The globalisation of the English language has resulted in a worldwide demand for centralised English learning in most countries. Consequently, language policies have been adapting for over 20 years to the new status of English while advocating for multilingualism. Responding to the need for a general framework to assess language learning and guide in curriculum planning, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR, henceforth) was created at the start of the 21st century to cover these needs in Europe. Yet, since its creation, and claiming to be adaptable and focused on multilingual core values, it has been used worldwide as a tool for language policy, curriculum planning and assessment (Byram & Parmenter, 2012; Figueras, 2012).
With this context as a background and through the lens of the CEFR, we carried out a comparative analysis of the language policies and guidelines in primary school in China, Spain and Norway. By analysing very different cultures, background languages and contexts, the results of our study provide an insight on the impact of English in the learners’ plurilingual competence and how the CEFR has been understood (and misunderstood), along with the rooted monolingualism approach to English teaching. From this analysis we identify common misconceptions of English as a global language and propose a multilingual perspective to complement the current language guidelines.
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