Call 2016-19

The call for submissions is now closed.
The call for submissions is now closed.

Themes for open project proposals

Inclusive, plurilingual, and intercultural education in practice   Pathways for learning: holistic approaches to learner development
Language teacher education in digital literacy and in innovative learning environments   Professional learning communities

Expert teams are invited to submit a project proposal on one of the themes listed below. Proposals must align with the context and rationale of the ECML 2016-2019 programme. Proposals should relate to previous and ongoing ECML work and to relevant ECML publications in the proposed area.

Inclusive, plurilingual, and intercultural education in practice

Aim

In this thematic area the ECML intends to undertake concrete and practical steps towards the implementation of inclusive, plurilingual and intercultural education across a range of learning environments.

Context

The Council of Europe, national governments and educational institutions are committed to the goal of quality education for all and recognise that this goal fosters democratic processes and social cohesion. However, existing structures for learning, be they in schools, universities, workplaces or elsewhere, do not lend themselves easily to the inclusive, plurilingual and intercultural approaches needed to realise this goal. In fact, such value-based instruction is sometimes seen as standing in the way of education which focuses on factual knowledge and
hard skills for the labour market. ECML resources and examples of good practice clearly demonstrate, however, that the integration of plurilingual and intercultural approaches has a positive impact on the efficiency of language learning, making such approaches highly relevant to the labour market.

Moreover, such approaches develop the kind of attitude required for effective communication in public and private life, in first, second and foreign language contexts. Most notably, structured learning outcomes have been described in the ECML’s Framework of reference for pluralistic approaches to languages and cultures (FREPA/CARAP) and the ECML has extensive experience in promoting these approaches in teacher education in more than 20 ECML member states, as well as in Canada, the United States and Japan.

Envisaged Project Proposals

The work in this thematic area is expected to be of a practical nature and should provide clear, replicable examples/scenarios in which inclusive, plurilingual and intercultural approaches have been implemented in effective and sustainable ways.

Proposals could also include some of the following: evidence of the benefits for the project target groups(s), user-friendly guidelines for adapting any given scenario to other contexts, communication strategies for effective networking and dissemination, key messages to convince educational decision makers and policy makers of the need to and benefit of, mainstreaming such approaches.

The chosen target group, be they teacher educators, classroom teachers, adult education service providers, employers or others, should be directly involved in the project work.

Envisaged project proposals can focus either on school-based or on non-school environments.

Suggested project contexts/elements/targeted areas 

School-based learning (including pre-primary and vocational schooling)

  • The language of schooling
  • Vulnerable learners (e.g. learners with special needs, learners from challenging socio-economic backgrounds; disengaged learners; heterogeneous groups; Roma)
  • Migrant languages
  • Sign languages
  • Regional or minority languages
  • Early language learning, e.g. in multilingual and multicultural contexts 
  • Bilingual education/CLIL

Non-school environments

  • CLIL/bilingual education within higher education institutions
  • Work-based learning
  • The linguistic integration of adult migrants
  • The linguistic integration of Roma

Language* teacher education in digital literacy and in innovative learning environments

Aim

In this thematic area the ECML intends to help providers of teacher education as well as teachers to make best use of existing digital low- or no-cost tools suitable for language learning. Beyond the proficient and effective use of these tools in educational practice it is intended to embed (by way of example) new technologies in creative learning environments and to develop teacher and learner competences in digital literacy.

Context

There is a concern shared by representatives of ECML member states that more attention in both pre-service and in-service teacher education needs to be paid to the role of digital literacy and on the educational impact new media can have on language learning.

