At the end of January, the European Center for Modern Languages (ECML) convened in Graz, Austria to mark the launch of its latest 2024-2027 program, “Language Education at the Heart of Democracy.”
The ECML, an initiative of the Council of Europe, launched the program as a direct response to the challenges European language educators face, as highlighted in a collaborative survey with the Ministries of Education during the autumn of 2023. Educators identified several concerns around integrating students from diverse linguistic backgrounds into national education systems, improving ongoing language assessments, and navigating the implications of artificial intelligence (AI) in education.
The ECML adopts a multifaceted approach to confront language education challenges, employing a series of innovative projects designed to reshape the educational landscape. The ECML will carry out several initiatives over the next three years to identify ways to make language education more efficient and address teachers’ concerns over the future of language education.
Notable initiatives within the new program aim to explore topics such as AI for language education, deeper learning in the foreign language classroom, and unlocking educational opportunities in European sign languages. Additionally, the 2024-2027 program will aim to support the well-being of language teachers, and develop content- and language-integrated learning (CLIL) teaching materials that have been tailored to 21st-century competencies.
This comprehensive strategy underscores the ECML’s commitment to addressing current challenges and innovating language education for a dynamic and inclusive future.
The ECML program goes beyond project implementation, incorporating cooperative efforts with the European Commission. It also offers extensive training and consultancy opportunities in language education, including approximately 40 workshops annually, think-tank sessions, and a summer academy for language teachers and educators.
Aligned with the priorities of the Enlarged Partial Agreement, the ECML’s program aims to emphasize the importance of plurilingual and intercultural education for democratic culture. By taking a holistic approach, the ECML endeavors to transform language education, embracing the advancements in AI and deeper learning, and unlocking new possibilities for both educators and learners alike.