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ECML Resources


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Plurilingual and intercultural competences. Descriptors and teaching materials

FREPA National Networks disseminate the tools developed within the Framework of Reference for Pluralistic Approaches to Languages and Cultures (FREPA/CARAP) to support plurilingual and intercultural education at all levels.

Available in EN, FR and DE

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Teaching the language of schooling in the context of diversity. Study materials for teacher development

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

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European portfolio for pre-primary educators. The plurilingual and intercultural dimension

This portfolio is designed for educators and teachers in the pre-primary sector, either in initial or in-service training. It encourages personal reflection on the professional skills related to the linguistic and intercultural dimension of working with children.

Available in English and French

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Towards whole-school language curricula. Examples of practice in schools

The resources provide tools which help to clarify, develop and implement plurilingual, intercultural and inclusive whole-school policies in different contexts in ECML member states.

Available in English and German

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Parents and teachers: working together for plurilingual and intercultural education

The aim of this website is to disseminate knowledge on the benefits of involving parents in plurilingual and intercultural education. Working with parents as partners facilitates not only language acquisition, but also the development of positive attitudes towards otherness, attitudes which are necessary for the harmonious development of individuals and society.

Available in English and French

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Plurilingual and intercultural learning through mobility. Practical resources for teachers and teacher trainers

PluriMobil is a teaching tool that offers activities and materials to support the plurilingual and intercultural learning of students for the phases before, during and after a mobility activity. This tool can be adapted to multiple mobility projects across all educational levels.

Available in English and French

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Sign languages and the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Descriptors and approaches to assessment

This resource establishes European standards for sign languages for professional purposes in line with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and provides an overview of assessment descriptors and approaches.

Available in English and in sign language

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Collaborative Community Approach to Migrant Education. A virtual open course for educators

The resources offer innovative ways to enhance young migrants’ education by developing links between schools, the home and local partners in education. This educational joint venture develops the learners’ skills in the language of schooling as well as their plurilingual competences.

Available in EN et FR

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Language skills for successful subject learning. CEFR-linked descriptors for mathematics and history/civics (Language Descriptors)
These resources highlight challenges for young learners in subject classes where the language of instruction is not their first language. The focus is on minimum language standards in history/civics and mathematics for learners aged 12/13 and 15/16. The language descriptors are linked to CEFR levels A2, B1 and B2 and available in six languages.

Available in English and French

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A pluriliteracies approach to teaching for learning

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)

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CONBAT – Plurilingualism and pluriculturalism in content-based teaching: A training kit

Educational institutions increasingly face the challenge of accommodating learners from a wide range of linguistic and cultural backgrounds in their classrooms. The training kit presents an innovative way of managing diversity in the classroom by combining plurilingual and pluricultural approaches with content-based instruction. The reader will discover how content-based and plurilingual activities can be linked to several subjects of the curriculum.

Available in English and French.

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MARILLE – Promoting plurilingualism: majority language in multilingual settings

Traditionally, teachers of majority languages receive less training to teach a language as a second language or to develop the plurilingual repertoire of their learners than, for example, foreign language teachers.Yet, in today’s societies, learners bring many different languages to school.This means that the teaching of themajority language has to extend beyond teaching it as a first language and adopt elements of second language teaching.

Available in English and German.

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Incorporating intercultural communicative competence in language teacher education

The articles in this volume describe the results of the research and development carried out by four networks in Project 1.2.3 of the medium-term programme of activities of the European Centre for Modern Languages in Graz, Austria. The main aim of the whole project has been to help incorporate intercultural communication training into teacher education in Europe. The networks took on a variety of tasks to investigate how this aim could be best achieved. 

Available in English and French.

