One of the main objectives of the CEFR:  developing and reviewing the content of language curricula and defining positive ‘can do’ descriptors adapted to the age, interests and needs of learners.


National foreign language curricula generally focus on aims and objectives and contents. These are all thoroughly described in the CEFR in a context-free scale and are relatable to any relevant context. Yet, national curricula will have to interpret the principles expressed in the CEFR relating them to local contexts and needs.

In this respect Reference Levels Descriptions (RLDs) may prove useful as they provide detailed specifications of content at the different CEFR levels for national/regional languages.

Guide for the development and implementation of curricula for plurilingual and intercultural education

2016. ISBN 978-92-871-8233-3. (initial version 2010). Jean-Claude Beacco, Michael Byram, Marisa Cavalli, Daniel Coste, Mirjam Egli Cuenat, Francis Goullier, Johanna Panthier.
EN (2016)  FR (2016)   IT (2010)  SL (2010)


This Guide is an expansion of Chapter 8 of the CEFR “Linguistic diversification and the curriculum”: it is intended to facilitate improved implementation of the values and principles of plurilingual and intercultural education in the teaching of all languages - foreign, regional or minority, classical, and language(s) of schooling.

Plurilingual and intercultural education is a response to the needs and requirements of quality education, covering: acquisition of competences, knowledge, dispositions and attitudes, diversity of learning experiences, and construction of individual and collective cultural identities. Its aim is to make teaching more effective and increase the contribution it makes both to school success for the most vulnerable learners and to social cohesion.

This Guide is aimed at all those involved in teaching foreign languages or languages of schooling, and particularly those responsible for curriculum planning at national, regional, local and also school level.

It is divided into three parts, and the first gives readers a general picture of the components of plurilingual and intercultural education, possible approaches to implementing them, and the conditions governing their inclusion in curricula (Chapter 1). Subsequent chapters discuss two basic questions raised in the first one: preparation phases and content of a curriculum focused on plurilingual and intercultural education (Chapter 2); distribution of this content and these aims throughout schooling with the help of curriculum scenarios (Chapter 3). Five appendices deal with specific points in greater detail.

The new edition of this Guide has been expanded, in particular  the Appendices and Chapter 2 to give a clearer and more concrete picture of what plurilingual and intercultural education can be when translated into practice (as opposed to grand ideas), in other words when incorporated into curricula and the teaching activities.

The document does not provide descriptions of activities that could be used directly in the classroom. It however contains enough strategic guidance to enable certain activities to be designed and thus help towards the development of plurilingual and intercultural education in education systems, as an indispensable factor in the social cohesion of contemporary European societies.