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ECML project "Pro-Sign II - Promoting excellence in sign language instruction": developments in Switzerland, Ireland, Germany, Canada and Serbia

Author: Catherine Seewald/13 March 2018/Categories: Show on front page, Germany, Ireland, Serbia, Switzerland, Canada, Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, Sign languages, Promoting excellence in sign language instruction, CEFR, Pro-Sign - Signed languages

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Tobias Haug reports that the University of Applied Science of Special Needs Education (HfH, Zurich, Switzerland) has set up a CEFR1 working group to align the existing Swiss German Sign Language curricular to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The outputs of the ECML "Pro-Sign project - Promoting excellence in sign language instruction" are a very important resource for this process. The working group, led by Tobias Haug, is also in close cooperation with other stakeholders, mostly with the Swiss Deaf Federation.

In Ireland, Lorraine Leeson and Carmel Grehan, along with student ISL2 teachers Anita Nolan and Eimear Mowlds, have been working on the European Language Portfolio (ELP) piloting with students at Trinity College Dublin. They have talked with students at three points over the course of this academic year about their experiences of using the pilot ELP and explored their thoughts on its usefulness.

At Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany, Christian Rathmann and Thomas Geissler have been working on the implementation of ELP with the students enrolled in BA Deaf Studies. Two focus groups have been arranged, and the experiences were shared. Moreover, the team at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin has been working on sign language assessment in three areas: production, reception and interaction. Another focus group has been arranged as well.

Colleagues at both institutions are analysing the data to prepare for the Pro-Sign II network meeting in Graz (Austria, 5-6 April 2018). The project team is very much looking forward to telling you about our progress at the network meeting!

The Sign Language Curriculum in Deaf Studies at Humboldt University, Germany, was revamped and is now aligned with the CEFR.

Third, the preparations of the Pro-Sign Conference in Belgrade, Serbia, include the release of a "Save the date" announcement, and the call for papers will be distributed soon.

In Toronto, Canada, a CEFR workshop has been delivered by Christian Rathmann (21-24 February 2018). 

Beppie van den Bogaerde represented the Pro-Sign II expert team at an EALTA organised event, VIth EALTA CEFR SIG in Dublin, Ireland, on 27 January 2018, “The CEFR Companion Volume with new descriptors: uses and implications for language testing and assessment”. A report will be published soon, drafted by Prof. Dr. David Little.

The Pro-Sign II project team:
Christian Rathmann (coordinator), Tobias Haug, Lorraine Leeson, Beppie van den Bogaerde


1 CEFR: Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment
2 ISL: Irish Sign Language
3 ELP: European Language Portfolio


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