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Language Education research

The Integrated Foreign Languages Curriculum (IFLC) linguistic database

The new national Curriculum for foreign languages, i.e. the Integrated Foreign Languages Curriculum (IFLC), aims at the development of students' competences in languages other than their mother tongue - competences for which they can be assessed and certified on the six-level language proficiency scale of the Council of Europe, specified in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. It involves all languages currently included in the school curriculum (i.e. English, which is the 'first' foreign language taught in Greek schools, as well as French and German, offered as electives or 'second' foreign languages) and also languages that may additionally be offered in the future. The development of the IFLC has initiated a systematic effort to document its reference level descriptors (common for all languages and aligned to the illustrative descriptors provided by the CEFR), on the basis of precise linguistic elements making the levels explicit for individual languages. This is an ongoing project, carried out at the RCeL while the Curriculum is being experimentally implemented. It draws on a multilingual database, containing descriptions of elements of learners' leveled language competences (functional, grammatical, lexical, and pragmatic competences), acquired from various resources: Profile books, coursebooks currently in use in Greek state (primary and secondary) schools, and the KPG exam specifications. During the pilot phase of the IFLC project, these descriptions have served as the basis for calibration of the contents of foreign language coursebooks and for development of reference criteria for the teaching and learning of languages. The IFLC database supports essential consistency checks and comparisons of linguistic descriptions across languages, and will ultimately be used for the development of lists of features that are criterial (distinctive) of key learning stages, specifying how language knowledge learned at each level of proficiency differs from that of adjacent levels. Designed as an essential methodological apparatus for the development of comparable descriptions of communicative performance across languages and levels of proficiency, it will additionally be linked with the Language Learner Profile Project, incorporating language data from the KPG corpora. The descriptions stored in the database are organized in terms of a representational framework and a set of metadata, common for all languages. As such, they support links between elements of language competences and learning/assessement specifications across languages, aimed at substantially contributing to the development and assessment of plurilingual competence, as advocated by the CEFR.


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