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Language Learning in Higher Education

Journal of the European Confederation of Language Centres in Higher Education (CercleS)

Editor-in-Chief: Szczuka-Dorna, Liliana / O’Rourke, Breffni

CiteScore 2018: 0.24

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.130
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.290

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The Council of Europe's Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR): Approach, status, function and use

Executive Director Waldemar Martyniuk,
Published Online: 2012-07-28 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cercles-2011-0002


The Council of Europe's Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is rapidly becoming a powerful instrument for shaping language education policies in Europe and beyond. The task of relating language policies, language curricula, teacher education and training, textbook and course design and content, examinations and certification systems to the CEFR is currently being undertaken by a growing number of public and private stakeholders in all European states. Most of these stakeholders recognise the real reference value of the document and apply the principles on which it was based most appropriately. There are instances of use, however, that indicate that reference may be made to the CEFR as a Council of Europe document merely for the purpose of recognition on “the educational market” without real application of its basic values and concepts. In some other cases the CEFR may be referred to in an attempt to introduce one normative curriculum for uniform language education in Europe – contrary to the intention of the authoring team and to Council of Europe principles, and indeed to the very nature and content of the CEFR itself.

The purpose of this article is to clarify the value and the status of the CEFR by referring to related tools and instruments offered by the Council of Europe, among them the Recommendation CM/Rec(2008)7 on the use of the Council of Europe's Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and the promotion of plurilingualism (Council of Europe 2008), adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in July 2008.

Keywords: language policy; Council of Europe; CEFR; plurilingualism; education

About the article

Executive Director Waldemar Martyniuk,

Waldemar Martyniuk is Executive Director at the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe in Graz, Austria.

European Centre for Modern Languages, Nikolaiplatz 4, 8020 Graz, Austria

Published Online: 2012-07-28

Published in Print: 2012-08-17

Citation Information: , Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 23–40, ISSN (Online) 2191-6128, ISSN (Print) 2191-611X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cercles-2011-0002.

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©[2011] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston.Get Permission

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