The Common European Framework of Reference The Globalisation of Language Education Policy Edited by: Michael Byram, Lynne Parmenter

Paperback - 280 pages
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06 Jun 2012
Languages for Intercultural Communication and Education
Multilingual Matters
210 x 148


The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages was published a decade ago and has been influential ever since, not only in its European 'home' but throughout the world. This book traces the processes of the influence by inviting authors from universities and ministries in 11 countries to describe and explain what happened in their case. There are everyday factors of curriculum development – which sometimes include coincidence and happenstance – and there are also traditions of resistance or acceptance of external influences in policy-making. Such factors have always existed in bilateral borrowing from one country to another but the CEFR is a supra-national document accessible through globalised communication. The book is thus not only focused on matters of language education but is also a Comparative Education case-study of policy borrowing under new conditions.


Read either in its entirety or as a country-level reference, the succinct overviews of a range of historical and contemporary language policy contexts and their challenges is useful for policy makers, researchers, and practitioners alike. Overall, this edited book is an important academic contribution demonstrating how fundamental language education is to broader issues related to the globalisation of higher education and will hopefully be followed up with a second volume discussing these issues further.

- Language Policy (2015) 14:293–295 - Elise S. Ahn, KIMEP University, Kazakhstan

An original and timely addition to the CEFR literature, this comparative analysis of the factors and complex challenges associated with the use of the CEFR in different contexts and traditions considerably enriches our understanding of its influence both in Europe and other continents. The commentaries draw on a widely contrasting range of case studies to explore how the widespread application of the CEFR is leading to a new kind of policy and a new kind of policy borrowing - not from country to country as in the past, but as an international phenomenon which almost disseminates itself, rather than being disseminated.

- Joe Sheils, formerly Head of the Department of Language Education and Policy, Council of Europe

At last, we have an excellent empirical study on the international impact of CEFR. The underlining of the similarities and differences in the reception and usage of the document offers much food for thought for language and comparative education specialists. A real success!

- Daniel Coste, Professor Emeritus, Ecole Normale Sup

A great virtue of this book is how it encapsulates the three mutually producing forces in education today: regionalisation, globalisation and localisation. The CEFR originated in Europe but then spread far and wide in the inevitable interlinked processes of globalisation that characterise so much of education today. However, when applied in contexts very different from the originating reality of Europe the CEFR underwent the process of adaptation that we can call localisation. The discussion powerfully traces the role of influence, borrowing, demonstration in public policy in the crucial area of communication in education.

- Joseph Lo Bianco, University of Melbourne, Australia

The book contains many further interesting data about the impact of the CEFR in various countries that may be of interest to everybody interested in international language policy issues.

- Ge Stoks, Locarno in Babylonia, no. 1 (2013)

Author Biography:

Michael Byram taught languages in secondary school and adult education. At Durham University since 1980, now emeritus, he has researched the education of linguistic minorities and foreign language education. His most recent book is From Foreign Language Education to Education for Intercultural Citizenship (Multilingual Matters) and he is the editor of the Routledge Encyclopedia of Language Teaching and Learning.

Lynne Parmenter is a Principal Lecturer in International Education at the Institute of Education, Manchester Metropolitan University. Until 2010, she spent 17 years teaching in schools and universities in Japan. Her main research interests are in global citizenship education and the negotiation of education policy and practice in the context of globalization.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional

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