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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE Education Director Bergan to EF: New Tool on PluriLingualism adds Digital+Social Mediation skill

CoE Education Director Bergan to EF: New Tool on PluriLingualism adds Digital+Social Mediation skill

Written by ACM
Thursday, 17 May 2018
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- The 47 Member Countries" strong (including Russia) PanEuropean CoE's Director for Education, experienced Sjur Bergan, speaking to "Eurofora" on the sidelines of a 2 Days-Long International Conference of almost 140 Experts for the official Launch of a widely Popular New Tool for Language Learning, Teaching and Assessment (See Infra), stressed that among the Main Innovations of 2018 are not only "Digital"/Internet Technologies-related matters, but also a Brand New Dimension Focusing on "Mediation" Capacity-Building on interacting in real Social issues. (Comp. Infra. +For Other, earlier "Eurofora"s original INTWs on Bergan, See, f.ex., also : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coeonperfectteacherfor21stcentiury.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coedsgoneducation.html , etc).

 

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By a Timely Coincidence, Bergan (who made the Opening Speech of this International Conference) is from Norway, whose Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, (the most "Favorite Prime Minister" for experienced German Chancelor Angie Merkel, as she has revealed earlier in Berlin), is a Keynote Speaker invited at the prestigious International Organisation OECD's Annual Summit, later this Month in Paris, together with Iceland's new Prime Minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir, by OECD's Long-Time Secretary General Angel Gurria, (Comp. several Gurria's Statements to "Eurofora", in Paris or Strasbourg, f.ex. at ... + ..., etc). And Education is among one of the main segments of the International Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, (where it includes also original Data from China, etc), of Growing Importance recently, (Comp. f.ex., the Replies by OECD's Education Director, Andreas Schleicher, to "Eurofora"s Questions at a recent Webinar for invited Journalists, at: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/oecdeducationstagnationorgap.html ).


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+ Bergan also made it clear to "Eurofora" that, while CoE agrees with, and supports EU's prefernce for 3 Languages-learning in the Future, (Mother Tongue, English, and anOther Language of choice, as French President Emmanuel Macron recently Highlighted while Launching the 1st EU Citizens' Public Consultation at nearby Epinal City on April : See "Eurofora"s NewsReport from the spot at: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/macronlauncheseucitizenconsultations.html ), nevertheless, the PanEuropean Organisation of Strasbourg is clearly Open also into Learning several More Languages (i.e. a 4rth, 5th etc), if possible...  


British Expert Brian North, who has a solid Experience in that matter (See Infra), told "Eurofora" that  a main characteristic of the New Approach is also to Boost Switching over, from one language into anOther, as a way to Solve practical Problems through Pluri-Lingualism, pointing at a Demonstration Video where Kids spontaneously search and use their Knowledge of various Other Languages, just in order to Translate some Key Wording at a given Language, (etc).

 

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Widely Known as "Common European Framework of Reference", alias "CEFR", this CoE's Education Tool is Not due to have an Obligatory Force, but to Serve as a Handy Guide, both to Experts, Policy Makers and Praticians, as well as ordinary People, Teachers, Students, etc, and has been Largely Used both inside and outside of the EU Countries, since its 1st and Earlier, Complementary, Part, already Published during the 1990ies.


As Experienced Swiss Professor, from Freiburg University, Guenther Schneider, (the Keynote Speaker of this International Conference, whose Observations made a Net Impression to several participants, as we saw), told "Eurofora", initially, back on 1977, CoE's Education Ministers had rejected such an approach, prefering then to focus excusively on simply "Training Teachers", while, on the Contrary, the Wide-Spread use of Crystal-clear and accurate "Reference Descriptors" on Languages were, for the First Time, endorsed by the CoE after 1991, a Top Meeting in Switzerland.

