Scenarios describing different people using this Guide
Maria, a foreign language teacher in adult education
Maria, a foreign language teacher in adult educationContext
Maria is a part-time teacher of Spanish and French as a foreign language at an adult education college where courses are also offered in English, German, and Chinese. Courses take place mainly in the late afternoon and evening, so full-time work is not available at the college, but Maria would like to teach more hours or to be able to get additional work in another private language school. There are 12 language teachers with different backgrounds and lengths of experience working at the school, but she is the only teacher of Spanish.
Following discussions with the head of department, Maria is anxious to engage in more professional development individually and, where possible, with others in the team of teachers. The head of department has said that she or her assistant head will be able to offer some individualised support. She has suggested that Maria should look at some of the frameworks and instruments available on the ECML website. She has also recommended that Maria begins with a self-assessment and directed her to the list of general frameworks for language teachers. Choice of instruments
Maria looks through the list and notices that at least three of them are suitable for self-assessment, the Cambridge English Teaching Development Framework, the European Profiling Grid, and the Eaquals Teacher Training and Development Framework. Unfortunately, the first and the third are only available in English. Since she isn’t particularly good at English, she decides to use the Spanish version of the European Profiling Grid on ‘key teaching competences’ and ‘enabling competences’ to start with so she can assess herself in these areas and then discuss her self-assessment with the head of department. Before doing so, she downloads the document Las competencias clave del profesorado de lenguas segundas y extranjeras (‘key competences of teachers of second and foreign languages’) provided by the Instituto Cervantes in order to raise her own awareness, realising that this document relates to and expands on some of the competences covered by the European Profiling Grid.
Maria is not that confident about her French, especially after a recent observation contained critical comments about her use of the language in the classroom. Following the recommendations of the observer, she is planning to record parts of one or two of her French lessons on her mobile phone using a small tripod. In the list of specialised frameworks, she comes across the Profession-related language competence profile for foreign language teachers, a section of which specifies in detail the linguistic and communicative resources needed by secondary teachers of French for their teaching, and which can easily be adapted for the adult context. She downloads this instrument for reference when she reviews the video clips of herself teaching. She aims to persuade the other teachers of French to look at the recordings and discuss them with her.
Michael, a secondary school manager
Michael, a secondary school managerThe context
Michael is head teacher of a large state secondary school in a city in Ireland with 1,500 children between the ages of 12 and 16. He was assigned to the job only a year ago after being deputy head of a smaller school in a country area. This school serves a much more diverse population of students, who between them speak some 35 different languages at home besides the language of schooling, which some of them have difficulty with, and all students take Irish language classes, as well as at least one foreign language.
As a result of his previous experience and a recent course on dealing with diversity in education that he has taken, Michael is very anxious to raise the awareness of the 75 teaching staff in the area of diversity and plurilingualism, and to embark on a project to ensure that all subjects teachers take seriously their responsibility for developing students’ awareness of diversity and of the role of languages, communication and intercultural understanding in their learning, their social interactions and their lives in the community, and that teachers contribute to the development of their students’ competences in these areas. All teachers are required to participate in continuing professional development on the first day of each trimester, and Michael wants to plan some workshops on these topics that involve teachers from different subject areas working together. The head of languages in the school has mentioned the ECML catalogue of resources to him, and he is spending some time looking through the frameworks and documents to identify those which might be useful. The choice of instruments
Michael first looks through the background documents and selects the Council of Europe handbooks on The Language Dimension in All Subjects and the Place of the languages of schooling in the curricula to read through as preparation. He then skims through the various instruments aimed at teachers of any subject. He notices that some of them, including the Northern Ireland framework of professional competences, include the area of diversity but at a fairly general level. There is one exception: Basic Language Competences for all Teachers developed in Austria, which he translates on the internet. Michael realises that this instrument, with its focus on the role of languages in learning, and on languages and identity, can provide a good starting point for planning the awareness-raising and professional development project. He then looks through the list of specialised frameworks and notes that the Miriadi Reference Framework of Didactic Skills (REFDIC) could provide a useful basis for a workshop session on the ethical and pedagogic aspects of intercomprehension, plurilingualism and pluriculturalism. He also downloads the FREPA framework of learner competences and resources and decides that elements of it could be used in more detailed work with teachers, since it specifies pathways and resources for developing students’ awareness and competences.
Once he and his deputy have looked at these documents and instruments more closely they will be in a position to put together a detailed plan, which, with such a large group of teachers, will include both awareness-raising through reading and perhaps via a webinar that he himself will record with a colleague, as well as hands-on practical workshops. Before that, he intends to do some lesson observation with his deputy to gain a better idea of how teachers are currently dealing with language and diversity issues.
