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    Gazette 55

European Language Gazette no. 55

April May 2021


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Featured articles

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“The future of language education – learning lessons from the pandemic”

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Join our webinar on 27 April 2021, 16.00-17.15 CET!

The Covid pandemic has presented challenges for all sectors of education and has led to widespread changes in educational practices. These have greatly affected language teaching and learning across Europe.

In February 2021 a month-long survey developed under the auspices of the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) and its Professional Network Forum was launched to find out how institutions and teachers and learners of languages have responded to the challenges presented by successive lockdowns and social distancing. It also explored how language teaching and assessment methodologies have evolved, and what the impact has been on language learning and motivation. There were over 1700 responses from professionals in 40 countries working at different educational levels.

These responses have painted a clear and rich picture of the variety of ways in which teachers and learners have coped with the situation. They also provided insights into some of the positive changes in language teaching that the pandemic has generated, as well as challenges that teachers and learners have confronted.

This webinar, which continues the series of ECML webinars on Covid 19 and language education, will focus on preliminary findings from this Europe-wide survey, including key statistical data and a review of the major themes, challenges and lessons learnt. It will also outline next steps.

The webinar will be in English.

Please sign up for this webinar here.

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Just published! New ECML resources

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“A roadmap for schools to support the language(s) of schooling”: a resource website for all those involved in school development and in creating language-aware schools

The website www.ecml.at/roadmapforschools – available in English, French and German – enables schools to focus on systematic quality improvement by setting up a tailor-made whole-school strategy to advance learners’ competences in the language(s) of schooling.

Three web-based tools support schools to develop the linguistic and critical thinking skills ALL learners need in ALL subjects to ensure school success:

  • a self-assessment tool enables different stakeholders (headteachers, teachers, non-teaching staff, students and parents) to take stock of current levels of support for the language of schooling and act as the springboard for future developments;
  • a database containing 80 promising practices from different countries provides inspiration and ideas for how to improve in specific areas;
  • a coordinator’s package provides a step-by-step guide to full implementation of the ROADMAP.
These practical resources will help schools create more inclusive, more supportive and more language-aware learning environments which are essential to quality education and key to educational success.

Overview of all programme outputs 2016-2019 “Languages at the heart of learning”: download the brochure in English and French.

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“Covid-19 and language education: Making home schooling motivating and fun”: watch the webinar

The ECML webinar held on 11 March focused on resources for the home-schooling of children and young people and how these can be successfully adapted to meet the needs of learners whose first language is not the language of schooling. Déirdre Kirwan, ECML expert within the project “Inspiring language learning – why it matters and what it looks like for children age 3 to 12 years”, presented a range of practical ideas, many of them from the ECML’s Treasure chest of resources for learners, parents and teachers, which help ensure that home learning: is learner-centred, motivating and fun for everyone involved; develops learners’ plurilingual repertoires; supports young people’s wellbeing despite social isolation and gives parents/carers confidence in supporting their children’s learning.

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ECML 25th Anniversary Declaration “Quality language education for a democratic, socially cohesive and peaceful Europe: nine ECML cornerstones”: published in German – now available in 8 languages

ECML member states, experts and wider stakeholders recognised the occasion of the ECML’s 25th Anniversary as an opportunity to raise awareness of the political importance of quality language education and of its contribution to democratic, peaceful societies. This Declaration highlights the ECML’s key contribution to ensuring that inclusive, plurilingual and intercultural education becomes a reality in member states.

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Inventory of ICT tools and OERs: discover the latest resources!

