La Rivista per l'insegnamento e l'apprendimento delle lingue

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: multi-faceted and intriguing

Rolf Schärer
Kilchberg, ZH

Qu’en est-il six ans après la validation du Cadre de Référence? Qu’en est-il de cette vaste campagne pour le plurilinguisme qui réunit différentes cultures, différents pays et différentes langues?
La traduction du CER dans 36 langues, son instrumentalisation et les projets d’implémentation dans les écoles montrent l’importance et l’impact de cette création du Conseil de l’Europe au niveau politique, pour l’éducation et dans le domaine de l’enseignement et de l’apprentissage.
Cet article tente d’analyser sous ces trois différents angles les objectifs déclarés, mais aussi les extrapolations possibles à partir de ces déclarations. Le CER tout comme le PEL nous sont présentés comme des outils certes importants et utiles, mais qui devront au cours du temps évoluer et répondre à de nouveaux besoins. (red.)

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment (CEFR) was officially published in 2001, the European Year of Languages.
It has since been translated into 36 languages; an indication of perceived relevance and immediate impact on innovation in foreign language learning, teaching and assessment.
The CEFR is one of a series of tools of the Language Policy Division of the Council of Europe designed to foster linguistic and cultural diversity and promote plurilingualism.
Six years after the official publication of the CEFR, an International Forum1 in Strasbourg (6-8 February 2007) held an in-depth discussion on the role, use, impact and influence of the CEFR. It also examined appropriate forms of assistance and guidance to foster an even broader use of the framework in the spirit of its underlying principles.
This article reviews the current debate on the CEFR from three different closely related perspectives: a) the political context b) the educational context c) learning and teaching. It traces current use and relates discernable effects to declared and non-declared goals and expectations.

The Common European Framework of reference in its political context

The Council of Europe2(CoE) itself is an intergovernmental organisation of 46 member countries, including Switzerland and all the 27 European Union states.
The CoE is concerned with the promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, democratic citizenship, social cohesion and intercultural dialogue. Its overarching goals hence reach beyond language learning, yet the promotion of plurilingualism and intercultural competence has been one of its major activities ever since the 1960s. It is part of its strive to foster mutual understanding, respect and dialogue beyond cultural, national and social boundaries.
The idea of a Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and its twin, the European Language Portfolio, was launched at a Council of Europe Symposium3 in Rüschlikon, Switzerland in 1991 shortly after the fall of the Berlin wall.
The CEFR4 was developed by a Council of Europe (CoE) international working group set up by the Language Policy Division with a view to promote transparency and coherence in language learning and teaching in Europe. [...]

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