Language education in Europe: the impact of Covid
Take part in the survey open until 28 February!
The Covid pandemic has had – and is continuing to have - a profound impact on most of our activities, not least on language education. The ECML, in cooperation with its Professional Network Forum, has just launched a Europe-wide project to gather information and exchange views on how language educators are coping with the challenges, and to reflect on the lessons to be learnt from their experiences.
The first step is a survey addressed especially to language educators, though administrators, language students and parents are also welcome to contribute to it. The results of the survey will be drawn on in a series of online think tanks later this year, to be followed by a Colloquium and publication of the results.
You are cordially invited to take part in the survey and to disseminate it to colleagues and partner institutions involved in language education. You can access the survey here until 28 February 2021: https://languageeducationandcovid.questionpro.com (available in English and French).
"Innovative methodologies and assessment in language learning"
Call for workshops in 2021 within the ECML-EU joint Action - now open until 19 February
The European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe together with the European Commission are pleased to announce the launch of a new round of RELANG and Supporting Multilingual Classrooms workshops within the joint action on Innovative methodologies and assessment in language learning. RELANG focuses on relating foreign/second language curricula, tests and examinations to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), and Supporting Multilingual Classrooms focuses on the linguistic integration of migrant learners in schools across Europe.
The activities are scheduled to take place between mid-March and mid-December 2021, each initiative offering up to 9 national workshops during this period. In view of the ongoing pandemic, workshops will be delivered online for the foreseeable future.
The call is open to current European Union member states and the additional member states of the ECML. To ensure all states have sufficient time to respond to the call, the deadline for applications has been extended until 19 February 2021.
For further information on how to request a workshop, please contact Adelina Rosca, the ECML-EC cooperation agreement coordinator.
Call for workshops
Just published! New ECML resources
“ProSign - Promoting excellence in sign language instruction”: cutting-edge resources for sign language teacher education and programmes where sign languages are taught
The website is in both International Sign language and English and has been developed in a bottom-up process involving deaf experts and experienced sign language teachers from inception to completion. The resources contained on the site are intended for sign language teachers, sign language teacher educators, curriculum developers, sign language evaluators, and professionals involved in sign language teaching, learning and assessment.
The ProSign resources integrate sign language education into Council of Europe language policy developments, building upon the work carried out between 2012-15 to establish European standards for sign languages for professional purposes in line with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
The highlights include a model of a signed version of the European Language Portfolio (ELP) and different ways in which it can be used by teachers and learners. There are examples and resources for the assessment of signed language learners’ proficiency as well as an adaptation of all CEFR levels to sign languages (from A1 to C2) in a modality neutral version. This work is directly related to the latest edition of the CEFR Companion Volume.
These cutting-edge resources will enhance quality, professionalism and standardization of sign language teacher education and programmes where sign languages are taught. Moreover, they will help increase awareness of the linguistic and cultural diversity of sign languages in Europe, and of the importance of sign language teaching and learning within the framework of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
This text and further promotional information is also available in International Sign language and English.
“Inspiring language learning and teaching in the early years – Why it matters and what it looks like for children age 3-12”: new resource website for pre-primary and primary teachers and educators
This website is packed with resources and strategies for teachers and educators in the pre-primary and primary sectors to help young children develop their linguistic and intercultural competences. The resources take account of the linguistic repertoires of children – the different languages they encounter at home, at school and in society – so that they can engage successfully with linguistic and cultural diversity. They are underpinned by a set of key guiding principles, also available on the website.
Users will become more aware of the benefits of early language learning in the context of multilingual classrooms and can choose from an extensive bank of practical classroom materials and inspiring stories, organised into three age groups (3-6, 6-9, 9–12-year-olds).
These pedagogical resources will help create a great language learning experience which is stimulating and enjoyable for learners and teachers alike!
Upcoming publication in early 2021
Resource website "A roadmap for schools to support the language(s) of schooling" (in English, French and German)
Overview of all programme outputs 2016-2019 "Languages at the heart of learning"
Download the brochure
ECML programme developments 2020-2023 – “Inspiring innovation in language education: changing contexts, evolving competences”
ECML workshops in 2021: how to get involved
Individuals with a special interest and professional background in the topic of one of the ECML project workshops listed below are invited to take up contact with the ECML National Nominating Authority in their country so that they can be considered for participation.
Border regions: model regions for a Europe growing together
The project “Enhancing language education in cross-border vocational education” focuses on innovative processes which facilitate the crossing of linguistic and cultural borders as well as on the development of CLIL methodology in professional settings, connecting research to real needs on the ground.
Aknowledging the potential of border regions to be conceived as model regions for a Europe that is growing together, the project team has identified special conditions and requirements that are characteristic to the border regions involved in the project. Their reflections address various levels: institutional teaching, individual learning, language policies, permeability of structures, as well as attitudes and perceptions of learners and trainers.
Training and consultancy activities
Language of schooling in subject learning – Identifying and integrating linguistic and subject objectives: online workshop for primary, secondary and university educators (Croatia, 13 November and 11 December 2020)
The workshop "Language of schooling in subject learning – Identifying and integrating linguistic and subject objectives", which took place in two parts, was organised in cooperation of the the Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Croatia. The event enabled 27 primary and secondary teachers, teacher trainers, university professors and assistants to become familiar with methods and practical procedures which will help them to identify students’ language needs in their subject. They used different scaffolding techniques to create teaching materials which will support their students in writing, speaking, and reading tasks, and motivate them to reflect on their own learning. The participants also had the opportunity to conduct and present their own case studies in their specific professional contexts.
