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    Gazette 52

Gazette 52 September-October 2020

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26 September: Celebrate the European Day of Languages with us! #coeEDL


Discover the world through languages!

Despite the health crisis this year’s European Day of Languages looks like being a very special day. With just over two weeks to go until the 19th edition of the EDL, there are lots of wonderful creative events foreseen all over Europe and indeed the world. Just have a look through the calendar (https://edl.ecml.at/edlevents) to discover them!

If you are involved in organising an event which is not yet featured in the calendar – please don’t forget to include it, no matter how big or small.


Language challenges via app!

The new Language challenges app has just been launched in 20 languageson both the Apple and Google platforms (see https://edl.ecml.at/#app for the direct links).

Both the app and the handbook offer a wide range of challenges to keep language learners motivated – in particular during a prolonged period away from the ‘physical’ language classroom. They can easily be used by students/children independently or together with teachers and parents.

Taking on the role of a ‘secret agent’, the user has a mission to complete which involves successfully carrying out as many of the 50 challenges as possible. The challenges focus on different basic skills and are set at different levels of difficulty. Upon completion of at least 10 challenges the agent can reward themselves with an online certificate – which will not self-destruct…


What do you dare to do in a foreign language?

To add an extra incentive to the initiative, the 51st challenge is “What do you dare to do in a foreign language?” and invites users to create a short video clip, based either on the one of the existing challenges or on one of their own invention, and upload it to the EDL website.

Some ideas for this final challenge, which are particularly relevant to the current context, are:

  • “Show how you are cooking your favourite national recipe”
  • “Recommend a movie from your country in a foreign language”
  • “Recreate a country you would like to visit after the crisis is over in your home”
  • “Record and explain your favourite current activity at home in a foreign language”
  • “Film a one minute workout in a language you are learning”

What else is new for 2020?

  • ‘Why did you decide to learn a language?’ poll. Let us know what first motivated to take up a new language – was it because of travelling to a new country, liking the sound of a language, or maybe even because you fell in love, or many other reasons? The results of the poll will be announced on Friday 25 September.
  • Ideas for organising events which respect social distancing
    Struggling to find ideas for a ‘socially-distanced’ event for this year’s European Day of Languages?
    In these uncertain times it can be challenging to organise events which are both safe and are attractive to a large number of people. This feature offers 7 ideas to get creativity flowing.
  • The ‘Myth or fact’ quiz on language learning seeks to dispel certain commonly repeated myths about language learning and highlight some of the many benefits in a fun quiz format.
  • ‘You can learn languages, too!’ This new guide offers excellent reasons on why to learn languages in the first place and, once you have taken the plunge, how best to go about learning languages. So, you have no excuses anymore not to learn a new language!
  • The ‘Which language is it?’ game tests your ability to identify individual languages through listening to conversations in an everyday setting. Warning: it is not easy!
  • As if you needed extra to encouragement to enter your activities into EDL events calendar… the calendar now allows you as an event organiser to generate an official certificate of participation in the Day (after the completion date of an event).
  • The ‘ICT resource of the week’ on the homepage presents some of the best current apps available that can be used for language teaching and learning.

A competitive element...

In addition to the 'Language challenges' and 'Which language is it?' features, the following competitions will be running this year:


Do you know…?

From which language does the expression Bhaz-zokk

Why is the name of the city of Graz (Austria) most likely derived from a castle - when there isn’t one there?

Is there a way to transcribe sign languages?

For which language is Euskaltzaindia the official academic language regulatory institution?

Which is the world’s second largest French speaking city, after Paris, and before Montreal and Brussels?

What does ‘Far, Får får får? Nej, inte får får får, får får lamm’ mean and how fast can you repeat it?

How many spoken languages can you identify correctly?


Last minute materials and up to date information

  • As it is not always possible to send materials, particularly at short notice, we have added to the Downloads section of the website – with a number of resources (such as posters, postcards, images, banners, flyers and logos for social media and printing) that event organisers and schools can reproduce themselves. It is also possible to purchase a t-shirt with the 2020 EDL design from an external supplier.
  • Social media: on a dedicated EDL Facebook page – we are running a series of posts promoting the Day in the build up to the 26 September and on Twitter – using the hashtag #coeEDL to publicise activities taking place on the Day.

7 events taking place in celebration of the Day!

