The European language portfolio (ELP) was introduced by the Council of Europe as a means of helping language learners to keep track of their learning by setting learning targets, monitoring their progress, and regularly assessing results of their learning. This includes recording their language learning achievements and their experience of using other languages and encountering other cultures. The ELP has three parts - a language passport, a language biography, a dossier.
‘The European portfolio in practice’ is a three-year national project (2009-12) intended to extend use of the ELP in the Czech Republic. Within its framework, four user-friendly online versions of the portfolio in six languages have been designed according to age groups. The first ELP version is intended for pupils up to 11 years of age, the second for 11 to 15 year-olds, the third for 15 to 19 year-olds and the last for adult users (19+). Development of this electronic application was based on the Dutch ELP version and the Europass language passport for adults.
A survey carried out in 2010, which included 1 200 schools from all regions, showed that the original hardcopy edition of the ELP is not used in the classroom as teachers do not see any benefit from it. They think hardcopy editions are too expensive and students need to pay for them themselves so teachers are not able to use them in the teaching process.
The project aimed therefore to develop an online application and methodological guide, motivate teachers and students to use ELP in the classroom, and expand use of ELP in line with development of the curricula for basic, secondary and language schools.
The online version of the portfolio places emphasis on raising awareness of teaching and learning types and strategies corresponding to particular language competences. It eases interaction between teacher and student. The teacher can comment on student materials saved in the dossier or on the student’s self-evaluation in the what I already know section, which forms part of the language biography. The ELP online application also includes tasks intended to help students to monitor better their progress according to different levels of proficiency.
The completed self-evaluation and practical experience with one or two foreign languages acquired through the online ELP is for the 15+ age group automatically generated and transferred to the Europass language passport.
The project also includes a collection of good practice examples and a methodological guide.
Continuing education programmes for teachers and training programmes for ELP instructors and consultants will be available from December 2012 free of charge. Some 3 120 foreign language teachers will be trained by the end of the project.
The project is cofinanced by the European Social Fund and the State budget of the Czech Republic.