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The New, 2018 Book, (called "Companion volume", and crafted in order to be Used Together with the Previous one in real Practice),  has just been made Available by the CoE to Download On-Line, and will be Soon Published also on Hard Paper, most probably in a Few Months' time, as told "Eurofora" its Coordinator, Brian North, (Comp. Supra and See Infra).


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However, Bergan's main Aim was to Explicitly Focus on a Stronger and UpDated "Orientation" towards CoE's Principles for "Democracy, Human Rights and Rule of Law", pointing, inter alia, also to the Fact that Languages are also relevant the PanEuropean Organisation's most Recent Tool : anOther "Reference Framework of Competences", this time, directly on "Democratic Culture", which has just been Published in 3 Volumes on April 2018, (and of which "Eurofora" was handed a Hard Paper Copy : See relevant Photo).

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>>> What Describes Best this Nowadays' Trend is the Addition of Proficiency for "Mediation" (Comp. Supra), whose "Proficiency" goes Beyond classical "Competences", towards real "Activities" and "Strategies", Adding to simple "Reception/Production/Interaction", also an ability to "Mediate", (See Infra).

 

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This New Concept, (which, in fact, already existed somehow in the Past, but was Clearly Developed only Recently), was the Subject of a special, well attended "Working Group" of CoE's Experts, during the Second Day of this International Conference, whose Moderator was a "Heavyweight" Expert : German Professor Bernd Rüschoff, from the Institute of Anglophone Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen, actively Involved in several EU and CoE's projects.


Focusing on the "Social" Utilisations of Language for Nowadays "Inclusive" Society, as Professor Enrica Piccardo from Canada's Toronto and French Grenoble Universities told "Eurofora", it includes f.ex. Capacities for Inter-Mediation in real Situations of Conflict, but also on how to Guide a Group of People (f.ex. Workers, etc) in order to Reach a certain Goal in various Circumstances, and even on how to use and behave in Internet Modern Digital Medias "On Line", (etc).

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  Some Experts, speaking to "Eurofora" on the sidelines of CoE's International Conference, indicated that a large part of such methods could be used also in order to Help "Integrate" recent Mass Migrants in the European Society (after their Sudden and Exceptionaly Massive Appearance, mainly through Turkey), notoriously raised some UnPrecedented Issues, even in real Refugees-Friendly Countries like Sweden, etc.

Meanwhile, withOut showing any link to that Issue, Bergan had already noted, from the outset, that a Group of Language Educators expressed a DisAgreement and Concern about this New "Companion CEFR". But he also found that a CoE's Committee of Ministers' relevant Recommendation has "largely adressed" such concerns, and promised to Distribute it to all participants.

 

- In Fact, "Mediation" lies "at the Heart" of some "Profound Developments" which emerged recently, mainly on 2017, corresponding also to "Political Expectations" and "Needs" for efficient "European References", which show that the matter is Not just "Technicist", but also fairly "Political", stressed in Conclusion of COE's 2 Days-Long International Conference, the experienced French Expert Francis Goullier, General Inspector of the National Education, in fine.

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In order to find Concrete and Efficient Ways to Face such Big Challenges by Implementing this New Tool in Real Practice, (nick-named : "Companion CEFRL"), CoE organized 4 Introductory "Workshops" during the 1st Day of this International Conference, among which, "Eurofora" chose to attend the number 1, officially destinated to "Policy Makers".

 

Lively Debates among participants, as well as manifold concrete Proposals and Ideas were Shared, during a Friendly and Efficient Moderation by Experts Jonas Erin, Inspector General in the French National Education, and Nick Saville (Rapporteur), Director of Research at Cambridge University (a Specialist on Language Assessment), who organized meticulously the participants' concrete Ideas, (often Expressed in Simple Hadwriten Pieces of Paper sticked to a Board, almost as a ... Maoist "Dazibao"), f.ex. between "Political", "Cultural" and "Technical" Challenges, etc., as they felt according to their precious Experience in real Practice Situation, (where was also included a long Russian Contribution, among others).

