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Where can language-related learner competences be found in learners’ curricula? 

This section contains advice on how to find or create learner competence descriptions relevant for language-sensitive education.

National and regional curricula differ widely in their attention to and presentation of language-related competences. For the full picture, it is useful to get an overview of the complete curricula that are in use for a specific domain of education. 

  • A first obvious place to look is are in the curricula for the language(s) of schooling as a subject and for foreign languages. They are likely to specify certain key language competences, and possibly also areas of language awareness and intercultural competence.
  • The language-related competences for other subjects (or all subjects) can be treated in different ways. They might appear in a general or introductory part of the entire curriculum, and/or in the specific subject curricula. 
  • Some curricula also have specific learning aims for learners of the language of schooling as a second language, e.g. for those learners who have a migration or minority language background. These learning aims can serve as an inspiration for other learners as well since subject-related academic language may also be challenging for some learners for whom the language of schooling is their first language.

In some cases, language-related competences for subjects other than language might not be described explicitly. In this case, you can try to pinpoint them in three main ways:

i You can analyse general or subject-specific learners’ aims for competence descriptions that contain language-related aspects (for instance concrete references to oral or written coursework).

ii  You can study the formal assessment criteria used for a range of subjectcexams (especially high-stake ones) to ascertain which language competences (e.g. written or oral) are expected of successful learners.

iii  You can refer to competence descriptions in other curricula or international learner frameworks, as described in section B above.