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ECML Programme - Programme 2016-2019

Towards a Common European Framework of Reference for language teachers

How do existing tools and publications define and present language teacher competences, and how are these tools used in practice? What could be the added value of a future Common European Framework of Reference for Language Teachers, and what might be its form, content, and function? To answer these questions, this project will develop a comprehensive description of language teacher competences. Read more

Working languages of the project: English, French
Project term: 2016-2019
Project pages (restricted access)

Who will benefit from the project?

Whilst the direct beneficiaries will be teacher educators and those developing teacher education programmes, and in turn, the teacher-learner of these programmes, the ultimate beneficiaries will be learners, because teachers will be better equipped to respond to individual learner needs. The outputs will stimulate teacher educators, as well as the authorities and persons who employ teachers, to reflect on teaching competences. They will aid development of a coherent overview of the competences needed, as well as providing access to the examples of descriptions of competences in the existing tools. Teachers themselves will also be able to draw on the resources provided, including a robust frame of reference, in their ongoing self-development. This will help to alleviate the sense of isolation sometimes experienced by teachers and teacher educators.

Envisaged outputs

  1. A user guide for existing competence frameworks and instruments for language education that have been developed by the Council of Europe (ECML, Language Policy Unit), and other organisations.
  2. Practical examples of how the existing tools are used in various contexts, including critical reviews and references to national curricula.
  3. An inventory of key language teaching competences. If feasible, these will include language-related competences relevant to subject teachers.
  4. Further development, piloting and empirical validation of existing tools, including the Swiss Profiles, FREPA, the EPG and the Eaquals Framework, so as to adapt them for broader use within Europe.
  5. An examination of the need for, and feasibility of, a Common European Framework of Reference for Language Teachers.

Envisaged outcomes

  1. Better quality language education which meets the needs of all learners as a result of
    improved initial and in-service language teacher education, and autonomous professional development for language teachers and teachers of all subjects.
  2. Greater international transparency and coherence in language teacher education that takes into account the diversity of educational contexts across member states.
  3. A deeper understanding and broader awareness of the role all teachers play in developing the linguistic repertoire of their learners.
  4. Improved collaboration among teachers working with or through different languages in order to promote and support plurilingualism.
  5. Dialogue and greater agreement on the key role that language teachers play in education.

This is a project of the European Centre for Modern Languages within its "Languages at the heart of learning" programme 2016-2019.

Go to the programme webpage

Project events

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Jan 2017
Towards a Common European Framework of Reference for language teachers
Expert meeting
ECML, Graz, Austria
View details


Jan 2017
Towards a Common European Framework of Reference for Language Teachers
Expert meeting
Venue : ECML, Graz, Austria
View details


May 2017
"Towards a Common European Framework of Reference for language teachers"

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