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    Guide to resources

A Guide to teacher competences for languages in education

These are the results of the project "Towards a Common European Framework of Reference for language teachers"
This section provides practical examples of how various instruments in the ‘Resources’ section can be used through fictitious vignettes and suggestions (presented on the left), as well as actual examples of ways in which teacher educators and teachers in different countries have actually used them (listed on the right-hand side).

Scenarios describing different people using this Guide

Maria, a foreign language teacher in adult education

Jan, a secondary school manager

Claudia, a student teacher of foreign languages

Jan, a teacher educator for foreign languages

Florian, un enseignant du primaire en formation

Hannes, a subject teacher of math at the lower and upper secondary level

Linda, a subject teacher of History, lower and upper secondary

For what purposes can these resources be used?

Click on one of the titles below for some ideas how a specific group of users can make use of the resources.

Practice examples of instruments in use

How are some teacher competence instruments used in practice? Below you can find a number of practice examples compiled by the project team, ordered alphabetically by the name of the instrument. Most examples refer to an instrument described in more detail in the Resources section. Some were compiled during a large online survey in summer 2017.

British Council’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Framework
Almira Muric

Almira Muric employs both the British Council’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Framework (2015) and EPOSTL in her job as teacher at Donja Lovnica elementary school in Montenegro. She uses these instruments for self-assessment, for planning and managing courses, and as a tool to help her young colleagues. In her view, these frameworks are helpful in relation to self-assessment and in the promotion of 21st-century skills.

Canadian Language Portfolio for Teachers (CASLT)
Krystyna Baranowski foto

Krystyna Baranowski is Associate Professor at the Université de St-Boniface and teacher educator at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba. She uses the Canadian Language Portfolio for Teachers (CASLT) in combination with the Common European Framework (CEFR) for prospective teachers’ assessment in two regards, namely for students to autonomously track their progress and for student teachers to prepare for their study abroad in France. In her view, these instruments are especially useful for students to develop and enhance metacognition in language teaching. She has received feedback from students stating how enlightening and useful it was to understand the levels of the CEFR and to apply the CASLT to their own practices and abilities.

Eaquals Teacher Training and Development Framework (TD Framework) and E-Grid
Deniz Kurtoğlu Eken and colleagues

Deniz Kurtoğlu Eken and her colleagues at Sabancı University School of Languages (SL), Turkey use the Eaquals Teacher Training and Development Framework (TD Framework) for their annual target setting practices and performance review reports effectively supported by the SL Director. These practices help teachers define their aims, implement their targets, and assess their own professional development. SL’s professional development team also uses it as a reference tool for developmental observations and in the planning of training courses. According to feedback from SL teachers, the TD Framework helps promote a positive attitude towards self-assessment through its emphasis on professional development and further improving teaching rather than evaluating performance.


Marianthi Karatsiori

Marianthi Karatsiori uses the Eaquals TD Framework and the European Profiling Grid (EPG) in her profession as teacher trainer of language teachers at the Hellenic Open University, Greece. In her view, the EPG is a useful reflection tool for students to self-evaluate their practices and competences, and to gain an awareness of the constraints imposed by their context. In addition, she asks students to relate the EPG to the national curriculum and the material (e.g. the course book) which they use in their classroom.

Linda Polkowski

In her functions as teacher manager and teacher trainer at the Anglolang Academy of English, UK, Linda Polkowski promotes the EAQUALS e-grid for teachers of content and language integrated learning (CLIL). In her view, the EAQUALS e-grid is a user-friendly instrument that offers teachers a means for self-assessment, and managers a tool to detect patterns and trends in language teachers’ development, as well as to reflect on training needs.

European Core Curriculum for Mainstreamed Second Language Teacher Education (EUCIM-TE)
Alain Girault

Christian Sinn, a teacher educator for German studies at the University of Teacher Education St.Gallen (German-speaking Switzerland), describes how he implemented a module for language-sensitive subject teaching in all subjects on the basis of two relevant instruments. Read the entire practice example here (in German).

European Portfolio for Student Teachers of Languages (EPOSTL)
Raili Hilden

Raili Hilden uses the EPOSTL in her profession as teacher trainer at the University of Helsinki in Finland. In her view, the descriptors are useful for prospective foreign language teachers with reference to lesson plans, to assess and report student activity and to raise awareness of various components of teaching a language. However some students have reported that they found the document, despite its usefulness, very time-consuming. Further, she uses the EPOSTL in combination with the CEFR and the Europass, for instance to compile a digital CV for students’ job applications. She states that teacher networking and cooperation with fellow teachers in language and other subject fields is not addressed in the EPOSTL. These aspects are very prominent, though, in the current discussion and the core curricula in Finland.

Vega Llorente Pinto

Vega Llorente Pinto from the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas de Salamanca in Spain uses the EPOSTL with adult students training to become foreign language teachers. She employs the instrument as a means for self-assessment and to reflect on general questions relating to teaching. She uses the instrument in combination with the FREPA, the Framework of Reference for Pluralistic Approaches, in order to enhance/advance an awareness for plurilingual and intercultural competences.

Evgeniia Sheveleva

Evgeniia Sheveleva educates students training to become foreign language teachers at Moscow State Linguistic University, Russia. She finds the EPOSTL invaluable for teacher education as it encourages students to reflect on and assess their professional competences and to experiment with methodologies to enhance their professional awareness. In her view, the content can be well-adjusted to the individual teaching environment while simultaneously creating a link to fundamental principles of foreign language teaching formulated in European documents (e.g. the CEFR), and integrating this content into the teaching process.

