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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

Parašė ACM
Thursday, May 17, 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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(NDLR : "DraftNews", already send to "Eurofora" Subsrcibers/Donors, earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be published asap).


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    Scientific innovation joined to Faith for Human Rights, Eastern Partnership and fight against the Crisis, but above all, the need to overcome the "Crisis of Trust" from EU Citizens, are the main priorities for new EU Parliament's President, Polish Jerzy Buzek, that a 555-votes-strong majority of MEPs on July 14,  Strasbourg made a living symbol of the fact that, 20 years after the fall of Berlin Wall (1989 - 2009) there is no more an Eastern or Western Europe, but only one Europe, as the head of the largest group of MEPs, ChristianDemocrats/EPP, Joseph Daul, stressed after the event.

    Speaking later to a group of Strasbourg's Journalists, including "EuroFora", the new EU Parliament's President clarified his stance on concrete topical issues, as f.ex. that of Turkey's controversial EU bid, which was one of the main issues of the June 2009 Electoral campain, clearly won by his party of ChristianDemocrats/EPP :  - "At present, Turkey does not fullfil none of EU conditions", he stressed, (See infra).

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    Buzek is well known in Strasbourg and to "EuroFora" as EU Rapporteur for the Framework Program of Scientific Research and Development of Technologies. A Natural Science Professor from the Historic and Religious landmark Polish City of Częstochowa, active in the famous Solidarnosk grass-roots social movement, he served 4 years as Prime Minister (1997-2001), before being elected as MEP in 2004 and 2009, after he brillantly won the latest EU Election at the head of his party (EPP) almost doubling the number of its MEPs from 15 to 28 !

    - "Innovation" and "Energy safety", as well as fight against the "Cimat change", but also "Eastern Partnership", the "Mediterranean", "Strategic partnerships" with Russia, the USA, etc, and the search for "solutions to the Economic Crisis" that EU Citizens "expect" from us, will be his "priorities", announced from the outset the new EU Parliament's President, reminding also that the quest for "Human and Civic Rights" played an important role in his experience with the Solidarnosc grass-roots social movement in Poland's History

    But, the most important of all, is the urgent need to overcome the "Crisis of Trust" between EU Institutions and the People he stressed : - EU "Citizens often don't understand us", denounced Buzek, launcing a call to "do anything for EU Citizens to understand our work" in EU Parliament : "We (MEPs) need to make EU Citizens involved" in "what we are doing every week, in Strasbourg and Brussels", he proposed. Pointing f.ex. to the hot "Debates" with "strong arguments" exchanged between MEPs during the preparation of their Legislative Decisions, in Committees, delivering often hard struggles between initially opposed points of view, long before forging a majority at the final vote, sometimes more than a year..

    Therefore, EU Parliament will be "open to your criticism, for discussion and exchange of views", he promissed to Journalists in Strasbourg.

    In this way, Buzek, in fact, highlighted "EuroFora"s main idea, that we strongly advocate since 1997-2007, to systematicaly and actively involve EU Citizens in public debates during the decision-making process of important EU measures, which affect their lives and the society in which they live, (and not only just a few weeks each 4 or 5 Years at the eve of EU Elections)...
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    This is related also to the symbolic gift that Buzek chose to give to the out-going former EU Parliament's President, Hans Gert Poettering, (2007-2009), his collegue in the ChristianDemocrats/EPP, who brillantly won 2009 EU Elections in Germany : A genuine statute of sainte Barbara crafted in Silesia's black Coal by Polish Miners : Those simple but strong people who fought for social change against some technocrats and bureaucrats disguissed into so-called "real-socialists" of old times. (PHOTO).

    It's enough to have seen a popular open air mass, at Warsaw's center, with many thousands of people, old and young, simple workers and intellectuals mixed together, with references to Poland's history and struggles for survival and liberty, through various ages, (as fex. that organized at the eve of CoE's 2005 panEuropean Heads of State and Government for the beatification of late Pope John-Paul II), in order to understand what such symbols mean..

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    But, overcoming the "Crisis of Trust" with EU Citizens obviously implies also to rectify any errors done in the past, fex. on Turkey's controversial EU bid, with controversial decisions taken in 1999 and 2004 to give a "candidate" status and to start EU negotiations, provoking an unprecedented series of 3 "No" to EuroReferenda and 3 Majoriy Abstentions in EU Parliament Elections : 1999, 2005 and 2009, (even if the latest one succeeded to decelerate and almost stop the drop of participation rates, opening hopes for vote's revival after an electoral campaign clearly critical to Turkey's claims in several mainstream EU countries)
    
    Therefore, Buzek was faced with manifold critical Questions on EU Enlargement, most of them citting concrete examples of certain political problems  :  But his replies were almost always given as a matter of general principle :

    F.ex. Questioned on the suspension of EU - Croatia talks because of a Border conflict with EU Member Slovenia, Buzek prefered to speak about principles :

- "We know that during Enlargement, the process can be blocked by failure to resolve this kind of issues",  This concerns also other enlargments' cases", and "these rules are always in force" he warned.


But Buzek avoided to directly reply to a queston on "French and German EPP' calls to define the Borders of Europe", as a German journalist asked him by making a reference to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and German Chancellor Angie Merkel's, critical statements on Turkey at the June 2009 Electoral campain.    

- "Concerning Enlargement, there's always the same rules : There have to be Criteria, which have to be respected if a Country wants to join the EU", he started to simply reply.

- "For my country (Poland) it took us 15 Years to fullfil these Criteria", Buzek reminded, indicating, if proportions are kept, that Turkey, fex. would have to spend some 25 years before eventually joining the EU..

- "Countries wishing to join the EU need to Change their Systems", as we (Poland and other former Eastern European Countries) did, he stressed.

- "'For me, meeting the condition of Human Rights is one of the Key conditions for membership in the EU", preferring again to speak from the point of view of General Principles, on the occasion of an untimely question on Serbia (which is not even a candidate yet)...

- "Turkey" has, "first of all", to fullfil (EU) Copenhagen criteria". Bevause, currently, none of them is fullfiled by Turkey", New EU Parliament's President, denounced, speaking later to a group of Journalists, including "EuroFora".

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In particular, on Human Rights :  - "We (EU) can never forget Human Rights", because "this is at the very Foundations of the EU", Buzek added.

On the contrary, when he referred to EU Enlargment for the  "Western Balkans Countries ", Buzek appeared upbeat, finding "promising situations", despite "difficulties" in the Past, since "Countries are queuing to become EU members", and this "generated changes", as he said.

As for Russia, Buzek observed that it was a "very important" country, located "in the same Continent", Europe,  "close to our borders", and "we need eachother". "But Russia' has 'differend poblems : "They claim that their system is Democratic, but rules are differend", and we must be "aware of such differencies", fex. "on Human Rights", that we can't ignore, as he said;

Concerning China, where a journalist observed that the recipient of EU Parliament's latest "Sakharov prize" for freedom of thought is "still in prison", Buzek found that since the 1999 events in Tien Amin square, "we see differencies on Human Rights still today", and expressed his "support" for those who try to ameliorate the situation.

On the contrary, speaking recently to "EuroFora" he strongly supported the idea for an EU - Ukraine cooperation, fex. between Airbus and Antonov, in order to build a  less costly but more performant than the old and problematic A400M, new Military Transport Airplane : - "They (Ukranian Antonov Company) can certainly do it. I'm sure they can. It's a good Idea, and I'd be glad if it was done", he told us. (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/airbusantonov.html )


(../..)

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