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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).

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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    The incoming Swedish EU Presidency (July-December 2009) may still remain in favour of Turkey's controversial EU bid, despite June 2009 EU Elections' results, but it has "very strong demands on Turkey"'s obligation to respect EU Rules, said the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, to "EuroFora", reacting to critical Press reports.

    - "I know (that) the link is often made also to Sweden's position on Turkey"'s controversial EU bid. Indeed, "we (Swedish EU Presidency) are very much engaged in the future membership of Turkey, but not without fullfiling all the Criteria".

    - "It's very clear that we (Swedish EU Presidecny) have very Strong Demands on Turkey, in a sort of concept for Future membership of the Union, ...which will be a Long Process...", she stressed.

    This means, in particular, "the Copenhagen Criteria (on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law), and also the adaptation to the Acquis of the European Union".

     - "If you listen to what Mr. Bildt (the Swedish Foreign Minister) says on Turkey at different occasions, it's very clear : We want Turkey to become part of the Union, in the Future. But we want it to fullfil all the Criteria : The Acquis of the European Union. That's very clear", she concluded.

    The Senior Official of the Swedish Foreign Ministry was reacting to critical Press Reports, from Brussels' Journalists invited by EU Commission's secretariat to Stockholm, who claimed that Bildt was abusing of a ..."Whip" (sic !) against Cyprus, by "threatening" the presence of UNO's Peace-keeping force at the "Green line" which separates the island's Government-controlled areas from the territories occupied by Ankara's army, if Nicosia didn't accept any political solution, regardless of Turkey's demands, before the end of 2009.

        Governing AKEL Party's new Secretary General, Andros Kyprianou, reacted by declaring that no-one can threat the People of Cyprus : -"We shall decide for our Future, and nobody else",  he reportedly said, asking to "keep calm". "In order to find a Solution soon, certain basic Principles must be respected", he stressed, calling those who feel an urgency to use their influence on Turkey. Other Political Parties were more critical.

    This was a reference to recently reported statements by Turkish Minister Bagis, Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and Turkey's National Security Council (a Military-Political body), accused to push towards a partitionist "2 States" solution, contrary to UNO SC Resolutions for Cyprus' reunification.

    December 2009 is a crucial moment for EU's appraisal of Turkey's controversial EU bid, because EU Council has decided to review then Ankara's compliance with the European position on the recognition of Cyprus' Government, which was clearly set out by an EU reply of 21 September 2005 to Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan's claims, refusing to recognize even the existence of EU Member Cyprus, in controversial statements he made to London (former EU chair) on July 29, 2005.

    EU Parliament's latest Resolution on Turkey, adopted on March 2009 in Strasbourg, warned Ankara that "the non-fulfillment of Turkey's commitments... by December 2009, may further seriously affect the process of Negotiations" with the EU.

    In practice, the issue boils down to Ankara's "embargo" against Ships and Airplanes using Cyprus' seaports or airports at the strategic EU island, which traditionaly hosts one of the World's biggest Shipping flags. EU has already "freezed" 6 relevant Chapters in EU - Turkey Negotiations since December 2006, after Ankara refused to fullfil a commitment it had undertaken when EU had decided to open controversial "accession" negotiations with Turkey, back on December 2005.

    - "As far as EU - Turkey relations are concerned, it's clear that Turkey needs to fullfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional Protocol (to "EC-Turkey Association Agreement"),  This is an important issue....and should be addresseed as soon as possible as it clearly affects the pace of the accession negotiations.Issues covered by the Declaration of September 2005 will continue to be followed up, and progress is urgently awaited", warned earlier in Strasbourg the out-going Czech EU Presidency (former vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra).

    But the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, dismissed "interpretations" by "some" that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was reportedly "threatening" Cyprus with consequences on the UNFICYP, if it doesn't accept any solution until December 2009, while Turkey is reportedly delaying in an attempt to impose a partitionist "2 States" solution.

    On the contrary, Julin, stressed that "Sweden has strong demands on Turkey'"s respect of "Copenhagen Criteria and EU Acquis".

