A framework of reference for pluralistic approaches

FREPA and pluralistic approaches

FREPA overview

What is it about? It is about a comprehensive description as well as the concrete implementation of plurilingual and intercultural competences and resources which can be best developed in teaching through so-called pluralistic approaches. Consequently FREPA contributes significantly to the attainment of the educative goals suggested by the Council of Europe in the domains of languages and cultures.

What are pluralistic approaches? The term Pluralistic Approaches to Languages and Cultures refers to didactic approaches which involve the use of several (or at least more than one) varieties of languages or cultures simultaneously during the teaching process. This is to be contrasted with… ..

Who should know about FREPA? Teachers of all subjects with an interest in plurilingual and intercultural education, Teacher trainers, Decision-makers, Curriculum and programme designers, Textbook writers.

FREPA offers:

  • a systematic description of competences and resources (Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes) which should be developed within the perspective of a plurilingual and intercultural education...
  • a database providing online teaching materials
  • an online training kit for teacher training (initial or in service)

Plural approaches to languages and cultures

The term “pluralistic approaches to languages and cultures” refers to didactic approaches which use teaching / learning activities involving several (i.e. more than one) varieties of languages or cultures.

This is to be contrasted with approaches which could be called “singular” in which the didactic approach takes account of only one language or a particular culture, considered in isolation. Singular approaches of this kind were particularly valued when structural and later “communicative” methods were developed and all translation and all resort to the first language was banished from the teaching process.

Language teaching methodology has seen the emergence of four pluralistic approaches over the past thirty years:

Competences and resources

Competences have to be understood as follows:

  • competences are linked to situations, to complex tasks which have social relevance; they are in this way “situated” and have a social function;
  • they are units with a degree of complexity;
  • they call on different internal "resources" (generally a mix of knowledge, attitudes and skills) and external resources (dictionaries, mediators, etc.).

The CARAP /  FREPA competences and resources describe essentially two levels of competences:

  1. The competence to manage linguistic and cultural communication within a context of otherness
  2. The competence of constructing and developing a pluralistic repertoire of languages and cultures

CARAP / FREPA identifies resources which are mobilised through these competences. These resources are presented in the form of descriptors.

Resources (knowledge, attitudes and skills):

The term "resources" is generally used in the CARAP for "internal resources". Resources are sometimes called abilities, sets of attitudes, knowledge... We have kept the term resources - although it is not common - as it is the one which has the fewest connotations.

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

Competences are viewed mainly in the domain of social usage / needs, while resources seem rather to belong to the domain of cognitive (and developmental) psychology. In this view it is indeed competences which come into play when one engages with a task.

However, it is probably the resources that one can – to a certain point – distinguish and list, defining them in terms of mastery and working on them in educational practice.

The database

The database FREPA – Online teaching materials, offers teaching activities which fall within the scope of pluralistic approaches to languages and cultures.

The purpose of this collection of materials, which include input in different languages, is to facilitate access to classroom activities which will help learners master the knowledge, skills and attitudes which the framework lists as resources and which can be developed by pluralistic approaches. All the materials proposed refer explicitly to descriptors of resources as they can be found in the FREPA framework. 

The database can be consulted either in English (tab Teaching materials at the top of the present page) or in French (tab Matériaux didactiques).

You will find below some examples of materials in LLL.

under development

The online training kit

The online training kit is available for teachers (and teacher trainers) who wish to train autonomously in pluralistic approaches and in the use of FREPA materials. The materials can be used by trainers in the preparation of, and during training sessions.

The training kit comprises 4 modules :

0. The Discovery module 

The aim of this module is to allow the participants to carry out an activity as learners themselves and to discover pluralistic approaches, their link to the notion of plurilingual and pluricultural competence, as well as the tools proposed by FREPA.

1. FREPA and educational language policies

The module allows language professionals to situate FREPA in today’s context of language teaching/learning at school, especially as far as educational goals are concerned.

2. I am having difficulty in my teaching … How can FREPA be of use to me ? 

This module supports teachers in organising a concrete use of the FREPA, as well as the pluralistic approaches, in view of certain difficulties concerning teaching and general pedagogical issues which teaching staff are likely to encounter in their everyday practice.

3. I wish to carry out a project with my students … How can FREPA be of use to me ? 

This module aims to support teachers in making use of the framework and pluralistic approaches in the design and implementation of class or school projects which involve other languages and other cultures.

The training kit can be accessed either in English (tab Teaching materials at the top of the present page) or in French (tab Matériaux didactiques).