The ECML inventory of freely available online tools and open educational resources for language teaching and learning currently contains 174 tools that have been evaluated with specific criteria in mind, such as the potential for achieving learning objectives, for adapting it to your teaching context, the potential for communication and collaboration amongst learners. New resources are continually added to the database. Discover the latest ones:

  • Babadada is an online visual dictionary that offers basic vocabulary in more than 100 languages and numerous dialects. Words are divided into topics such as school, food, and transport.
  • Classkick is a tool which helps teachers to send assignments to students and have an overview of their work.
  • Google forms can be used to create polls, surveys, or quizzes, with a choice of different formats of questions and responses available, and provides an automatic summary of participants’ responses.
  • Liveworksheets is a tool which allows teachers to create interactive worksheets for their students.
  • Time Graphics is a very user-friendly tool for creating interactive timelines.
  • Wonder is a web conferencing platform where people can meet. Hosts can make different areas and participants can go from one area to another spontaneously or intentionally. 1500 people can join a meeting, whereas 15 people can be in one area.
If you would like to suggest additional tools and OERs, please use this link.
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ECML programme developments 2020-2023 – “Inspiring innovation in language education: changing contexts, evolving competences”

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The place of home languages at school: participate in a European survey!

The RECOLANG team (Resources for assessing the home language competences of migrant pupils) is carrying out a European survey on the place of home languages at school, particularly within different education programmes or curricula involving migrant adolescents aged 11-18. This survey focuses on the practices of assessing home language skills and their role in different European education systems. The survey is made up of two complementary sections aimed at two different target audiences:

  • A section aimed at pupils aged between 11 and 18 (or their families), who are from a migrant background and one or more home languages other than the language(s) of the school. This section is available in Arabic, English, French, German, Persian (Dari/Farsi), Portuguese and Turkish: https://surveyforlearners.questionpro.com.
  • A section for schools and educational institutions, teaching and supervisory staff in schools, reception centres and organisations involved in initial and further professional development of teachers working with this age group (11-18 years). This section is available in English, French, German, Hungarian and Portuguese: https://enqueteinstitutionseducatives.questionpro.com.
The survey will be online until the end of 2021. More detailed information on the survey can be found on the ECML website.

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The European Centre for Modern Languages and Moscow State Linguistic University (MSLU) renew cooperation agreement

The European Centre for Modern Languages and Moscow State Linguistic University (MSLU) have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation. focusing in particular on the project “Digital citizenship through language education”.
The agreement formally renews cooperation between the ECML and MSLU for the duration of the Centre’s “Inspiring innovation in language education: changing contexts, evolving competences” programme (2020-2023) and offers a valuable way of promoting expert contacts between the ECML and MSLU.
The Digital citizenship project seeks to help learners become digital citizens and develop the capacity to use digital media critically, creatively and autonomously in several languages.

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Tasks to develop Digital Citizenship and to enable learners to act as language and digital technology users

The project seeks to help learners become digital citizens and develop the capacity to use digital media critically, creatively and autonomously in several languages.
The project team finalised a conceptual profile of the digital citizen as a language and digital technology user and published a list of the publications that were analysed to produce the profile in the online Zotero library.
The first set of tasks and activities forming the project database has also been finalised. Real-world tasks encouraging learners to contribute to participatory websites will soon be available on the project website in French and English.
The project will hold a webinar in June and a piloting and training workshop for decision-makers, teacher educators, teachers in November.

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“CEFR Companion Volume implementation toolbox” (VITbox): prototypes of online training modules already developed

The VITbox project team has been developing online modules to help language teacher educators and teachers become familiar with the content of the CEFR Companion Volume. These modules will be available for use in initial teacher training, in professional development activities and for self-study purposes. They can also be adapted by the users according to their individual needs and contexts. Prototypes of two modules have already been developed for the course.

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Publication quoting the work of the ECML

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When language education meets digital citizenship

The latest issue of Lidil, a journal of linguistics and language didactics, focuses on digital literacy and the teaching of languages and cultures. It offers insights and paths linking language education and digital literacy training, the importance of which has been highlighted by the current health crisis.