    Meanwhile, Sweden  is "concerned" about the risk of "Stalemate" in Cyprus' Talks, but is well aware that "the main responsibilities lie with the two leaders and the UNO", Europe playing only a role of "facilitator".

    After carefully verifying, the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, stressed to "EuroFora" that Bildt's reference to UNFICYP "was not linked to a Threat", and dismissed those who "interpreted" it so.

    On the contrary, the Swedish EU Presidency acknowledged the fact that Peace Talks are mainly for the UN and the leaders of the Cypriot communities, EU's role being limited into that of a "facilitator".

    As for Turkey's reported attempts to impose a "2 States' solution", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service sharply replied by stressing that Turkey must respect the "EU Acquis" rules.

    In particular :

    - "Basically he (Bildt) underlined that it's the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN that have the main responsibilities for solving the problem", started to say the Swedish Senior Official to "EuroFora", referring to the above-mentioned "briefing".

    - "But the EU had a role in sort of pointing out the benefits and facilitating a little bit the outcome for the settlement of the whole Cyprus' issue", she added.

    - "And he did state the Fact, that the rest of the World (i.e. USA, etc) will, of course, look at the differend issues which are at the table, and the future of the UN Peace keeping force is part of what is at the table", she admitted.

    - "I understand that some have interpreted that as a Threat, by the Swedish Minister" "But", in reality, "it's a statement of a Fact, that, when we'll look at the differend issues, one of the issues on which we shall have to take a stand on, is the future of the UN Peace keeping force in Cyprus".

    Indeed, one of the questions usually raised for a Solution of Cyprus' issue is what International and/or European or other Guarantees, by a Peace-keeping force, might be needed afterwards, eventually for a transitory period.

    Questioned anew by "EuroFora" whether (according to critical Press Reports) this could be taken as a veiled warning that, if Cyprus didn't accept any Turkish demand for any solution whatever, it might be left alone to face Ankara's Military Invasion/Occupation, she denied :

    - "He (Bildt) didn't say it in that way"... "It was not linked to a threat, or anything like that", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service stressed.

    On the contrary, "he (Bildt) underlined that the main responsibility lies with the parties concerned on the island". "The EU can try to facilitate and show the benefits of reaching a settlement. But also, when the EU and the rest of the World (i.e. USA) will have to look at it, they will look at all the Facts on the table, and the presence of the UN Peace-keeping force is one".

    And "he (Bildt) didn't speak about that at all", she replied to "EuroFora" question on Turkey's reported attemps to impose, in one way of another, a partitionist "2 States solution".

    Asked whether Bildt's aim was to incite both parties to move forward efficiently, she agreed :

    - In fact, "the EU is really very concerned with the Stalemate in the situation. Yes !", the Head of Sweden's Foreign Ministry's Press Service anounced. That's why Bildt "was hoping for the two parties (i.e. for Turkey's also) to engage and break, a little-bit, the present stalemate, come to a solution of the issue" of Cyprus.

    But, replying  to a "EuroFora"s question on the risk, denounced by several politicians in case of strict Time Deadlines, for Turkey to provoke a stalemate and wait for the time to come to impose a partitionist "2 States' solution", she reacted by pointing at Turkey's obligation to respect "EU Acquis" :

    - "Turkey must fullfil the EU Acquis : That's clear !", the Swedish Senior Official stressed.

    More details are expected when Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt will debate his Programme with new MEPs at EU Parliament's plenary mid-July in Strasbourg, that he has visited already in 2008.

    Foreign Minister Carl Bildt became familiar with Strasbourg's CoE last year, when Sweden chaired the PanEuropean organization of Human Rights. As EU chairman-in-office, he will also chair the 27-member States strong EU Group inside the 47-member States strong CoE.

    Minister for EU affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom is well known at EU Parliament, where she has been an active MEP of the Liberal Group for many years, following also Press Freedom issues.

    Both have already made various statements at "EuroFora", on differend topical matters.

    ***

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