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Mirrors and Windows: An intercultural communication textbook

Intercultural experiences pose inevitable challenges to one´s personal identity and communication skills. One has to learn how to deal with unexpectedness, ambiguity and otherness as well as the resulting culture bumps or culture shock. The knowledge, skills and attitudes that are necessary for successful intercultural communication have to be observed, discussed and practiced. This textbook wishes to help the trainer, the teacher and the learner in this process by encouraging culture-general discussions about culture with a small "c" and by using a reflective approach.

Available in English, French and German.

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LEA ‒ Plurilingual and pluricultural awareness in language teacher education: A training kit

The LEA (Language Educator Awareness) training kit comprises a set of practical instruments designed to help teacher educators introduce the essential aspects of plurilingualism and pluriculturalism to language teachers and learners. It consists of a printed booklet setting out the rationale for a series of training activities, which are contained on an accompanying CD-Rom.

Available in English and French.

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ICOPROMO – Intercultural competence for professional mobility

This publication reflects the outcomes of a project which brought together experts and practitioners in the field of intercultural competence for professional mobility and which focused on group-oriented (teamwork) intercultural communication and interaction competencies. The materials developed are primarily targeted at educators and facilitators working with graduates in the social sciences, human resource managers, intercultural trainers,coaches and mediators and foreign language teachers in higher education with a strong focus on intercultural awareness.

Available in English and French.

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EBP-ICI – Regional/Minority Languages in bi-/plurilingual education: Languages from near and far

Based on European objectives to favour linguistic diversity and plurilingual and pluricultural education, the publication presents pilotedmaterials, activities and didactic tools. These are related to a theoretical framework which creates links between dominant languages and minority or regional languages in Europe and beyond. A teaching kit also offers a collection of practical examples and recommendations for policy-makers in the area of education.

Available in English and French.

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ENSEMBLE – Promoting linguistic diversity and whole-school development

The Council of Europe stresses the importance of societal multilingualism and of individual plurilingual competence as means to social cohesion. Why this is important and how it can be achieved are explained in the Language Policy Unit document “Guide for the Development of Language Education Policies in Europe”. Ultimately, it is within the school, at the chalk face, that the necessary innovations need to take place. The case studies presented in this publication are an authentic illustration of how this is being realised in different contexts; and what successes and challenges it presents. 

Available in English and French.

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The Plurilingualism Project: Tertiary Language Learning - German after English

If the peoples of Europe are to live in harmony with their neighbours, if they are to communicate with and understand each other, the command of more than only one foreign language will be an increasingly important factor. For this reason both the Council of Europe and the European Union are demanding that their citizens should learn two foreign l anguages alongside their mother tongues. The Year of Languages 2001 was the stimulus for an investigation into how concepts of teaching and learning several languages could be developed and put into practice.

Available in English, French and German.

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Thematic collections: Presentation and evaluation of work carried out by the ECML from 1995 to 1999

The years 1995-1999 represented a period of considerable importance, both for the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) and for language teaching in general. In this time, following the launch of the ECML, it held a large number of workshops, initiated and supported research and development networks to promote language learning and teaching on a European scale.

Available in English and French.

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Cultural awareness and language awareness based on dialogic interaction with texts in foreign language learning

The purpose of this book is not to give recipes. It is an attempt to investigate, theoretically as well as practically, certain important concepts in foreign language learning: dialogue, communication, intercultural awareness, language awareness, and the roles of teacher and learner.

Available in English and French.

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CLIL-LOTE-GO – Enseigner une discipline dans une autre langue: Methodologie et pratiques professionnelles

La théorie et la pratique de l’enseignement d’une matière par l’intégration d’une langue étrangère (EMILE, également appelé « formation bilingue ») sont présentées et complétées par des exemples tirés à la fois des classes de langues et des classes dematières. Il s’agit d’un manuel de formation pour l'enseignement des disciplines non linguistiques en langues française et allemande s'adressant à la formation initiale et continue. La publication est parue dans sa version française aux éditions Peter Lang et peut être acheté sur le site web de l’éditeur. Une version allemande paraîtra en 2012

Available in French.

