Academic journal article Cross - Cultural Communication

Establishing Language Skills in Europe: The Inspirations on Chinese Foreign Language Study1/LE DEVELOPPEMENT DES COMPETENCES LINGUISTIQUES EN EUROPE: LES INSPIRATIONS DES EXPERIENCES CHINOISES DANS L'ETUDE DE LANGUE ETRANGERE

Academic journal article Cross - Cultural Communication

Establishing Language Skills in Europe: The Inspirations on Chinese Foreign Language Study1/LE DEVELOPPEMENT DES COMPETENCES LINGUISTIQUES EN EUROPE: LES INSPIRATIONS DES EXPERIENCES CHINOISES DANS L'ETUDE DE LANGUE ETRANGERE

Article excerpt

Abstract:

In order to promote transparency and coherence for language learning, teaching and especially estimate, Council of Europe(CoE) developed the Common European Framework of Reference(CEFR) and European Language Portfolio(ELP).The CEFR and the ELP are one of the most influential documents of the last decade in the fields of language learning and teaching in Europe and elsewhere. It is therefore also very important for the contacts between Europe and China, in educational contact as well as in professional contexts.

Key words: Europe; language Skill; The Common European Framework of Reference; European Language Portfolio

Résumé: Afin de promouvoir la transparence et la cohérence pour l'apprentissage, l'enseignement et l'évaluation des langues, le Conseil de l'Europe (CoE) a élaboré le Cadre européen commun de référence (CECR) et le Portfolio européen des langues (PEL). Le CECR et le PEL sont l'un des documents les plus influents de la dernière décennie dans les domaines de l'apprentissage et de l'enseignement des langues en Europe et ailleurs. Il est donc ainsi très important pour les contacts entre l'Europe et la Chine, non seulement dans le contexte pédagogique, mais aussi dans des contextes professionnels.

Mots-clés : Europe; compétences linguistiques; Cadre européen commun de référence; Portfolio européen des langues

1. INTRODUCTION

At least more than 440 languages are used in Europe (Valeur 2007). Europeans often speak languages other than their mother tongue at home, at school, or at work. Language learning not only occurs at school. Therefore, it is important to have a good insight into the way in which people use languages, within a European context. Moreover, it is important to know what levels of language skills are achieved when people leam languages in formal as well as in informal contexts. In order to get grip on the new language (learning) situation, two instruments were developed by the Council of Europe (CoE):

* A Common European Framework of Reference introducing a new Descriptive Scheme for language education and a system of Common Reference Levels. This language scale can be used to compare language skills and certificates.

* A European Language Portfolio: a comprehensive document that not only covers formal certificates but can also document other language experiences, such as growing up in a multhingual home situation.

2. THE COMMON EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK OF REFERENCE FOR LANGUAGES (CEFR)

The CEFR was officially published in 2001 (CoE, 2001), the European Year of Languages. It quickly turned to be one of the most influential publications of the last decade in the fields of (1) language learning, (2) language teaching and, especially (3) language testing in Europe and elsewhere. The aim of the construction of the CEFR was to promote transparency and coherence for the three areas in a comprehensive way. It consists of two parts:

* The Descriptive Scheme is a tool for reflecting on what is involved not only in language use, but also in language learning and teaching. Parameters in the Descriptive scheme include: skills, competences, strategies, activities, domains and conditions and constraints that determine language use;

* The Common Reference Level system consist of scales of illustrative descriptors that provide global and detailed specifications of language proficiency levels for the different parameters of the Descriptive Scheme. The core of the Common Reference Level scales is a compendium of 'can-do' descriptors of language proficiency outcomes.

Through the CEFR learners, teachers, examiners, administrators, policy makers, educational institutions are stimulated to refer their efforts to a common European framework. The scales of illustrative descriptors can be used in the support of self-directed language learning (e.g., raising self-awareness of own language skills and strategic actions to be taken by the learner). …

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