Open Access

Mediation: Teachers’ Attitudes and Perceptions of Needs at European Universities in the Context of Eu Language Policy


Mediation is a novel concept in language teaching and learning, and the needs and attitudes of language teachers towards it are largely unexplored. This article provides a brief overview of European language policy and discusses the action-oriented approach in the context of this paradigm shift in language learning and teaching. Finally, an exploratory study is presented that examined the needs and attitudes of language teachers from four European universities regarding mediation, as it has been formulated in the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) (Council of Europe, 2001) and redefined in the CEFR Companion Volume with New Descriptors (Council of Europe, 2018). The participating teachers were from the language centres of Charles University in the Czech Republic, Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania, the University of Helsinki in Finland, and the University of Warsaw in Poland. The study survey measured the strength of (dis)agreement of the teachers with 12 statements concerning various aspects of mediation in the context of their teaching practice. These related to understanding what mediation is and its importance, mediating a text, mediating concepts, mediating communication, and mediation strategies. In addition, two open questions concerned the practice of promoting multilingual and intercultural education and the needs of teachers in the area of mediation. Although the vast majority of the 79 participating teachers (91%) agreed that mediation is vital in language learning and teaching, only a third of them claimed that they understood the concept. Furthermore, the findings indicate that some aspects of mediation are more challenging for the teachers to embrace than others and that some fundamental aspects of mediation do not seem to be part of the current teaching practice of all teachers. Overall, the present study confirmed some of the challenges with the implementation of the CEFR into teaching practice at the higher education level.