A framework of reference for pluralistic approaches

Why do we need pluralistic approaches?

The pluralistic approaches are based on discarding the “compartmentalised” view of the individual’s linguistic and cultural competence(s): this rejection is a logical consequence of the way in which plurilingual and pluricultural (or intercultural) competence is represented by the Common European Framework of Reference: this competence is not a collection of distinct and separate competences but a plurilingual and pluricultural competence encompassing the full range of the languages available to the individual.

The pluralistic approaches aim at developping key elements of knowledge (savoirs), skills (savoir-faire) and attitudes (savoir-être):

  • dealing with linguistic and cultural facts in general (e.g. “trans-linguistic”, “trans-cultural”);
  • enabling learners to have easier access to a specific language or culture by using aptitudes acquired in relation to / in another language or culture (or certain aspects of them) – (e.g. “inter-linguistic”, “inter-cultural”).


The pluralistic approaches constitute the essential link between all didactic attempts which seek to facilitate the continuous development and enrichment of individual learners’ plurilingual and pluricultural competence. They allow to take into account all the existing linguistic and cultural competences acquired in formal and non-formal learning environments.

As far as educational goals are concerned, these approaches represent a decisive tool for the development of what the Guide for the development of language education policies in Europe calls education for plurilingualism.