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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).

coe_new_tool_on_competences_for_democratic_culture_eurofora_400 


>>> 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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  imag0573_400

    An "Eugenic" loophole Amendment, which might expose to Dangers reminiscent of "3rd Reich's" notorious Genetic Abuses, hidden at the last minute inside an otherwise Good, larger Health policy Package scheduled to be voted on Thursday, was strongly denounced by a coalition of MEPs from various Political Groups and Countries, in a Press Conference held this afternoon at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    Mainly calling to "Select Human Embryos", via "Genetic Counselling" and "pre-implantation" Techniques including "Genetic Tests", in order to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", it might open ways to Dangerous Practices in Future, they denounced in substance.

    But they also made it clear that a much larger Report inside which this Controversial Amendment "No 15" was added in dubious circumstances, officialy destinated to struggle against "Rare Diseases", and drafted by Professor Antonios Trakatellis, was otherwise "an Excellent Report", aiming at a "completely Uncontroversial target" of Health policy on which "all MEPs and Experts are united, believing that Europe should act" to protect People's Health (See "EuroFora"'s earlier News).

    The controversy came at a particularly delicate moment for the EU in relation to Citizens, at the eve of June 2009 EU Elections, and shortly before Ireland re-votes for "Lisbon Treaty"..    

- Denouncing risks of "an Eugenic demand, very similar to what we had during the 3rd Reich in Germany, but now coming from some Scientisists themselves", German ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Dr. Peter Liese stressed that critical MEPs were against "Eugenic" engineering with "Selection of Human Embryos", and anything which might ultimately lead up to to a "Selection of Human Race". It doesn't help to "eradicate" Human Lives, he added.


    Several Experts and NGOs expressed "Deep Concern", as f;ex. DR M.C. Cornel of the "European Society of Human Genetics", which stressed, on this occasion, that "the importance of Non-Directiveness in Reproductive issues is a Central characteristic of Human Genetics, after the Atrocities committed in the name of Genetics in the first half or the 20th Century".

     - "This is completely Unacceptable", stressed Italian Liberal MEP Vittorio Prodi, on the Controversial Amendment, also because pushes to "eliminate early Human Life", as he noted.

     - "This opens a Dangerous Road, rather a Motorway", denounced Danish MEP Mrs Margrette Auken, from the "Greens", observing that various similar attempts were made in the Past "not only in Germany, but also in several other Countries, "even at the 1970ies", "f.ex. on forced Sterilisation of Roma" People, and other criticisable situations f.ex. in the UK, in Sweden, etc. as she said.

    + Other NGOs, as f.ex. "LebenHilfe" from Berlin, added that, among various other Risks, could also be that, by exploiting the pre-implantation Genetic Diagnostics and the Selection of "healthy" Embryos, some may "propagate" several "Eugenic" aims, starting f.ex. by pushing to eradicate Human Livies which might "Cost too much" to preserve, ultimately exposing to dangers reminiscent of the "3rd Reich"'s atrocious abuses.

    In consequence, ChristianDemocrats/EPP and "Green" MEPs "decided by Majority to vote against" this Controversial Amendment, anounced to Journalists the 5 MEPs who participated in the Press Conference, representing a wide spectrum, from Liberals to "Greens" and ChristianDemocrats, and from Hungary, Italy, Germany and Danemark up to Ireland (Gay Mitchell), etc.
----------------------------------
    Hungarian ChristianDemocrat MEP Laszlo Surjan said "that it was "Suddenly, at the End of the Procedure" in Committee, that "appeared this (Controversial) Amendment, which has nothing to do" with the main purpose of the Report, on which all agreed.

    He denounced an "Unhonest" move, and called to "avoid this kind of unacceptable situations". Nobody should "Select People", Surjan stressed.

