Context and challenges
- Linguistic and cultural diversity combined with migration and mobility characterises contemporary European societies. This phenomenon should not be viewed as an obstacle or a ‘problem’, but rather as an asset and a potential benefit to society.
- Social cohesion, intercultural dialogue and democratic citizenship, together with economic prosperity, represent important aims in building a more humane and inclusive Europe.
Implications for the learner
- The learner has a fundamental human right to unrestricted and fair lifelong access to good quality education.
- The learner requires adequate support for the development of language competences. The provision for support will take into account, make use of, and build further on the learner’s existing language competences. At the same time, the learner seeks, among other things, to develop the language skills required for his or her educational career in a given context.
- Learners with low socio-economic status, special needs and those whose linguistic or cultural background may disadvantage them in the educational system require special attention and support for the development of the language abilities necessary for educational success in a given context.
Assumptions for good quality education based on inclusive plurilingual and intercultural pedagogy:
- All education uses language as its vehicle. Therefore well-developed language competences are a necessary basis for access to good quality education and successful learning.
- Good quality education provides adequate support for the appropriate development of learners’ language competence – efficient and effective use of more than one language is both necessary for successful education and one of its desired outcomes.
- Good quality education acknowledges and includes the learners’ “own” languages, especially if they are minority or migrant languages, as they are important features in their successful integration into the world of learning and help them in becoming self-confident and responsible members of society.
- A modification in approach is required, moving from the teaching and learning of languages as separate, unrelated and thus isolated (school) subjects towards providing coherent support for the lifelong development of transversal, individual strategies for deploying available linguistic resources purposefully, thus making efficient use of one’s own range of language competences.
- Effective use of communication technologies can play an important role in this strategy.
The ECML long-term vision