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John Trim and the CEFR: podcast

Author: Anonym/04 July 2012/Categories: Events

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The ACTFL-CEFR Symposium 2012 took place on 21-23 June 2012 at the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) of the Council of Europe in Graz. The goal for this event was to look at the implications of cross-walks between the ACTFL Guidelines and the CEFR for learning/teaching, for teacher training and for assessment/certification. 

At this occasion, John Trim made a speech on the CEFR pointing to its pedagogical and political foundations by highlighting the following  issues:

  • the main educational influences under which the CEFR was written (tracing them back from the classical grammar to the communicative approach applied today);
  • contrasts in the classical and modern paradigms: aims, objectives, attitudes to language, type of language to learn, preferred medium, model presented, text-types, criteria for expression and for comprehension, relation of knowledge to action, criteria for success, skill development, work style, relation among learners, approach to learning, role of teacher, teaching style, means employed, language of instruction and class management, approach to grammar and to meaning, concept of culture, social values, attitudes to change, strengths and critics of both paradigms;
  • the political background and the consequences of the CEFR.
About John Trim
1949: John Trim graduated in German at University College London; lectureship in phonetics.
1958: Appointment at the University of Cambridge.
1962: Fellow of Selwyn College, first Director of the Department of Linguistics in 1965.
1963-1978: Director of the university’s vacation courses in Linguistics and the English Language.
1970-1978: Chair of the Executive Committee for international examinations in English as a Foreign Language.
1978-1987: Director of the Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research (CILT) in London.
1969-1997: Involvement in the Modern languages Projects of the Council of Europe, which he directed from 1971 to 1997 with responsibility for the development of the Threshold Level series in 25 languages, 72 international workshops for teacher trainers and the composition, piloting and publication of the Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR), of which he was part-author.


Trim John, “The Common European Framework of Reference: Learning, Teaching, Assessment”, in Byram Michael and Parmenter Lynne (eds), The Common European Framework of Reference – The Globalisation of Language Education Policy, Bristol: Multilingual Matters, Languages for Intercultural Communication and Education series, 2012, pp. 13-34.

The John Trim Library Collection of the European Centre for Modern Languages: collection of more than 3200 resources, notably; documentation on the work of the Council of Europe in the field of Modern Languages (1971-1997); studies related to the development of the Threshold Levels and the Common European Framework of Reference; pedagogical resources on: teacher training, linguistics, psychology, psycholinguistics, sociology, sociolinguistics, translation, language education, foreign language teaching, learner oriented teaching, language learning, language for specific purposes, language education and technology, teaching resources.
Access the ECML website dedicated to the John Trim Library Collection
Read the article: Anni Inkiläinen, « An overview of the John Trim Collection”, 11 March 2011 (English)

Latest ECML publications related to the CEFR (2011):

Training in relating language examinations to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (RELEX)/
Classroom Assessment related to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (ClassRelEx)
Project website

Assessment of young learner literacy linked to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (AYLLIT)
Project website

Common European Framework of Reference for Languages - level estimation grid for teachers (CEFESTIM)
Project website


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