The John Trim Collection
Mr Trim donated his personal collection of books and documents relating to his lifetime’s work on languages to the documentation and resource centre of the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) in 2004. He personally inaugurated the collection, on 16 September 2005 during celebrations for the ECML’s 10th Anniversary.
ECML library resources
The John Trim collection consists of more than 3 200 resources, notably;
- documentation on the work of the Council of Europe conducted between 1971 and 1997, especially of the Modern Languages Projects (congress proceedings, studies, workshop reports)
- studies related to the development of the Threshold Levels and the Common European Framework of Reference
- educational resources in the field of teacher education, linguistics, psychology, psycholinguistics, sociology, sociolinguistics, translation, language education, modern language teaching and learning, learner-centered teaching, the language teacher, languages for specific purposes, language education and technology, and didactic materials.
What makes this collection unique
John Trim was closely associated with the work of the Council of Europe which actually began in the 1960s. In the mid 1970s he headed a project group that developed the fundamental guiding principles of language teaching and learning that still underpin our work today. The projects under John’s expert guidance were characterised by radical innovation in the 1970s and 1980s, with the development and dissemination of new ideas and what became widely known as ‘the Council of Europe approach’. Under John’s guidance the Council of Europe’s work became the single most influential factor in the reforms in course design, textbook authorship, testing and examinations, and teacher training that occurred throughout Europe. The impact of planning tools such ‘Threshold Level’, Waystage, Vantage was unique. Threshold level descriptions of communicative objectives were elaborated for over 30 national or regional languages. John’s untiring personal guidance to the authoring teams for these languages represents a unique contribution to the promotion of linguistic diversity and mutual understanding in Europe.
Thematic bibliographies (books, recordings)
The Council of Europe online catalogue provides bibliographical records on the different library collections, including those of the ECML.
Access the ECML online catalogue
Choose the "John Trim Collection (ECML)" in the library field.
John Trim Classification
Search strategies, classification system, descriptors and keywords used for the John Trim Collection (bilingual English/ French)
General information about the online catalogue
John Trim: selected Council of Europe recommendations, publications, articles, speeches
Brumfit, Christopher, The work of the Council of Europe and second language teaching, London : Macmillan : Modern English Publications and The British Council, Review of ELT, vv. 4, no. 2, 1995.
Council of Europe, Recommendation R (82)18 of the Committee of Ministers to member states based on the results of the CDCC Project N° 4 ("Modern Languages 1971-1981") (adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 24 September 1982 at the 350th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies).
Council of Europe, Recommendation R (98) 6 of the Committee of Ministers to member states based on the results of the CDCC Project "Language Learning for European Citizenship" (1989-1996) (adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 17 March 1998 at the 623rd meeting of the Ministers' Deputies).
Council of Europe, Questions to John Trim on the occasion of the tenth anniversary celebration of the European Centre for Modern Languages in Graz, 2005.
Council of Europe, Interview mit John Trim anlässlich des 10-jährigen Bestehens des Europäischen Fremdsprachenzentrums des Europarates in Graz, 2005.
Council of Europe, Education Bulletin No. 18, 2005.
English - French
Council of Europe, Recommendation CM/Rec(2008)7E of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the use of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and the promotion of plurilingualism (adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 2 July 2008 at the 1031st meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies), 2008.
de Boer-Buquicchio, Maud, Speech by Ms Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe within the framework of the 10th Anniversary of the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe, Graz, 16 September 2005.
de Boer-Buquicchio, Maud, Allocution de Mme Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Secrétaire Générale Adjointe du Conseil de l'Europe, à l'occasion du 10e anniversaire du Centre européen pour les langues vivantes du Conseil de l'Europe, Graz, 16 septembre 2005.
European Centre for Modern Languages / Council of Europe, 1995-2005 - Celebrating the ECML’s 10th anniversary, 2005.
Green, Anthony with contributions from John L.M. Trim and Roger Hawkey, Language functions revisited: Theoretical and empirical bases for language construct definition across the ability range, Cambridge University Press, England, 2012.
