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    Evolving instruments

A guide to teacher competences for languages in education


INTRODUCTION
CATALOGUE OF INSTRUMENTS 
INSTRUMENTS
IN PRACTICE
EVOLVING INSTRUMENTS
COUNCIL OF EUROPE PRINCIPLES
TEACHER COMPETENCES - CONCLUSIONS

Piloting and further development of existing instruments

See below to learn about the piloting and further development of specific instruments describing teacher competences.

The Eaquals Framework for Language Teacher Training and Development and the electronic European Profiling Grid

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.

Profession-related language competences profiles for foreign language teachers (Swiss Profiles)

Piloting and use of the profiles

Since their publication, the Swiss Profiles have been piloted in various teacher education contexts. Further development and research projects have focused on how teachers’ language competences can be assessed.

  • The profiles are used in teacher education as a resource to design and conduct appropriate and up-to-date foreign language teaching at primary and secondary level.
  • The profiles adhere to the recommendations made by Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education (EDK). 
  • Their use is officially recommended by the Chamber of Universities of Teacher Education of swissuniversities. These recommendations propose the use of the profiles as a frame of reference for the development and assessment of language competences in teacher education in Switzerland.
  • They have been piloted and used in the development/design of curricular models at various institutions of higher education in Switzerland. These include the Universities of Teacher Education in St.Gallen (PHSG), Lucerne (PHLU), the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (PH FHNW), The Lausanne University of Teacher Education (HEP Vaud), and the Department of Education and Learning of the University of Applied Sciences and Art of Southern Switzerland in Ticino (SUPSI-DFA).
  • They have been piloted in the context of continuing teacher education, in two courses in Liechtenstein (Nov 2015-June 2016), leading to a profession-specific certificate for primary English teachers; this piloting was conducted and monitored by the University of Teacher Education St.Gallen. 
  • The piloting and use of the profiles is monitored by the Center for Teacher’s Language Competences.

Further development of the profiles 

There are a number of exciting and important developments based on the profiles, including

  • Profils-langues.ch/en, an online platform which provides practical self-assessment and other-assessment tools
  • Development of a profession-related language exam for Swiss teachers of French, Italian and English as foreign languages; adaptation for further target languages planned
  • Evaluation and certification of profession-related language competences based on the profiles
  • Dissemination of the profiles to enable broader use in educational contexts throughout Europe. 
  • Research projects and publications


Profils-langues.ch

The profiles have been further developed for an online platform which provides a self-assessment tool as well as other-assessment activities. 

The self-assessment tool

With the help of this self-assessment instrument, users can evaluate their own profession-related language competences. Users rate their performance of communication-oriented linguistic tasks relevant to teachers of foreign languages with the help of can do-descriptors. The tasks address six areas of competence (reading; listening; writing; speaking production; speaking interaction; strategies and language awareness) and five areas of activity (preparing lessons; conducting lessons; assessing, giving feedback and advising; establishing external contacts; learning and further training). 

The following two examples in English and French show examples for self-assessment:

External assessment database

This database provides activities for the assessment of profession-related language competences. The commented tasks relate to different linguistic tasks from the profiles (https://www.phsg.ch/de/forschung/projekte/berufsspezifische-sprachkompetenzprofile-fuer-lehrpersonen-fuer-fremdsprachen) and address six areas of competence (reading; listening; writing; speaking production; speaking interaction; strategies and language awareness) and five areas of activity (preparing lessons; conducting lessons; assessing, giving feedback and advising; establishing external contacts; learning and further training). 

Center for Teachers’ Language Competences

The Competence Center monitors and coordinates various activities related to the profession-specific language competences, including research, development, in-service courses, counselling, and dissemination. If you or if you are interested in piloting the profiles, please contact one of the project members. 

For more information on the center’s competences and services and contact, please visit the website: 

https://www.phsg.ch/en/research/projects/centre-teachers-language-competences

The team of the Center for Teacher’s Language Competences