and Objectives |
project description in pdf format:
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This project aims to develop
three strands which formed the basis of several projects of the first
medium-term programme and which represent issues at the cutting edge of
modern language teaching: the multi-competence nature of modern language
learning; the role and nature of teacher education in mediating these
competences; the theories which underlie post-communicative language learning
and teaching. The relevance of these issues to the project is as follows:
- The projects of the 1st medium-tem programme reflect
the variety of innovative approaches that have emerged in post-communicative
teaching and reflect the broadening of goals which underlie modern language
learning. Just as the communicative approach extended the narrow focus
on language systems to incorporate communication, so in the post-communicative
phase the focus on communication has been extended to incorporate a
variety of competences such as socio-cultural competence, intercultural
awareness and learning to learn. These additional categories can be
seen by comparing the language-based Threshold Level with the
Common European Framework, which has taken on board educational
and cultural goals and specifications. Communicative competence has
been extended to incorporate a variety of competences.
For both language teachers and materials designers, these new competences
are sometimes seen as being separate from language-based goals, as rivals
for the sparse and valuable time available in the language classroom.
A question which our project will address is the integration of a variety
of goals into language learning and how communicative language competence
can act as a springboard to other competences which lie within areas
such as social interaction, language awareness, intercultural awareness,
learner autonomy, etc.
In doing this we shall be looking to specific theories of language use
and language learning to provide a bridge between various competences.
- As confirmed by project 1.2.4 of the 1st medium-term
programme, teacher education deals with specific goals, methodologies
and examples of classroom activities but often does not provide sufficient
opportunity to discuss the theories which underlie them. Teachers may
therefore lack the ability to critically assess them and develop their
own personal sets of principles, which is an essential prerequisite
of democratic learning. The result may be that both teachers and their
students become victims of methodology and dogma. As a first stage of
an ongoing and life-long development, teacher education should therefore
provide the opportunity to rethink theoretical concepts - even those
which comprise the accepted wisdom of modern language teaching such
as communication, autonomy, intercultural awareness.
In order to achieve this aim, however, the form of teacher education
has to be examined since innovation in language learning needs to be
analysed through dialogic interaction between: learner - learner; learner
- teacher; learner - text; native culture - target culture (Project
1.2.6 of the 1st medium-term programme). Establishing these dialogic
relationships will also be one of the aims of the project's central
workshop and will be reflected in the modes of presentation we shall
- In recent years, due to the influence in particular
of ICT and various (misguided) interpretations of autonomous learning,
there has in some teaching cultures been a downgrading of the role of
the teacher in intensive, classroom-based learning. The importance of
teachers in a dialogic learning process needs to be stressed but their
role also needs to be reconsidered. At the heart of our project is the
centrality and importance of school learning and the language classroom.
In accordance with the rationale of the 2nd medium-term
programme, the project will take an 'integrated approach to language learning
and teaching based on a new educational role for language teachers'.
The starting point will be the following three projects
of the 1st medium-term programme of the ECML:
1.2.4 Mediating between theory and practice
1.2.6 Cultural awareness and language awareness based on dialogic
....... with texts in foreign language
learning (Anne-Brit Fenner)
2.1.1 The Status of language teachers (Peter Rádai)
In addition the project is linked to the following
ECML projects of the 1st medium-term programme: 2.1.2, 2.1.3 and 2.1.4.
It will also explore potential links with "A framework for teacher
education" to be developed in the 2nd medium-term programme.
- Consider how language-based aims can be integrated
into social and educational aims
- Develop critical awareness about theories of language
- Link theory and practice in teacher education
and in classroom practice
Examination of teacher education curricula in different countries to
discover to what extent they include current theoretical aspects of
language learning, in particular with regard to language awareness,
specific learning theories, learner autonomy and intercultural awareness
of materials commonly used in European classrooms and analysis of their
and discussion of current theories relevant to important aspects of
language learning and their consequences for the design of materials
of how a variety of learning goals & perspectives - linguistic,
educational, intercultural etc. - may be harmonised to achieve cohesion
of principles relevant to materials design
adaptation and production of exemplary materials based on these principles
- obtain an overview of theories and practices inherent
in different curricula of language teacher education
- focus on theories and practices
which are missing in the above
- develop a critical awareness of theories
A publication which
- presents an overview of current theories of language
- outlines important principles
relating to various competences
- provides samples of materials to support language
The publication will target teacher educators
and language teachers and will both aim to stimulate discussion of theories
and principles and to provide exemplification of practice. It is intended
as a resource for in-service and pre-service teacher education courses.
Meeting of coordinating team in order to
preparatory stage of project.
February to September
Before nomination of participants:
- prepare documentation to be used as a basis for
the participants' collection of materials.
After nomination of participants:
- participants will be required to make a collection
of theoretical principles which can be found in the curricula of teacher
education in their respective countries. The categories used will, to
some extent, be based on descriptions in the Common European Framework.
- participants will be asked to compile a dossier
of materials commonly used in the classrooms in their country.
- these principles and materials will provide input
for discussions at the following central workshop and will provide a
link between theory and practice.
Planning meeting of the coordinating team
- assessment of preparatory stage and materials
- planning of central workshop.
ECML workshop where
- principles and materials will be discussed in relation
to current theories
- conclusions will be drawn
- common principles will be drawn up to serve as the
basis for the following publication
- tasks related to materials production will be assigned
Participants must be pre-service teacher educators, preferably with experience
in curriculum/syllabus design and/or materials development.
It will be a condition of participation that they are willing to
- before the workshop:
- make a collection of theoretical principles which
can be found in the curricula of teacher education in their own
- compile a commented dossier of materials which
are commonly used in school classrooms in their country and which
reflect these principles
- during the workshop:
- actively take part in discussions of materials,
principles and theories of language learning
- participate in working out relevant principles
- after the workshop:
- contribute materials to be used in a publication
- establish a dissemination plan in their own context
November - April (2005)
Materials production stage: production of exemplary materials, to be
used in teacher education and language classrooms, which illustrate how
principles and theories influence language learning tasks and activities.
Coordinators and participants will prepare their contribution to the publication.
This will be supported by ongoing web-based discussion.
Planning meeting of the coordinating team
- assess materials
- plan the publication
Selected authors of the publication will meet to discuss their contributions
and finalise the publication.
The working languages of the project are English and German. Participants
will be required to be highly competent in speaking and writing in one
of these languages.