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    Towards a Common European Framework of Reference for language teachers
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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"


Language teacher competences are crucial to the quality and effectiveness of language education. Successful language learning depends in large part on the knowledge, skills and attitudes of language teachers. In addition, in the world of today all teachers need to be critically aware of the role that language and communication play in education and in life in general, to be able to use language(s) sensitively in their teaching, whatever their subject, and to develop students’ general language awareness.

Over recent years, various projects have developed frameworks and descriptions of language teacher competences for various contexts. Some of them are general and international, others are more specialised or aimed at a national context. In addition, some national and regional authorities have developed standards or guidelines for all teachers, including language teachers, working in public education. But until now there has been no overview of these different tools and their potential uses, and no overarching framework exists that covers all areas of language teaching. The aim of this resources platform is to provide such an overview to enable users to quickly to familiarise themselves with a significant number of these instruments and to examine more closely those that are potentially useful to them in their role as teacher educators or teachers working autonomously or with mentors on self-improvement. The full list of instruments reviewed in the course of the project can be found here:

In developing the Resources Platform, a key focus has been to examine and to raise users’ awareness of the ways in which initial and in-service teacher education and development and the resources developed to support it contribute to the fundamental aims and values of the Council of Europe. These aims and values are set out in the right-hand column.


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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 co-operation

Active consultation with all other members of the educational institution and co-operation with natural partners, including parents, makes it easier for all learners to succeed. All teachers must incorporate this quest for co-operation 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.