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The future of language education in the light of Covid
Lessons learned and ways forward

The initiative explores how the Covid pandemic affected language education in Europe and looks at ways in which the experience, skills and insights gained may bring about beneficial lasting changes in the teaching and learning of languages.
Colloquium 2021

Colloquium December 14th, 2021

An initiative of the Professional Network Forum

The colloquium set out to address the following questions:
  • What insights had been gained from using radically different modes of language education during the Covid pandemic – remote, hybrid, socially distanced- during the Covid pandemic?
  • How can the challenges of examinations and assessment in such situations be overcome?
  • What innovative kinds of support for learners and teachers were developed?
  • What specific challenges arose in relation to ensuring inclusive language education for all?
  • Do we now need a new kind of “educational literacy”?

The colloquium looked back in order to move forward: reporting on the results of the February 2021 survey, which attracted over 1750 responses, and on the activities which followed it. Drawing also on related ECML-EC Training and consultancy activities in the areas of assessment and multilingual classrooms, and on responses to Covid developed by the European Commission and by the OECD, it also considered how this wealth of experience and knowledge might impact on future ECML programmes and act as a springboard for shaping a promising future for language education in Europe at the levels of policy, teacher education and classroom practice.  

The colloquium particularly focused  on all those working in the field of language education: decision-makers, curriculum developers, teacher educators and classroom teachers.  

The colloquium on "The future of language education in the light of Covid – lessons learned and ways forward" is organised by the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe in cooperation with the European Commission. 

Working languages: English and French


Videos (morning sessions)

Welcome and opening remarks

Sarah Breslin
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The impact of Covid on language education 

Key findings from the Europe-wide PNF-ECML survey ; introduction of key themes
Peter Brown
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“Teachers’ voices”  – short video messages from teachers

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From a survey to a guide

How does this initiative support teachers?
The results of two focus groups, a draft guide for teachers and case study examples
Frank Heyworth
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Mentimenter results Effects of Covid on language education

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Challenges and advantages of different modes of education; adapting resources and methods to a new environment

Bernd Rüschoff
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A teacher's case study - teaching Chinese during lockdown

Francesco Imparato
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The European Commission's response to Covid in the field of education

Oana Felecan
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Reflections on learner inclusion and identity - Supporting Multilingual Classrooms

Terry Lamb / Brigitte Gerber
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Videos (afternoon sessions)

The role of curricular alignment; validity and reliability of (alternative) assessment formats

David Little / José Noijons
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PISA's response to COVID in the field of education

Catalina Covacevich
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Changing contexts, evolving competences - time for a new "educational literacy"?

Bernd Rüschoff, Peter Brown
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Mentimeter Evolving competences in language learning

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Expert panel - where to from here


Pille Põiklik, Francesco Imparato, Tue Halgreen, Kristina Cunningham, Frank Heyworth and Sarah Breslin

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The way ahead - what lessons can be drawn for the next ECML four-year programme? 
Susanna Slivensky
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Closing remarks

Concluding remarks by the ECML
Sarah Breslin
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