ECML conference 2007: language professionals networking in Graz , Austria
The European Centre for Modern Languages marked the completion of its second medium-term programme 2004 – 2007 with a large-scale conference devoted to the theme of this programme: Languages for social cohesion – language education in a multilingual and multicultural Europe . About 250 language professionals from Europe and beyond gathered for the event, which was held at the Karl-Franzens University Graz on 27-29 September.
The ECML conference 2007 was a platform for language professionals to present their work on developing and implementing instruments and tools to improve the teaching and learning of languages in the context of securing greater social cohesion in our continent. Four thematic areas corresponding to the sub-themes of the Centre’s programme were chosen: Linguistic and Social Diversity; Intercultural Communication; Teacher Development; Innovative Approaches.
The conference took stock of current work in this field, based first of all on the results of the 21 projects run within the Centre’s programme since 2004, which were presented by their coordinators. To extend the scope of the proceedings, the Centre also invited contributions from international experts not involved in its activities. All these presentations were given in parallel working sessions corresponding to the conference’s four thematic areas.
Special guest speakers complemented this programme with plenary presentations giving a European and wider international perspective on both the political and policy aspects of language education’s role in ensuring greater social cohesion. They included:
Summaries of the discussions in the working groups and a panel discussion spotlighting the achievements and challenges arising from the conference contributed to the conclusions of the event, which proposed input for the orientation of future reforms and developments in the practice of language teaching and learning in Europe . Moderated by Dagmar Heindler, Austrian member of the ECML Governing Board, the following speakers contributed to the panel:
The conference closed with the launching of the Centre’s third medium-term programme 2008-2011 Empowering Language Professionals: Competences - Networks - Impact – Quality.
The results of the projects of the ECML’s second medium-term programme – publications, CD-Roms, reports, websites, materials - were on display throughout the conference at the Project Fair. These results are now available on the ECML website.
In response to wide-scale interest in the conference, a webcast of the event was organised.
The ECML thanks the Karl-Franzens Universität Graz (Institut für Anglistik, Institut für Romanistik and Institut für Germanistik) and the Österreichisches Sprachenkompetenzzentrum (ÖSZ) for their active cooperation in the preparation of the conference.