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    Council of Europe resources

Plurilingual and intercultural education

Developing every individual’s language repertoire and cultural identities and highlighting the social value of linguistic and cultural diversity lie at the core of ECML work. Plurilingual education embraces all language learning, e.g. home language/s, language/s of schooling, foreign languages, and regional and minority languages. Intercultural learning supports the personal growth of learners and enhances social cohesion.

Resources of the ECML


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CARAP/FREPA – A Framework of Reference for Pluralistic Approaches

The term pluralistic approaches to languages and cultures refers to didactic approaches which involve the use of several (or at least more than one) variety of languages or cultures simultaneously during the teaching process. By abandoning the "compartmentalised" view of an individual’s linguistic and cultural competence(s), this publication is a valuable step towards implementing the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, in particular its rationale on plurilingual and intercultural competence.

Available in English, French and Italian.

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Plurimobil ‒ Mobility for plurilingual and intercultural education: Tools for language teachers and teacher trainers

The aim of the PluriMobil project is to present a pedagogical device which will enable teachers to assist learners in benefiting, as much as possible, from the learning opportunities which they are offered by mobility – by integrating their intercultural and plurilingual encounters in a sustained learning process.

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Download the draft publication

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Learning environments where modern languages flourish (ongoing project)
The project ‘Fostering learning environments where modern languages flourish’ (EOL) aims to place languages right at the heart of education policy developments. It seeks through (and for) languages to strengthen the development both of social competences and competences for democratic citizenship.

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Teaching the language of schooling in the context of diversity. Study materials for teacher development

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

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European portfolio for pre-primary educators. The plurilingual and intercultural dimension

This portfolio is designed for educators and teachers in the pre-primary sector, either in initial or in-service training. It encourages personal reflection on the professional skills related to the linguistic and intercultural dimension of working with children.

Available in English and French

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Towards whole-school language curricula. Examples of practice in schools

The resources provide tools which help to clarify, develop and implement plurilingual, intercultural and inclusive whole-school policies in different contexts in ECML member states.

Available in English and German

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PARENTS ‒ Involving parents in plurilingual and intercultural education

This project aims at disseminating knowledge on the benefits of involving parents in plurilingual and intercultural education. Working with parents as partners facilitates not only language acquisition, but also the development of positive attitudes towards otherness, attitudes which are necessary for the harmonious development of individuals and society. The dissemination of information and knowledge on such practices will contribute to overcome fears relative to the inclusion of parents in school activities. Descriptions of plurilingual and intercultural activities will be offered, so as to provide parents and teachers with tools that will help them to work together in plurilingual and intercultural education.

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Collaborative Community Approach to Migrant Education. A virtual open course for educators

The resources offer innovative ways to enhance young migrants’ education by developing links between schools, the home and local partners in education. This educational joint venture develops the learners’ skills in the language of schooling as well as their plurilingual competences.

Available in EN et FR

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CONBAT – Plurilingualism and pluriculturalism in content-based teaching: A training kit

Educational institutions increasingly face the challenge of accommodating learners from a wide range of linguistic and cultural backgrounds in their classrooms. The training kit presents an innovative way of managing diversity in the classroom by combining plurilingual and pluricultural approaches with content-based instruction. The reader will discover how content-based and plurilingual activities can be linked to several subjects of the curriculum.

Available in English and French.

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MARILLE – Promoting plurilingualism: majority language in multilingual settings

Traditionally, teachers of majority languages receive less training to teach a language as a second language or to develop the plurilingual repertoire of their learners than, for example, foreign language teachers.Yet, in today’s societies, learners bring many different languages to school.This means that the teaching of themajority language has to extend beyond teaching it as a first language and adopt elements of second language teaching.

Available in English and German.

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LEA ‒ Plurilingual and pluricultural awareness in language teacher education: A training kit

The LEA (Language Educator Awareness) training kit comprises a set of practical instruments designed to help teacher educators introduce the essential aspects of plurilingualism and pluriculturalism to language teachers and learners. It consists of a printed booklet setting out the rationale for a series of training activities, which are contained on an accompanying CD-Rom.

