Masterclass Webinar

The CEFR Descriptors and Framework
– Online Interaction and Digital Tools in the Language Classroom –

As action-oriented language learning settings are very much focused on real-world relevance, competent use of digital environments and mediation are now seen as key modes of responsible and effective communication. Thus, digital tools are seen as an essential ingredient in language education. During this webinar, we look at the relevant CEFR descriptors and suggestions as to their impact on how digital tools can and must become a resource for language learning as common as textbooks.

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Nick Howe

Prof. Dr. Bernd Rüschoff | Senior Professor at the Institute for Anglophone Studies | Duisburg-Essen University

Prof. Bernd Rüschoff has a long track record in international projects, both EU and Council of Europe. On behalf of AILA, he is a member of the Professional Network Forum, a think tank at the CoE’s European Centre for Modern Languages – ECML – in Graz. He obtained a PhD in Linguistics at the University of London and since then, his research focus has been on applied linguistics and second language acquisition as well as Technology Enhanced Language Learning (TELL).

He also held a professorship in Technology Enhanced Language Learning (TELL) at the Pädagogische Hochschule Karlsruhe, where his research focused on aspects of second language acquisition and TELL exploitation based on cognitive-constructivist approaches. Prof. Rüschoff is a former President of AILA – the International Association for Applied Linguistics and of GAL – the German Association for Applied Linguistics. He also is a past-president of EUROCALL – the European Association for Computer-Assisted Language Learning.

Nick Howe

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What is the CEFR Framework?

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is an international standard for describing language ability. It describes language ability on a six-point scale, from A1 for beginners, up to C2 for those who have mastered a language. This makes it easy for anyone involved in language teaching and testing, such as teachers or learners, to see the level of different qualifications. It also means that employers and educational institutions can easily compare our qualifications to other exams in their country.

The idea that language influences identity is something that Prof. Dr. Bernd Rüschoff discussed at the Speexx Exchange 2019 conference in Berlin. He gave an overview of the changes to the CEFR Framework coming in 2020, and how the CEFR is now markedly addressing the difference between “plurilingual” versus “multilingual” concepts.

CEFR Descriptors and Framework for Online Language Learning

Over the last decades, there has been a constant debate on how to best make use of digital technologies in the language classroom. In current discourses concerning second language learning, it has become accepted that materials used and activities are undertaken in the classroom, as well as hybrid settings, need to be firmly rooted in real-world contexts. Stephen Bax suggested that digital settings will become accepted as both natural and necessary for language education only when digital technologies themselves have become normalized in daily social practices.

In today’s world, the normalization of digital tools is a fact of social life and communicative practice. The CEFR – seeing learners as social agents, competence orientation together with an action-oriented approach amongst its benchmarks – has developed a clearly defined set of descriptors for competencies needed in today’s digital environment.