Digital literacy has become a buzzword which covers a range of issues related to up-to-date know-how and use of information, learning and networking facilities made available through online web technology. Efficient searches for information, familiarity with virtual online learning environments and platforms, access to professional databases and online libraries, the exploration of new online tools, virtual, synchronous and asynchronous classrooms, MOOCs etc. are all opening doors for teachers and creating innovative learning environments. These new developments offer endless possibilities to language teachers, providing, for example, unlimited access to language and to language users via the web. However, they also present serious challenges in terms of teacher development. Language teachers need the skills not only to access such media, but to critically evaluate and use them in meaningful ways which contribute to quality language education. Moreover, by exploiting new media, the 21st century language teacher develops both the learner’s own digital literacy and critical thinking skills as part of the language learning experience, increasing learner motivation, making languages
more relevant and ultimately raising attainment.

The ECML has very successfully hosted several projects on “Developing online teaching skills” (DOTS, MoreDOTS) and provides resources for specific target groups and learning contexts (e.g. an online inventory of Open Educational Resources, a Moodle platform for communities of practitioners). Across Europe there is sustained demand for the ECML training activity “Use of ICT in support of language teaching and learning” (ICT-REV) in the framework of the ECML cooperation with the European Union. Yet more needs to be done to enhance pre-service and in-service teacher education to equip language teachers to be at the forefront of innovative developments, to pioneer innovative language learning scenarios and to rise to the challenge of next-generation classrooms and textbooks.

Envisaged project proposals

Outputs and outcomes of projects under this theme are expected to contribute to the planning and implementation of teacher education programmes. Thus, teacher educators and developers of teacher education programmes should be the key target groups of projects. Alternatively, self-access online training modules can be proposed for the professional development of teachers.

Projects should take a coherent, sustainable approach to teacher education.

Suggested project contexts/elements/targeted areas

  • Mobile learning – learning ‘on the go’
  • A transferable evaluation framework for teacher education modules/programmes in digital literacy (pre-service/in-service) with quality indicators and key components
  • The adaptation of professional learning modules in digital literacy to specific educational contexts (e.g. primary, vocational, university teaching) and/or to teachers concerned with specific target groups (e.g. homogenous foreign language learning groups, mixed-ability classes in secondary or vocational education)
  • Guidelines for the creation/use of innovative learning environments
  • Development of next generation learning materials which are easily accessible/free or low-cost

* This applies to all types of language learning.

Pathways for learning: holistic approaches to learner development

 

Aim

In this thematic area the ECML intends to explore key cognitive and non-cognitive factors which influence the language learner, whilst at the same time taking a closer look at specific learning-to-learn strategies and learning skills, particularly by establishing links between languages and cultures.

Context

For quality language education to promote successful educational and professional careers as well as fulfilling personal lives, it must address the individual needs, abilities and interests of the learners. This shift from an emphasis on teaching to one on learning has profound implications for classroom pedagogy. Moreover it may not be evident to learners themselves why developing plurilingual repertoires, academic literacies (i.e. cognitive academic language proficiency which supports learning in all subjects), non-cognitive skills (e.g. socio-emotional skills, creativity, soft skills) and intercultural communication skills is vital for their professional and personal lives. The teacher, therefore, becomes a mediator, in continuous dialogue with the learner. Such dialogue is supported by learning environments or classroom activities that aim to develop learners’ ability to reflect on their learning not only in terms of setting goals, using appropriate learning strategies, and assessing themselves, but more importantly by understanding their own motivation, and the emotional, social and other factors which influence their attitude and disposition towards learning. In brief, such dialogue lays the foundations for lifelong, autonomous, pro-active and successful language learning.

Learner autonomy is seen in the context of democratic citizenship because it fosters “independence of thought, judgement and action, combined with social skills and responsibility” (Council of Europe 2001, p. 4). This vision of language learning challenges approaches that treat the target language in isolation and consider “mastery” of the language as the sole learning objective. It goes far beyond the scope of teaching towards and testing specific levels of linguistic competence and is fully embedded in overall educational aims.

The CEFR strongly supports this approach to language learning although it is often identified only with its proficiency scales and viewed primarily as an instrument for testing and assessment. To counterbalance this prevalent focus on learning outputs it seems necessary – and in line with the philosophy of the CEFR and its companion piece, the European Language Portfolio – to put a stronger emphasis on support for the process of language learning.

Feedback from member states suggests that whilst the underlying principles of such approaches are highly valued, both the concept and practical implementation of the idea of pathways and competences for learning require further examination, particularly at a time of ever-increasing importance of assessment, proficiency scales and standards. Teachers and learners alike need support in balancing what can seem like mutually exclusive priorities.

Envisaged project proposals

The ECML seeks open project proposals on competence-oriented step-by-step approaches to learner empowerment in language learning, reflecting the principles promoted by the CEFR and the ELP. These proposals should take into account the educational pathways of the learner (from kindergarten up until adult education, possibly by focussing on a particular stage), be adaptable to different learning contexts (different subjects/informal and non-formal) and easily accessible for the learner.

Projects will be expected to produce attractive, user-friendly modules that help teachers to moderate and provide guidance for the learning process and/or that can be used by learners in different learning environments, with support from their teachers. Learners themselves should be actively involved in these projects, for example in the piloting of suggested tools.

Suggested project contexts/elements/targeted areas

  • Scaled descriptions of plurilingual and intercultural competences linked to the CEFR scales, based on the ECML’s Framework of reference for pluralistic approaches to languages and cultures (FREPA/CARAP) which can be used by both teacher and learner
  • Guidelines/tools for teachers on how to facilitate autonomous learning through, for example, formative assessment across the curriculum, self-assessment in non-formal and informal learning environments
  • Steps and procedures for effective management of a value-based and competence-oriented learning process developing both cognitive and noncognitive skills
  • Learner pathways in bilingual education/CLIL
  • Lifelong learning approaches/tools to support transitions: pre-primary to primary; primary to secondary; secondary to higher education or the workplace; higher education to the workplace


Professional learning communities**


Aim

In this thematic area the ECML intends to demonstrate the power of professional learning communities to contribute to the creation of a highly skilled and dedicated workforce where teachers see themselves as leaders of learning, open to new ideas and committed to professional development to ensure quality and better outcomes for learners.

Context

The speed of societal change together with the increasing linguistic and cultural diversity in our schools, universities and workplaces, is placing ever-increasing demands on the teacher. At the same time, severe budget constraints mean reduced access for many teachers to structured professional development opportunities. How can learning communities for language teaching practitioners bridge this gap and help ensure their continued professionalism and expertise?

The power of such networking in language education is widely recognised within the profession, be it for experts working on a European level, for professionals engaged in collaborative work on a local, regional or national level, or for teachers coming together to share and learn from each other. Further work is required to foster involvement in such communities, to ensure that they make the best use of online technology and social media, that they meet the development needs of participants, reach out to teachers of other subjects and stages, in other learning environments and in other regions/countries and tap into and influence other platforms such as research networks, platforms for public debate or policy-making thinktanks.

The ECML, with its network of European experts, its project workshops and online community, is, in itself, an example of a professional learning community in practice and is therefore ideally placed to both support and learn from other professional learning communities.


Envisaged project proposals

Project work under this theme should provide successful models for the creation/sustaining of professional learning communities, operating at local, national and European level and enhancing current practice through networking, exchange of ideas, critical thinking and engagement with a range of educational experts in a bottom-up approach to professional development.

Moreover, project proposals should consider how such communities of practice might feed into and draw on existing ECML expertise through possible complementary peer-learning opportunities on priority topics at the ECML in Graz.

Suggested project contexts/elements/targeted areas

  • Ideas for convincing language teachers (from the newly-qualified to those approaching retirement) of the value of participating in such communities
  • Specific support for newly-qualified language teachers
  • Maintaining and improving teachers’ language competence
  • Teacher involvement in action-research for professional development
  • Involving learners and/or parents
  • Efficient and effective planning and management of such communities
  • Whole-school language learning policies

** The term “professional learning community” (PLC) is used to describe collaborative learning among colleagues within a particular work environment or field, such as schools.