Available in English and French.

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ICOPROMO – Intercultural competence for professional mobility

This publication reflects the outcomes of a project which brought together experts and practitioners in the field of intercultural competence for professional mobility and which focused on group-oriented (teamwork) intercultural communication and interaction competencies. The materials developed are primarily targeted at educators and facilitators working with graduates in the social sciences, human resource managers, intercultural trainers,coaches and mediators and foreign language teachers in higher education with a strong focus on intercultural awareness.

Available in English and French.

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EBP-ICI – Regional/Minority Languages in bi-/plurilingual education: Languages from near and far

Based on European objectives to favour linguistic diversity and plurilingual and pluricultural education, the publication presents pilotedmaterials, activities and didactic tools. These are related to a theoretical framework which creates links between dominant languages and minority or regional languages in Europe and beyond. A teaching kit also offers a collection of practical examples and recommendations for policy-makers in the area of education.

Available in English and French.

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ENSEMBLE – Promoting linguistic diversity and whole-school development

The Council of Europe stresses the importance of societal multilingualism and of individual plurilingual competence as means to social cohesion. Why this is important and how it can be achieved are explained in the Language Policy Unit document “Guide for the Development of Language Education Policies in Europe”. Ultimately, it is within the school, at the chalk face, that the necessary innovations need to take place. The case studies presented in this publication are an authentic illustration of how this is being realised in different contexts; and what successes and challenges it presents. 

Available in English and French.

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The Plurilingualism Project: Tertiary Language Learning - German after English

If the peoples of Europe are to live in harmony with their neighbours, if they are to communicate with and understand each other, the command of more than only one foreign language will be an increasingly important factor. For this reason both the Council of Europe and the European Union are demanding that their citizens should learn two foreign l anguages alongside their mother tongues. The Year of Languages 2001 was the stimulus for an investigation into how concepts of teaching and learning several languages could be developed and put into practice.

Available in English, French and German.

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Languages for social cohesion: Language education in a multilingual and multicultural Europe

The ECML’s “Languages for social cohesion” programme (2004-2007) involved approximately 4500 language professionals from Europe and beyond. This publication focuses on key developments in language education promoted through the work of the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe (ECML).

Available in English and French.

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Together in Europe in the 21st century: The challenge of plurilingual and multicultural communication and dialogue

The third colloquy of the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) was attended by experts from more than thirty countries. The ambitious theme - “Living together in Europe in the 21st century: the challenge of plurilingual and multicultural communication and dialogue” - held considerable significance for the future of languages in Europe.

Available in English and French.

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Janua Linguarum – the gateway to languages. The introduction of language awareness into the curriculum: Awakening to languages

Discovering at school the diversity of languages and cultures, listening to dozens of languages, including some of the languages spoken by classmates, marveling at the way those languages are written, comparing them and understanding how they work, taking an interest in those who speak them. These are the types of activities that the awakening to languages offers pupils; to help them open up to what is different, and develop their ability to observe and learn languages. This approach is an integral part of efforts by the Council of Europe aimed at plurilinguism, promoting the diversity of languages in education systems and democratic citizenship.

Available in English and French.

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Literacy as correspondence – an integrated approach to multi-literacy

This collection of case studies offers the reader different but equally important perspectives to be considered in teaching second or subsequent literacies to relatively young learners. It is important to examine what and how teachers present learning material to the students. However, what learners make of the teaching context and how the formal situation prepares children to make use of their second/subsequent literacy achievement beyond the classroom context are crucial issues if language learning is indeed a requirement which fosters communication among different communities and cultures.

Available in English and French.

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ALC – Across languages and cultures

Across languages and cultures – a major theoretical framework for plural approaches to learning languages and cultures – language learning in which more than one language (in addition to the learner’s first language) is involved. The Framework explains the conceptual justification for the approach, and includes descriptors of the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to implement didactic approaches to it – awakening to languages, inter-comprehension and integrated didactics.

Available in English, French, German and Hungarian.

