Calling all Sign Language Teachers – your support is needed

A new Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) will be published this autumn by the Council of Europe. We would like to have sign languages included in this new edition of the CEFR! We have already done the required works here at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) in Winterthur. We have gathered all necessary data empirically during the last 2 years (data = descriptors for language competences in sign language).

For information on this in International Sign please follow this link:

Aim: Calibration of descriptors
The final aim now (in September 17) is that as many sign language (SL) teachers as possible participate in calibrating (=judging) these descriptors. This is necessary for the statistical validation. Without such a calibration, sign languages will not be not included in the new CEFR.

We face a problem however: we don’t know a sufficient number of sign language teachers in Europe (or elsewhere). Therefore, we are looking for SL teachers who are willing to participate (regardless of which country they are from).

For every participant, we need a name with an e-mail as point of contact. We will then send an e-mail to the person giving them access to the survey data with videos showing the descriptors in sign language. The survey is anonymous. The descriptors are available in International Sign and Swiss-German Sign Language.

If you yourself are willing to participate simply send an e-mail to Aline: She collects the mail-addresses for the survey.
· If you know other sign language instructors, please forward this e-mail to them or send us the contact list (do as you prefer).

The survey takes place in September and must finish early October, so the time is rather tight…
We believe we can take the reins and aim for equality of signed and spoken languages now.

This is a unique chance that spoken languages and sign languages are treated equally in an international standard. This promotes the political recognition of sign languages in all European
countries and creates the basis for the profession “sign language teacher”. We must not wait for our children to do it…

Best regards
Dawei Ni, Patty Shores, Jörg Keller, Aline Meili, Petrea Bürgin and Sandra Sidler-Miserez

Aline Meili

CEFR for Sign Languages Project
Zurich University of Applied Sciences
School of Applied Linguistics
LCC Language Competence Centre
Theaterstr. 17
P.O. Box
CH-8401 Winterthur

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