Claudia, a student teacher of foreign languages
Claudia, a student teacher of foreign languagesContext
Claudia is a student at a university of teacher education in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. She is training to become a teacher at a lower secondary school where she will teach the language of schooling (German), two foreign languages (French and English), as well as history and geography. She also has a part-time job at a private language school, and as a member of the students’ union, she liaises between her peers and the faculty. As part of this function, she has been asked to gather feedback from the language students on their course of study.
An area of specific concern for her peers concerns effective teaching strategies for and with weaker students. During their teaching practice internships, the student teachers need to build up strategies to deal with students’ mixed abilities in the classroom. These include defining adapted learning objectives, exploiting the plurilingual potential of students even if, as migrants, they may struggle with the language of schooling as well as foreign languages, and many others. At school, the teachers can cooperate, for a number of lessons, with remedial teachers. However, organizing the cooperation and peer teaching in the classroom is an extra challenge at the early stage in their career. Choice of instruments
Claudia is familiar with the project website Towards a Common European Framework of Reference for Language Teachers and decides to search the database for instruments for teachers that might be useful for her. She finds a number of instruments that are useful under the topic of Attention to learners’ individual needs, including Language sensitive subject teaching: A checklist. Another dimension which she finds relevant is Capitalising on linguistic & cultural resources of learners. This search leads her to the framework Basiskompetenzen Sprachliche Bildung für alle Lehrenden, an Austrian framework for teachers of all subjects, and the British Council’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Framework for Teachers. Having browsed through some of the instruments, Claudia engages in a discussion with her university teachers, and convinces them to devote more time to these topics in the curriculum.
Jan, a teacher educator for foreign languages
Jan, a teacher educator for foreign languagesContext
Jan is a teacher trainer at a university of teacher education in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. The college trains lower secondary teachers who will teach the language of schooling (German), foreign languages (French, English, and Italian), as well as other subjects (history, PE, maths, etc.).
Jan has been asked to draft a coherent curriculum for the students’ foreign language education which outlines the main aims and activities of different courses in initial education. These include courses in didactics/methodology, teaching practice, but also courses with linguistic and cultural content (e.g. French studies or English studies for future teachers).
Since the curricula used in obligatory schooling are heavily indebted to important European frameworks, specifically the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and A framework of reference for pluralistic approaches to languages and cultures, Jan has decided to draft a teacher education curriculum based on instruments that are informed by similar notions, but with a focus on teachers rather than learners. Choice of instruments
Jan starts by checking the European Profile for Language Teacher Education since it is directly concerned with the planning of teacher education curricula. He then consults three frameworks which describe teacher competences in a holistic way: European Portfolio for Student Teachers of Languages, a self-assessment portfolio primarily used in initial education, the European Profiling Grid, which is mainly used for continuous professional development, and the Swiss Passepartout framework.
In Jan’s context, some aspects of language education are particularly crucial. Swiss pupils are entitled to learning at least two foreign languages from primary school onwards, which explains a methodological focus on plurilingualism, in specific intercomprehension. This leads Jan to closely consider the Miriadi framework Référentiel de compétences en didactique de I’intercompréhension. Another aspect is the importance of the teachers’ language competences, which is why the faculty has started to use the Profession-specific language competence profiles. Finally, Jan consults the framework for Language-sensitive subject teaching (2013) by Vollmer and Thürmann, in a move towards curricular coherence with other subjects, specifically the language of schooling, education science and natural science.
Florian, un enseignant du primaire en formation
Florian, un enseignant du primaire en formationContexte
Florian est étudiant en deuxième année d’Ecole Supérieure du Professorat et de l’Education dans une grande ville de province française. Depuis plusieurs années, il sait qu’il veut devenir enseignant du primaire et si tout se passe bien, l’an prochain, il aura sa propre classe. Il aurait volontiers fait une licence de sciences de l’éducation, mais l’université locale n’en disposant pas, il a fait une licence d’anglais, car il aime aussi les langues.
Il a donc suivi avec beaucoup d‘intérêt une ‘Unité de Valeur’ (UV ; un cours de 24h) de Préprofessionnalisation en dernière année de licence, qui portait sur les langues dans l’enseignement primaire, et comportait une sensibilisation à la question de la langue des élèves. Il s’est passionné pour une activité d’autobiographie linguistique, et surtout pour les échanges qui ont suivi concernant le vécu de certains autres étudiants dont la famille s’est installée en France alors qu’enfants, ils ne parlaient pas français.
