación de los diferentes profesionales en el contexto de la universidad cubana. El estudio asume como sustento teórico el Marco Común Europeo de Referencia, el enfoque comunicativo, los nuevos estándares internacionales para el tratamiento y evaluación de la expresión oral, así como estudios anteriores que han abordado esta temática desde otros contextos.

DeCS: comunicación; habla; educación médica; enseñanza; aprendizaje.



Received: 02/02/2022
Approved: 29/11/2022



The scientific and technological progress that has conditioned the historical, social, and competitive development of the 21st century characterize the global context in which professionals from all sciences work. Cuba is immersed in the world of science and technology as they are essential priorities for the development of the country.

It is necessary to create strategies from the academy itself to solve the difficulties that may arise in the communication of the English language. Some years ago, the process of teaching and learning the English language in its study as a foreign language has been perfected, taking as one of the foundations, the use of descriptors for standardized evaluation as a fundamental aspect of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). This goes beyond the communicative approach of the mid-70s, used in all the Universities in Cuba, including those of Medical Sciences.(1)

Trends and new technologies in today's world open possibilities to develop a process of teaching and learning English as a foreign language, using modern practices fostered by its international nature. Currently, in Cuba, the English language is the selected foreign language in all teachings. Its objectives to determine the appropriate educational policy stem, above all, from the need to train a competent citizen and future professional in contemporary times.

The fundamental reasons for its inclusion in the curriculum of university degrees in Cuba refer to its importance as an international language because it is the language in which the most up-to-date bibliographies are found and because it is considered a communication tool in different fields. Hence the need for all graduates of higher education centers and medical universities in the country to demonstrate abilities to communicate orally and in writing, in English, on topics related to their professional activity.

In the country's Higher Medical Education Centers, the English Language discipline program is part of the General Training disciplines of the Medicine career. The English language not only plays an academic role in the curriculum, but also constitutes a necessary instrument for the professional work and scientific development of future health professionals.

The study of English as a foreign language in higher education and in the medical university in Cuba has gone through different stages, which have been represented by exponents and methods that have contributed to the teaching of the most universal of languages. From the periodization carried out, the stages have been framed as eras characterized using different methods or approaches:(2)

  • The grammar-translation method
  • The direct method
  • The audio-lingual method
  • The cognitive method
  • Silent methods, language learning in groups and suggestopedia
  • The communicative approach
  • The total physical response method

All these methods demanded a methodological work aimed at meeting the objectives set in correspondence with the characteristics of said method and the needs of the training context in different countries, among which, of course, Cuba is included.(3)

As of 2015, the Ministry of Higher Education in Cuba introduces the national English policy that considered the CEFR as the main competence framework and defined B1 as a graduation requirement.(4)

From this moment, the process of teaching, learning and evaluation of English begins to be resized, for the training of students at all university careers that takes as a reference, both the rich Cuban pedagogical tradition and international trends and standards: the CEFR and the Pearson Global English Scale, among others. This system of objectives by levels guides the work in the national context and constitutes a common reference base platform for the elaboration of course programs, consultancies, self-learning and evaluation, both standardized and non-standardized.(5)

The first versions of the CEFR date from 1996 and 1998. Before being published in English and French in 2001, it has already been translated into 40 languages and is accepted as an international standard for language teaching and learning.(6)

The CEFR is one of the most well-known and used Council of Europe language policy instruments. Through the European Cultural Convention, fifty European countries undertake to promote "among their subjects the study of the languages, history and civilization" of other European countries. It has played, and continues to play, an important role in making this vision of Europe a reality.(6)

The teaching of the English language in the universities in Cuba has also been immersed in an evolutionary process of methods and approaches to achieve a mastery of the language based on the challenges, requirements and needs demanded by the development of society.

These approaches have been aimed at the training of a professional capable of communicating effectively in this foreign language, within the framework of their work and professional activity and specifically, in the teaching of oral expression in English, from its character of productive ability.

The CEFR defines oral expression in categories that respond to three macro-functions: interpersonal, transactional, and evaluative, and two specialized textual genres: public speaking and making public announcements. The sustained monologue: describing experiences scale focuses on descriptions and narratives, while the sustained monologue: arguing (for example, in a debate) scale describes the ability to articulate an argument as part of a long turn in the context of a conversation. normal or a discussion. The sustained monologue scale: giving information emerged in 2018, some descriptors of exchanging information have been transferred to it, closer to monologue than to dialogue.(7)

Oral language is used to establish social relations by way of interaction and to exchange vital information for the interlocutors in a transactional way, it stands out for the short communicative turns between the interlocutors, who transmit information to establish social relations. Language used for transactional purposes is characterized by the use of long communicative turns and is oriented towards the listener.(8)

The interaction involves two or more interlocutors who jointly build the discourse, it is fundamental in the CEFR language use scheme. Interpersonal interaction is the origin of language, with interpersonal, collaborative, and transactional functions. The expression in the form of a story can be considered a later development in orality and eventually, in literacy.

Oral interaction includes both spoken interaction and live, face-to-face assignment. The scales are, once again, organized according to the three macro-functions: interpersonal, transactional and evaluative, to which are added certain specialized textual genres.(7)

Through this communication, the authors have referred to the importance of treating the oral expression of English as a productive linguistic skill in the context of the current Cuban university and warn about the importance of the CEFR descriptors for its evaluation.



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2. Calvet Valdés NI. Alternativa metodológica para la enseñanza del inglés, mediante actividades de motivación en escolares del primer ciclo de la Educación Primaria [tesis]. Ciudad de La Habana: Universidad de La Habana; 2004.

3. Montané González B, Trujillo Chong OE, Cruz Gorgoy H, González Barrera JM. El proceso enseñanza aprendizaje del ciclo de Inglés General: su estado actual. Rev Ciencias Médicas [Internet]. 2014 [citado 06/01/2022];18(4):[aprox. 14 p.]. Disponible en:

4. Harsch C, Collada Peña IC, Gutiérrez Baffil T, Castro Álvarez P, García Fernández I. Interpretation of the CEFR Companion Volume for developing rating scales in Cuban higher education. Jalt [Internet]. 2020 [citado 10/01/2022];5:[aprox. 21 p.]. Disponible en:

5. Cuba. Ministerio de Educación Superior. Orientaciones generales para la implementación de la Política de perfeccionamiento del proceso de formación en idioma inglés de los estudiantes de la educación superior cubana. La Habana: MES; 2019.

6. Council of Europe. Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing [Internet]. Strasbourg; 2020. [citado 10/01/2022]. Disponible en:

7. Marco Común Europeo de Referencia para las Lenguas: Aprendizaje, Enseñanza, Evaluación. Volumen en español. [Internet]. Estrasburgo; 2021. [citado 18/01/2022]. Disponible en:

8. Diccionario de términos clave de ELE. [Internet]. Madrid: Centro virtual Cervantes; 2022 [citado 19/01/2022] Disponible en:



Declaration of interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.



Contribution of the authors

Information management, review and writing of the article: Norma Melitina Nodarse González, Ismayasil Gimeranez Gómez, Yenilen Avilés Contreras, Yodenis Pérez Cabrera

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