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"Eurofora" had the Chance to be Invited to sit, by a Coincidence, aside British/Swiss Expert Tim Goodier, Head of Academic Development for the "EuroCentres" Foundation, Headquartered in Switzerland and regularly Cooperating with the CoE in Strasbourg, who Resumed, the Day After, at the Final Plenary Session of that International Conference, the Recommendations for Draft Action Plans in the foreseeable Future, mainly by Stressing that CoE's New Language Policy is Developing a much "Broader" Scope of Issues, than what all were used to do in the Past.

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Goodier, (who is accustomed to Work particularly with People often Switching over between English and French), seemed to Apply rather .. Strict Criteria of Language Capacity Assessment on himself, since, as he carefully Told "Eurofora", he has a "real Working Knowledge of 2 Languages", and "a Social Knowledge of 4", ...including Korean (as his Wife comes from Korea, which, by a Coincidence, is, Nowadays at the Forefront of a World-wide Attention for Peace-Making Efforts involving Top World Leaders and Nuclear and other Arms, etc).


However, his Experienced Compatriot, Brian North (Comp. Supra), told "Eurofora" that, Paradoxicaly, he personally Finds "quite Easy" to Learn the ..."Japanese" Language, apparently because of its "Simple Structure", as he claimed ! Nevertheless, the most Wide-Spread Chinese Language, apparently still remained quite a Mystery for him, but, Hopefully Not for CoE's New Tool...


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=> Finally, Concluding that International Conference by HighLighting the Main Targets for the Next 2 Years (2018-2019), CoE's Education Policy Head, Villiano Qiriazi, particularly Focused on "promoting Inclusivity" in Nowadays Societies, as well as on "Influencing Policy Makers to Broaden their Scope on Languages", (Comp. Supra), and Pleading for an "Holistic" approach of relevant "Skills".

 

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For that purpose, inter alia, it's also by Supporting the actual "Implementation" of the CEFRL, in "Coordination with National Agendas", and by "Selection of Case-Studies", as well as Other relevant Draft Projects, that the CoE intends to resolutely Advance Forward on this Topical and Key role of Languages Nowadays, (including by a Hard Paper Copy Publication of CoE's New Tool, expected "by October or November 2018", initially "in English and in French", followed also by a German Translation, before it becomes really Multi-Lingual in the foreseable Future, as Qiriazi announced).

 

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(../..)


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(NDLR : "DraftNews", already send to "Eurofora" Subsrcibers/Donors, earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be published asap).


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  Ten Years of ECHR : 1998 - 2008 show need of Revival in 2009-2010 coinciding with 2009 EU Election
   

A threefold, coordinated move by new Top French Political actors in the 2009 EU Parliament Elections, expressed in Strasbourg a will to boost Europe's Political dimension close to Citizens' concerns, going from protection of Economy to defence of Human Rights.    

The move met an exceptional ECHR's call for a "revival" of Human Rights' protection mechanism', in a Mega-Conference, early 2010.   

Obviously focusing on June 2009 Elections to EU Parliament, it involved from the outset the recently nominated "dual" Head of French Governing Party (UMP)  Michel BARNIER and Rachida DATI :

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     - "As President Sarkozy has clearly said, we (France) are in favor of a Strong, Sovereign and Independent, Political Europe, which protects its Citizens, and not for a large Super-Market, nor for a Europe under influence",

    "This goes for everything, including Energy", added to "EuroFora" the experienced former EU Commissioner, Minister of Foreign affairs, currently of Agriculture and Sarkozy's new pick as Leader of the Governing party UMP to EU 2009 Election, Michel BARNIER                                              .                             

  - Human Rights are important because they are at the Heart of the Political Europe that we aspire for : I.e. a Europe able to act and protect its Citizens, stressed also the New French Minister for European affairs, Bruno LE MAIRE, while meeting Strasbourg's Journalists at his first visit to the CoE.   

