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Our aims

Badges for Languages is involved in language education. Its aim is to promote and guarantee high quality in language teaching and learning. To achieve this aim, Badges for Languages follow the CEFR for Languages, EAQUALS and Alte recomendations in language teaching and learning for a wide variety of languages.

A further aim is to provide an international forum for the exchange and development of expertise in the field of language education, and to develop resources that will support the development of quality in all aspects of language teaching and training.

What is a Badge?

A digital badge is an online representation of a skill you’ve earned.

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We follow the CEFR. But, What is the CEFR?

The Common European Framework provides a common basis for the elaboration of language syllabuses, curriculum guidelines, examinations, textbooks, etc. across Europe. It describes in a comprehensive way what language learners have to learn to do in order to use a language for communication and what knowledge and skills they have to develop so as to be able to act effectively. The description also covers the cultural context in which language is set. The Framework also defines levels of proficiency which allow learners’ progress to be measured at each stage of learning and on a life-long basis.

The Common European Framework is intended to overcome the barriers to communication among professionals working in the field of modern languages arising from the different educational systems in Europe. It provides the means for educational administrators, course designers, teachers, teacher trainers, examining bodies, etc., to reflect on their current practice, with a view to situating and co-ordinating their efforts and to ensuring that they meet the real needs of the learners for whom they are responsible.

By providing a common basis for the explicit description of objectives, content and methods, the Framework will enhance the transparency of courses, syllabuses and qualifications, thus promoting international co-operation in the field of modern languages. The provision of objective criteria for describing language proficiency will facilitate the mutual recognition of qualifications gained in different learning contexts, and accordingly will aid European mobility.

The taxonomic nature of the Framework inevitably means trying to handle the great complexity of human language by breaking language competence down into separate components. This confronts us with psychological and pedagogical problems of some depth. Communication calls upon the whole human being. The competences separated and classified below interact in complex ways in the development of each unique human personality. As a social agent, each individual forms relationships with a widening cluster of overlapping social groups, which together define identity. In an intercultural approach, it is a central objective of language education to promote the favourable development of the learner’s whole personality and sense of identity in response to the enriching experience of otherness in language and culture. It must be left to teachers and the learners themselves to reintegrate the many parts into a healthily developing whole.

The Framework includes the description of ‘partial’ qualifications, appropriate when only a more restricted knowledge of a language is required (e.g. for understanding rather than speaking), or when a limited amount of time is available for the learning of a third or fourth language and more useful results can perhaps be attained by aiming at, say, recognition rather than recall skills. Giving formal recognition to such abilities will help to promote plurilingualism through the learning of a wider variety of European languages.

Why are we interested in badges?

The idea that one monolithic institution will provide everything, teaching, testing, accreditation, research, that idea is already an idea of the past. It seems like the institutions themselves are the last people clinging to that concept and everyone else is already innovating around them.

To define the interfaces, the fault line between formal/informal education, that’s where my interest lies.

Who accredits Badges for Languages?

Badges for Languages is an independent accreditation body and is not, therefore, accredited by others.

Who recognises Badges for Languages accreditation?

Badges for Languages has an increasingly important profile in the world. We work with expert/professional/technical societies to create badges with demonstrable value.

What are an institution’s responsibilities in relation to Badges for Languages?

Institutions and students have to undergo an honor code, and demonstrate that all the requirements of Badges for Languages are respected.

Our activities

Accreditation through the organisation

Why are we interested in the free sharing and reuse of knowledge?

Our interest in sharing knowledge without restrictions is huge. We explore this from various angles:

On a personal level, we have all experienced the great excitement to create, use, and share knowledge. It’s amazing to be able to access this huge knowledge base that the Internet provides us, reuse course books
from others, be able to create a book without anything else than your own time and that of your peers.

We are working together with a growing multitude of people all around the world to stand up against these old “aristocratic” powers and establish the new forms
of peer production of free knowledge within the old system of capitalism. We foresee that a new productive and organizational system is emerging from the ashes!

Why is Badges for languages needed?

