A framework of reference for pluralistic approaches

FREPA descriptors


In FREPA, competences are represented as follows:

  • they are linked to situations, to complex tasks, and are socially relevant
  • they consist of units with a degree of complexity
  • they call upon and make use of different internal resources (generally a mix of knowledge, attitudes, and skills) and external resources (dictionaries, mediators ...).

FREPA descriptors consist of forward-looking internal resources, which essentially fall into two types of competences: 

  • competence in managing linguistic and cultural communication in a context of otherness
  • competence in the construction and broadening of a plural linguistic and cultural repertoire.

See the table of global competences whose development is promoted by pluralistic approaches.

Internal resources (as well as the use of external resources, but not competences) can be taught in situations / tasks which are at least partly de-contextualised.

The teacher can work upon resources in the classroom, by assigning different tasks to his/her learners.  In this way, teaching contributes to the development of competences via the very resources which they activate.

Note: In FREPA, we use “resources” to refer to “internal” resources. In other work, “resources” are sometimes called abilities, provisions, or knowledge or components. While it is not a very common usage, we have retained the term “resources” because it is the term that has the least connotations.

Competences are designed primarily as relevant to the domain of usage and social needs, while resources rather seem to belong to the field of cognitive (and developmental) psychology. The resources are – to a certain extent – able to distinguish and list, and define in terms of mastery and teaching in educational practices.

 Details on the descriptors KnowledgeAttitudes and Skills

How to choose and use descriptors

The choice of descriptors is determined by the user’s teaching intentions : organising the progress of learners by identifying clearly formulated objectives and … with the use of the FREPA – Online teaching materials, finding classroom activities which correspond to these objectives.

Thanks to the interactive process (activities found online or in pdf form), it is possible to proceed from an approximative notion of the resource the user wishes to develop in the learner (knowledge, a skill or an attitude) and to refine one’s idea by progressing from general to more precise lists which often offer three, often four hierarchized levels.

Two tools are available for this purpose:

You can choose according to your needs, to your circumstances vis-à-vis internet (online or not) … and to your personal preferences!

Once you have chosen a resources descriptor, you can use it as a search criterion  in order to find appropriate teaching materials by using a search tool.

Table of competences

Some examples of descriptors


K 4 Knows that languages are continuously evolving
K 4.1 Knows that languages are linked between themselves by so-called “kinship” relationships / knows that languages belong to families
K 4.1.1 Knows about some families of languages and of some languages which make up these families


A 2.2 Sensitivity to linguistic or cultural differences
A 2.2.1 Being aware of different aspects of language or culture which may vary from language to language or from culture to culture


S 3.4 Can perceive lexical proximity
S 3.4.1 Can perceive direct lexical proximity

The resources are also featured as links in the Tables of descriptors across the curriculum. This structure provides a visual aid for exploring the framework. The graphical representation adopted situates resources along the learner’s curriculum.