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ESF Exploratory Workshop

Background and aims

Development of Theoretical and Practical Guidelines for the Adaptation of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) to Sign Languages

The last 15 years have brought a substantial change in foreign language learning and teaching as well as in the examination of attained language skills. The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) was established as a benchmark in Europe for teaching, learning, and assessment of a foreign or second language. It is in use in all European countries in different areas of educational systems of higher learning of foreign and second languages in schools, universities, and further education. The only language areas that had received little to no attention were the numerous sign languages of the deaf communities of Europe. The ESF-Exploratory Workshop Development of Theoretical and Practical Guidelines for the Adaptation of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) to Sign Languages intended to close this gap. Its general idea was to bring together deaf and hearing researchers of Europe working on CEFR-related issues to exchange ideas, coordinate research, and to build up networks on teaching, learning, and assessing knowledge of signed languages in Europe.

Methods

The workshop's three major aims were

  • to exchange information about experiences in transferring the CEFR to sign languages and observing the consequences for sign language teaching, learning, and assessment
  • to specify the theoretical aspects of sign languages that need to be investigated in order to coordinate the development of sign language versions of CEFR
  • to plan future European collaborations (research projects) on establishing a CEFR framework for sign languages (referred to as "CEFR4SL" in the following)

Results

The ESF-Workshop was held in September 2011 at the University of Applied Sciences of Special Needs Education (HfH), Zurich, Switzerland. The 29 workshop participants (not including the ESF representative) originated from 16 different European countries. 14 of the participants were deaf and 15 hearing. Sign language interpretation was provided in British, German, Irish, and Swedish Sign Language as well as in International Sign.

As a major outcome of the workshop the participants agreed to establish a European-wide network to install the CEFR4SL, thereby enforcing educational equality of deaf communities in terms of language learning, teaching, and assessment. In a first step, this web-based network was implemented at http://www.cefr4sl.eu. The scientific report Reportof this workshop is available in written English and in International Sign in External link: video Link zum Video.

We would like to thank the sponsoring partners of this ESF Workshop: Hamburg University, University of Applied Sciences of Special Needs Education Zurich (HfH), Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), and the Association for the Support of Sign Language (VUGS).

Facts

Duration
01/2011-12/2011
No.
4_13

Project Management

Prof. Dr.  Haug

Leiter Bachelorstudiengang Gebärdensprachdolmetschen

Project team

Kontakt

Forschung und Entwicklung
Tel: +41 44 317 11 81

zfe[at]hfh.ch zfe