15 Years of The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

The month of July just past marked the 15th anniversary of one of the principle motors of language teaching on a European level: The Common European Framework of Reference for language, or CEFR, as it is known to those of us who use it on a daily basis. As its creation was the fruit of approximately 10 years’ work, we could also be talking about the 25th anniversary of the idea of the unification of language teaching, learning and evaluation in the European Union. Truly a day to be celebrated.

It was surely a far from easy task, given the fact that we are talking about a community of 16 countries at that time, with over 10 official languages.

For those of us who experienced the beginning of CEFR from a teaching perspective, the enormous amount of information which the document brought with it, as well as the changes it caused to almost every area of our working routine, gave many a headache along with a continuous sense of vertigo. With the new naming system also came a new approach to language teaching, as well as a restructuring of the concepts used up until then.

Perhaps the biggest change was in the new roles given to all those involved in the language learning and teaching process. In much the same way, the consideration of the new teaching process brought with it the necessary restructuring of the time periods required to reach individual objectives.

The truth is that, although at the beginning the majority of classrooms were filled with a sense of scepticism , CERF has proved to be an enormous support on which to continue to build over the past years. It could be said it is like a colleague you can go to in the case of doubt, and in whom you find inspiration. Understandably, however, there is still some way to go, given the fact that the CERF is subject to continuous. But that as it may, this experience has invited us all to dream a little and to think of an even more ambitious project: a common world reference for languages. Why not?


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