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Language across the curriculum. Network processing and material production in an international context

LAC represents an exciting new approach to foreign language learning at primary and secondary level, whereby children learn a language simultaneously with other practical exercises.

Available in English and French.

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Literacy and linguistic diversity in a global perspective : an intercultural exchange with African countries

This publication reflects the outcomes of a project which brought together experts and practitioners in the field of linguistic diversity and literacy from European and African countries with a view to opening a dialogue, to taking a comparative perspective and defining possible areas of mutually enriching co-operation and exchange.

Available in English and French.

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Glossary – ECML programme 2008-2011 "Empowering language professionals" | Glossaire – Programme 2008-2011 du CELV “Valoriser les professionnels en langues” | Europäisches Fremdsprachenzentrum des Europarates

This glossary has been compiled by the ECML. The document includes key concepts that have been selected by the coordination team of each project, i.e. terms in English, the corresponding terms in French and/or in German, definitions applying to the individual project contexts, examples and references, comments, the respective ECML projects and thematic programme areas.

Available in English.

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Languages for social cohesion: Language education in a multilingual and multicultural Europe

The ECML’s “Languages for social cohesion” programme (2004-2007) involved approximately 4500 language professionals from Europe and beyond. This publication focuses on key developments in language education promoted through the work of the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe (ECML).

Available in English and French.

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Together in Europe in the 21st century: The challenge of plurilingual and multicultural communication and dialogue

The third colloquy of the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) was attended by experts from more than thirty countries. The ambitious theme - “Living together in Europe in the 21st century: the challenge of plurilingual and multicultural communication and dialogue” - held considerable significance for the future of languages in Europe.

Available in English and French.

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Janua Linguarum – the gateway to languages. The introduction of language awareness into the curriculum: Awakening to languages

Discovering at school the diversity of languages and cultures, listening to dozens of languages, including some of the languages spoken by classmates, marveling at the way those languages are written, comparing them and understanding how they work, taking an interest in those who speak them. These are the types of activities that the awakening to languages offers pupils; to help them open up to what is different, and develop their ability to observe and learn languages. This approach is an integral part of efforts by the Council of Europe aimed at plurilinguism, promoting the diversity of languages in education systems and democratic citizenship.

Available in English and French.

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Language learning and teaching in the context of twin cities

The twinning of cities and municipalities possibly represents the largest platform for encounter and mutual acquaintance established in modern times. However, can such a merger between the fellow-citizens of Europe be achieved without first addressing in a determined way the issue of languages, of teaching languages and their diversity? Answers to this question can be found before, during and after visits to participating towns. School exchange programmes also deserve a better preparation and a genuine teaching methodology for exchanges.

Available in English and French.

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Literacy as correspondence – an integrated approach to multi-literacy

This collection of case studies offers the reader different but equally important perspectives to be considered in teaching second or subsequent literacies to relatively young learners. It is important to examine what and how teachers present learning material to the students. However, what learners make of the teaching context and how the formal situation prepares children to make use of their second/subsequent literacy achievement beyond the classroom context are crucial issues if language learning is indeed a requirement which fosters communication among different communities and cultures.

Available in English and French.

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ALC – Across languages and cultures

Across languages and cultures – a major theoretical framework for plural approaches to learning languages and cultures – language learning in which more than one language (in addition to the learner’s first language) is involved. The Framework explains the conceptual justification for the approach, and includes descriptors of the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to implement didactic approaches to it – awakening to languages, inter-comprehension and integrated didactics.

Available in English, French, German and Hungarian.

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Cultural mediation and language learning and teaching

This training project for learning about research through research brought together representatives from over twenty-five of the ECML member countries. Its results are contained in a publication and a set of recommendations addressed to policy makers, is the introduction of cultural mediation into the debate on language didactics. Whereas most innovations in language didactics appear in the form of new teaching tools, the Cultural mediation in language learning and teaching project chose to follow a new path by adopting a "learning by doing" approach to research.

