Training teachers to use the European
Language Portfolio
Former les enseignants à l’utilisation du
Porfolio européen des langues
Training teachers to use the European
Language Portfolio
Former les enseignants à l’utilisation du
Porfolio européen des langues
Training teachers to use the
European Language Portfolio
Project C6 of the ECML
2nd medium-term programme
(ELP_TT)
Training teachers to use the European
Language Portfolio
Former les enseignants à l’utilisation du
Porfolio européen des langues
The European Language Portfolio:
structure and origins
David Little
Training teachers to use the European
Language Portfolio
Former les enseignants à l’utilisation du
Porfolio européen des langues
What is the ELP?
Training teachers to use the European
Language Portfolio
Former les enseignants à l’utilisation du
Porfolio européen des langues
Three obligatory components
• Language Passport – Summarizes the owner’s
linguistic identity and language learning and
intercultural experience; records the owner’s selfassessment
• Language Biography – Provides a reflective
accompaniment to the ongoing processes of
learning and using second languages and engaging
with the cultures associated with them
• Dossier – Collects evidence of L2 proficiency and
intercultural experience
Training teachers to use the European
Language Portfolio
Former les enseignants à l’utilisation du
Porfolio européen des langues
Two functions
• Pedagogical function – the ELP is designed to
make the language learning process more
transparent to the learner and foster the
development of learner autonomy (cf. the Council
of Europe’s commitment to education for
democratic citizenship and lifelong learning)
• Reporting function – the ELP provides practical
evidence of L2 proficiency and intercultural
experience (cf. the Council of Europe’s interest in
developing a unit credit scheme in the 1970s)
Training teachers to use the European
Language Portfolio
Former les enseignants à l’utilisation du
Porfolio européen des langues
Key features
• Designed to promote plurilingualism and
pluriculturalism
• Values all language and intercultural learning,
whether it takes place in formal educational
contexts or outside them
• Learner self-assessment is carried out against the
metric of the Common Reference Levels of the
Common European Framework of Reference
Training teachers to use the European
Language Portfolio
Former les enseignants à l’utilisation du
Porfolio européen des langues
The CEFR’s common reference levels
The Common European Framework of Reference (Council of
Europe 2001) defines communicative proficiency
• at six levels, arranged in three bands:
A1
A2
B1
B2
C1
C2
• in relation to five skills:
listening, reading, spoken interaction, spoken
production, writing
• in the form of “can do” statements
Self-assessment grid (CEFR and standard adult passport)
I can deal with most situations
likely to arise whilst travelling in
an area where the language is
spoken. I can enter unprepared
into conversation on topics that
are familiar, of personal interest
or pertinent to everyday life (e.g.
family, hobbies, work, travel and
current events).
CercleS ELP: goal-setting and self-assessment checklists
Level B1
I c a n r e a d ily h a n d le c o n v e r s a tio n s o n m o s t to p ic s t h a t a r e fa m ilia r o r o f p e r s o n a l
in te r e s t, w it h g e n e r a lly a p p r o p r ia te u s e o f r e g is te r
I c a n s u s ta in a n e x te n d e d c o n v e r s a tio n o r d is c u s s io n b u t m a y s o m e tim e s n e e d a
little h e lp in c o m m u n ic a tin g m y th o u g h ts
I c a n ta k e p a r t in r o u tin e fo r m a l d is c u s s io n o n fa m ilia r s u b je c t s in m y a c a d e m ic o r
p r o fe s s io n a l fie ld if it is c o n d u c te d in c le a r ly a r tic u la te d s p e e c h in s ta n d a r d d ia le c t
I c a n e x c h a n g e , c h e c k a n d c o n fir m fa c t u a l in fo r m a tio n o n fa m ilia r r o u tin e a n d
n o n -r o u tin e m a tte r s w it h in m y fie ld w ith s o m e c o n fid e n c e
I c a n e x p r e s s a n d r e s p o n d to fe e lin g s a n d a t tit u d e s ( e .g ., s u r p r is e , h a p p in e s s ,
s a d n e s s , in te r e s t, u n c e r ta in ty , in d iffe r e n c e )
I c a n a g r e e a n d d is a g r e e p o lite ly , e x c h a n g e p e r s o n a l o p in io n s , n e g o tite d e c is io n s
a n d id e a s
I c a n e x p r e s s m y t h o u g h t s a b o u t a b s tr a c t o r c u lt u r a l to p ic s s u c h a s m u s ic o r film s ,
a n d g iv e b r ie f c o m m e n t s o n t h e v ie w s o f o t h e r s
I c a n e x p la in w h y s o m e th in g is a p r o b le m , d is c u s s w h a t to d o n e x t, c o m p a r e a n d
c o n tr a s t a lte r n a tiv e s
I c a n o b ta in d e ta ile d in fo r m a tio n , m e s s a g e s , in s tr u c tio n s a n d e x p la n a tio n s , a n d
c a n a s k fo r a n d fo llo w d e ta ile d d ir e c tio n s
I c a n h a n d le m o s t p r a c tic a l ta s k s in e v e r y d a y s it u a tio n s ( e .g ., m a k i n g te le p h o n e
e n q u ir ie s , a s k in g fo r a r e fu n d , n e g o tia tin g p u r c h a s e )
I c a n p r o v id e c o n c r e te in fo r m a tio n r e q u ir e d in a n in te r v ie w / c o n s u lta tio n ( e .g .,
d e s c r ib e s y m p to m s t o a d o c to r ) , b u t w it h lim ite d p r e c is io n
I c a n ta k e s o m e in itia tiv e s in a n in te r v ie w / c o n s u lta tio n ( e .g ., b r in g u p a n e w
s u b je c t) b u t a m v e r y d e p e n d e n t o n t h e in te r v ie w e r to p r o v id e s u p p o r t
My
next
goal
*
**
***
Training teachers to use the European
Language Portfolio
Former les enseignants à l’utilisation du
Porfolio européen des langues
Where did the ELP
come from?
