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Language in all subjects: the Council of Europe’s perspective

  • Jean-Claude Beacco EMAIL logo


The Language Policy Unit of the Council of Europe has been engaged in language planning for quite some time now. If, in the past, the unit’s work was mainly focused on multilingualism – benchmarking, description and assessment – as in the development of the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR), it has recently taken on the task of developing proficiency descriptors for school subjects. Its aim is to contribute to the debate on the language deficit in many European education systems -in accordance with the Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)5 of the Committee of Ministers to the member states on the importance of competences in the language(s) of schooling for equity and quality in education and for educational success. This paper addresses the rationales, procedures and major concerns of the Language Policy Unit when creating an ideology of language(s) of schooling and developing tools for their study as a new paradigm in Europe, as well as describing the initiatives implemented to date: to find a common ground among different national traditions in discourse studies; to explore how subject teachers can interpret their courses in linguistic terms; to map subject genres for curriculum innovation; and to outline a discursive evolution that is coherent in all school subjects.


This paper will often be based on existing studies commissioned by the Council of Europe, which the author of this paper has co-authored and which he intends to present here.


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Published Online: 2017-8-19
Published in Print: 2017-9-5

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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