Better learning through mediation

Mediation is a fundamental feature of communication that is collaborative and responsive to the needs of others. It is based on a view of real-world language use that goes beyond a scheme of four skills and instead gives us categories of reception, production, interaction and mediation. This last category has recently been expanded with the addition of Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) descriptor scales that can provide a useful roadmap for learning and achievement. 

Mediation covers a range of activities and strategies where the language user consciously adapts what they say, write or do to promote better understanding, for example in presenting, explaining, summarising, problem solving and team work. Here we’ll explore what this can mean in practical terms for planning lessons, tracking progress and preparing learners for the careers of the future.

Tim Goodier explains the importance of mediation in the classroom.

About Tim Goodier

Tim Goodier

Tim is a member of the core authoring group for the CEFR Companion Volume with New Descriptors, and a consultant for the Council of Europe for the further development of the CEFR.

His former roles in education include Head of Academic Development (Eurocentres), teacher, teacher trainer, examiner, course developer, school inspector and Eaquals Trustee.

He won a British Council ELTons award for his MA dissertation with King’s College London concerning teacher perspectives on the pedagogic exploitation of CEFR can-do descriptors.  


A panel chat to Tim Goodier on the Pearson English Podcast to find out more about mediation and the CEFR Companion Volume.

Webinars & videos

Join Tim for a series of webinars and videos which explore how you can implement teaching mediation into your classroom.

An introduction to teaching mediation

Thursday 12th March 2020

What is mediation in the CEFR? This session will introduce the broadened concept of mediation illustrated in the CEFR Companion Volume, and the insights it can provide for language learning and teaching. 

We will look at how the new descriptors for mediation expand and clarify this concept and its relevance to the needs of 21st century language learners. We will then consider how mediation is already an integral part of the communicative classroom, and how a conscious focus on mediation can enhance the personalisation of learning in an 'action-oriented approach'. This will be illustrated with some examples of relevant tasks and strategies. 

How to teach mediation to young learners

Thursday 19th March 2020

This webinar will explore the relevance of mediation for young learners and teens. We will consider the rationale for focusing on mediation activities as part of lifelong learning, and step by step approaches that acknowledge literacy development and general competences.

We will also explore how simple classroom routines can familiarise young learners with relevant principles, such as collaborating, presenting and explaining, and so lay the groundwork for the development of mediation skills over time. We will evaluate the relevance of mediation can-do statements to different age groups.


How can mediation support academic and career skills?

Thursday 16th April 2020

There is a growing recognition that the careers of the future will emphasise team work, creative collaboration and soft communication skills.

In this session we will consider how the mediation can-do statements shine a light on soft skills in communication, and their relevance to educational pathways and employability. We will also look at how can-do statements for mediating texts can provide clear goals for synthesising and developing ideas from sources.

Mediation and assessment

Thursday 23rd April

How might the new can-do statements for mediation in the CEFR be used to assess progress in this area? The CEFR offers a range of scales describing different mediation activities and strategies that reflect real-world communication, but it is up to us as educators to select from them and decide whether to use or adapt them as success criteria. Their use is not compulsory and not all descriptor scales suit all approaches to assessment.

In this webinar we will explore how using can-do statements to align learning aims with learning outcomes can promote assessment for learning. We will also look at the role mediation might play in proficiency assessment, and relevant task types.