Subject learning comprises much more than “simply” learning content, for it also comprises learning to use language in new ways in order to develop and express subject knowledge. The term ‘language(s) of schooling’, therefore, embraces two key components ‘language as subject’ and ‘language in other subjects’.
In some contexts, the languages in learners’ repertoires may be taught at school either as subjects in their own right or as the medium of instruction; there may be two languages of schooling, such as in bilingual systems. But for many learners in European classrooms today, their first language is not represented in the school system at all.
The diagram below represents graphically the Council of Europe’s view of languages and language education. At the top of the diagram, in the centre, stands the learner with his/her linguistic and cultural repertoire. She/he is the central protagonist and the starting point: all the rest is the work of the education system.
In this diagram the language of schooling sits at the heart of the school system, in a pivotal position owing to its decisive and defining role in the learner’s education and its cross-cutting dimension in teaching/learning processes.
Past and present ECML activities aim to sensitise teachers, teacher educators and other language professionals to the importance of supporting learners to develop competences in the languages of schooling for educational success.
Training and Consultancy
The study materials focus on teacher education for the
language of schooling (e.g. French in France, Polish in
Poland). They draw on the linguistic and cultural diversity in
the classroom for the benefit of all learners.
Available in English, French and German
Go to the publication page
Available in English and French
Go to the publication page
A pluriliteracies approach builds on CLIL approaches to help
learners become better meaning-makers, who can draw
on content knowledge to communicate successfully across
languages, disciplines and cultures. In this way it promotes
deep learning and helps develop responsible, global citizens.
Available in English and German (German coming soon)
The online questionnaire produced a total of 107 complete responses from 33 different countries, including 7 non-ECML member states. Nearly 20% of the respondents were teacher trainers, closely followed by academic researchers (18%). Most encouraging was to see that in addition to these two key ECML target groups, responses were received from parents, language teachers, teachers of non-linguistic subjects as well as head teachers. This is an endorsement of the ECML’s decision to focus this think tank not only on the language/s of schooling but specifically on whole-school approaches. Moreover, teacher respondents came from all sectors from pre-primary to upper secondary.
The moderation team and participants were selected.
Moderation team: Marisa Cavalli, ECML Consultant; Eli Moe, Norway and Gunther Abuja, Austria.
Participants: 17 in total: language experts from sixteen different European countries, three of whom were present in their capacity as representatives of International non-governmental organisations (ALTE – Association of Language Testers of Europe; FIPLV - Fédération Internationale des Professeurs de Langues Vivantes, EPA – European Parents Association), as well as a representative from the European Commission.
Think tank meeting 13/14th September 2016
The moderation team planned and coordinated the 2-day think tank meeting which took place at the ECML in Graz on 13/14th September 2016 and focused on the following four interrelated aspects of the language/s of schooling:
Participants were presented with key findings from the online questionnaire as well as an overview of existing Council of Europe resources.
You can download the Powerpoints from the think tank meeting here:
The meeting resulted in a list of recommendations for the ECML secretariat, which were combined into a concrete work-plan, subsequently adopted by the ECML Governing Board at its meeting on 12/13th October 2016.
Questionnaire key findings
ECML introductory presentation
ECML activities languages of schooling
Council of Europe resources
30.10.2017ECML colloquium "Teacher education for linguistic diversity: the contribution of the ECML" (Graz, Austria, 13-14 December 2017) – Register online now!
With the increasingly diverse linguistic and cultural composition of classrooms around Europe, this topic has become a central issue in language education.
This one and a half day event will bring together several renowned experts in the field of pluralistic and pluricultural approaches to discuss progress that has been made in this field in recent years, giving special emphasis to how projects initiated under the auspices of the ECML have supported the development and expansion of this important area.
At the core of this colloquium will be the contribution made by the Framework of Reference for Pluralistic Approaches (FREPA) and its impact on different aspects of language education throughout Europe.
This colloquium will be of particular interest to those who are engaged in pluralistic education, whether as teachers, teacher educators or curriculum designers, and aims to support their efforts in facilitating change in this area. The contributions from experts from different European countries will provide valuable insights from various European perspectives.
The event takes place in cooperation with the European Commission, within the framework of the EC-ECML "Innovative methodologies and assessment in language learning" joint action and in particular its "Supporting multilingual classrooms" initiative.
18.05.2017Promoting linguistic skills a priority under the Czech chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe
The Czech Republic takes over the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 19 May. Among the nine designated priorities of the 6 month chairmanship is the promotion of human rights education and linguistic skills.
“The Czech Republic continuously develops and improves tools for linguistic and cultural inclusion in Czech schools to help them deal with the increasing number of pupils whose mother tongue differs from the language of instruction. In this connection, the Czech Chairmanship will actively co-operate with the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe (ECML) on promoting teachers’ and other language professionals’ capacities to develop linguistic skills and intercultural competences of learners, as a prerequisite for their successful education. In the framework of the ECML’s four-year programme 2016-2019, this co-operation will involve the preparation and organisation of mediation skills, as well as the dissemination of the results of projects focused on the work in multilingual classrooms and the establishment of European standards specifying proficiency levels of sign languages. Cooperation will proceed through the membership of the Czech representative in the ECML Governing Board and through the involvement of Czech experts in the project teams and networks.”
See full list of priorities of the Czech chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe: CM/Inf(2017)12
09.05.2017EOL network 'Learning environments where modern languages flourish' - 99 partner schools registered
The EOL ECML project “Learning environments where modern languages flourish” has already succeeded in recruiting 99 partner schools and teachers in ten different countries; we will continue to accept new partner schools until the end of July 2017.
The partner schools are asked to register on the website of the project’s working platform:
This European network of project partner schools will not only support one another in developing innovative approaches to establishing language friendly learning environments through an exchange of relevant resources, research and practice, but will have dedicated support from the project team throughout the lifespan of their school projects.
Schools that haven’t yet chosen a project topic may draw inspiration from the synopsis provided of other partner schools’ project topics; a certain number of French schools, for example, are already starting to share their project ideas and are willing to network with other schools from all around Europe to go even further in the development and implementation of their projects.
The “action plan” is an important tool which will be completed by the teachers involved in the project: it will give a handy summary of the different phases of their projects. The schools involved will be able to monitor all the activities which they are expected to carry out. Moreover, all the resources developed by the partner schools will be made available to the entire network. And of course, our partner schools will play a key role in piloting the matrix that has been developed by the project team.
All project outputs such as the synopsis, the action plan, the glossary and the matrix are available on the dedicated project website. The third expert meeting at the ECML in Graz during February 2017 had a packed agenda as so many different tools for partner schools had to be discussed and finalised. This is a truly multilingual project with all documentation available in French, German and English. This, of course, brings its challenges but as a result of the motivating driving force of the coordinator, Jonas Erin from France and the dedicated team members, everything seems to be possible!
At the last expert meeting not only the four team members were present (Jonas Erin from France, Silvia Minardi from Italy, Kristin Brogan from Ireland and Lea Štiberc from Slovenia), but Cécile Sabatier from Canada was also present and actively involved and her input was very much appreciated by the team. Another important “guest” was Monika Klamminger from the Seebacher Gymnasium in Graz. It was a real pleasure to discuss ideas of collaboration with her, as she is representative of our stakeholders.
As always the project team very much appreciated all the support and feedback it received from ECML colleagues, from technical support to constructive evaluation of results. It is nice to know that we all share the belief that this project will make a difference in the learning and teaching of languages.