Renewal programme for language teaching at the Université Charles-de-Gaulle-Lille3

Author(s): Martine Benoit
Institution/Organisation: Université Charles-de-Gaulle-Lille3 (FR)


1.1 Scope of the initiative

In parallel to their main course, students can also study for a DUFL (a University Language Diploma) over a period of three years. Lille3 offers a DUFL in Arab, Catalan, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Old Greek, Modern Greek, Hebrew, Hungary, Japanese, Italian, Latin, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbo-Croat, Persian, Spanish and Swedish.

1.2 Range of languages learned


One of the specific characteristics of Lille3 is that it is a university which offers courses in over 20 languages. Hence the choice of languages is very wide : German, English, literary and dialectal Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, Modern Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbo-Croat, Vietnamese, Persian, Swedish, French as a foreign language and French Sign Language.

1.3 Learning outcomes


For the last two years Lille3 has been indexing courses in LANSAD (Languages for Specialists of Other Disciplines) on the CEFR scales of reference for undergraduate (L) and Masters (M) levels. French universities are strongly encouraged to carry out this work based on the CEFR. Secondary education adapted all its syllabuses to the CEFR in 2005 in the context of the Foreign Language Renovation Policy. The objectives established by the National Education programmes were as follows:



For universities, article 6 of the Order of the 25th April 2002 pertaining to the Masters diploma lays down the requirements, stipulating that « the Masters diploma will only be conferred upon the validation of aptitude in at least one foreign language ».

A new proposal taking into account the entrance levels of new holders of the Baccalauréat was drawn up for languages learned at secondary school and for languages started at university. For undergraduates (L), the proposal entails the following:

a. Languages started from scratch:
* level 1: A1/1
* level 2: A1/2
* level 3: A2/1

b. Languages started in secondary school:
* level 4: A2-objective B1/1
* level 5: B1 confirmed
* level 6: objective B2/1


At Masters level, a B2/C1 is expected.


A new scheme concerning Languages for Specialists of Other Disciplines (LANSAD) has been voted by the governing body of Lille 3 University. It includes the taking of a certification within the cursus in order to certify the level of language of the students (cf CLES certificate as described below).


1.4 Practical realisation


1.4.1. Innovation in the classroom for Degree and Masters

1.4.2. The “Plan langues à l’Ecole Doctorale”

1.4.3. Working with the Language Resource Centre (LRC)

Lille3 has created a back-up system for students in the form of a Language Resource Centre. Opened in 2001, the Language Resource Centre is not only a media library but a centre of learning and innovative interaction between teachers and learners. It allows students to personalize their learning routes and encourages the autonomy of students (both linguistic autonomy and learner autonomy). The LRC makes available the following resources:

The LRC is not open to the students of the partner universities of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais but:

The LRC also provides a broad logistical support structure for the autonomization of learning thanks to the work of its teams of « language tutors » (lecteurs or teachers, often native speakers, have hours timetabled in the Centre):

The TANDEM system created by the LRC of Lille3 not only brings a foreign student into contact with a French-speaking student, it also involves the following:

This system is included in two courses: undergraduate Level 2 (L2) in English Studies and undergraduate Level2 (L2) in German Studies; it allows the validation of 6 ECTS.

The tandem project in 2007-2008 also brought together almost 100 students for the following languages: English, German, Dutch, Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Greek etc…

A « Teletandem » device has also been launched in Portuguese at L2 level. The initial meeting takes place via Windows Live Messenger (webcams at the CRL). An agreement was signed between the UNESP (Brazil) and Lille 3. The teletandem system is overseen by teachers from the Department of Portuguese and validated by an Oral Expression unit (3 ECTS).