 

Themes for open project proposals

Inclusive, plurilingual, and intercultural education in practice   Pathways for learning: holistic approaches to learner development
Language teacher education in digital literacy and in innovative learning environments   Professional learning communities

Expert teams are invited to submit a project proposal on one of the themes listed below. Proposals must align with the context and rationale of the ECML 2016-2019 programme. Proposals should relate to previous and ongoing ECML work and to relevant ECML publications in the proposed area.

Inclusive, plurilingual, and intercultural education in practice

Aim

In this thematic area the ECML intends to undertake concrete and practical steps towards the implementation of inclusive, plurilingual and intercultural education across a range of learning environments.

Context

The Council of Europe, national governments and educational institutions are committed to the goal of quality education for all and recognise that this goal fosters democratic processes and social cohesion. However, existing structures for learning, be they in schools, universities, workplaces or elsewhere, do not lend themselves easily to the inclusive, plurilingual and intercultural approaches needed to realise this goal. In fact, such value-based instruction is sometimes seen as standing in the way of education which focuses on factual knowledge and
hard skills for the labour market. ECML resources and examples of good practice clearly demonstrate, however, that the integration of plurilingual and intercultural approaches has a positive impact on the efficiency of language learning, making such approaches highly relevant to the labour market.

Moreover, such approaches develop the kind of attitude required for effective communication in public and private life, in first, second and foreign language contexts. Most notably, structured learning outcomes have been described in the ECML’s Framework of reference for pluralistic approaches to languages and cultures (FREPA/CARAP) and the ECML has extensive experience in promoting these approaches in teacher education in more than 20 ECML member states, as well as in Canada, the United States and Japan.

Envisaged Project Proposals

The work in this thematic area is expected to be of a practical nature and should provide clear, replicable examples/scenarios in which inclusive, plurilingual and intercultural approaches have been implemented in effective and sustainable ways.

Proposals could also include some of the following: evidence of the benefits for the project target groups(s), user-friendly guidelines for adapting any given scenario to other contexts, communication strategies for effective networking and dissemination, key messages to convince educational decision makers and policy makers of the need to and benefit of, mainstreaming such approaches.

The chosen target group, be they teacher educators, classroom teachers, adult education service providers, employers or others, should be directly involved in the project work.

Envisaged project proposals can focus either on school-based or on non-school environments.

Suggested project contexts/elements/targeted areas 

School-based learning (including pre-primary and vocational schooling)

  • The language of schooling
  • Vulnerable learners (e.g. learners with special needs, learners from challenging socio-economic backgrounds; disengaged learners; heterogeneous groups; Roma)
  • Migrant languages
  • Sign languages
  • Regional or minority languages
  • Early language learning, e.g. in multilingual and multicultural contexts 
  • Bilingual education/CLIL

Non-school environments

  • CLIL/bilingual education within higher education institutions
  • Work-based learning
  • The linguistic integration of adult migrants
  • The linguistic integration of Roma

Language* teacher education in digital literacy and in innovative learning environments

Aim

In this thematic area the ECML intends to help providers of teacher education as well as teachers to make best use of existing digital low- or no-cost tools suitable for language learning. Beyond the proficient and effective use of these tools in educational practice it is intended to embed (by way of example) new technologies in creative learning environments and to develop teacher and learner competences in digital literacy.

Context

There is a concern shared by representatives of ECML member states that more attention in both pre-service and in-service teacher education needs to be paid to the role of digital literacy and on the educational impact new media can have on language learning.

Digital literacy has become a buzzword which covers a range of issues related to up-to-date know-how and use of information, learning and networking facilities made available through online web technology. Efficient searches for information, familiarity with virtual online learning environments and platforms, access to professional databases and online libraries, the exploration of new online tools, virtual, synchronous and asynchronous classrooms, MOOCs etc. are all opening doors for teachers and creating innovative learning environments. These new developments offer endless possibilities to language teachers, providing, for example, unlimited access to language and to language users via the web. However, they also present serious challenges in terms of teacher development. Language teachers need the skills not only to access such media, but to critically evaluate and use them in meaningful ways which contribute to quality language education. Moreover, by exploiting new media, the 21st century language teacher develops both the learner’s own digital literacy and critical thinking skills as part of the language learning experience, increasing learner motivation, making languages
more relevant and ultimately raising attainment.