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Training and consultancy activities

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“Supporting Multilingual Classrooms”: a series of 9 national workshops starting in June

Local coordinators from Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Slovakia and Sweden met with the project team in an online meeting on 10 March to advance preparations for national workshops on Supporting Multilingual Classrooms. The series of events targeting practitioners, multipliers and administrators within national education systems will take place between June and mid-December 2021 – starting with an online event for Slovakia, organised with the National Institute for Education on 16-17 June.
The series of workshops take place within the framework of a joint action with the European Commission targeting member states of both organisations

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“Relating language curricula, tests and examinations to the Common European Framework of Reference” (RELANG): national workshops to take place in 11 countries in 2021

Local coordinators from Albania, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Montenegro, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain met with the RELANG team online on 22 March 2021 to start preparations for a series of national workshops on Relating language curricula, tests and examinations to the Common European Framework of Reference (RELANG). The series of events targeting practitioners, multipliers and administrators at national level will take place between June and mid-December 2021.
The joint action between the ECML and the European Commission, currently in its 8th year, will offer training and consultancy to over 500 language professionals within national systems.

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“Action research for language teachers” in Lithuania: a powerful tool for learners, teachers and school development

The training was organised by the Institute of Teacher Professional Development of the Vytautas Magnus University for language teachers and university researchers taking place as a series of units from 28 September to 12 December 2020. Participants were familiarised with research on the improvement of pedagogical activities and collaborative learning. This research is useful not only for the personal development of the teacher and her/ his students, but also for the whole school community, including parents. The data collected will also be useful in developing new educational strategies, principles of educational policy.

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Online workshop in Poland on “Language of schooling in subject learning”: a practical support for teachers in planning lessons and designing teaching materials

This event was organised by the Centre for Education Development (ORE), Warsaw, on 29 October 2020 and 12 February 2021. Teacher consultants, methodology advisors, English teachers and teachers of non-language subjects (e.g. History, Geography) in primary and upper secondary schools participated in this training. The activities focused on sharing teaching experience and good practice, learning how to implement linguistic and subject objectives into classroom work, and explore tools and techniques for planning lessons and designing materials.

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“CLIL and beyond pluriliteracies for deeper learning” in the Slovak Republic: how teachers can create learning pathways for their students

The workshop was jointly organised by the University of Prešov, the State Pedagogical Institute, Matej Bel University and the University of Trnava on 21 January 2021 (204 participants) and 16 February 2021 (120 participants) for English and German language teachers, primary, lower secondary and upper secondary teachers. Participants benefitted mainly by sharing their experience and considering “other” ways of thinking which can help to identify new ways to support deep learning in their classroom. Indeed, “Pluriliteracies for deeper learning” not only makes the links between content and language learning visible, but it also shows how teachers can create learning trajectories, taking students’ current abilities as a starting point and tracing their progress along the learning pathway.

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National developments

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Austrian Centre for Language Competence: latest news, events, resources

Follow the latest ÖSZ developments. (available in German). The ÖSZ is the national contact point for the ECML in Austria.

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France: a law in favour of regional languages

With the adoption by the French Parliament on 8 April of the law on the protection of the heritage of regional languages and their promotion, regional languages receive legal recognition, which reinforces Article 75.1 of the Constitution: “Regional languages are part of France's heritage”. This law, which entails amending the Education Code, will not make the learning of regional languages in secondary schools compulsory, but it will give them a more prominent place in public education (possibility of immersive teaching, languages taught as part of the normal timetable, possibility of municipalities paying the school fees). In addition, the diacritical signs of regional languages may now be used in civil status documents.

LISEO: latest newsletters of France Éducation International

LISEO is the documentary portal of France Education International (the national contact point for the ECML in France). It provides resources in the field of education, teaching and promotion of French around the world.

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Switzerland: official recognition of the profession of sign language teacher

The Swiss Federation of the Deaf reports that the profession of sign language teacher has been officially recognised by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) of Switzerland. This recognition will make the profession more attractive and thus attract young people to meet the demand for sign language experts.

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Professional Network Forum of the ECML

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Forthcoming 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.

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.

