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    A guide to teacher competences for languages in education
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    Council of Europe principles

A guide to teacher competences for languages in education


Basic principles identified by the Council of Europe for ensuring quality education
Respecting and promoting human rights

The training and development of every language teacher should be seen in the context of the policy principles devised by the Council of Europe to promote and ensure respect for human rights. Training and development should therefore enable language teachers to carry out educational and teaching tasks which put these principles into practice, because these principles are essential for quality education.

Fostering social cohesion and the inclusion of all learners

Learners’ needs have to be taken into account and given precedence over institutional expectations if everyone is to succeed in learning languages, which include the language/s of schooling and subject-specific discourses, and the widest possible range of learning experiences should be offered. Equity in education can also be achieved through thoughtful and adequate use of the language of schooling to ensure efficient relational and cognitive mediation.

Enabling each learner to be a stakeholder in his/her individual learning process

Quality education also means providing everyone with the necessary tools to develop autonomy by making it easier for learners to acquire knowledge of the workings of language and of learning strategies, and making them aware of the skills and qualifications acquired.

Taking advantage of the wide range of learner resources

Capitalising on and making full educational use of the resources provided by learners’ wide range of language repertoires and cultural experiences, whether they were acquired in school, at a training establishment and/or outside, is fully in line with the pursuit of quality. Not only does this approach improve everyone’s ability to learn, but it also helps learners to adopt a positive approach towards all forms of linguistic and cultural diversity in their immediate or more distant surroundings.

Adopting an approach based on cooperation

Active consultation with all other members of the educational institution and cooperation with natural partners, including parents, makes it easier for all learners to succeed. All teachers must incorporate this quest for cooperation into their work and encourage it.

Establishing a culture of democracy

The adoption of educational measures in line with the Council of Europe’s principles results in the concerted efforts of all stakeholders to ensure that everyone can acquire the knowledge and adopt the behaviour necessary for effective participation in democratic life. This goal is made visible in the type of teaching provided, in the choice of approaches to learning and teaching and each learner’s experience of school life.

Adopting a global approach to language teaching and learning

The diversity and plurality of learners' repertoires, the number of languages to be learned, the diversity inherent in the language of schooling and its uses across the curriculum are all factors that make it essential to take a global approach to the linguistic dimensions of education. Such an approach means taking into account all the languages present in the school in a differentiated manner. It involves drawing on the transversal and common aspects of these languages and at the same time identifying the specific characteristics of each of them. In teaching and learning, it means using strategies that can are applicable to all language teaching and learning as well as approaches that are differential and complementary.