The ECML has very successfully hosted several projects on “Developing online teaching skills” (DOTS, MoreDOTS) and provides resources for specific target groups and learning contexts (e.g. an online inventory of Open Educational Resources, a Moodle platform for communities of practitioners). Across Europe there is sustained demand for the ECML training activity “Use of ICT in support of language teaching and learning” (ICT-REV) in the framework of the ECML cooperation with the European Union. Yet more needs to be done to enhance pre-service and in-service teacher education to equip language teachers to be at the forefront of innovative developments, to pioneer innovative language learning scenarios and to rise to the challenge of next-generation classrooms and textbooks.

Envisaged project proposals

Outputs and outcomes of projects under this theme are expected to contribute to the planning and implementation of teacher education programmes. Thus, teacher educators and developers of teacher education programmes should be the key target groups of projects. Alternatively, self-access online training modules can be proposed for the professional development of teachers.

Projects should take a coherent, sustainable approach to teacher education.

Suggested project contexts/elements/targeted areas

  • Mobile learning – learning ‘on the go’
  • A transferable evaluation framework for teacher education modules/programmes in digital literacy (pre-service/in-service) with quality indicators and key components
  • The adaptation of professional learning modules in digital literacy to specific educational contexts (e.g. primary, vocational, university teaching) and/or to teachers concerned with specific target groups (e.g. homogenous foreign language learning groups, mixed-ability classes in secondary or vocational education)
  • Guidelines for the creation/use of innovative learning environments
  • Development of next generation learning materials which are easily accessible/free or low-cost

* This applies to all types of language learning.

Pathways for learning: holistic approaches to learner development

 

Aim

In this thematic area the ECML intends to explore key cognitive and non-cognitive factors which influence the language learner, whilst at the same time taking a closer look at specific learning-to-learn strategies and learning skills, particularly by establishing links between languages and cultures.

Context

For quality language education to promote successful educational and professional careers as well as fulfilling personal lives, it must address the individual needs, abilities and interests of the learners. This shift from an emphasis on teaching to one on learning has profound implications for classroom pedagogy. Moreover it may not be evident to learners themselves why developing plurilingual repertoires, academic literacies (i.e. cognitive academic language proficiency which supports learning in all subjects), non-cognitive skills (e.g. socio-emotional skills, creativity, soft skills) and intercultural communication skills is vital for their professional and personal lives. The teacher, therefore, becomes a mediator, in continuous dialogue with the learner. Such dialogue is supported by learning environments or classroom activities that aim to develop learners’ ability to reflect on their learning not only in terms of setting goals, using appropriate learning strategies, and assessing themselves, but more importantly by understanding their own motivation, and the emotional, social and other factors which influence their attitude and disposition towards learning. In brief, such dialogue lays the foundations for lifelong, autonomous, pro-active and successful language learning.

Learner autonomy is seen in the context of democratic citizenship because it fosters “independence of thought, judgement and action, combined with social skills and responsibility” (Council of Europe 2001, p. 4). This vision of language learning challenges approaches that treat the target language in isolation and consider “mastery” of the language as the sole learning objective. It goes far beyond the scope of teaching towards and testing specific levels of linguistic competence and is fully embedded in overall educational aims.

The CEFR strongly supports this approach to language learning although it is often identified only with its proficiency scales and viewed primarily as an instrument for testing and assessment. To counterbalance this prevalent focus on learning outputs it seems necessary – and in line with the philosophy of the CEFR and its companion piece, the European Language Portfolio – to put a stronger emphasis on support for the process of language learning.

Feedback from member states suggests that whilst the underlying principles of such approaches are highly valued, both the concept and practical implementation of the idea of pathways and competences for learning require further examination, particularly at a time of ever-increasing importance of assessment, proficiency scales and standards. Teachers and learners alike need support in balancing what can seem like mutually exclusive priorities.

