Report from ECML Conference and Professional Network Forum (Dec 2023)
CercleS as a partner of the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe was invited to the conference entitled “Inspiring innovation in language education: Changing contexts, evolving competences” held on 13th-14th December 2023 and the ECML Professional Network Forum (PNF) meeting held on 15th December 2023. A CercleS representative at ECML, Libor Štěpánek, participated in both the events, a CercleS member and ECML project coordinator, Johann Fischer participated in the conference.
The conference consisted of two days, the first day focused on speeches dedicated to the end of the 2020-2023 period and to the launch of the new 2024-2027 ECML Programme. CercleS, next to representatives of the ECML Governing Board and European Commission, was invited to participate in the Panel discussion on the future of language education within and beyond the ECML´s programme: addressing new challenges.
The second day was divided into four parallel sessions and each session centred around one topic area: (1) Language teacher and learner competences, (2) Transversal dimension of language education/Competencies of life and work, (3) Plurilingual and Intercultural education, and (4) Languages of schooling; languages in subjects. Each session included presentations of projects delivered within the area and follow-up discussions. Johann Fischer presented CEFR Companion Volume Toolbox project with great success and became the centre of the discussion which addressed topics such as flexibility, applicability and accessibility of the materials produced, empowerment of teachers and teacher educators, as well as meaningfulness and relevance of tasks for learners. The Conference was closed with closing remarks inviting to join ECML activities in the 2024-2027 programme.
At the PNF meeting, the members, including CercleS, informed their colleagues about their activities in 2023 and invited all to conferences and events held in 2024. CercleS presented a “Boost your language skills – become a social agent” project with the aim to increase collaboration within the PNF group, which received a positive reaction and provoked discussion on more intensive collaboration among the PNF members in general.
The main points or links of interest included the following:
a) ECML encouraged language teachers and teams to focus on formative assessment, its methodologies, tools and best practice.
b) EALTA – represented by Cristina Rodriguez presented a project proposal for collaboartion which focuses on revival of CEFTrain, which needs to be updated in accordance with the changes in the CEFR. They have 50 volunteers working on the platform already, contributing with new tasks, tasks selection and statistics. Their Annual Conference is organised in Belfast, UK, 6-9 June 2024.
c) ALTE – 60th Meeting and Conference is organised in Bad Homburg, Germany, 10-12 April 2024; apart form organisations and institutions also individuals are invited to register and become members of ALTE.
d) ECSPM – encourages everybody, individually or as institutions to support and sign the Declaration for Multilinguism in Higher Education
d) CEL/ELC – invites everybody to their Annual conference in Cluj, Romania, 28-29 November 2024; a board member Elena-Margareta Pacurar, highly appreciated the efforts of CercleS to organise professional development and networking online events, as well as the efficiency of of the CercleS General Secretariat, namely Zaan Bester, in communication of information within CercleS.