Available in English and French.

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How strange! The use of anecdotes in the development of intercultural competence

Successful communication presupposes a good degree of social understanding and sharing of meaning and therefore participating in a community's life via another language necessitates not only an acceptable level of proficiency in that language, but also an extended behavioural code. What kind of cultural set-backs do language learners face when visiting the target country, or even in interacting with native speakers of a language? What can we learn from the experience of such learners? The aim of this project was to tap into the experiences of seasoned foreign language learners and travellers for the collection of a database of anecdotes that symbolise the kind of intercultural failure faced by newcomers to a target culture.

Available in English and French.

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Neighbouring language teaching in border regions

Europe is rapidly developing, particularly in its border regions. It is precisely in these areas that the need for knowledge of neighbouring languages is both at its strongest and most varied. Approaches adapted to their specific situation are required in order for these regions to quickly become real-life language learning laboratories and centres of innovation.

Available in English.

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ODYSSEUS – Second language at the workplace: Language needs of migrant workers: organising language learning for the vocational/workplace context

This book is constructed around a conviction by the authors of the key role of vocational and workplace-related second language provision towards social and economic integration and participation. Knowledge and communicative competences have become pivotal elements of vocational and professional performance at all hierarchical levels for all employees (mother-tongue speakers and speakers of other languages). This publication, which is the result of a cooperation project between the Council of Europe and the European Commission, is an invaluable resource for current and intending workplace language practitioners, as well as company personnel, unions and policy makers.

Available in English and French.

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The organisation of language education in small states

The experiences of small States in the area of the organization and set-up of language education may in certain respects differ substantially from the experiences of larger states. Considering the importance that is attributed, on a European scale, of linguistic and cultural diversity, to the promotion of education for plurilingualism in general, and to the promotion of diversification in language teaching, especially for lesser used languages, experiences of these countries are of particular interest. It has been demonstrated that through choice or necessity plurilingualism constitutes one of their major assets.

Available in English and French.

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Challenges and opportunities in language education: the contributions of the European Centre for Modern Languages (2000-2003)

This book is a reflective account of the work of the European Centre for Modern Languages, Graz during its first medium- term programme, which lasted from 2000 to 2003.

Available in English and French.

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The organisation of innovation in language education

This collection of case studies is intended to explore the nature of innovation in language education. It deals with the content of innovatory practice - accounts of projects, which have researched and implemented new approaches to organising language teaching and learning - and the process - what factors have made some innovations successful?

Available in English and French.

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Other Council of Europe Resources


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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (CEFR)

The result of over twenty years of research, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment (CEFR) is exactly what its title says it is: a framework of reference. It was designed to provide a transparent, coherent and comprehensive basis for the elaboration of language syllabuses and curriculum guidelines, the design of teaching and learning materials, and the assessment of foreign language proficiency. It is used in Europe but also in other continents and is now available in 39 languages.

Available in 39 languages.

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From linguistic diversity to plurilingual education: Guide for the Development of Language Education Policies in Europe

This guide is a response to the need to develop language policies on the basis of a coherent approach: clarifying principles and defining goals, analysing situations, identifying resources, expectations and needs, and the implementation and evaluation of these measures. The aim is to reduce the number of ad hoc decisions, often taken under the pressure of events, and promote a “global concept” for languages.

Available in English and French.

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Plurilingual and intercultural education as a project

The purpose of this text is to clarify the concepts of societal multilingualism and individual plurilingualism, in accordance with other texts of the Council of Europe, to describe the characteristics of plurilingual and intercultural education, to make clear the crucial importance of competence in languages with respect to educational and therefore social success so that, in a multipolar world, knowledge of languages is not reduced to the efficacy of linguistic communication.

Available in English and French.