Training teachers to use the European
Language Portfolio
Former les enseignants à l’utilisation du
Porfolio européen des langues
The Council of Europe
Founded in 1949 to
• defend human rights, parliamentary democracy and the
rule of law
• develop continent-wide agreements to standardize
member countries’ social and legal practices
• promote awareness of a European identity based on
shared values and cutting across different cultures
Key instruments
• European Convention on Human Rights (1950)
• European Cultural Convention (1954)
Training teachers to use the European
Language Portfolio
Former les enseignants à l’utilisation du
Porfolio européen des langues
Council of Europe and language learning
European Cultural Convention, Article 2:
“Each Contracting Party shall, insofar as may be possible,
a) encourage the study by its own nationals of the
languages, history and civilisation of the other
Contracting Parties and grant facilities to those
Parties to promote such studies in its territory, and
b) endeavour to promote the study of its language or
languages, history and civilisation in the territory of
the other Contracting Parties and grant facilities to
the nationals of those Parties to pursue such studies
in its territory”
Training teachers to use the European
Language Portfolio
Former les enseignants à l’utilisation du
Porfolio européen des langues
The Council of Europe’s
cultural/educational agenda
• Education for democratic citizenship – hence a
commitment to learner autonomy and lifelong
learning
• Promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity –
hence a commitment to plurilingualism and partial
competences
• Facilitating individual mobility – hence a desire to
establish a means of comparing different systems
of certification
Training teachers to use the European
Language Portfolio
Former les enseignants à l’utilisation du
Porfolio européen des langues
Implementing the agenda
• Language Policy Division (Strasbourg)
– Responsible for developing key policy documents and
instruments, including the Common European Framework of
Reference and the European Language Portfolio
• European Centre for Modern Languages (Graz)
– “Partial agreement” (33 Council of Europe member states)
– Projects built around workshops and conferences aim to
disseminate ideas and good practice in relation to language
teaching and learning
– 2004-2007: medium-term programme with four strands
– Project C6: Training teachers to use the European Language
Portfolio
Training teachers to use the European
Language Portfolio
Former les enseignants à l’utilisation du
Porfolio européen des langues
The Rüschlikon Symposium (1991)
Recommended the development of a Common
European Framework to
• promote and facilitate co-operation among
educational institutions in different countries
• provide a sound basis for the mutual recognition of
language qualifications
• assist learners, teachers, course designers,
examining bodies and educational administrators to
situate and coordinate their efforts
Training teachers to use the European
Language Portfolio
Former les enseignants à l’utilisation du
Porfolio européen des langues
The Rüschlikon Symposium (1991)
• Recommended the establishment of a working
party to consider possible forms and functions of a
European Language Portfolio
• Proposed that the ELP should contain a section in
which formal qualifications are related to a
common European scale, another in which the
learner him/herself keeps a personal record of
language learning experiences and possibly a third
which contains examples of work done
Training teachers to use the European
Language Portfolio
Former les enseignants à l’utilisation du
Porfolio européen des langues
Intergovernmental Conference (1997)
• Launched the second draft of the Common
European Framework of Reference, already
revised on the basis of widespread consultation
(Council for Cultural Cooperation 1997a)
• Introduced a series of proposals for the
development of ELPs for language learners of
different ages and in different domains (Council
for Cultural Cooperation 1997b)
• Recommended the establishment of pilot projects
in the member states
Training teachers to use the European
Language Portfolio
Former les enseignants à l’utilisation du
Porfolio européen des langues
The ELP pilot projects (1998-2000)
• There was no template to work from: we had to learn
from one another
• Between us we covered all domains of language
learning: primary, lower and upper secondary,
vocational, university, adult
• The Swiss ELP project supported the rest by making
available goal-setting and self-assessment checklists
that drew on the empirical research on which the
common reference levels of the CEF are based
• The Principles and Guidelines that define the ELP and
govern validation and accreditation evolved in parallel
with this work
Training teachers to use the European
Language Portfolio
Former les enseignants à l’utilisation du
Porfolio européen des langues
Overview of the pilot projects
• 15 Council of Europe member states:
Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France,
Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands,
Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, Sweden,
Switzerland, United Kingdom
• 3 INGOs:
CERCLES, European Language Council,
EAQUALS
• 30,000 learners and 2,000 teachers
• For a full report see Schärer (2000)
Training teachers to use the European
Language Portfolio
Former les enseignants à l’utilisation du
Porfolio européen des langues
Common findings
• Learners of all ages quickly tire of the ELP if they
work with it only occasionally, in order to bring it
up to date (especially when that is simply a matter
of filling in forms and ticking boxes)
• Learners value the ELP to the extent that it is
central to their language learning
• When the ELP is central to language learning it
supports the development of learner reflection,
self-management and autonomy
• The reporting and pedagogical functions support
one another
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