Box "Foreign languages – modern and classical"

Education and Languages, Language Policy

Contents of this section:
Foreign languages - modern and classical

Classical and modern foreign languages have educational goals which are both humanistic and utilitarian. The discourse on the teaching both groups of languages reveals this and also the differences in emphasis between them. The Council of Europe has produced instruments which enable the improvement of teaching, learning and assessment of modern foreign languages.

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  • 1. Humanistic purposes
  • 2. Functional purposes
  • 3. Council of Europe instruments for creating a common language for language teaching
The Aims of Language Teaching and Learning

The Languages in and for Education project has at its centre a commitment to an integrated approach to language teaching and learning. This means that in a school context all teachers, whether of the language of schooling taught as subject, second/foreign languages or other curriculum subjects, have a vested interest in and a responsibility for the pupils’ development of language competence. This paper discusses the aims of language as subject and foreign language teaching, and considers aims as they relate to the teaching in/of minority languages and language in other subjects, stressing the need to identify common goals.

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Languages in and for Education: a role for portfolio approaches?

The European Language Portfolio (ELP) was introduced as a concept in 1997 and formally launched in 2001. It has been taken up in almost thirty Council of Europe member states and 107 models had been accredited by the spring of 2010. The ELP is concerned with the learning and use of second and foreign languages (L2s), which is just one focus of the Languages in Education/Languages for Education (LE) project. But can the LE project benefit from the pedagogical experience that has accumulated over ten years of ELP implementation?

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Further Language Policy Unit Ressources

Instruments and Tools: Language Policy Unit
Data bank of descriptors

CEFR Descriptors

ELP Descriptors

Reports and Publications
Intercultural approach

Autobiogaphy of Intercultural Encounters, 2009 (for further details consult Section "The learner ...")

Council of Europe Convention, Recommendations and Resolutions
Convention Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe
  • Recommendation CM/Rec(2008)7E to member states on the use of the Council of Europe's "Common European Framework of Reference for Languages" (CEFR) and the promotion of plurilingualism (and Explanatory Memorandum
  • Recommendation R (98) 6 based on the results of the CDCC Project 'Language Learning for European Citizenship' (1989 – 1996)
  • Recommendation R (82)18 based on the results of the CDCC Project N° 4 ('Modern Languages 1971-1981')
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
Other bodies & Useful links
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