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Plurilingual education in Europe: 50 years of international cooperation

This paper recalls the history and main developments in language education policy and practice since the late 1950s to the present. The strong commitment of member states over many years has ensured that Council of Europe’s programmes in language education have been, and remain, seminal in promoting innovation and a platform for dialogue and fruitful cooperation among policy makers and practitioners.

Available in English and French.

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Council of Europe and the Romani language


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Quality Education in Romani for Europe (QUALIROM)

The QualiRom initiative has published an extensive databank of teaching and learning materials for teachers of Romani. The materials developed in six Romani varieties range from proficiency levels A1 to B2 for learners at primary, secondary and tertiary levels and constitute the largest resource of its kind for the teaching and learning of the Romani language based on European standards. The databank comprises 39 sets of materials (some 16,000 pages!) in Arlije, East Slovak, Finnish, Gurbet, Lovara and Kalderaš Romani.

Based on the results achieved through the initiative the ECML, together with the other project partners and the project coordinators, the Plurilingual Research Unit, Karl Franzens University, have set up a training and consultancy activity offering a first step towards tackling ECML member states’ needs in the following areas:

  • equality of access to education within a human rights perspective
  • raising awareness of QualiRom
  • the lack of adequate teaching materials, trained teachers and supportive structures in Romani teaching across different European states

    Available in English.

    Go to the project page

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    ROMANI : documents and tools

    The following documents and tools are available in English and in Romani (Kalderash or Usary).

    Go to the Council of Europe page

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    Curriculum Framework for Romani (2008)

    This position paper was designed to guide and clarify the scope of the protection afforded to the Romani language under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

    Available in English.

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    European Language Portfolio (ELP) ‒ Learning the Romani language

    Available in English.

    ELP: Primary

    ELP: Lower Secondary

    Handbook for Teachers

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    External Resources

    
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    International association of linguistic and cultural diversity (EDILIC)

    The EDILIC association intends to congregate all the efforts aiming at facilitating the dissemination of awakening to languages in the school systems, including those in connexion with efforts aiming at the dissemination of other plural approaches (integrated didactics, intercomprehension of related languages, and intercultural approaches)

    Available in English and French.

    Go to the association page

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    Nordplus Horizontal project for developing language awareness in the Nordic and Baltic countries (DELA-NOBA)

    The objective of this three year Nordplus Horizontal project is to disseminate and exchange results and experiences in education by examining how the Language Awareness/Eveil aux langues approach can be integrated and further developed in the Nordic/Baltic context. The project will give the partners the possibility to establish a network, to adapt, develop and evaluate teaching materials for the Nordic/Baltic context, to collect information about plurilingualism in the Nordic/Baltic countries and to compare and disseminate the results.

    Available in English and Danish.

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    Projet régional (Pays de la Loire, France) Plurilinguisme: Pratiques, Représentations, Acquisition, Enseignement (Pluri-L)

    Le projet se fixe pour objectif de faire progresser le champ de recherche relatif au plurilinguisme. Il s'intéresse aux représentations sociales que les acteurs (en particulier enseignants et apprenants) ont du plurilinguisme, en lien avec leurs pratiques, le développement de ces dernières et les compétences complexes qui leur sont sous-jacentes.

    Available in French.

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    Network for European language labelled initiatives and projects: Best practice in projects that were awarded the European language label in the field of school education (Nellip)

    The Network of European Language Labelled Initiatives aims to promote quality in language learning through the application of the quality criteria used to award the European Language Label. The NELLIP Network selected relevant language learning initiatives having received the European Language Label that are consistent with the current political priorities of the European Commission in the field of language learning.

    Available in English.

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    International Association of Multilingualism (IAM)

    The International Association of Multilingualism is an international network of scholars who share an interest in multilingualism.

    Available in English.

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    A Rewarding Challenge: how the multiplicity of languages could strengthen Europe ‒ Amin Maalouf

    At the European Commission’s request, Amin Maalouf chaired a think tank on multilingualism.

    Available in English.

