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    Towards a Common European Framework of Reference for language teachers
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    The Eaquals Framework for Language Teacher Training and Development and the electronic European Profiling Grid – further developments

Towards a Common European Framework of Reference for language teachers - under construction
Guide to resources

The Eaquals TD Framework

This tool was developed by a project team of Eaquals member institutions for international use, and, following trialling, was launched in 2013. It provides detailed descriptors of the knowledge and skills required by teachers of foreign languages under five main headings: planning teaching and learning, teaching and supporting learning, assessment of learning, language, communication and culture, and the teacher as professional. It is used by teacher educators and managers of teachers mainly within the Eaquals network.

As more university language centres have become accredited by Eaquals or have links with the association, a subgroup began work on a version of the Eaquals Framework designed specifically for teachers working in the field of languages for academic purposes. The aim was to add to the Eaquals Framework a parallel set of descriptors that are specifically designed for teachers providing language training for students planning to undertake, or already undertaking, university level courses taught in another language. For example, universities in the UK and other English-speaking countries cater for large numbers of students from abroad, and increasing numbers of students travel to other countries, such as Germany, France, Italy and Romania, to undertake higher education in the national language. Moreover, in these countries and others such as Turkey, the Netherlands or Ukraine, several universities offer courses through the medium of English as well as in the national languages. Thus, the demand for teachers with the specific knowledge and skills to provide language support for such students has increased greatly.

The so-called ‘Languages for Academic Purposes’ (LAP) supplement to the Eaquals Framework has now been further developed by a specialist within Eaquals, Tony Prince, Academic Director of the Norwich Institute for Language Education (NILE). The descriptors are organised in the same categories as those in the Eaquals Framework and, as in this general Framework, they span three phases of development, starting with teachers new to teaching a language for academic purposes (development phase 1) and progressing to those who have already gained considerable experience in the field (phase 3). A small sample of the draft LAP Framework is provided below.

 

 
Development phase
1
Development phase
2
Development phase
3
Knowledge
of
  • Differences between academic cultures and their impact on expectations of learning and teaching
  • The potential range of knowledge and skills in general academic language among students in a class
  • Differences between academic disciplines and their impact on expectations of learning and teaching
  • The potential range of subject specific language, knowledge and skills in a class
  • Best practices across an institution for teaching and student support
  • Ways of helping less experienced colleagues to deal with a range of academic language, knowledge and skills in a class
Skills in
  • Helping students to adapt to the teaching and learning expectations of a new academic culture
  • Catering for a range of academic language, knowledge and skills in a class
  • Helping students to adapt to the teaching and learning expectations of their intended academic discipline
  • Catering for a range of subject specific language knowledge and skills within one class
  • Collaborating with colleagues across the institution to identify best practices for teaching and student support
  • Helping less experienced colleagues to deal with a range of academic language, knowledge and skills in a class


The sample above is one of the six sub-areas of the ‘teaching and supporting learning’ section of the LAP supplement to the Framework. Following finalisation of the draft version, the LAP supplement will be piloted in various university language centres and in other institutions providing this type of language support.

The electronic version of the European Profiling Grid (EPG) – the e-Grid

The EPG, also finalised in 2013, is a generic tool for language teacher self-assessment, whether carried out independently or in cooperation with their trainers or managers. It was funded under the European Union’s Lifelong Learning scheme and developed by a project team led by the Centre International d’Etudes Pédagogiques (CIEP) in France, and involving the Goethe Institut, Eaquals, Instituto Cervantes, Optima Bulgaria, and the British Council, among other partners. The EPG was originally produced in nine language versions and was awarded the European Language Label. Case studies of its use can be found here on the ECML website and at the bottom of this page on the Eaquals website. Since its launch, thanks mainly to the international work of the Goethe-Institut and Instituto Camões, four other languages have been added: Chinese, Portuguese, Georgian, and Ukrainian.

For greater flexibility and convenience, the EPG is designed to be used mainly online in the interactive e-Grid format. Three entry portals are provided: one for teachers wishing to do self-assessment, one for teacher educators, and one for managers of teachers, both of whom may wish to carry out parallel assessments of teachers’ competences to support their professional development. Italian and Turkish have recently been added to the four original languages of the interactive version. PDF versions of the EPG and its user guide in all 13 languages can also be found on the e-Grid website.