A l’Ecole Supérieure du Professorat et de l’Education , il a choisi de faire un mémoire un peu théorique portant sur le devenir des enfants issus de la migration, mais il a été très déçu par le peu d’heures d’enseignement consacrées à leur accueil, et surtout à des démarches de classe concrètes favorisant le bien-être et les apprentissages de ces enfants. Dans deux semaines, il prend une classe en responsabilité dans le cadre d’un stage qu’il effectue dans une école primaire ayant un pourcentage d’élèves issus de la migration assez élevé … Recherche et utilisation d’instruments
Pour les activités en classe, il a retrouvé les activités didactiques d’éveil aux langues qui lui avaient été présentées en UV de préprofessionnalisation il y a deux ans, et l’enseignante en charge de son mémoire lui arappelé à l’existence du site du Cadre de référence pour les approches plurielles des langues et des cultures. Sur ce site, il a découvert d’autres activités et des pistes vers de nombreux autres matériaux en ligne. Il s’est intéressé aux descripteurs de «savoirs», «savoir-être» et «savoir-faire» des élèves, qu’il a trouvés utiles pour sa réflexion. Il a bien compris que certains pouvaient l’aider à s’interroger sur les compétences que lui-même doit posséder ou encore acquérir pour être à la hauteur des tâches qui l’attendent face aux élèves allophones. Mais il imagine bien que cela ne suffit pas, et il suit les conseils de son enseignante qui l’a orienté vers un site consacré à des référentiels de formation des enseignants.
Dans le guide proposé par ce site, il a rapidement repéré deux dimensions : d’une part la ‘compétence plurilingue et pluriculturelle’, et plus spécifiquement sa composante ‘Prendre appui sur les ressources linguistiques et culturelles propres à l’apprenant’ ; d’autre part l’ ‘Éducation aux valeurs de la démocratie’, pour une vision plus large de ses missions sociales en tant qu’enseignant.
Parmi les référentiels correspondant à cette dernière entrée, il a retrouvé un texte déjà lu pour l’Ecole supérieure du professorat et de l’éducation, le Référentiel des compétences professionnelles des métiers du professorat et de l'éducation, publié en 2013 par le Ministère français, dont la lecture lui a confirmé que sa vision de ses responsabilités vis-à-vis des enfants allophones est bien conforme aux instructions officielles. Dans le domaine de la compétence plurilingue et pluriculturelle, il a découvert le Portfolio européen pour les éducatrices et éducateurs en préélémentaire, qui s’applique très bien au niveau scolaire des élèves de son stage et dont le caractère de portfolio centré sur la réflexion l’a beaucoup séduit. Il a commencé à réfléchir aux parties ‘Accueillir positivement la diversité des langues et des cultures’, ‘Initier des activités à propos des langues et de la diversité’ et ‘Soutenir le développement langagier d’enfants parlant d’autres langues premières’. Il a laissé une annonce sur le tableau d’affichage de l’Ecole supérieure du professorat et de l’éducation pour indiquer qu’il recherche d’autres étudiants pour un travail en groupe avec cet instrument. Il a pris le temps de consulter également le Référentiel de compétences en didactique de l’intercompréhension – même s’il ne comprenait pas bien ce que signifiait «intercompréhension» – et s’en est félicité, car il y a trouvé de nombreuses rubriques correspondant directement à ses préoccupations, tant sur les orientations de l’enseignement que sur son propre développement et les aspects didactiques concrets et a particulièrement apprécié les nombreux renvois directs à des documents et outils (‘référentiels d’apprentissage’) lui permettant concrètement de se former.
Bien sûr, Florian sait que l’exploitation des outils qu’il a découverts nécessite un travail de longue haleine, mais il voit bien le profit qu’il va pouvoir en tirer dans l’immédiat pour son stage. Il espère que plusieurs étudiants répondront à son annonce, et que parmi eux il s’en trouvera un qui peut lire l’allemand, car il a vu que dans le Basiskompetenzen Sprachliche Bildung für alle Lehrenden, il y a également des renvois à des activités.
Hannes, a subject teacher of math at the lower and upper secondary level
Hannes, a subject teacher of math at the lower and upper secondary levelContext
Hannes is a teacher of mathematics who graduated from a German university (at Duisburg-Essen) after having completed a state exam. This was followed by a practical phase of training in which he gained many initial teaching experiences. He was also trained to teach physics, for which he received equal training as for mathematics. However, he prefers the latter subject. He is somewhat aware of the large role language plays in teaching and learning the subject of mathematics, not only when introducing a topic and explaining it to students, but also when helping students solve mathematical tasks. He sees how important it is for individuals to develop a clear understanding of a mathematical issue (such as fractions), but also how group work and classroom interaction (initiated and guided by him) supports, stimulates and enables in-depth mathematical learning.
