Ireland can nominate two representatives to attend the 2019 ECML Conference in Graz, Austria. The ECML will fund the participation of one representative.  The funded participant will receive a lump sum allowance of €110 per activity day towards accommodation, subsistence expenses and local transport. To apply, email the completed nomination form to by 29 August 2019.

ECML Conference “Languages at the heart of learning: 25 years of inspiring innovation”

5-6 December 2019 | Graz, Austria
Conference Description | Nomination Form | Nomination deadline 29 August 2019

The 2019 ECML conference has three key aims:

  • mark the successful completion and disseminate the key results of the current programme “Languages at the heart of learning”;
  • launch the new programme 2020-23 “Inspiring innovation in language education: changing contexts, evolving competences”; and
  • celebrate the ECML’s 25th anniversary!

This conference will also provide the framework to highlight recent important developments in the area of sign languages, such as the inclusion of descriptors for signing in the CEFR Companion Volume and the recent approval by the Committee of Ministers of the Recommendation of the Parliamentary Assembly on “Protecting and promoting sign languages in Europe”.

Working languages will be English, French and International Sign with simultaneous interpretation.

The workshop is open to:

  • representatives with policy responsibilities and decision-making capacity in the context of quality language education, and
  • representatives with a professional focus on the practice of language education (e.g. curriculum development, teacher education, material design).

Please email your completed nomination form to by 29 August 2019.

Feedback from Language Professionals on previous ECML Workshops:

Learning Environments where Foreign Languages Flourish

During the 2-day workshop, participants had the opportunity to explore their own language learning environments using the EOL matrix and to draft an action plan for their own educational contexts. Schools are encouraged to give greater consideration and visibility to the European educational priority areas of human rights, democracy and inclusion when writing their school strategy for language education. Continuous project monitoring and evaluation of outcomes employing indicators of success are core components of the EOL action plan. Successful project implementation will ensure student empowerment.

 Workshop participants were drawn from 28 Council of Europe countries. The structuring of workshop activities allowed for productive exchange of ideas and stimulating discussions about national priorities in language education policy and practice.
Helen English, Maynooth Post Primary School

Action Research Communities for Language Teachers

The goal of action research communities for language teachers is to contribute towards quality enhancement in the language classroom through action research. Action research enables teachers to reflect on their practice, question it, and to propose and test innovations. Engaging in action research will enable teachers to improve the quality of their teaching as well as ensuring better outcomes for students.  Action research also helps to initiate and facilitate dialogue between teachers and with school management.  Action research can help to increase cooperation between teachers and in communities of practice.  The project aims to design tools that will support teachers at any level of the education system and in any subject to engage in action research.  It also aims to show how practice and action research are closely linked and one supports the other.”
Kènia Puig Planella, Post Primary Languages Initiative

Learning Environments where Foreign Languages Flourish

“The ECML project is a European network of 70 partner schools in 13 countries. Participants have developed innovative approaches to establishing language-friendly learning environments in their respective schools. These approaches are captured in an action plan, framed within an EOL-Matrix designed to orientate schools in identifying their priorities and strengths as they set out to create conditions that will lead to the flourishing of languages and to strengthening plurilingual and intercultural competences.

Participants will be supported in the planning and implementation of their action plans by a project team and a repertoire of planning tools, memos and resources hosted on a working platform. Communication spaces such as the forum will allow participants to interact, exchange experiences and upload their own resources which will be shared within the project network.

Participants will work towards developing a masterplan that will widen the scope of the project to achieve a whole school language policy. It will aim to put languages at the heart of learning. It will actively promote multilingualism and plurilingualism.  It will pursue strategies that favour intercultural education and encounters. It will seek to impact school ethos, climate, planning and organization so that issues of diversity, inclusion and interculturality are effectively addressed at institutional level.”
Helen English, Maynooth Post Primary School

Promoting Excellence in Sign Language Instruction

“This informative workshop brought many stakeholders together from Deaf studies centres throughout Europe (and further afield). This space gave us the opportunity to discuss best practice in the teaching of signed languages.  It created a platform for educators to share their experiences of implementing CEFR, and for novice users of the framework to get a solid grasp of what it entails.  The primary focus of the workshop was to consider how advanced sign language levels can be attained through effective pedagogical strategies and considered assessment techniques (such as the European Language Portfolio).

This was a starting point and the participants are committed to moving forward with this initiative. There have already been tentative discussions of conducting a pilot study which the Centre for Deaf Studies, Trinity College Dublin, will be part of. There have already been fruitful email conversations, which are teasing out some of the issues as we reflect on the content of the two-day workshop.

This was an extremely worthwhile experience that has given me a deeper knowledge of CEFR and how we can continue to embed it into our Bachelor in Deaf Studies programme.”
Sarah Sheridan, Trinity College Dublin

A Quality Assurance Matrix for the Common European Framework of Reference

“Use of the CEFR is increasingly prevalent in language education in Ireland.  It has been used in the development of a programme for English as an Additional Language in Irish primary schools and in the development of the specifications for the new Junior Cycle language curricula, due to begin implementation in 2017.  There has been a move in recent years to align university language syllabuses and assessments with CEFR levels, partly in response to new regulations introduced by the Teaching Council of Ireland, requiring second level language teachers to provide evidence of a minimum language proficiency of CEFR level B2.2.  The CEFR has also been used to inform the development of standardised language tests, language teaching materials and CALL learning resources.  The implementation of the CEFR in these contexts has great potential for stimulating innovation, as well as increasing transparency and cohesion in language education in Ireland as a whole.  It is essential, however, that adequate quality assurance practices are established to ensure consistent, meaningful and effective use of the CEFR.

The ECML Quality Assurance Matrix will provide an invaluable resource to guide practitioners and policy makers in the planning, implementation and evaluation phases of CEFR-related projects, by encouraging self-reflection on key principles of quality, through the use of a freely accessible interactive online tool.  In this way, it could contribute greatly to more meaningful, well-informed, consistent and effective use of the CEFR in all areas of language education in Ireland.”
Aoife Ní Ghloinn, Maynooth University

Previous Opportunities

The European Centre for Modern Languages offer workshops on subject areas associated with particular language projects. Individuals with a special interest in the workshop can request to take part. Ireland can select one delegate to attend each workshop. Costs are covered by the ECML.

Learning Environments where modern languages flourish 
7–8 March 2019 | Graz, Austria

A Roadmap for schools to support the language(s) of schooling
15-16 November 2018  | ECML Graz, Austria

Language for Work – Tools for Professional Development
23-24 October 2018 | Graz, Austria

Towards a Common European Framework of Reference for Language Teachers
3-4 October 2018 | Graz, Austria

Inspiring Language Learning and Teaching in Early Years
12-13 September 2018 | Graz, Austria

Developing Language Awareness in Subject Classes
16-17 November 2017 | Graz, Austria

Digital Literacy for the Teaching and Learning of Languages
10-11 October 2017 | Graz, Austria

A Pluriliteracies Approach to Teaching for Learning
13-14 March 2017 | Marino Institute of Education, Dublin

Promoting Excellence in Sign Language Instruction
1-2 March | Graz, Austria

A Quality Assurance Matrix for the Common European Framework of Reference
15-16 November 2016  | Graz, Austria

Action Research Communities for Language Teachers
10-11 November 2016 | Graz, Austria