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This is one of the main interests for CoE, which is also a natural place for cooperation between EU countries and Russia or Turkey, which was recently helpful at the Middle East crisis, he added.

The move gained momentum with French Minister of Justice, Rachida Dati's main observations at ECHR's 5Oth Anniversary :   

- "While we are seeking Europe's Borders and Identity, you (ECHR) remind us also of its Values", Human Rights, Dati noted.   

Citizens seek more and more often ECHR's help, and the tempo accelerates, Europa awaits a symbol, while national legal orders are not freezed   

And she expressed "support" to ECHR President Jean-Paul Costa's call to satisfy the vital need to revigorate the PanEuropean Court by deciding big changes at a High-Level Conference open to a large audience, a kind of "Etats Generaux" of Human Rights, at the beginning of 2010.       

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It's not so much the recently growing number of applications for Russia or Ukraine etc, which seems to be Costa's main concern : In fact, the cases declared "admissible" are much fewer...    

But rather the persistent violations of Human Rights, sometimes very grave (ie. murders, torture, abritrary deprivation of liberty, oppression of freedom of speech, destructions of homes/properties, etc), despite numerous, repeated condemnations by ECHR. So that CoE's Ministers, due to "supervise execution" of ECHR's judgements, are overloaded.   

F.ex. most Media noted that Turkey still remains, even in 2008, the 1st among 47 CoE member States in the number of condemnations by ECHR :  257, compared to 233 for Russia, with a population more than the double..    

The problem is that it's not the 1st time at all : During all the last Decade 1998-2008, Turkey was condemned by ECHR much more than any other State, and for particularly grave violations :   

- 1.652 condemnations, compared to 605 for Russia, 548 for Poland, 494 for France, 476 for Ukraine, etc.   

Italy's second place with 1.394 condemnations is a misleading false appearance : In fact, most of them (999) concern mere "procedural delays" in national courts. Same for France.   

On the contrary, Turkey was condemned 180 times for Killings, 192 times for Torture or Inhuman/Degrading treatments, 340 times for arbitrary deprivation of Liberty, 528 times for "Unfair trial", and 169 times for oppression of Freedom of speech, (etc). And the latest, 2008 numbers, indicate no change in this trend, (See supra).   

The current Spanish CoE Presidency (November 2008 - May 2009) has made of the implementation of ECHR's judgements its 1st Priority.   

ECHR's President, Jean-Paul Costa, stressed in its 2009 Annual Press Conference, CoE Member States' obligation to implement the judgements, according to Article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights.   

Moreover, if CoE's Committee of Ministers delays to ensure implementation, then, the repetition of violations in similar cases provokes a multiplication of complaints tabled to the Court, which overload the mecanism for the protection of Human Rights, denounced Costa.          

A series of Debates on "the situation of Human Rights in Europe", focusing on the "need to fight against Impunity" of perpetrators of grave crimes, is  currently prepared by CoE's Parliamentary Assembly for the session of June 2009.  

The final Timing comes shortly AFTER the EU Elections, but the main Reports should have been adopted before.

Meanwhile, French President Sarkozy and German Chancelor Merkel's recent call "for a Political Europe" in 2009 EU Elections (See earlier "correspondence from Paris, Elysee Palace), seems more and more endorsed also by other EU Countries' Top MEPs :

Thus, f.ex., EU Parliament's 1st vice-President, Greek MEP Mrs Rodi KRATSA, speaking to "EuroFora", agreed that 2009 EU Election would be a "naturally good" opportunity to debate what really interests EU Citizens : "The Future of a Political Europe, able to face the Economic Crisis, with a Culture and identity which attracts the People"

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(Photo taken earlier during Sarkozy's 1st visit at EU Parliament, in 2007 : Sarkozy and Merkel's Ideas for a Political Europe inspire also other EU politicians accross the continent)..
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