A Focus Group is a gathering of informed individuals or experts who wish to share their point of view and experience on a topic or problem in a specific area.
CercleS decided to set up focus groups in order to promote more active participation among its members as well as to pull together the competences available within our individual institutions, and by doing so:
CercleS members are thus invited to express their interest and commitment in working in any of the activities listed below:
Since CercleS was established in 1990, language centres have offered their
learners various ways of improving their language skills. They are often
innovative places where new pedagogical approaches and devices for language
learning are proposed.
Among the different learning possibilities offered to students in language
centres, some aim at facilitating the development of learner autonomy. Some
language centres indeed offer tools such as self-access centres, and language
advising facilities that enable learners to take more control of their learning
to support autonomization.
The purpose of this focus group is to investigate the relationships between
learner autonomy and language centres. It will also try to clarify the concept
of autonomy, which, although widely used in language learning publications
these last 30 years is complex and open to various interpretations.
This focus group will collaborate e.g. with Focus Group 4 (Innovation) and 6
(ELP / CEFR).
FG Conference and Event Management
This focus group will develop guidelines for the
organisation of CercleS conferences and events, i.e. develop a framework for
CercleS conferences, CercleS seminars and workshops, and events organised in
co-operation with CercleS. This comprises structural and budgeting aspects, the
use of languages, the question of follow-up activities, etc.
FG coordinator and contact person: María del Carmen Arau Ribeiro - firstname.lastname@example.org
Guidelines for the organisation of CercleS conferences and events
FG CLIL in Higher Education
This focus group aims to bridge the learning experience in CLIL up through
higher education (HE) so that content and language integrated learning is not
limited to English-medium instruction. With cutting edge research that draws
upon the potential of technology for terminology-based growth and advances in
classroom management and scaffolding that places the learner at the center, the
FG examines how to deal effectively with staff training and certification for
HE teachers who have not previously trained to teach through another language,
administrative objectives for internationalization, and the roles that language
centers can play. This focus group will collaborate with Focus Groups 1 (Language Policy) and
FG ELP / CEFR
The CercleS ELP has become a widely successful and
useful tool that is actively used in many CercleS member institutions. In
September 2009 CercleS second ELP/CEFR Seminar took place in Padua and the
third in Gronigen in 2011. Both received very positive feedback. The next step
in our activities is the development of a downloadable version of the CercleS
ELP in all languages as a pdf file as well to be completed online. CercleS will
then look into the prospect of developing a true online version of the CercleS
ELP. Furthermore, this group will also consider the context of the CercleS ELP,
i.e. the CEFR, and how the CEFR can be used more actively and efficiently not
only in language teaching & learning but also in language testing and assessment.
This focus group will suggest new ideas for our everyday work. It will stimulate
innovation, e.g. in the structure of language centres, in language teaching, in
the use of ICT as well as in language testing. The idea behind this focus group
is to generate new ideas and models, which will then be piloted and further
developed to stimulate changes for the future.
FG coordinator and contact person: Anthony Stenton - Anthony.Stenton@univ-tlse1.fr
FG Language Testing and Assessment
Several National Associations have set up their own
language testing network or system, or are in the process of setting them up.
However, cross-border co-operation is still at an initial stage. This focus
group will analyse the models available within our National Associations (and
outside), analyse their strengths and weaknesses, perhaps develop ideas for new
models, seeking to promote harmonisation and / or mutual recognition through
agreements at bilateral or multilateral levels.
Over the past few years, a
number of individual initiatives have led to the organisation of several
Languages for Specific Purposes-related events across Europe, demonstrating the
growing interest for the subject. This Focus Group aims to federate and sustain
those efforts in order to establish and develop a dynamic network of LSP
practitioners, representing the broadest possible range of languages and
Our objectives are:
to provide and
foster a forum for reflection, informed by theory and/or classroom practice;
colleagues working in LSP to disseminate their work (for example in the form of
conference papers or publications based on the above);
areas for collaboration such as resource creation/sharing, exchange of best
practice or cross-border projects;
and/or support LSP-dedicated events;
regular communication on all of the above with the members of the Focus Group.
FG coordinators and contact persons: Benoît
Guilbaud - B.Guilbaud@sussex.ac.uk and
David Tual - email@example.com
FG Management and Leadership
The focus group aims at creating a low threshold
network for directors for sharing challenges, questions and by doing this
provides collegial support in management and leadership. Expected results are
an intranet for directors to exchange experiences, workshops and webinars for
directors and a mentoring system for new directors.
The CERCLES Coaching & Mentoring Network is now
available and details can be found in the Documents section of this website for
the Focus Group, including the types of coaching & mentoring that are
available, and contact details for volunteer coaches/mentors.Other experienced
CERCLES member Directors are encouraged also to participate, and anyone willing
to join the Coaching & Mentoring Network as a volunteer should contact the
There are two seemingly contradictory trends to be
observed in the landscape of higher education in Europe. On the one hand there
is the increasing use of English as a lingua franca for research and teaching.
On the other hand the effects of globalization and migration become visible.
University teachers, language teachers in particular, are confronted with
students, who come to our institutions already as multilingual as well as
This new Focus Group would like to function as a
platform for the exchange of ideas for colleagues who are interested in finding
answers to the linguistic changes which affect higher education. The first aim
would be to develop a consultation paper which connects the situation and
challenges within higher education with the linguistic developments in our
European societies at large.
FG Teacher Training, Teacher Education, Staff Exchange
This focus group will develop models and modules for professional
development activities and staff exchanges within the CercleS network. It will
identify areas in which training is required. It will also identify how the
individual member associations can best benefit from competencies available in
other member associations and thus lead to mutual exchange.
FG coordinator and contact person: Helena Šajgalíková - firstname.lastname@example.org
Many University Language Centres have started to
provide translation services both to their own university and to external
clients. The contexts in which they operate vary considerably. Some Language
Centres have a dedicated translation unit. This is in some cases organised like
a small business and outsources jobs to freelancers when need arises. Other
Language Centres (perhaps the majority) provide translation services on a more
loosely organized basis and rely on internal staff for the most part. Whatever
their organization, in providing translation services Language Centres face
some common challenges and the Translation Focus Group of CercleS is interested
in finding ways of sharing ideas and expertise.
This is not an exhaustive list and there are many other activities CercleS could focus on. Ideas and suggestions are very welcome.
If you are interested in joining a CercleS Focus Group or suggesting a new, please contact the General Secretariat at email@example.com the relevant FG coordinator.