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    Developing transversal competences in language education

Developing transversal competences in language education

The aim of the project is to enhance the development of transversal competences by designing a theoretical and pedagogical framework which can be adapted to different educational contexts. Through an interactive platform we will provide sample tasks and evaluation guidelines for the implementation of language-related, cross-disciplinary approaches in upper secondary education and foreign language teacher education.
Related resources

Working languages of the project: English, German
Project term: 2020-2023
Shortcut: www.ecml.at/transversalcompetences


Main idea and objective

The main objective of the project is to foster the implementation of transversal competences in upper secondary education. Transversal competences include knowledge, skills and values that are important for a holistic education based on democratic global citizens. These competences reach beyond individual disciplines and domains of society. In school education they can be enhanced by integration of subject content and cross-disciplinary pedagogical approaches.

In order to enable teachers and teacher students to enhance their students’ acquisition of these competences, the project draws on an action-oriented scenario approach that aligns languages with other disciplines to promote the integration of transversal competences (such as those derived from OECD “21st century skills”, and "The European Reference Framework of Key Competences for Lifelong Learning" (e.g. media literacy, sustainability, democratic citizenship, learning to learn).

We address this focus from two perspectives:
  1. How to integrate transversal competences into language education -> in practice, topics, tasks and methods addressing transversal competences can be implemented integratively in intercultural communicative language classes.
  2. How to enhance transversal competences through cross-disciplinary approaches to language education (CLIL/ cross-disciplinary scenarios) -> in practice, topics, tasks and methods addressing transversal competences can be enhanced by linking  language(s) with other disciplines such as history or geography. 

Thus, through a variety of scenarios and tasks (North & Piccardo, 2018; Ellis & Shintani, 2014), upper secondary students will be supported to acquire transversal competences in an integrative way, e.g. while working together in cross-disciplinary (and/or in the case of tele-collaborations also in transnational) communities of practice. 

The various scenarios/projects can be used as the basis of learning and teaching modes (including virtual/transnational tele-collaborations) as well as for portfolio work. Additionally, guidelines for creating digital portfolios will be provided for the documentation of students´ performance.

Envisaged project outputs

  1. Theoretical framework on transversal competences models, joint ‘working model’, digital showcase with (existing) good practices
  2. Didactical approach: models and examples of curricula and materials 
  3. Teaching and learning materials (as Open Educational Resources/OERs): Task samples (annotated task plans and performances illustrating various approaches and contexts of study, for selected topics and transversal competences), tele-collaboration guidelines, portfolio templates
  4. Platform for communication, collaboration, co-construction/sharing of concepts and materials (platform as digital showcase, sharing environment, working space)

Target groups

The target audience consists of teachers and students at upper secondary level, teacher educators and curriculum designers.

  1. Teachers (and teacher educators) are supported by task and project designs for implementing cross-disciplinary approaches.
  2. Upper secondary students in foreign language classes are encouraged to develop transversal language competencies and to reflect upon.
  3. Student teachers in foreign language teacher education are encouraged to reflect on the development of transversal competences in language education and to develop skills based on scenarios and samples for the own teaching.

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