|The Profile Project
European Profile for Language Teacher Education: a Frame of Reference
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|About the Profile Project|
The European Profile for Language Teacher Education presents 40 items which could be included in a language teacher education programmes. The full report presents a definition and explanation for each item and exemplification from the case study institutions visited during the research process.
The Profile is designed as a source of expert advice and good examples in the field of teacher education. It could be used as a checklist for institutions with longstanding strengths in language teacher education, and as a reference document providing guidance to institutions with plans to develop their language teacher education programmes.
The Profile will be a valuable resource for European, national and international policy makers in the field of teacher education. It also addresses teacher educators who want to introduce trainee teachers to some the European initiatives in language teacher education.
The Profile will be an important frame of reference for its stakeholders, whether they specialise in primary, secondary or adult learning. It contains information for those qualified teachers and teacher educators involved in in-service education, especially in the areas of mentoring, exchanges and international cooperation.
In addition the Profile will be a flexible framework for language trainee teachers and language teachers themselves, since it deals with independent learning strategies, life-long learning and new learning environments.
The Profile is built on the conviction that language teacher education is a life-long process, which should occur both inside and outside organised teaching and learning contexts.
Click here for the European Profile for Language Teacher Education full report
The Profile is organised under four main headings:
Structure describes the different constituent parts of language teacher education and indicates how they can be organised.
Knowledge and Understanding relates to what trainee language teachers should know and understand about teaching and learning languages as a result of their initial and in-service education.
Strategies and Skills relates to what trainee language teachers should know how to do in teaching and learning situations as teaching professionals as a result of their initial and in-service education.
Values refers to the values a language teacher should be trained to promote in and through their language teaching.
Below are the 40 headings for each item of the Profile.
Knowledge and Understanding
Strategies and Skills
The European Profile for Language Teacher Education builds on the 'Training of Teachers of a Foreign Language: Developments in Europe', a study which was carried out by a team at the University of Southampton in 2002. This report examines the provision of language teacher education in 32 countries and highlights examples of good practice.
This report highlights the rich diversity of traditions and practices in the education of language teachers across Europe . The Profile is flexible and easily adaptable to national educational contexts.
The Profile has been developed at a time when the European Union is undertaking a number of initiatives to promote language learning and teaching. Languages play a key role in European unity as recognised in the EU's efforts to encourage all citizens to speak two languages in addition to their own mother tongue.
Following wide consultation with European institutions, national ministries, organisations and the general public, the European Commission developed an Action Plan for language learning and linguistic diversity. The Action Plan deals with three broad areas: the promotion of life-long learning, improving language teaching and creating a more language-friendly environment.
The European Profile for Language Teacher Education plays an important role in developing the Action Plan's focus on improving language teaching.
The research process undertaken in establishing the Profile consisted of four main stages:
The Consultative Group
The Consultative Group was composed of eight leading European experts in foreign language teacher education. They were chosen to represent a wide geographical spread across Europe and a broad range of areas of expertise.
Their role was to provide expert advice on the structure and terminology of the Profile. They advised on accurate use of teacher education terminology and the best way to organise the Profile. They also discussed how to disseminate, implement and provide quality assurance and enhancement guidelines for the Profile and ways of conceptualising its use.
Following extensive research into the Delphi research methodology, twelve European language teacher educators were invited to participate in the three stage iterative process. The Delphi group was established with the following criteria in mind:
The Delphi study aims to establish consensus from a group of selected individuals on a given subject. The first round of the study asked participants to respond to four broad, open questions about improving language teacher education nationally and in a European context. Once these answers were collated, the second round of 36 statements asked participants to grade the statements on a scale of one to five, adding further comments. The answers that achieved greatest consensus were then graded and commented on in the third round.
As a result, eight potential new items were considered for inclusion in the Profile at the second Consultative Group meeting in June 2004. Of these, six became new Profile items, while the other two were integrated elsewhere.
Eleven teacher education institutions in Europe were selected for detailed study in relation to the Profile.
The criteria for the choice of case study institutions were:
Initial data was collected from printed or web-based sources. One of the research team visited the institution to conduct interviews with the institution's policy directors, teacher educators and, whenever possible, trainee language teachers themselves.
The case studies examined how the institutions exemplified the Profile and what could be learnt about the way the Profile might work in practice. Each case study adopted a similar reporting structure:
By employing a common reporting structure, the research team was able to compare different language teacher education programmes in terms of provision, delivery, priorities, problems and issues.