Subject learning comprises much more than “simply” learning content, for it also comprises learning to use language in new ways in order to develop and express subject knowledge. The term ‘language(s) of schooling’, therefore, embraces two key components ‘language as subject’ and ‘language in other subjects’.
In some contexts, the languages in learners’ repertoires may be taught at school either as subjects in their own right or as the medium of instruction; there may be two languages of schooling, such as in bilingual systems. But for many learners in European classrooms today, their first language is not represented in the school system at all.
The diagram below represents graphically the Council of Europe’s view of languages and language education. At the top of the diagram, in the centre, stands the learner with his/her linguistic and cultural repertoire. She/he is the central protagonist and the starting point: all the rest is the work of the education system.
In this diagram the language of schooling sits at the heart of the school system, in a pivotal position owing to its decisive and defining role in the learner’s education and its cross-cutting dimension in teaching/learning processes.
Past and present ECML activities aim to sensitise teachers, teacher educators and other language professionals to the importance of supporting learners to develop competences in the languages of schooling for educational success.
Training and Consultancy
The study materials focus on teacher education for the
language of schooling (e.g. French in France, Polish in
Poland). They draw on the linguistic and cultural diversity in
the classroom for the benefit of all learners.
Available in English, French and German
Go to the publication page
Available in English and French
Go to the publication page
A pluriliteracies approach builds on CLIL approaches to help
learners become better meaning-makers, who can draw
on content knowledge to communicate successfully across
languages, disciplines and cultures. In this way it promotes
deep learning and helps develop responsible, global citizens.
Available in English and German (German coming soon)
The online questionnaire produced a total of 107 complete responses from 33 different countries, including 7 non-ECML member states. Nearly 20% of the respondents were teacher trainers, closely followed by academic researchers (18%). Most encouraging was to see that in addition to these two key ECML target groups, responses were received from parents, language teachers, teachers of non-linguistic subjects as well as head teachers. This is an endorsement of the ECML’s decision to focus this think tank not only on the language/s of schooling but specifically on whole-school approaches. Moreover, teacher respondents came from all sectors from pre-primary to upper secondary.
The moderation team and participants were selected.
Moderation team: Marisa Cavalli, ECML Consultant; Eli Moe, Norway and Gunther Abuja, Austria.
Participants: 17 in total: language experts from sixteen different European countries, three of whom were present in their capacity as representatives of International non-governmental organisations (ALTE – Association of Language Testers of Europe; FIPLV - Fédération Internationale des Professeurs de Langues Vivantes, EPA – European Parents Association), as well as a representative from the European Commission.
Think tank meeting 13/14th September 2016
The moderation team planned and coordinated the 2-day think tank meeting which took place at the ECML in Graz on 13/14th September 2016 and focused on the following four interrelated aspects of the language/s of schooling:
Participants were presented with key findings from the online questionnaire as well as an overview of existing Council of Europe resources.
You can download the Powerpoints from the think tank meeting here:
The meeting resulted in a list of recommendations for the ECML secretariat, which were combined into a concrete work-plan, subsequently adopted by the ECML Governing Board at its meeting on 12/13th October 2016.
Questionnaire key findings
ECML introductory presentation
ECML activities languages of schooling
Council of Europe resources
16.01.2018A roadmap for schools to support the language(s) of schooling- Capitalising on the past … to build the future
The best way to help learners improve their knowledge of the languages of schooling is to develop a whole-school language strategy. This is the aim of the ECML project entitled "A roadmap for schools to support the language(s) of schooling". To develop such a strategy, it is essential to identify the language challenges specific to the school and to involve all stakeholders to agree on appropriate solutions. We therefore devoted the year 2017 to the development of a self-assessment tool, adaptable to the different needs of the learning community. Our aim for 2018 is to pilot this tool and to identify and share examples of promising practices and inspire schools to develop their own strategies and find ways to implement them.
The European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) attaches great importance to the development of competences in the languages of schooling and its 2012-2015 programme "Learning through Languages" has produced a wide range of resources in this field. Our objective is to highlight these - to capitalise on the past to build a better future. We invite you to explore the most relevant resources:
Moreover, in its current programme entitled "Languages at the heart of learning", other tools related to the languages of schooling are being developed. As we move forward with our project in 2018, we plan to create a website that will guide users to these tools and other related resources, building a bank of easily accessible materials.
09.01.2018A roadmap for schools to support the language(s) of schooling - Network meeting (22-23 November 2017)
The project’s network meeting on the “Roadmap for schools to support language(s) of schooling” was held on the 22nd and 23rd of November 2017 at the ECML headquarters in Graz. After an introduction by Ms Sarah Breslin, director of the ECML, and a presentation by the team members so as to enable the participants to understand the rationale behind the project, intense and dedicated group work and discussions took place which contributed to the successful completion of the meeting’s goals.
The sixteen participants from twelve different countries examined the Roadmap criteria in depth, discussed their relevance and reorganised them according to the following thematic fields: School language strategy, Organisational framework, Linguistically-responsive pedagogy and Language-sensitive school culture. The team then successfully facilitated the various approaches of the participants to reflect and rephrase the statements from the point of view of the different stakeholders: headteachers, teachers, learners, non-teaching staff and parents. Even though the wider community is an important stakeholder, the participants considered it unpractical to submit the self-assessment tool to them; therefore, questions will be set up for the other stakeholders to take them into account. The participants provided high-quality contributions during the meeting and were exceptionally efficient in providing the team with a new set of essential statements.
The team will now ensure that the statements are written in a clear, objective and accessible manner so as to finalise a user-friendly self-assessment tool. A Google group and Drive folder was set up in order to facilitate further involvement of the experts, at their request. A first piloting phase testing the statements among the Network experts will take place between 20 December 2017 and 8 March 2018 so as to have a fully functioning self-assessment tool before the next expert meeting.
It was an immense honour and pleasure to be able to build up the founding steps of the Roadmap with such a fully committed and hard-working group of professional participants.
30.10.2017ECML colloquium "Teacher education for linguistic diversity: the contribution of the ECML" (Graz, Austria, 13-14 December 2017) – Register online now!
With the increasingly diverse linguistic and cultural composition of classrooms around Europe, this topic has become a central issue in language education.
This one and a half day event will bring together several renowned experts in the field of pluralistic and pluricultural approaches to discuss progress that has been made in this field in recent years, giving special emphasis to how projects initiated under the auspices of the ECML have supported the development and expansion of this important area.
At the core of this colloquium will be the contribution made by the Framework of Reference for Pluralistic Approaches (FREPA) and its impact on different aspects of language education throughout Europe.
This colloquium will be of particular interest to those who are engaged in pluralistic education, whether as teachers, teacher educators or curriculum designers, and aims to support their efforts in facilitating change in this area. The contributions from experts from different European countries will provide valuable insights from various European perspectives.
The event takes place in cooperation with the European Commission, within the framework of the EC-ECML "Innovative methodologies and assessment in language learning" joint action and in particular its "Supporting multilingual classrooms" initiative.