elp - european language portfolio

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  • THE EUROPEAN LANGUAGE PORTFOLIO: THE STORY SO FAR (19912011)

    David Little, Francis Goullier and Gareth Hughes

  • Contents

    Executive summary .......................................................................................................................5 1 What is the European Language Portfolio and where did it come from? .............................7

    1.1 Description ...................................................................................................................................... 7 1.2 Functions ......................................................................................................................................... 7 1.3 Origins ............................................................................................................................................. 7

    2 The pilot projects (19982000) .............................................................................................8 2.1 Scope ............................................................................................................................................... 8 2.2 Findings ........................................................................................................................................... 9 2.3 Reference documents and guides ................................................................................................... 10

    3 Beyond the pilot projects: validation and implementation .................................................10 3.1 The ELP Validation Committee ..................................................................................................... 10 3.2 The role of the European Centre for Modern Languages ............................................................. 11

    4 The impact of the ELP ........................................................................................................11 4.1 The challenge of diversity .............................................................................................................. 11 4.2 The impact of ELP projects ........................................................................................................... 12 4.3 Impact on textbooks ....................................................................................................................... 13 4.4 Impact on assessment .................................................................................................................... 13 4.5 Wider impact ................................................................................................................................. 14 4.6 Continuing challenges ................................................................................................................... 14

    5 The pedagogical challenge of the ELP ...............................................................................17 5.1 Self-assessment .............................................................................................................................. 17 5.2 Reflective teaching and learning ................................................................................................... 18

    6 Plurilingualism and the intercultural dimension .................................................................18 6.1 Imbalance between the perception and use of the various ELP components ................................ 19 6.2 Two ways in which ELPs take account of plurilingualism ............................................................ 19 6.3 The intercultural dimension .......................................................................................................... 20 6.4 Increased inclusion of plurilingualism .......................................................................................... 21

    7 Future prospects ..................................................................................................................22 7.1 The ELP in the Languages in/for Education project ................................................................... 22 7.2 Future expansion of ELP content .................................................................................................. 22 7.3 Portfolio approaches to questions related to languages of schooling ........................................... 23

    8 Conclusion ..........................................................................................................................24 References ...................................................................................................................................25 Appendix 1 Self-assessment grid .............................................................................................27 Appendix 2 List of validated/accredited ELPs ........................................................................28 Appendix 3 EVC members and consultants, 20012010 ........................................................30 Appendix 4 Participants in the European ELP seminars, 2001-2009 ......................................31

  • EUROPEAN LANGUAGE PORTFOLIO / PORTFOLIO EUROPEN DES LANGUES Council of Europe / Conseil de lEurope

    5

    Executive summary The ELP was first proposed at the Rschlikon Symposium in 1991 together with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The CEFR provides tools for the development of language curricula, programmes of teaching and learning, textbooks, and as-sessment instruments. The ELP is designed to mediate to learners, teachers and schools, and other stakeholders the ethos that underpins the CEFR: respect for linguistic and cultural diver-sity, mutual understanding beyond national, institutional and social boundaries, the promotion of plurilingual and intercultural education, and the development of the autonomy of the indi-vidual citizen.

    In 1997 the Council of Europe published the second draft of the CEFR together with a collec-tion of preliminary studies that explored how the ELP might be implemented in different do-mains of language learning. From 1998 to 2000 ELP pilot projects were conducted in 15 Council of Europe member states and by three INGOs. In 2000 the then Education Committee of the Council of Europe established the ELP Validation Committee with a mandate to receive draft ELPs and determine whether or not they were in conformity with the ELP Principles and Guidelines, also established by the Education Committee.

    In 2001, the European Year of Languages, the ELP was launched at the first European ELP Seminar, held in Coimbra, Portugal. By December 2010, 118 ELPs had been validated from 32 Council of Europe member states and 6 INGOs/international consortia (a complete list is ap-pended to this document). ELPs have been designed and implemented for all educational do-mains: primary, lower and upper secondary, vocational, adult, further and tertiary. In his report for 2007, the Rapporteur General estimated that 2.5 million individual ELPs had been pro-duced/distributed. Although 584,000 learners were estimated to be using an ELP, however, the average number of copies in use per validated ELP model was only 6,600: evidence that sus-tained use of the ELP on a large scale in individual member states remained elusive.

    The reports prepared by the Rapporteur General, the impact study carried out on behalf of the Validation Committee, and the eight European ELP Seminars held between 2001 and 2009 confirm that the ELP has proved itself an innovative and practical tool. It embodies a set of principles reflective learning, self-assessment, learner autonomy, plurilingualism, intercul-tural learning which stimulate good practice in a multitude of educational contexts and help to develop skills of life-long learning. These principles challenge traditional beliefs and prac-tices, however, and this helps to explain why the adoption and implementation of the ELP has still not reached the levels hoped for when it was first launched.

    While celebrating the ELPs success, it is important to recognise that Europes linguistic fabric has changed beyond recognition since the ELP was first conceived in the early 1990s. At that time the emphasis was still mainly on second and foreign language learning, as the ELP Prin-ciples and Guidelines remind us. Now, largely as a result of new waves of migration, natural plurilingualism has become an increasingly common phenomenon in many European societies, and this challenges us to find new ways of extending the reach of the principles that underlie the ELP. It seems appropriate, for example, to adopt a portfolio approach to the development of competence in the language of schooling, whether or not it is the individual learners home language, and to focus more closely on languages learnt outside school. This does not neces-sarily mean expanding the scope of the ELP as such, for to do so would risk making it un-wieldy. Finding a solution to this challenge is one of the tasks that confront the Languages in/for Education project, which seeks to promote plurilingual and intercultural education for all.

  • EUROPEAN LANGUAGE PORTFOLIO / PORTFOLIO EUROPEN DES LANGUES Council of Europe / Conseil de lEurope

    6

    In April 2011 the validation and accreditation of ELPs was replaced by an online registration process based on the principle of self-declaration. The website designed for this purpose pro-vides step-be-step instructions on how to develop an ELP using generic elements developed by the Validation Committee. These generic elements were shaped by the accumulated good prac-tice of the past ten years. They should allow educational authorities, institutions and organisa-tions to assemble their own high-quality ELPs without committing themselves to a major developmental effort. The registration proces

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