Mediation is both an old and a new component in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Old, since it was included as a notion when the Framework was first published in 2001 and where it was declared an important ability. However, it was not complemented with descriptive descriptors (can-do statements) compared with other abilities – reception, production and interaction. The term is also considered new because the CEFR Companion Volume with new Mediation Descriptors was published in 2018. This important document becomes useful in softening borders between languages, ideologies, identities and in bridging linguistic gaps. Within this new context, the incorporation of translingual practices in the foreign language curriculum and classroom is essential, and at the same time teachers need to be trained in order to reinforce links between their students’ languages.
Our project, which has just begun, intends to develop a Teaching Guide for foreign language teachers (of primary and secondary education) who want to include linguistic mediation involving different languages in their classrooms. This guide will contain the following information:
- what mediation entails,
- how it can be implemented,
- types of mediation tasks and
- the theory and practice of teaching and assessing mediation.
Examples of mediation tasks for all proficiency levels combining different languages will also be included. The second output of this project will be the production of a digital Repository, a database, which will include mediation tasks for various educational environments, as well as digital materials and further references relevant to mediation.
This project draws upon pluralistic approaches to education where the development of interlinguistic and intercultural competences plays a key role. Its ultimate aim is to help teachers gain knowledge on how to develop and assess their students’ mediation skills. The challenge for teachers will be to embrace and creatively exploit the resources produced as a result of this project!
Dr Maria Stathopoulou, project coordinator
Feel free to follow the project developments on the dedicated ECML website which is available in English and French: www.ecml.at/mediation.
"Mediation in teaching, learning and assessement" is one of the 9 new projects of the ECML's programme "Inspiring innovation in language education: changing contexts, evolving competences" (2020-2023).