1) Improtheater "Sprachgewirr" (28 September 2020, Berlin, Germany)
Type of event: show/theatre
Target audience: general public

2) Semaine des langues (20-25 September 2020, Provins, France)
Type of event: challenge
Target audience: pupils, language teachers

3) Preventing COVID-19 in all European languages! (25 September 2020 - 7 October 2020, Gondifelos, Portugal)
Type of event: exhibition
Target audience: children, parents

4) Día Europeo de los Idiomas (26 September 2020, Lima, Peru)
Type of event: language day
Target audience: general public, young people, language learners and teachers

5) School day of foreign languages (24-25 September 2020, Zabrze, Poland)
Type of event: language day
Target audience: pupils

6) Speak Dating in Lucerna, Translation Live in Kampus Hybernská (22 September 2020, Nové Město, Czech Republic)
Type of event: language classes
Target audience: language learners, pupils, children, language teachers, general public

7) What do you dare to do in a FL competition? (4 August 2020 - 18 Septmber 2020, Malta)
Type of the event: competition/tournament
Target audience: language learners, children, language teachers, students, young people (in general), parents


Council of Europe and European Commission events taking place around the Day

Language Festival in Graz

On Thursday 24 September the European Centre for Modern Languages is involved in organising a language festival. The Graz Museum and its surrounding area will once again be transformed into a language hub. All age groups are invited to the festival which offers a wide range of activities highlighting the language richness of the city of Graz! Whilst being a socially distanced event this year, with a number of online event features, it will still involve a lively mix of language taster sessions, workshops, games, quizzes and international theatre, music and dance.

European Commission’s activities

On 28 September, DG EAC will hold an online talk showing how the EU supports multilingual competences through the European Education Area. The talk is aimed at a broad audience, with web streaming and interpretation. Commissioner Mariya Gabriel will take part.

The European Commission’s translation field offices are involved in the organisation of over 80 events taking place in cities around Europe! As a large number of the events are online activities, including quizzes, radio contests, webinars, interactive workshops, games, mini language courses and lectures – you can participate from anywhere. You can find details of all these events in the ECML online calendar and here.

In addition, a social media campaign throughout September will focus on stories, videos and interviews from across the EU showing how translation has contributed to better healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic, how it made lockdown easier, and its importance for politics and business.

The School Education Gateway: this European resource portal for teachers and school staff in 23 languages is focusing on multilingualism throughout September, with new articles, videos and news items.


Training and consultancy activities


RELANG and Supporting Multilingual Classrooms online!

Following the decision of the ECML and the European Commission to extend the “Innovative methodologies and assessment in language learning” action until 31 December 2020 due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the workshops under this joint action have started to take place as online events.

The first such events have just been successfully held in Denmark (Supporting Multilingual Classrooms) and Serbia (RELANG), with very positive feedback received, and the participants pleased to be able to take part in the workshops.

Ten more online workshops are coming up between now and December (for 8 countries: Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden).

For more details, please visit the RELANG and Supporting Multilingual Classrooms websites and the ECML online calendar.


Just published


ARC resource website "Action research communities for language teachers"

The European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) of the Council of Europe is pleased to launch its ARC resource website “Action research communities for language teachers” (www.ecml.at/actionresearch). This output of the ECML programme “Languages at the heart of learning” (2016-2019) has been developed in English and German through expert cooperation in the field of language education across geographic Europe and beyond.

This website offers resources to support language teachers use action research as a tool for the development of reflective classroom practice, taking them step-by-step through the process of engaging in action research in their respective contexts. It also provides materials for teacher educators in initial teacher education.

Given the challenges teachers and learners have faced during lockdown and the challenges ahead as schools across Europe attempt to return to some kind of normality, the need for teachers to reflect on their practice and to benefit from professional learning communities is greater than ever. These new resources can strengthen teacher development and the provision of quality inclusive language education.

Click on the links below to go directly to the different resources:

Join the Facebook group on "Action Research Community for Language Teachers"!

This group aims, on the one hand, to inform members about the ECML project "Action Research Communities for language teachers" and ongoing developments of the Training and Consultancy programme for ECML member states. It also seeks to open up discussions with action researchers in languages and other fields.


Mediation in teaching, learning and assessment - METLA: join the Facebook group!

"Mediation in teaching, learning and assessment - METLA" is one of the projects within the current ECML programme of activities "Inspiring innovation in language education: changing contexts, evolving competences" (2020-2023). It sets out to develop guidelines useful for language teachers who want to include the linguistic mediation aspect in their classrooms.


Professional Network Forum of the ECML


Upcoming events

The Professional Network Forum of the ECML is comprised of international associations and institutions that share common values and have overlapping expertise in the field of language education and assessment. Under the auspices of the ECML, the members of the Forum share their know-how and work together on areas of common interest in the service of language education.



News from other organisations


UN – International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032)

A significant step has been taken with the publishing of the “Los Pinos Declaration [Chapoltepek] – Making a Decade of Action for Indigenous Languages”. The Declaration (available in English, French and Spanish) is the outcome document of the high-level closing event of the International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019.



The future of language education in Europe: case studies of innovative practices, NESET Analytical Report, 2020
Prepared by Emmanuelle Le Pichon-Vorstman, Hanna Siarova, Eszter Szőnyi
The main purpose of this report is to explore emerging innovative approaches and strategies of language teaching in Europe supporting learners’ plurilingualism, inspire educators and policy makers to innovate and implement forward-looking policies and practices in language education, and contribute to the implementation of the EU Council Recommendation on a comprehensive approach to the teaching and learning of languages (adopted in May 2019).


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