News from our partners: report from the ECML colloquium
CercleS – as a partner of the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe – was invited to the colloquium entitled “Innovative Methodologies and Assessment in Language Learning 10 years on – moving forward together” held on 13-14 December 2022, and the ECML Professional Network Forum (PNF) meeting held on 15 December 2021. A CercleS representative at ECML, Libor Stepanek, participated in the events.
The colloquium centred around four topic areas:
(1) the future of language education in the light of the COVID Lessons Learnt,
(2) the ECML Summer Academy,
(3) RELANG project impact, and
(4) Supporting Multilingual Classrooms.
The topics were covered by presentations, follow-up discussions and workshops. The Colloquium was closed with a panel discussion with the CercleS representative presence.
All areas focused mostly on elementary and secondary schools, however, some ideas were highly relevant for the HE sector as well. The Lessons Learnt focused on teacher´s essential assets – their flexibility and adaptability and insisted that “while COVID teaching was heavily dependent on good will and good luck, the new steps need to concentrate on good planning and good preparation”. The authors claimed that plurilingual competencies should me more connected to human rights and democracy development in order to secure their status in the future. The RELANG project presenters emphasised a strong Council of Europe´s ownership of CEFR, referring especially to relating language curricula, tests and examination to CEFR; there should be a clear policy to what is and what is not CEFR-relatable product. In other words, some tests or courses can be of high quality but still not-CEFR relatable.
All topics discussed at the colloquium supported the area of plurilingualism. The panel discussion also mentioned the importance of the topic of autonomy, authenticity (in teaching, and in testing above all – face validity), and the new need to be able to incorporate Artificial Intelligence to language teaching and learning – making an AI language teacher´s friend not an enemy.
At the PNF meeting, the members (https://www.ecml.at/Portals/1/documents/PNF/PNF-EN.pdf ), including CercleS, informed their colleagues about their activities in 2022 and invited all to conferences and events held in 2023. The main points or links of interest included the following:
a) ECML asked to promote its call for projects (https://www.ecml.at/Home/tabid/59/language/en-GB/Default.aspx ) and drew the attention to the Council of Europe´s crucial Recommendation on the importance of plurilingual and intercultural education for democratic culture (https://www.ecml.at/Resources/CouncilofEuroperecommendation/tabid/5570/language/en-GB/Default.aspx )
b) EALTA – focused on the document that helps Aligning language education with CEFR (https://www.ealta.eu.org/documents/resources/CEFR%20alignment%20handbook.pdf) and presented a new web with open source resources (https://www.ealta.eu.org/ )
c) ECSPM – a new bulletin discusses Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment and ECSPM Declaration for Multilingualism in Higher Education (https://ecspm.org )
d) OLBI (Canada) encouraged publishing in their journal and promoted their current call for papers (https://uottawa.scholarsportal.info/ottawa/index.php/ILOB-OLBI/announcement )
e) EFNIL – encouraged all to promote its Master Thesis Award (http://www.efnil.org/master-thesis-award )