Book: Technology-mediated Crisis Response in Language Studies
Chapter: 5. The Future of Language Education in the Light of COVID: A European Survey Project on Lessons Learned and Ways Forward
This chapter reports on and discusses the results of a major pan-European survey project conducted under the auspices of the Council of Europe’s ECML (European Centre for Modern Languages) and the European Commission. The project aimed at finding out how institutions, language teachers and also learners had responded to the challenges presented by successive lockdowns, social distancing, and remote emergency teaching during the COVID pandemic. The surveys also reflected on how language teaching methodologies as well as the use of digital tools and technology skills might evolve in the future, as the main aim of the initiative was not to simply record how the pandemic has affected language education, but rather to explore ways in which the skills and insights gained by both teachers and learners may bring about beneficial lasting changes in the teaching and learning of languages. Over 1700 teaching professionals from 40 countries, working at different educational levels, responded to the first part of the survey in 2021. The 2022 follow-up survey then focused on collecting the learners‘ voices, with some 1.500 learners sharing their experiences and opinions in great detail. Responses to both surveys paint a clear and rich picture of ways in which teachers and learners have coped with and confronted the challenges. In addition, the results provide insights into some of the positive changes in language teaching that the pandemic has generated. The chapter reports on the survey’s methodology and its results and also highlights some of the issues that have been raised to inform the debate on the kind of changes in teaching methodology, classroom practice, and teacher professionalization that may be impacted and initiated by teachers’ and learners’ experiences during full and partial lockdowns.