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CHAGAL - Setup

The idea for the CHAGAL project was born out of the realisation that education systems have to be responsive to the diverse backgrounds and specific needs of international students and to adopt effective strategies to offer students every chance of success in their undertakings. An innovative and inclusive curriculum sensitive to the students’ diversity not only promotes positive student reaction and success, but also reflects the host country’s acceptance of the potential these students have to offer.

Available in English and German

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Cultural mediation and language learning and teaching

This training project for learning about research through research brought together representatives from over twenty-five of the ECML member countries. Its results are contained in a publication and a set of recommendations addressed to policy makers, is the introduction of cultural mediation into the debate on language didactics. Whereas most innovations in language didactics appear in the form of new teaching tools, the Cultural mediation in language learning and teaching project chose to follow a new path by adopting a "learning by doing" approach to research.

Available in English and French.

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ICCinTE – Intercultural Communication Training in Teacher Education

Many language teachers, teacher educators and second language acquisition researchers have expressed the conviction that the primary aim of foreign language teaching is to enable learners to communicate with people from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds in an increasingly multicultural world. The aim of this publication is to assist teacher educators and language teachers in shifting the focus from linguistic competence to intercultural communicative competence.

Available in English and French.

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Incorporating intercultural communicative competence in language teacher education

The articles in this volume describe the results of the research and development carried out by four networks in Project 1.2.3 of the medium-term programme of activities of the European Centre for Modern Languages in Graz, Austria. The main aim of the whole project has been to help incorporate intercultural communication training into teacher education in Europe. The networks took on a variety of tasks to investigate how this aim could be best achieved. 

Available in English and French.

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Mirrors and Windows: An intercultural communication textbook

Intercultural experiences pose inevitable challenges to one´s personal identity and communication skills. One has to learn how to deal with unexpectedness, ambiguity and otherness as well as the resulting culture bumps or culture shock. The knowledge, skills and attitudes that are necessary for successful intercultural communication have to be observed, discussed and practiced. This textbook wishes to help the trainer, the teacher and the learner in this process by encouraging culture-general discussions about culture with a small "c" and by using a reflective approach.

Available in English, French and German.

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Cultural awareness and language awareness based on dialogic interaction with texts in foreign language learning

The purpose of this book is not to give recipes. It is an attempt to investigate, theoretically as well as practically, certain important concepts in foreign language learning: dialogue, communication, intercultural awareness, language awareness, and the roles of teacher and learner.

Available in English and French.

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Language learning and teaching in the context of twin cities

The twinning of cities and municipalities possibly represents the largest platform for encounter and mutual acquaintance established in modern times. However, can such a merger between the fellow-citizens of Europe be achieved without first addressing in a determined way the issue of languages, of teaching languages and their diversity? Answers to this question can be found before, during and after visits to participating towns. School exchange programmes also deserve a better preparation and a genuine teaching methodology for exchanges.

Available in English and French.

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How strange! The use of anecdotes in the development of intercultural competence

Successful communication presupposes a good degree of social understanding and sharing of meaning and therefore participating in a community's life via another language necessitates not only an acceptable level of proficiency in that language, but also an extended behavioural code. What kind of cultural set-backs do language learners face when visiting the target country, or even in interacting with native speakers of a language? What can we learn from the experience of such learners? The aim of this project was to tap into the experiences of seasoned foreign language learners and travellers for the collection of a database of anecdotes that symbolise the kind of intercultural failure faced by newcomers to a target culture.

Available in English and French.

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Neighbouring language teaching in border regions

Europe is rapidly developing, particularly in its border regions. It is precisely in these areas that the need for knowledge of neighbouring languages is both at its strongest and most varied. Approaches adapted to their specific situation are required in order for these regions to quickly become real-life language learning laboratories and centres of innovation.

Available in English.

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The organisation of language education in small states

The experiences of small States in the area of the organization and set-up of language education may in certain respects differ substantially from the experiences of larger states. Considering the importance that is attributed, on a European scale, of linguistic and cultural diversity, to the promotion of education for plurilingualism in general, and to the promotion of diversification in language teaching, especially for lesser used languages, experiences of these countries are of particular interest. It has been demonstrated that through choice or necessity plurilingualism constitutes one of their major assets.

