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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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Pierre Pflimlin's visionary line : Honouring the Memory of the man who wanted to build Europe on the Mountains, based on Spirit !

 

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One of EuroFora's best inspirators is naturally Pierre Pflimlin :

We had a chance to personally meet the dynamic and experienced former President of both EU Parliament and CoE's Assembly, France's Prime Minister and Strasbourg's Mayor, only at his 90th anniversary, during an Historic speech at the Council of Europe, exceptionally full of people.

But his energetic figure looked more like a youngster of 19 years old, eager to win the Olympic games !..

Visionary, 2P was, from many points of view :

His daughter, Antoinette, Artist-decorator, and Senator Jung, President of a group of friends, confirmed us an Historian's revelation, that Pflimlin had initially the idea to build all European institutions (EU Parliament, Council of Europe, European Court of Human Rights, etc) at the spectacular heights of Oberhausbergen hills, with an eye-catching view of both French Vosges and German Black Forest Mountains, in the midst of a Forest : A real vision to create a brand New European Headquarters with a big ambition !

But, it seems, that "someone in Brussels" found that picture, precisely, too big for his taste, and threw a spanner on the works...

Pflimlin stroke back a Decade ago, at his Historic 1997 farewell speech :

He urged Europeans to find another, more substantial way, to lift Europe to more important Heights in Future :

- "On which basis can we imagine the birth of a great Europe ?", he asked.

"Certainly an Economic basis ! A solid market economy, meeting also the needs of social justice. A Political basis : Europe must become a strong Political Power, able to influence World's changes, naturally for Peace."

"But I believe that the essential foundation of a greater Europe should be of Spiritual nature : .... The great pacific Revolutions were Spiritual Victories" : They expressed "People's main motivation to live in a society with our Values of Liberty, Democracy, respect for Human Dignity".

"Then, the roadmap is ready : Yes, the foundation of the unity for a large Europe is the spiritual heritage, inspired by Christian Humanism and the Humanism of Renaissance, of Enlightenment, from which emerged a Civilisation focused on the Human person".

"Here is the task to be accomplished. It's very difficult".

"The Time approaches when I'll have to pass over the torchlight. God willing, this torch should enlighten the path of those who are going to build, tomorrow, the great Europe, marked by this Spirit".

 

(Extract from the Book "Pierre Pfilmin : Alsacian and European", 2007. Texts by Senator Louis Jung, by the long-time f. Director of Strasbourg's Newspaper DNA, Alain Howiller, and by f. EU Parliament's Press Director, Paul Collowald : See dedications, hand-written by the authors, the day the book for Pflimlin's 100th Aniversary was launched at Strasbourg's Press Club and European Parliamentary Association's headquarters, 13 April 2007).

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