Envisaged project proposals

The ECML seeks open project proposals on competence-oriented step-by-step approaches to learner empowerment in language learning, reflecting the principles promoted by the CEFR and the ELP. These proposals should take into account the educational pathways of the learner (from kindergarten up until adult education, possibly by focussing on a particular stage), be adaptable to different learning contexts (different subjects/informal and non-formal) and easily accessible for the learner.

Projects will be expected to produce attractive, user-friendly modules that help teachers to moderate and provide guidance for the learning process and/or that can be used by learners in different learning environments, with support from their teachers. Learners themselves should be actively involved in these projects, for example in the piloting of suggested tools.

Suggested project contexts/elements/targeted areas

  • Scaled descriptions of plurilingual and intercultural competences linked to the CEFR scales, based on the ECML’s Framework of reference for pluralistic approaches to languages and cultures (FREPA/CARAP) which can be used by both teacher and learner
  • Guidelines/tools for teachers on how to facilitate autonomous learning through, for example, formative assessment across the curriculum, self-assessment in non-formal and informal learning environments
  • Steps and procedures for effective management of a value-based and competence-oriented learning process developing both cognitive and noncognitive skills
  • Learner pathways in bilingual education/CLIL
  • Lifelong learning approaches/tools to support transitions: pre-primary to primary; primary to secondary; secondary to higher education or the workplace; higher education to the workplace


Professional learning communities**


Aim

In this thematic area the ECML intends to demonstrate the power of professional learning communities to contribute to the creation of a highly skilled and dedicated workforce where teachers see themselves as leaders of learning, open to new ideas and committed to professional development to ensure quality and better outcomes for learners.

Context

The speed of societal change together with the increasing linguistic and cultural diversity in our schools, universities and workplaces, is placing ever-increasing demands on the teacher. At the same time, severe budget constraints mean reduced access for many teachers to structured professional development opportunities. How can learning communities for language teaching practitioners bridge this gap and help ensure their continued professionalism and expertise?

The power of such networking in language education is widely recognised within the profession, be it for experts working on a European level, for professionals engaged in collaborative work on a local, regional or national level, or for teachers coming together to share and learn from each other. Further work is required to foster involvement in such communities, to ensure that they make the best use of online technology and social media, that they meet the development needs of participants, reach out to teachers of other subjects and stages, in other learning environments and in other regions/countries and tap into and influence other platforms such as research networks, platforms for public debate or policy-making thinktanks.

The ECML, with its network of European experts, its project workshops and online community, is, in itself, an example of a professional learning community in practice and is therefore ideally placed to both support and learn from other professional learning communities.


Envisaged project proposals

Project work under this theme should provide successful models for the creation/sustaining of professional learning communities, operating at local, national and European level and enhancing current practice through networking, exchange of ideas, critical thinking and engagement with a range of educational experts in a bottom-up approach to professional development.

Moreover, project proposals should consider how such communities of practice might feed into and draw on existing ECML expertise through possible complementary peer-learning opportunities on priority topics at the ECML in Graz.

Suggested project contexts/elements/targeted areas

  • Ideas for convincing language teachers (from the newly-qualified to those approaching retirement) of the value of participating in such communities
  • Specific support for newly-qualified language teachers
  • Maintaining and improving teachers’ language competence
  • Teacher involvement in action-research for professional development
  • Involving learners and/or parents
  • Efficient and effective planning and management of such communities
  • Whole-school language learning policies

** The term “professional learning community” (PLC) is used to describe collaborative learning among colleagues within a particular work environment or field, such as schools.

 

  Search

Looking for a team member?
Please check our expert database and our message board.

For questions please contact us at 

Presentation on the Call
Please check our PowerPoint presentation here.


Looking for a team member?
Please check our expert database and our message board.

For questions please contact us at 

Presentation on the Call
Please check our PowerPoint presentation here.