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Plurilingual and intercultural competences: descriptors and teaching materials (FREPA)

Drawing on the recommendations of the Council of Europe, many countries advocate the development of plurilingual and intercultural competences as key objectives of school education. In this context language education in the 21st century approaches languages not as separate universes independent from one another. Integrated and interdependent parts of one overall language competence enable individuals to move around in, and integrate into, a multilingual and multicultural environment. It is the “integrated” language repertoire which organises the relationships between all the varieties internalised in the individual’s competences. Thus, efficient and effective management of a range of languages is a characteristic of plurilingual speakers of which modern societies are in need.

Plurilingual and intercultural education does not replace existing language learning, but facilitates it by helping learners to establish links with what they already know or can already do.

But how is this to be achieved? How can relevant competences be defined? How can curricula target at the development of those competences? Which school subjects are concerned? How to train teachers for this purpose? The set of instruments developed by the FREPA team opens ways for developing plurilingual and intercultural competences of learners of all ages, from early learners and adult learners – and in all contexts, e.g. “normal” schools, bilingual schooling, minority language contexts, (re-) migrant learners, European schools, vocational training.


Based on the needs expressed by the partners in the member states the team offers training and consultancy for enhancing plurilingual and intercultural education at grassroot level (teacher training and classroom teaching) or at a policy level (curriculum design, reform of educational policies) or any level in between. The team will help identifying relevant elements of the FREPA instruments, adapting them to the context and will show examples of use.
As a result of the activities:

  • Teachers should be able to identify objectives pertaining to plurilingual and intercultural education, to select, adapt and use relevant teaching materials;
  • Teacher trainers should be able to design training modules presenting key aspects of pluralistic approaches for the development of plurilingual and intercultural competences;
  • Textbook writers should be able to develop context adequate relevant teaching materials;
  • Decision-makers should be able to identify areas where FREPA instruments can be usefully exploited for further developments; new initiatives supported by FREPA concepts should be launched.

Target groups

  • teachers of languages and other subjects;
  • teacher trainers;
  • curriculum developers;
  • textbook writers;
  • policy makers, decision takers.

Envisaged results and impact of the ECML training and consultancy

The immediate result/benefit will be that the participating education professionals are supported in their effort to review existing practice in (language) teaching and to identify areas where materials and approaches presented by the team will be of use.

The impact/long term-benefit will be that

  • the need for coherent development of plurilingual and intercultural education is understood and widely accepted by relevant stakeholders;
  • priorities are set for areas of development and
  • practical instruments are made available to implement the new approaches.