What We Do
The European Centre for Modern Languages
The European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) was created in Graz, Austria, in 1994 by the Council of Europe with the goal of encouraging excellence and innovation in language teaching and of helping Europeans to learn languages in a more effective way. The strategic objective of the ECML is to help member states implement effective language teaching policies. Today, 34 states are members of the ECML.
The specific activity of the ECML is to organize international projects, coordinated by teams of experts, in the area of language teaching. Since 2000, the projects have been organized within the framework of four-year programs selected by the executive of the ECML following a call for bids. These projects are coordinated by teams of experts and aimed at those involved in language teaching, as well as teacher trainers, textbook authors, and experts in the development of programs, pedagogical norms, evaluation, and multilingual education.
The ECML’s program for 2008-2011 is called “Empowering Language Professionals: Competences, Networks, Impact and Quality”. It comprises twenty projects that contribute, at different levels, to supporting teachers and to forming them by developing their skills and by allowing them to have a greater impact upon their workplaces. The objectives of the program are:
- to improve the professional skills of language teachers
- to reinforce professional networks and the whole community of language teachers
- to allow language professionals to have a greater impact on reform processes
- to contribute to top quality language teaching in Europe
The projects are organized around four themes: evaluation, continuity of language learning, the content of language education, and multilingual education. The projects last between three and four years, with a typical operational sequence consisting of the following phases: research and development, presentation of preliminary findings in a workshop, experimentation, elaboration of the publication or final product, and distribution of the results.
The ECML website (www.ecml.at) is the main point of reference on the centre’s work. The publications, reports and CD-Roms issued about the ECML’s activities can be downloaded from the website. The ECML also has a resource centre and archive (DRC) that houses all of the work from the projects subsequent to the ECML, mainly in the form of publications and reports, as well as around 4, 200 other resources concerning the main questions being currently asked in the language field. These resources can be accessed indirectly through the ECML’s online document catalogue.