In May 2008 we have also started an experimentation in order to support the work of the International Relations Service: we offered an « International Mobility Module », an independent learning module which was on offer in the following languages: English, German, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Greek, Czech, Swedish/Danish. This training module, consisting of two days before mobility and one day of « debriefing » after mobility, offers students the following:

1.4.4. Promoting certifications: The CLES (Certificat de Compétence en Langue de l'Enseignement Supérieur).

The Higher Education Language Skills Certificate was created to promote the teaching of languages in French universities to allow those students who wish to do so to prove their level of competence, in particular prior to mobility, when seeking work experience or enrolling for a public entrance exam.
The CLES is a national certificate which is both public and free of charge. It is offered to students who are specialists of other disciplines and has three levels (CLES 1, CLES 2, CLES3) in keeping with the scales of reference (B1, B2 and C1 or C2) of the CECR. At the March/May 2008 session, Lille3 offered the following certifications:


2.1 Context


Cultural, economic and educational hindrances to international student mobility...

Students enrolled at the universities of our region are socially disadvantaged compared with national averages regarding French universities, and therefore less inclined to seek international mobility. In 2006-2007, the sons and daughters of blue-collar workers occupied 12% of enrolments nationally, 16% of enrolments at our regional universities and 19% of those at Lille3. The amount of more socially advantaged students (those whose families are in the « managerial and intellectual professions ») enrolled at French universities is recorded at 34% nationally, 26% in our region and 28% at Lille3.

This observation is confirmed when we consider the social background of Lille3 students engaged in international mobility, on an exchange programme or convention. Students from the « managerial and intellectual professions » category are indeed over-represented among the departures (34%).

 In terms of economic conditions, students from our regional universities are once again in less favourable situations than French students in general. The particularly high proportion of grant-assisted students at Lille3 (grants based on social criteria) supports this appraisal, ie 41.5% in 2007-2008, of which 48% were echelons 5 and 6. By way of comparison, the proportion of grant-assisted students in 2006-2007 was 39% at Lille3, 32% at the regional universities (42% of these at echelon 5), and 24% at national level.

2.2 Strategic goals of the initiative


The language policy at the University of Lille3 has a double objective, which implies both an improvement in languages on the part of our students and a greater autonomy within this process, with a broad range of language work made possible by the logistical support provided by the Language Resource Centre. The University Lille3 wants to promote a genuine language policy: since 2006 a direction of language policy has been created to develop language policy at the University and outside.

 While the necessity of mastering the English language is undisputed, the university has fixed the goal of providing courses in a second or even third foreign language. The DUFL (see above) and an accepted choice within a given major give students the chance to broaden their range of foreign languages.

 The idea behind this is to facilitate the integration of students into the European and international workplace and develop mobility within the university framework. In order to improve mobility, the International Relations Service is particularly active, with more than 350 mobile students in 2007-2008.


- An increasing number of languages are offered in the LRC


2007-2008: 14 languages, language tutor for each language between 1 and 3 hours a week.

- Opening of two new LRC in 2008:

- An increasing number of students take (and pass) the Cles1 or Cles2

- An increasing number of languages are offered for the Cles:



1. Pedagogical factors:

2. Institutional Factors:


For several years now the University of Lille3 has had a director of « Language Policy » as part of its leadership, the latter being strongly supported by the president.

3. Financial factors:

The project is part of a largest project called “Projet InterU-Langues” in which Lille3 is the leader. The “Projet InterU-Langues” involves the 6 universities of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region. The project has been presented to the Ministry of National Education, which is providing aid to the tune of 100 000 euros a year from 2006-2009.

The project is also financed by the Conseil Régional (Regional Council): an application for co-funding by the Regional Council was made in July 2007 to allow each university to strengthen its infrastructure, either by opening new Language Resource Centres or by providing mixed rooms (combining multimedia lab and Resource Centre facilities), and by the creation of new teaching tools (in particular the interactive whiteboard and the visio-conference).

The project therefore has three sources of funding: the State, the Regional Council, and the universities themselves. In 2007, their contributions were as follows :

The Regional Council: 372 000 euros
The Ministry: 100 000 euros
The universities: nearly 100 000 euros


In 2008 and 2009, their contributions will be as follows:

The Regional Council: 300 000 euros each year
The Ministry: 100 000 euros each year
The universities: nearly 100 000 euros each year


5.1 Lessons to be learned at institutional level

5.2 Broader implications


In which way the strategy is to be extended to the classrooms:

In which way the strategy is to be extended to the LRC:

The Certifications: