As an Enlarged Partial Agreement of the Council of Europe situated at the interface between policy, teacher education and classroom practice and in constant dialogue with ministries, national networks, individual experts and NGOs across Europe and beyond, the ECML is in a unique position to develop innovative, research-informed responses to challenges in language education. One such challenge, whose repercussions will continue for years to come, was the Covid pandemic; one such response is this publication, the final output of the initiative “Language education in the light of Covid: lessons learned and ways forward”.
The brainchild of Eaquals, one of the 16 member institutions of the ECML’s Professional Network Forum which brings together INGOs with common values and complementary expertise, and co-funded through the ECML’s Cooperation Agreement with the European Commission, this initiative is a wonderful example of what can be achieved when we work together in the service of quality language education.
Rethinking language education after the experience of Covid offers not only a timely reflection on the challenges faced and the approaches developed over the course of the pandemic but a look into the future at ways in which the skills and insights gained may bring about beneficial lasting changes in the teaching and learning of languages.
The Policy Guidelines contained within the publication, and also available as a stand-alone document, are based on the educational insights gained from surveys of language teachers and language learners about their experiences during the Covid. They arise from research and consultation activities carried out in 2021 and 2022 and are intended to assist and provide food for thought for policy makers in education authorities in Council of Europe member states, as well as those at institutional level responsible for overseeing and managing language education and the provision of teacher education for future and practising language teachers.
We are extremely grateful to the contributors to this initiative who took on this huge endeavour at the height of the pandemic. Through contact with teachers, learners and policy makers from all over Europe, they have succeeded in developing a most valuable publication that should serve to inform and stimulate discussion among all stakeholders in language education for many years to come.
© Council of Europe, April 2023
Editors: Richard Rossner, Frank Heyworth
French version of the publication currently in progress