Language for Work Week in Amsterdam (18-20 November 2020): online training for teachers of Dutch for adult migrants
From 18-20 November 2020, two Amsterdam based universities organised a Language for Work Week, with the support of the ECML, as part of the ECML training and consultancy programme for member states. Experts from the ECML Language for Work Network provided three online workshops on coaching for language learning at work and in daily life, and on the role of support from colleagues as language advocates. Over 60 teachers of Dutch for adult migrants joined the workshops.
Teacher competences for languages in education: Greece (19 November 2020)
This online training organised by the University of Macedonia and the Department of Educational and Social Policy (Thessaloniki, Greece) promoted the cultivation of teacher competences for languages in education. It attracted more than 80 participants, including language teachers, researchers and school advisors from Central, Western and Eastern Macedonia region.
They became familiar with the ECML project outputs relating to the Guide to teacher competences for languages, explored the relevance of these competences to teacher education in Greece, identified and described the competences of teachers of languages and other subjects in their specific contexts and developed concrete approaches and measures to promote them effectively in their spheres of activity.
Publication quoting the work of the ECML
Mediation as a means of social intervention
In this article, Marisa Cavalli demonstrates the importance of social intervention in the school context by highlighting the contribution of the linguistic activity of mediation for cognitive mediation and relational mediation. This is what characterises the teaching and learning process which aims to empower all learners.
Professional Network Forum of the ECML
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.
Members of the Forum: ACTFL, AILA, ALTE, CEL/ELC, CercleS, EALTA, EAQUALS, ECSPM, ECML/Council of Europe, EDiLiC, EFNIL, EPA, EUNIC, FIPLV, IAM, ICC, OLBI.
Slovenia: the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on minorities
The latest issue of Treatises and Documents, Journal of Ethnic Studies (December 2020), deals with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on minorities (available at https://rig-td.si/sl/arhiv/?function=85). The articles examine the problem in general and also with specific regard minorities in Slovenia and Slovenes in the neighbouring countries. Language is a recurrent theme in all the articles, particularly those concerning education, such as minority schools (cf. Zorčič, https://rig-td.si/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Rig-85-Zorcic.pdf) and education of Roma (cf. Bešter & Pirc, https://rig-td.si/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Rig-85-Bester-Pirc.pdf).
Author: Bronka Straus, member of the ECML Governing Board's Bureau and National Nominating Authority for the ECML in Slovenia
Council of Europe developments
European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages is the European convention for the protection and promotion of languages used by traditional minorities. Together with the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities it constitutes the Council of Europe's commitment to the protection of national minorities.
24 January - International Day of Education: Council of Europe statement
On 24 January, the Council of Europe joined in celebrating the International Day of Education, instituted by the United Nations to underscore the role of education for peace and development. The Council of Europe’s Education Department marked the Day by issuing a statement underlining the role of education in fostering democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
Photo credits: izusek (iStock)
Self-learning courses on cyberbulling and competences for democratic culture
Two new self-learning courses are now available on the LEMON (Learning Modules Online) platform: “The key to recognizing cyberbullying”, supporting educators and parents in defining strategies to deal effectively with the phenomenon and preventing it, and “Competences for democratic culture”, strengthening the capacity of education professionals to develop learners’ competences needed to live successfully in contemporary democratic societies.
Recent Council of Europe publications (2021)
Reference framework of competences for democratic culture (RFCDC) - Guidance document for higher education (English)
Compass - Manual for Human Rights Education with Young People (2nd edition updated in 2020) (English)
Teaching controversial issues through education for democratic citizenship and human rights (English)
Learning how to handle controversial issues in schools and other education settings - A good practice guide (English)
Counter-radicalisation in the classroom (English)
Digital citizenship education - Trainers' pack (English)
Digital resistance (English)
News from other organisations
21 February - Happy International Mother Language Day 2021!
The theme of the 2021 International Mother Language Day, “Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society,” recognizes that languages and multilingualism can advance inclusion, and the Sustainable Development Goals’ focus on leaving no one behind. UNESCO believes education, based on the first language or mother tongue, must begin from the early years as early childhood care and education is the foundation of learning.
Source & photo credits: UNESCO dedicated website
"Learn and play - Teach and connect"
Primary and secondary school pupils will find games, competitions and activity books to help them discover the EU in a fun way, in the classroom or at home. Young people can also find out more about studying or volunteering abroad.
For teachers, this is a source of teaching material for all age groups. They can find inspiration for lesson plans, and also discover networking opportunities with other schools and teachers across the EU.
Explore the learning corner
Early childhood education and care - How to recruit, train and motivate well-qualified staff : final report
PDF publication in English
Photo credits: European Union
Mercator - European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning
Newsletter issues 2021: #168 (January) - #169 (February)
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European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe
Promoting excellence in language education
Centre européen pour les langues vivantes du Conseil de l´Europe
Pour l’excellence dans l’éducation aux langues
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