Rethinking language education and linguistic diversity in schools
Thematic report from a programme of expert workshops and peer learning activities (2016-17) - Study
In 2006, the European Parliament and the Council adopted the Recommendations on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning. The framework sets out eight competences, which citizens need for ‘personal fulfilment and development, active citizenship, social inclusion and employment’. Language competences play a prominent role in the framework, with two key competences being defined as ‘communication in the mother tongue’ and ‘communication in foreign languages’. A decade later, the European Commission (EC) is reviewing the Key Competence Framework in the context of the New Skills Agenda for Europe.... With literacy and mastery of the language of schooling providing the foundation for any further learning, the recommendations of the key competence framework warrant updating to reflect today’s realities. They must address challenges and opportunities for language learning in a progressively interdependent world, technological change, increased mobility and diversity of populations. In this context, the EC organised four Thematic Workshops on the subject of ‘rethinking literacies and language learning’. These workshops brought together academics, European and national experts in the areas of multilingualism, key competences and the integration of migrants, and representatives of the policy networks ELINET, SIRIUS and KeyCoNet. This report summarises the results of these workshops, and provides insights from the wider research literature on language learning in Europe and beyond. It encourages policy makers and other stakeholders to ‘think differently’ when it comes to language education in schools and provides inspiration for how language teaching and assessment could be designed in the future.