The common European framework of reference for languages: Should Pacific and Pacific Rim countries get on board the bandwagon?
Crombie, W. (2010). The common European framework of reference for languages: Should Pacific and Pacific Rim countries get on board the bandwagon? He Puna Korero: Journal of Maori and Pacific Development, 11(1), 3-18.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/6144
For many bureaucrats, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) has an almost irresistible appeal. All that users have to do, apparently, is read its approximately 200 pages (plus appendices) and they will "find . . . all [they] need to describe [their] objectives, methods and products" (Council of Europe (CoE), p. xii). Having done that, they will be in a position to "overcome the barriers to communication . . . arising from . . . different educational systems" and "facilitate . . . mobility through . . . mutual recognition of qualifications" (p. 1). The CEFR has some very influential advocates, both within and outside of Europe. Investment in it is extensive in some areas of the world. It emerges out of an organisation whose ethical credentials are beyond question, one that has been responsible for some interesting innovations in the area of language education. In such a context, it is not surprising that many countries outside of Europe, including Pacific and Pacific Rim countries, are developing an interest in it. On the basis of a close reading of the CEFR, this article concludes that it has considerably less to offer than it claims and, therefore, advises language educators in Pacific and Pacific Rim countries, particularly those involved in the teaching of indigenous languages, to be extremely cautious about adopting the approaches it recommends too readily.
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