Available in English and French.

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VALEUR ‒ Valuing all languages in Europe

The aim of the Valeur was to raise awareness of the “additional” languages – those which are not national and regional languages – used in Europe, and collate information about the educational provision made for them. A flyer describes the educational, social and cognitive benefits of plurilingualism and a report includes country by country details of the languages in use, together with recommendations on educational policies to deal with the issues arising from linguistic diversity.

Available in English, French and Hungarian.

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Gulliver – To get to know each other leads to better mutual understanding

This CD-Rom examines the place of intercultural competence in the language classroom, based on the example of the “Gulliver” Internet forum, with contributors from 23 classes in 22 different European countries. The impetus for the Gulliver project was the realisation that there will never be a truly united Europe without better mutual knowledge and understanding among its citizens.

Available in English and French

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Language across the curriculum: Network processing and material production in an international context

Language Across the Curriculum LAC, was one of four international networks set up at the ECML Workshop No. 4/97, held in Poland, entitled 'Foreign language teaching and learning in Central and Eastern Europe: Towards common principles for European foreign language curricula for children of age 9-11'. LAC represents an exciting new approach to foreign language learning at the primary and secondary level, whereby children learn a language simultaneously with other practical exercises i.e. learning a short song in a foreign language.

Available in English and French

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Other Council of Europe resources


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Plurilingual and intercultural education as a project

The purpose of this text is to clarify the concepts of societal multilingualism and individual plurilingualism, in accordance with other texts of the Council of Europe, to describe the characteristics of plurilingual and intercultural education, to make clear the crucial importance of competence in languages with respect to educational and therefore social success so that, in a multipolar world, knowledge of languages is not reduced to the efficacy of linguistic communication.

Available in English and French.

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Guide for the development and implementation of curricula for plurilingual and intercultural education

Aimed primarily at persons in charge of curricula, this Guide addresses all those involved in teaching. It offers practical approaches in curriculum development, illustrated with scenarios, in order to implement plurilingual and intercultural education.

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A platform of resources and references for plurilingual and intercultural education

The Council of Europe's Language Policy Unit proposes a new instrument, in the form of this Platform, enabling member states to benefit from the experience and expertise of other member states in formulating their programmes relating to languages of schooling and all language teaching.

Available in English and French.

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Autobiography of International Encounters and Autobiography of International Encounters through Visual Media

These autobiographies are tools which encourage users to document, reflect on and learn from their intercultural encounters. They can be used in both formal and informal learning.

More information on these biographies, as well as copies of the autobiographies in other languages can be found on the Council of Europe’s dedicated Autobiography of International Encounters website.

Available in English, French, Italian, Polish and Russian.

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Assessment in Plurilingual and Intercultural Education
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Intercultural learning

Intercultural learning and intercultural education owe a great deal to the work of the Council of Europe, especially the educational approaches and practices of the European youth centres in Strasbourg and Budapest. However, the understanding of intercultural learning, and the way in which it is practised by youth organisations and youth workers, has strongly changed and developed over time.

Available in English and French.

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Council of Europe and the Romani language


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Quality Education in Romani for Europe (QUALIROM)

The QualiRom initiative has published an extensive databank of teaching and learning materials for teachers of Romani. The materials developed in six Romani varieties range from proficiency levels A1 to B2 for learners at primary, secondary and tertiary levels and constitute the largest resource of its kind for the teaching and learning of the Romani language based on European standards. The databank comprises 39 sets of materials (some 16,000 pages!) in Arlije, East Slovak, Finnish, Gurbet, Lovara and Kalderaš Romani.

Available in English.

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ROMANI : documents and tools

The following documents and tools are available in English and in Romani (Kalderash or Usary).

Go to the Council of Europe page

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Curriculum Framework for Romani (2008)

This position paper was designed to guide and clarify the scope of the protection afforded to the Romani language under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

Available in English.

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European Language Portfolio (ELP) ‒ Learning the Romani language

Available in English.

ELP: Primary

ELP: Lower Secondary

Handbook for Teachers

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