Anne Dragemark Oscarson

Anne Dragemark Oscarson is senior lecturer at the Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. As a teacher educator, she uses those parts of the EPOSTL which are relevant to the curriculum of the specific teaching context in her country. Her students use the instrument for self-assessment in order to enhance awareness of their progress. While she aims to integrate the use of the EPOSTL throughout student teachers’ education, the main focus is on the first year of language studies in English and the last teacher training period.

Adriana Arcuri

Adriana Arcuri (the lady on the right, receiving the European Language Label) educates prospective foreign language teachers at Università degli studi di Palermo in Italy. She uses the EPOSTL self-assessment descriptors in her course on professional assessment tools ('Strumenti per la professionalità riflessiva'), by asking her students to write observation grids on the basis of the self-assessment descriptors. In her view, the EPOSTL is a useful means to show to students the many aspects relevant for their future practice.

Larisa Kasumagic Kafedzic

Larisa Kasumagic Kafedzic is an assistant professor in language pedagogy at the English Department of the University of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She teaches university students in foreign language didactics and has incorporated the European Portfolio for Student Teachers of Languages (EPOSTL) into her teaching for a couple of years now in order to help students reflect on their professional development.
Read the entire interview here

European Profile for Language Teacher Education
Cristina Bosisio

Cristina Bosisio works as a teacher educator at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, Italy. She uses the European Profile for Language Teacher Education (Kelly & Grenfell, 2004) in combination with EPOSTL to highlight and reflect on the language skills necessary for language teachers. In her opinion, the instrument is especially useful for training purposes in plurilingual and intercultural education. However, she believes there remains a need to not only address foreign language teachers, but all teachers, as in fact all teachers convey (and teach) a language with their discipline.

Marianthi Karatsiori

In the context of a research project, teacher trainer Marianthi Karatsiori has used the European Profile for Language Teacher Education—a Frame of Reference-EPLTE (European Commission, 2004) to identify the competences developed through the official academic curricula addressed to perspective teachers of English and French. The 40 key-elements of EPLTE, separated in four categories (Structure, Knowledge and Understanding, Strategies and Skills, Values) were used as evaluation criteria to recognize best practices among Universities and to investigate the possibility of a European common curriculum for teachers of TEFL. 27 academic curricula addressed to perspective teachers of English and 25 academic curricula addressed to perspective teachers of French were examined for the survey. Each academic curriculum was from a different country, member state of the ECML.

European Profiling Grid (EPG)

Pierangela Diadori

Pierangela Diadori is a teacher trainer at the University for Foreigners of Siena, Italy. She has been using the EPG in its entirety to compare the descriptors of the six development phases with the prerequisites, knowledge and skills required for the three existing Italian Language Teaching certifications (DITALS of the Università per Stranieri di Siena, DILS-PG of the Università per Stranieri di Perugia, CEDILS (of the Università di Venezia). Although the EPG has proven a useful guideline to discuss key competences of Italian language teachers in training courses, Diadori has located the need for a complementary tool. She sees the EPG as more specifically geared towards non-native teachers, whereas in her context, most teachers have Italian as a first language.

Cecilia Nihlén

Cecilia Nihlén works at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, as a teacher educator of university students training to become foreign language teachers. She has used the EPOSTL, particularly the section ‘assessment’, in the teacher education program. Many of the EPOSTL assessment descriptors have been translated to Swedish and are available on the Swedish National Agency for Education's website as part of an assessment training package for teachers. In her view, the EPOSTL provides excellent descriptors which encourage discussion among student teachers. However, since working with the EPOSTL is rather time-consuming, she would appreciate a digital database with the descriptors so teacher educators could select which ones the students could work with more easily.

Référentiel des compétences professionnelles des métiers du professorat et de l'éducation
Alain Girault

Alain Girault from the Université Grenoble Alpes in France makes use of the Référentiel des compétences professionnelles des métiers du professorat et de l'éducation (‘Professional competency framework for the fields of teaching and education’) in his job as educator, teacher trainer in didactics, and education inspector. He describes how the instrument is used during inspections of teachers, both for their self-evaluation and the inspector’s assessment of their skills. It provides a number of detailed descriptors, though not, as he notes, graded scales. The instrument is also used by the trainee teachers and the professors responsible for their traineeship both at the university and at the assigned school.

Teacher Effectiveness for Language Learning (TELL) framework
Jeff Bale

Jeff Bale is a teacher educator at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, Canada. He uses the Teacher Effectiveness for Language Learning (TELL) framework in teacher education programs for future foreign language teachers. The instrument was developed for practicing teachers to help them plan and carry out their own professional development, and as a resource for teacher coaching. While the framework was originally designed for professional development of in-service language teachers, Bale has adapted this framework for use with language-teacher candidates. The framework breaks down the specific moves that effective language teachers make into extremely concrete, manageable chunks that helps novice teachers see what “good teaching” looks like. Bale notes that these materials were designed in the United States in the context of controversial educational policies, namely the use of standardized test results and high-stakes observations and evaluations of teacher practice for annual evaluation and as basis for raises. Importantly, the authors of this framework have been careful to avoid evaluative language and focus on descriptive language to best support language teachers in developing their practice.

Further practice examples
Bettina Imgrund

Bettina Imgrund is a teacher educator at Pädagogische Hochschule Thurgau in German-speaking Switzerland. Her practice example describes how she implemented an empirically based model for foreign language teaching methodology, the Hamburger Modell, into the initial education of lower secondary teachers for French as a foreign language. Read the entire practice example here (in German).