Inkiläinen, Anni, "An overview of the John Trim Collection", article published on the ECML website on 11 March 2011.
Sheils, Joseph, Former Head of the Department of Language Education and Policy of the Council of Europe, Speech during the 10th Anniversary Ceremony of the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe, 16 September 2005, Graz.
Trim, John, "The role of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in teacher training", Lecture delivered during the Ceremony of the 10th Anniversary of the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe, Graz, 16 September 2005.
Trim, John, The work of the Council of Europe in the field of modern languages 1957-2001, on the occation of the European Day of Languages 2001, 2001.
Trim, John, Modern languages in the Council of Europe 1954-1997: International co-operation in support of lifelong language learning for effective communication, mutual cultural enrichment and democratic citizenship in Europe, Strasbourg: Council of Europe, January 2007.
Trim, John, Using the CEFR: Principles of good practice, University of Cambridge, October 2011. [e-book]
Trim, John, “The Common European Framework of Reference: Learning, Teaching, Assessment”, in Byram Michael and Parmenter Lynne (eds), The Common European Framework of Reference – The Globalisation of Language Education Policy, Bristol: Multilingual Matters, Languages for Intercultural Communication and Education series, 2012, pp. 13-34.
Trim, John, Speech on the CEFR during the ACFTL-CEFR Symposium 2012
The symposium took place on 21-23 June 2012 at the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) in Graz, Austria. The goal for this event was to look at the implications of cross-walks between the ACTFL Guidelines and the CEFR for learning/teaching, for teacher training and for assessment/certification. At this occasion, John Trim made a speech on the CEFR pointing to its pedagogical and political foundations by highlighting the main educational influences under which the CEFR was written (tracing them back from the classical grammar to the communicative approach applied today); contrasts in the classical and modern paradigms: aims, objectives, attitudes to language, type of language to learn, preferred medium, model presented, text-types, criteria for expression and for comprehension, relation of knowledge to action, criteria for success, skill development, work style, relation among learners, approach to learning, role of teacher, teaching style, means employed, language of instruction and class management, approach to grammar and to meaning, concept of culture, social values, attitudes to change, strengths and critics of both paradigms; the political background and the consequences of the CEFR.
, "The Common European Framework of Reference. Council of Europe Modern Languages Project", in Routledge encyclopaedia of language teaching and learning
, Routledge, 2nd edition, 2013.
More Council of Europe publications on the CEFR: dedicated website
About John Trim
John Trim was an expert in the field of phonetics, linguistics, language didactics and policy. He was director of the Council of Europe’s Modern Languages Projects from 1971 to 1997, overseeing developments ranging from the Threshold Level to the Common European Framework of Reference.
After his graduation in German, John Trim occupied several positions in the field of university education and research. He notably taught phonetics and set up the Department of Linguistics at Cambridge University, lectured and conducted seminars in some 40 countries, and acted as director of CILT (Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research) in the United Kingdom.
Concerning his involvement in professional associations, Mr. Trim was, among others, president of BAAL (British Association for Applied Linguistics), vice-president of AILA (International Association of Applied Linguistics) and is an honorary member of AILA and ALL (Association for Language Learning). He is an Officier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (France) and holds honorary doctorates from the Universities of Dublin, Prague, Wolverhampton and Oulu. He is the author of numerous published books and articles.
1949: John Trim graduated in German at University College London; lectureship in phonetics.
1958: Appointment at the University of Cambridge.
1962: Fellow of Selwyn College, first Director of the Department of Linguistics in 1965.
1963-1978: Director of the university’s vacation courses in Linguistics and the English Language.
1970-1978: Chair of the Executive Committee for international examinations in English as a Foreign Language.
1978-1987: Director of the Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research (CILT) in London.
1969-1997: Involvement in the Modern languages Projects of the Council of Europe, which he directed from 1971 to 1997 with responsibility for the development of the Threshold Level series in 25 languages, 72 international workshops for teacher trainers and the composition, piloting and publication of the Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR), of which he was part-author.