The European Language Label was created as an initiative that stems from a document published by the European Commission in 1995 – “White Paper: Teaching and Learning towards the learning society”, in which the EU set itself the goal of helping every citizen of the Member States to master two foreign languages in addition to his or her mother tongue.
In the Czech Republic, the tradition of awarding the European Language Label began at the end of 2001, when the Czech Republic and other candidate countries were invited to participate in the programme. The first award was granted in 2002.
Objectives of the programme
The European Language Label is an award that aims to promote high-quality innovative projects in the field of language education and – through this award – to expand their publicity, inspire other teachers to take up these activities in language teaching, help them include new innovative elements in their language teaching, and generally increase interest in language education. Every year, the award recognises exceptional projects in the field of education.
The Label may be granted to any innovative project or activity in the field of language education which is still in implementation but with already proven results, or to successfully completed projects (but no later than three years from completion). Awards may only be granted to projects that meet all of the conditions of the Call for proposals.
A link to the European Commission’s web pages dedicated to promoting language learning and linguistic diversity: http://ec.europa.eu/languages/index_cs.htm
Any project submitted for the award must meet both the general criteria set by the European Commission and at least one of the European or national priorities.
- The project should be comprehensive in its approach. Every element of the language project – from pupils/students to teachers, from methods to materials – should be aimed at identifying and accommodating the needs of the pupils/students.
- The project should provide added value in its national context. This means a clear improvement in the teaching or learning of languages in terms of quality and quantity. “Quantity” may apply to a project that promotes learning multiple languages, especially those less widely used, while “quality” may apply to the introduction of improved practices, approaches and methods.
- The project should motivate both students and teachers to improve their language skills.
- The project should be original and creative. It should present innovative approaches to foreign language learning and, at the same time, make sure these approaches are appropriate for the given group of pupils/students.
- The project should place emphasis on European principles. It should be adapted to European linguistic diversity and make use of this advantage – for example through cross-border cooperation. The project should actively improve understanding between cultures by promoting language skills.
- The project should be transferable as it could potentially be a source of inspiration for other language projects in both Czech and foreign institutions.
Priorities for 2017
Every year, the European Commission sets the European priorities and the expert jury of the Label programme sets the national priorities. Based on a recommendation of the European Commission, the following priorities have been set for 2017:
- Multilingual schools and classrooms: embracing diversity in schools
This priority focuses on the formal education school sector, including paying attention to multilingualism and language learning in VET schools as well. Label projects will serve as good practice examples in multilingual schools/classrooms which value diversity, intercultural dialogue and encourage multilingualism, where linguistic diversity is used as a resource for language learning, and which promote the professional development of teachers. Special attention should be paid to measures to support children who do not master the language of instruction. All children should be given equal chances to realise their potential in school, and mastering the language of instruction is a sine qua non condition.
- Language-friendly society – informal language learning
“Language-friendly society” means a social environment where language learning and intercultural understanding are encouraged, and multilingualism is promoted and seen positively. The needs of speakers of all languages are fully respected, and linguistic diversity is presented as an asset for an inclusive society and for economic development. Every community in Europe can become more language-friendly by respecting all languages present in the community, thus helping to improve language learning and intercultural awareness. There are many ways to achieve this: capitalise on the skills of multilingual citizens, exchange students etc., use sub-titles in film and television, use the power of media to expose citizens to other languages and cultures, promote intergenerational learning projects, tourism projects, cross-border projects etc.; make use of informal learning methods such as family, intergenerational or community learning.
- Language learning for all
Especially those projects are encouraged that are targeted specifically at language education for persons with learning disabilities, persons with disabilities, persons from groups that are socially at risk, gifted pupils and students etc.
- Development of teachers’ foreign language competencies
Applicants for the award may include organisations implementing projects that are aimed at further education for teachers in the field of languages. This may involve developing the competencies of teachers of both linguistic and non-linguistic subjects, with emphasis being placed on the project’s demonstrable impact on the school, teachers and pupils, as well as on cooperation of teachers within the school, and the project’s added value.
Contact person, Label administration:
Lucie Münchová – email@example.com
Pavla Šabatková – firstname.lastname@example.org