Apprenticing future economists: Analysing an ESP course through the lens of the new CEFR extended framework

Daniel Portman*, Monica Broido

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Increasingly, professionally-oriented tertiary institutions are concerned with equipping their students with the English language skills needed in today's global professional world. The recently extended 2018 Common European Framework (CEFR) provides useful guidance to help institutions develop curricula to achieve this goal. This paper describes an advanced English for Economics course, whose aim is to facilitate economics students' traversal from student to professional, in terms of English can-dos (mostly B2-C1), as described in the 2018 CEFR Companion Volume. The pedagogy informing the course is three-pronged, drawing on English for Specific Purposes, twenty-first century skills, and the CEFR. We show how analysing such a course through the CEFR can help devise an anticipated learning trajectory for economics students about to enter the professional world. Our analysis highlights the fact that even though the newly extended CEFR does mention plurilingualism in the mediation can-dos, it does so only in terms of individual production. In the twenty-first century language classroom, where plurilingualism is part and parcel of understanding and carrying out the required tasks, much work is carried out in groups, with technology playing a key role in language mediation. We find that group and technology-assisted mediation activities are substantially different to the individually-oriented mediation activities described in the extended framework. Therefore, we suggest fine tuning, and perhaps adding, mediation can-dos to reflect the realities of tertiary pedagogical settings preparing learners for twenty-first century professional environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-413
Number of pages19
JournalLanguage Learning in Higher Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • CEFR
  • English for economics
  • English for professional purposes
  • Google Translate
  • Mediation
  • Plurilingualism
  • Twenty-first century skills


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