With the help of a self-designed informal test, Hannes wants his students to deal with mathematical tasks and solve them in a written form, by reasoning why certain steps and solutions were considered and taken, whereas others were discarded. His pre-service teacher training dates back about 15 years, at a time when the acquisition of disciplinary knowledge was dominant, when there was little subject didactics around and certainly no focus on the learner. Therefore, he would now like to update his understanding of the subject-matter, but also of the teaching methods suggested which are most appropriate and supportive for the development of autonomous learners of mathematics. He is aware that he himself has to develop professionally as a continuous task and challenge.
Hannes has heard about a so-called design-based research project at a nearby university (University of Dortmund) within which he as a practicing teacher has the possibility of cooperating. Their goal is to develop new units of teaching for lower secondary classes, e.g. about fractions, based on a number of theoretical considerations and practical try-outs, with possible revisions and a final form of publication in a textbook, a student workbook and a teachers’ manual. For his new part-time job as a research associate, Hannes has been asked to make suggestions on how to deal with fractions in the classroom, how to talk about them as a teacher, and how to teach the students to conceptualize, exchange and talk about them in a number of different ways. Choice of instruments
Hannes sets out to study the given curricula and the set tasks, comparing them for different countries, regions, and age groups. He analyses the language demands involved in that specific area of mathematics education with the help of some of the publications of the Council of Europe, namely the The place of languages of schooling in the curricula and more specifically ‘Items for a description of linguistic competence in the language of schooling necessary for learning/teaching mathematics (end of obligatory education): An approach with reference points’. After designing a teaching unit on fractions with many illustrations and linguistic support, Hannes wants to teach his own units (collaboratively developed at university). He needs to think about the role of the linguistic dimension during his own preparation, during actual teaching, in the additional materials used, and in guiding his learners as well as giving them feedback. This leads him to consult the Checklist for language-sensitive subject teaching (2015) by Vollmer and Thürmann.
Linda, a subject teacher of History, lower and upper secondary
Linda, a subject teacher of history, lower and upper secondaryContext
Linda is a history teacher and loves to read historical novels such Daniel Kehlmann’s Die Vermessung der Zeit (2005) or Tyll (2017). She is also very interested in how historical events and developments are portrayed on TV and in museums. Recently, she read an article about the fierce battle of ‘Hartmannweilerkopf’ in the South of the Alsace region during the First World War and the attempts to reconcile French and German history, viewpoints and future perspectives, as in the recent symbolic meeting of the presidents Steinmeier and Macron at the site of the battle.
She would like to deal with this event in the classroom and how it is covered in the media, on TV and in the press as well as discuss the German-French museum which has been built on that site. She plans a teaching unit with the aim of fitting it into the obligatory curriculum. After collecting material and checking with publishing houses, she decides to establish a cooperation with other teachers (from her own school or neighboring schools) in order to jointly develop a topic unit which can be used collectively. In the process of cooperation, she becomes all the more aware of the fact that history and learning about history is a highly linguistic and communicative endeavor and that language is a main component of developing historical awareness and thinking. Choice of instruments
For lack of other support systems, she analyses the many layers of language and the specific linguistic demands involved in the areas of recent history and history education. She turns to some of the publications of the Council of Europe, namely the The place of languages of schooling in the curricula and more specifically ‘Items for a description of linguistic competence in the language of schooling necessary for learning/teaching history (end of obligatory education): An approach with reference points’ – and finds many important suggestions relating to terms, concepts, expressions, as well as linguistic and cognitive elaborations. After designing a teaching unit entitled “The battle of H – What is the meaning for us?” with many pictures, art illustrations and linguistic support, Linda wants to try out the unit. She needs to think about the language dimensions of her own teaching more specifically: during planning of her course, in classroom interactions, in selecting additional materials to be used and in guiding the learners towards the intended goals/competences, as well as in giving them feedback about their performance. She turns to the Checklist for language-sensitive subject teaching by Thürmann and Vollmer (2012).
The unit is so successful among the learners (after visiting the site and meeting French peers from a twin school in Alsace) that Linda decides to extend the topic onto her upper secondary classes of French. And more than that, she wants to draft a didactic teacher education unit around it, which deals with a highly relevant topic between Germany and France in an exemplary way, how it can be researched, transposed into learning units and steps and how it can be evaluated with the help of the students themselves.
Since the curricula used in obligatory schooling are heavily indebted to important European frameworks, especially the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and A framework of reference for pluralistic approaches to languages and cultures, Linda decides to draft her teacher education curriculum unit based on instruments that are informed by similar notions, but with a focus on teachers rather than learners. In this perspective she consults three frameworks which describe teacher competences in a holistic way: European Profile for Language Teacher Education, a self-assessment portfolio primarily used in initial education, the European Profiling Grid, which is mainly used for continuous professional development, and the Swiss Passepartout framework.