In the words of the Intergovernmental Symposium held in Rüschlikon, Switzerland November 1991, on the initiative of the Swiss Federal Government, on: ‘Transparency and Coherence in Language Learning in Europe: Objectives, Evaluation, Certification’:
  1. A further intensification of language learning and teaching is necessary in the interests of greater mobility, more effective international communication combined with respect for identity and cultural diversity, better access to information, more intensive personal interaction, improved working relations and a deeper mutual understanding.
  2. To achieve these aims language learning is necessarily a life-long task to be promoted and facilitated throughout educational systems, from pre-school through to adult education.
  3. It is desirable to develop a Common European Framework of reference for language learning at all levels, in order to:
  • promote and facilitate co-operation among educational institutions in different countries;
  • provide a sound basis for the mutual recognition of language qualifications;
  • assist learners, teachers, course designers, examining bodies and educational administrators to situate and co-ordinate their efforts.
Plurilingualism has itself to be seen in the context of pluriculturalism. Language is not only a major aspect of culture, but also a means of access to cultural manifestations. Much of what is said above applies equally in the more general field: in a person’s cultural competence, the various cultures (national, regional, social) to which that person has gained access do not simply co-exist side by side; they are compared, contrasted and actively interact to produce an enriched, integrated pluricultural competence, of which plurilingual competence is one component, again interacting with other components.

For what uses is Badges for Languages intended?

The uses of Badges for Languages include the planning of language learning programmes in terms of:

  • their assumptions regarding prior knowledge, and their articulation with earlier learning, particularly at interfaces between lower secondary, upper secondary and higher/further education;
  • their objectives;
  • their content.

The planning of language certification in terms of:

  • the content syllabus of examinations;
  • assessment criteria, in terms of positive achievement rather than negative deficiencies.

The planning of self-directed learning, including:

  • raising the learner’s awareness of his or her present state of knowledge;
  • self-setting of feasible and worthwhile objectives;
  • selection of materials;
  • self-assessment.

Learning programmes and certification can be:

  • global, bringing a learner forward in all dimensions of language proficiency and communicative competence;
  • modular, improving the learner’s proficiency in a restricted area for a particular purpose;
  • weighted, emphasising learning in certain directions and producing a ‘profile’ in which a higher level is attained in some areas of knowledge and skill than others;
  • partial, taking responsibility only for certain activities and skills (e.g. reception) and leaving others aside.
Badges for Languages is constructed so as to accommodate these various forms.
In considering the role of a common framework at more advanced stages of language learning it is necessary to take into account changes in the nature of needs of learners and the context in which they live, study and work. There is a need for general qualifications, which may be situated with reference to the CEF. They have, of course, to be well defined, properly adapted to national situations and embrace new areas, particularly in the cultural field and more specialised domains. In addition, a considerable role may be played by modules or clusters of modules geared to the specific needs, characteristics and resources of learners.

What criteria must Badges for Languages meet?

In order to fulfil its functions, such a Badges for Languages must be comprehensive, transparent and coherent. By ‘comprehensive’ is meant that Badges for Languages should attempt to specify as full a range of language knowledge, skills and use as possible (without of course attempting to forecast a priori all possible uses of language in all situations – an impossible task), and that all users should be able to describe their objectives, etc., by reference to it. Badges for Languages should differentiate the various dimensions in which language proficiency is described, and provide a series of reference points (levels or steps) by which progress in learning can be calibrated. It should be borne in mind that the development of communicative proficiency involves other dimensions than the strictly linguistic (e.g. sociocultural awareness, imaginative experience, affective relations, learning to learn, etc.). By ‘transparent’ is meant that information must be clearly formulated and explicit, available and readily comprehensible to users. By ‘coherent’ is meant that the description is free from internal contradictions. With regard to educational systems, coherence requires that there is a harmonious relation among their components:
  • the identification of needs;
  • the determination of objectives;
  • the definition of content;
  • the selection or creation of material;
  • the establishment of teaching/learning programmes;
  • the teaching and learning methods employed;
  • evaluation, testing and assessment.
The construction of a comprehensive, transparent and coherent framework for language learning and teaching does not imply the imposition of one single uniform system. On the contrary, the framework should be open and flexible, so that it can be applied, with such adaptations as prove necessary, to particular situations. Badges for Languages should be:
  • multi-purpose: usable for the full variety of purposes involved in the planning and provision of facilities for language learning
  • flexible: adaptable for use in different circumstancesopen: capable of further extension and refinement
  • dynamic: in continuous evolution in response to experience in its use
  • user-friendly: presented in a form readily understandable and usable by those to whom it is addressed
  • non-dogmatic: not irrevocably and exclusively attached to any one of a number of competing linguistic or educational theories or practices.

References:

Consejo de Europa. Marco Europeo Común de Referencia para las Lenguas: Aprendizaje, Enseñanza, Evaluación.