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Eaquals: celebrating its 30th Anniversary

Eaquals was founded 30 years ago in 1991 and throughout this year will be reflecting on how it has grown and developed as an association over the last three decades. The celebrations began with a discussion session held at the recent Eaquals Online 2021 event during which past Eaquals Chairs (Peter Brown, Ludka Kotarska and Justin Quinn) looked back through their decade in the role of Eaquals Chair, sharing some of their fondest memories and also looked ahead to the next few years.
Eaquals members have also been invited to share their personal memories of their time with Eaquals in a short video.

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International Association of Multilingualism: current trends in multilingualism research

From 24 March to 29 April 2021 the University of Warsaw Excellence Initiative (IDUB Action II 3.7 “Multilingualism”) invited the academic community to a series of six lectures presenting research on linguistic, cognitive, affective and educational aspects of multilingualism. In the series, international experts discuss the results of empirical research on individual multilingualism and explain the mechanisms that underlie the functioning of multilingual adults and children. The lectures on current trends in multilingualism research are organised by the School for International Science UW, in cooperation with the International Association of Multilingualism.

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CercleS - De Gruyter webinar celebrates special LLHE issue

On 16 April, CercleS hosted a webinar celebrating 30 years of professional activity in the field of language learning and teaching. The webinar focused on the Special Issue 10.2 (2021) of their journal, Language Learning in Higher Education. Four articles from this issue and a recording of the webinar can be accessed on the CercleS website.

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EFNIL webinar (24-25 March 2021): presentations available online

On 24 and 25 March 2021 the European Federation of National Institutions for Language (EFNIL) hosted a webinar which focused on reflections on EFNIL as an organisation, its projects and future perspectives. The presentations of the speakers can be accessed on their website.

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Council of Europe developments

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Literacy And Second Language for the Linguistic Integration of Adult Migrants: take part in the survey until 12 May

The Council of Europe is offering educators of host country languages to adult migrants with low literacy levels the chance to take part in an online survey. Replies will contribute to finalisation of the descriptors developed within the project on Literacy And Second Language for the Linguistic Integration of Adult Migrants (LASLLIAM). This project focuses on developing a reference guide for language educators who help migrants acquire literacy skills alongside learning a foreign language. LASLLIAM is a part of the Council of Europe education sector’s project on the Linguistic Integration of Adult Migrants (LIAM), in existence since 2006.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation in replying to the survey and/or forwarding this information to the relevant educators!

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Council of Europe webinar: “Developing an action-oriented pathway in the classroom”

The next webinar of CEFR Webinar Series 2021 entitled “Developing an action-oriented pathway in the classroom” will be held on 6 May 2021 from 16.00 until 18.30 CET.
This webinar will focus on the practical application of the action-oriented approach in the classroom, an approach first presented in the CEFR and further explored in the CEFR Companion Volume. Participants will examine key components of the approach, such as the notion of the user/learner as a “social agent,” the co-construction of meaning, agency, and the completion of tasks. Participants will take part in two small group activities where they will analyse examples of action-oriented tasks and begin to sketch their own action-oriented tasks for use in their own contexts.
There are 200 seats available for this webinar and the registration will be closed automatically when the seats are full. Please register here by 29 April 2021 CET.

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International Roma Day: Remembering history to ensure a brighter future – Statement by Council of Europe Secretary General

This year’s Roma Day marks the 50th anniversary of the First World Romani Congress, held in 1971 in the United Kingdom and the emergence of a Romani movement for Roma equality and identity.
A Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (2020) calls member States to include history of Roma and/or Travellers in school curricula and teaching materials. Teaching Roma and Traveller history and Roma Holocaust Remembrance are priorities of the current Council of Europe Strategic Action Plan for Roma and Traveller Inclusion (2020-2025).
This year, a three-day conference (7-9 April) organised online focused on “Roma Youth: Together for emancipation and empowerment – The role of history in the participation and inclusion of Roma young people” to contribute to our collective memory.

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European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages: latest developments in the Slovak Republic, Spain and the United Kingdom

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.

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“Better education for better democracies”

The Education Department of the Council of Europe has produced three promotional videos to offer a wider public a glimpse of its current activities. The videos cover the Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture, Digital Citizenship Education and the Linguistic Integration of Adult Migrants Toolkit.

The Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture (RFCDC), intended to be used by educators and education systems to equip young people with the competences needed to promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law, was recently translated into Armenian, Slovak and Turkish. A Japanese translation of its Volume 2, listing the CDC descriptors, is now available too, showing growing interest from beyond Council of Europe member States.

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Intercultural Cities (ICC): ready to celebrate the World Day for cultural diversity for dialogue and development?

The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is celebrated every year on 21 May. For this year’s World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development the Intercultural Cities invites member cities and regions to “Feel diversity – revive your senses”. The objective of the campaign is to offer a feast for the senses through a social media campaign aimed at the general public. A feast made up of diverse sounds (languages, music, art, or street exhibitions), colours, movements (dance, sport, youth, culture), “tastes” (images of food), smells, that represent diversity in cities. A feast which will help people experience the force of diversity and feel the diversity advantage. This special Day is a great opportunity to celebrate diversity via the senses.

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“Together in the distance: Building new solidarities in a changing world”: participate in the photo contest until 31 May 2021!

The EU Delegation in Strasbourg and its partners are launching an open call for photos and testimonials to illustrate the stories of individuals who faced the crisis and set an example of solidarity in such difficult times. The selected photos and stories will be featured in a virtual webpage exhibition in the autumn and included in a dedicated photobook and a collection of postcards in both printed and digital form. Make it inspirational for your educational contexts!

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Recent Council of Europe resources

Young people, social inclusion and digitalisation – Emerging knowledge for practice and policy, Youth Knowledge 27.

Higher education's response to the Covid-19 pandemic – Building a more sustainable and democratic future, Council of Europe Higher Education Series No. 25.
The book was presented at webinars organised by the International Association of Universities on 16 March and 21 April. The recording of the webinars are available here.

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News from other organisations

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Eurydice: national education developments in Norway and Spain

Norwegian skills reform: “Learning throughout life”:
Norway introduces a skills reform and provides funding to support flexible further education and life-long learning.

New education law in Spain:
This new text seeks to achieve better educational performance, following the guidelines of the European Commission, the OECD and the 2030 Agenda and by doing so, also improving the position of Spain.

National education systems:
Eurydice website provides education system descriptions of 36 countries participating in the Erasmus+ programme (27 EU member states, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of North Macedonia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia and Turkey). You can either browse by national unit or by thematic chapter.

Recent publication:
Teachers in Europe – Careers, development and well-being

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School Education Gateway: Teacher Academy webinars

“School education for traveller communities across Europe”: join the webinar on 18 May 2021 at 17:00 CEST

“Non-formal learning and online school education”: recording of 20 April 2021

“Blended learning: creating your unique blend”: presentation slides and webinar recording of 15 March 2021

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The new EPALE website has been launched!

A brand new EPALE platformjas been launched with the aim of increasing the overall user-friendliness and the richness of its content. New features of EPALE include: renovated look and navigation, more educational resources and a new MyEPALE section.

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Mercator – European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning

Newsletter issues 2021: no. 170 (March) - no. 171 (April)

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Call for proposals for the journal 'Language Learning' until 5 September 2021

The journal 'Language Learning' is inviting proposals for a 2023 special issue from interested guest editors. Proposals should address a research topic that will be of interest and relevance to the journal's international readership of language learning scholars. Themes should highlight work in areas of inquiry, theoretical approaches, and methodological tools in language learning which are underrepresented and/or represent cutting-edge developments in the wider interdisciplinary field of language learning.
Submission deadline: 5 September 2021.
More information

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TIRF – 2021 doctoral dissertation grants competition

TIRF – The International Research Foundation for English Language Education – is pleased to announce its 2021 Doctoral Dissertation Grants (DDG) competition. Grants of up to US $5,000 will be made to successful applicants investigating a range of topics in English language education. The application deadline is 26 May 2021.

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Quick links

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European Day of Languages
European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML)
Council of Europe Language Policy portal
European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages

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