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    European Universities Network on Multilingualism (EUNoM)

    The project brings together 20 European universities and two research centres which are willing to develop relevant multilingual structures and to engage in a high-level debate on the implications of multilingualism for Europe. We will seek to integrate these themes into a coherent programme which will oblige each University to rethink its relationship to multilingualism.

    Available in English.

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    Globalisation, Modernity and Language: New Perspectives on Language in education. The EUNoM report

    The EU funded Network of Universities and Research Institutes on Multilingualism (EUnoM) (2010-2012) has delivered its final report at the closing conference in Brussels. The project focused on themes such as language teachers, longitudinal and transferable models of multilingual education, university language planning, social media, economic aspects of multilingualism, the multi-ethnic society as well as the knowledge economy and multilingualism.

    Available in English.

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    Language Rich Europe study: Trends in policies and practices for multilingualism in Europe

    The Language Rich Europe (LRE) aims to promote greater co-operation between policy makers and practitioners in Europe in developing good policies and practices for multilingualism. Such polices will ensure that languages and cultural exchange continue to be promoted and encouraged at school, university and in broader society.

    Available in English.

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    Eurobarometer report: Europeans and their languages (2012)

    The EU encourages all citizens to be multilingual, with the long-term objective that every citizen has practical skills in at least two languages in addition to his or her mother tongue. This survey has been undertaken with the overall objectives of understanding European citizens’ experiences and perceptions of multilingualism.

    Available in English and French.

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    UNESCO World Data on Education

    Available in English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese.

    Go to the UNESCO page

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    Key data on teaching languages at school in Europe (2012)

    The publication Key Data on Teaching Languages at School in Europe gives a picture of the language teaching systems in place in 32 European countries. It examines various aspects of foreign language teaching, in particular its organisational features, participation levels and the initial and continuing education of foreign language teachers.

    Available in English and French.

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    European Language Council (ELC)

    The European Language Council is a permanent and independent association, whose main aim is the quantitative and qualitative improvement of knowledge of the languages and cultures of the European Union and beyond.The association was officially launched in July 1997 by a group of leading European universities and associations with the support of the then DG XXII of the Commission of the European Communities.

    Available in English.

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    European Confederation of Language Centres in Higher Education (CercleS)

    CercleS brings together some 290 Language Centres, Departments, Institutes, Faculties or Schools in Higher Education whose main responsibility is the teaching of language. Its members have several thousand academic, administrative and technical staff, and some 250, 000 students who learn all the world's main languages. CercleS is committed to the highest possible standards in language education and research.

    Available in English and French.

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    International Language Association e.V (ICC)

    The ICC is a non-government organisation (NGO) with participatory status at the Council of Europe. ICC sets standards for a transnational network of language learners.

    Available in English.

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    Database Multilingualism – EU Project AMuSE

    The database "Plurilingualism and promotion of linguistic competences" was created between 2012 –2014 as part of the EU projects AMuSE (Approaches to Multilingual Schools in Europe) and will continue to exist after 2014. Its aim is to help users at different levels of the educational system and in different institutions to gain access to information about projects demonstrating good practice, materials, publications and tools.

    Available in English and German.

    Go to the project page

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    Education Today - OECD blog

    The OECD blog discusses existing and emerging issues in education, including international student performance (PISA), skills for the 21st century, developments in higher education and early childhood learning, and more.

    Available in English.

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    Using multilingual books in schools. Pluralistic approaches for literacy development in multilingual and multicultural contexts (Danièle Moore and Cécile Sabatier)

    Drawing from classroom ethnographic case studies involving library corners and conducted in British Columbia, this paper explores the use of bi-/plurilingual books in multilingual and multicultural classrooms. Within the perspective of a plurilingual and intercultural education, we explore how some teachers use learners’ different languages and cultures during the teaching process to develop literacy. Moreover, we examine how such practices embrace the growing diversity of learning contexts by offering a locus of continuity between families, schools and communities.

    Available in English and French.

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