Why develop an ELP model?

The ultimate aim of the ELP is to support and improve the learning and teaching of languages. So how can it do this? What does the ELP offer that is not already provided by traditional textbooks, syllabi, tests and so on. What, in other words, is the value that the ELP adds to the traditional mix in the classroom?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • The ELP encourages learners to take responsibility for their learning. (Responsible learners accept that they share with the teacher responsibility for the success of their learning.)
  • The ELP helps the teacher to cope with heterogeneous groups. (The ELP helps learners to understand their individuality, and helps them to achieve personal goals within the group.)
  • The ELP helps to make progress visible and increases learner satisfaction. (The descriptors are relatively easy for learners to understand, so they can see what they are aiming at and when they have achieved it. If learners can see that they are making progress, they are more likely to be satisfied.)
  • The ELP promotes communication within the class by providing a common language. (Thanks to the CEFR’s approach to describing competence in terms that learners can understand and the ELP’s approach to reflection on learning, a true dialogue about the course can take place between the learners themselves and with the teacher.)
  • The ELP helps make achievement visible and comprehensible for employers, for other schools, etc. (If learners need to show their current levels, the ELP does this in a clear and comprehensible way.)
  • The ELP puts learning into a wider European context. (For some learners, the European character of the ELP and its use of the CEFR proficiency levels are important and attractive.)
  • The ELP facilitates mobility.

On the other hand, if learners and teachers are not properly introduced to the ELP and its underlying philosophy, and if the ELP is not integrated into the learning-teaching programme of the institution, there can be problems such as the following:

  • The ELP is perceived as extra and unnecessary “work” (bureaucratic form-filling with little or no relevance to the rest of the work in class).
  • Teachers do not understand how to work with the ELP in an ongoing way: self-assessment and reflection need to be practised regularly.
  • The teaching programme of the institution is not in harmony with the Common European Framework of Reference.
  • Teachers are not able or not willing to guide learners towards self-assessment and growing autonomy.