    - "We (MEPs) had No Chance to Discuss" this last-minute Amendment earlier added at a Committee's level, said German MEP Peter Liese

    Speaking to "EuroFora", Dr. Liese, the Spokesman of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group in EU Parliament, said that MEPs didn't oppose other references of the Report f.ex. on "Genetic Tests", because they were "no proposals" to impose them, while, on the contrary, there was "a Problem" if anyone attempted to "impose" f.ex. this or that Genetic Technique and "Genetic Counselling", etc. to the People on human reproduction.
-------------
The precise Text :
-----------------
    Controversial parts of Amendment No 15 ask mainly "to lead finally to the Eradication" of "Hereditary" "rare diseases", "through Genetic Counselling .., and ..pre-Implantation Selection of healthy Embryos".

    But  EU Rapporteur Professor Trakatellis, said to "EuroFora" that fears should be alleviated by Guarantees that all this should be done only "where appropriate", when it's "not contrary to existing National Law", and "always on a Voluntary basis", according to other Parts of the Amendment.

    He stressed that the main aim was to allow "a free and informed choice of persons involved", without imposing them anything :  - "It's not an obligatory, but advisary" text, he said.

    To make that point clear, he was ready, in agreement with many MEPs, to eventually drop at least that part of the controversial Amendment which initially called for "efforts to ..lead finally to the Eradication of those rare diseases" "which are Hereditary".

    But, until late Wednesday evening, reportedly together with many other MEPs, he stood by all the rest of the controversial Amendment, (fex. on the "Genetic Counselling" and the "pre-implantation Selection of healthy Embryos"), so that critical MEPs, going from ChristianDemocrats as Dr. Liese, to "Greens" or "Ind/Dem", observed to "EuroFora" that "this was not enough" to close the dangerous loophole.

    Particularly since, as Professor Trakatellis noted himself, "this is already allowed to the U.K.", and "other National Legislations would probably follow, sooner or later" in a similar direction. As for a general call to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", this "should happen, at any case, in practice, de facto", to protect public Health.

    On the contrary, "our goal should be to help patients suffering from rare diseases, not to eradicate the patients. In case of genetic disease risk, the decision should not be guided by scenarios" made by politicians. "Perents who may decide to accept a child, even if handicapped or with genetic disease, must be respected and supported with solidarity", critical MEPs stated.

    - "Any Pressure" to "a patient or couple (who "should be able to make an informed choice consistent with their own values"),"from health Professionals, Public Health Policies or Governemental Institutions, or Society at large, should be avoided", stresses the "European Society for Human Genetics".

----------------------------------

Each MEP's vote will be registered !

-----------------------------------   

The Socialist Group requested a "Split vote" on the Amendment 15, first without, and afterwards with the words "lead finally to the Eradication" etc.


    But the first "split vote" leaves intact all the other parts of the Controversial Amendment, (i.e. "Genetic Counselling", "Selection of healthy Embryos", etc).

    That's why, 3 Groups of MEPs : ChristianDemocrats/EPP, "Greens/EFA", and "Ind/Dem", have asked for "Roll Call Votes", on everything regarding the Controversial Amendment No 15, and on the final outcome of the resulting Report as amended, which will register all the individual positions to be taken by each MEP.   

Something which will obviously make each MEP think twice before voting for one or another choice, to be sure that he/she will make the right choice in front of EU Citizens, particularly at these pre-Election times...


    Crucial Votes were scheduled between 12 Noon and 1 p.m. local Strasbourg time, in the middle of a long series of various other Reports, and after a long Public Debate on the larger Health policy package, from 9 to 11.50 am.

    The specific Report inside which was hidden the controversial Amendment is due to be debated between 11 and 12 am.

    So that more last-minute Surprises may not be excluded a priori...

    Particularly at the present Historic moment, when even the Institutional Future of the EU depends on the result of a second Referendum on "Lisbon Treaty", later this year, in ...Ireland, a mainly Catholic country, where People are particularly sensitive in such kind of socio-cultural and values issues...
 

      ***     
 
     (Draft due to be updated).
 
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