The HELECs framework of competences comprises seven domains, reflecting the multidimensionality of the language educator in higher education. The circular theme chosen for the visualisation of this framework emphasises the absence of a hierarchy between the domains. In other words, educators may identify with or choose any domain relevant to their needs, at any point time. Simply click on the name of the domain to access the corresponding competences.

Each domain is scaffolded by three competence identifiers, labelled Practitioner, Expert and Leader. The identifiers provide structure and support a transformative experience for language educators’ professional development in higher education.

The details of the competence identifiers are articulated below.

Framework Graphic

Professional knowledge The Self Digital Capacity Professional communication & cooperation Professional values & identity Metalinguistic & (inter)cultural competences Language & communicative competence



Practitioners are responsible for the delivery of language teaching at various CEFR levels. They are familiar with a range of approaches and techniques for language teaching and apply these in their language classrooms. Practitioners follow curricula which have been designed by others for the courses that they teach. They are not responsible for the development of the curricula nor for the design of the assessments, except where assessment is used for or as learning within the classroom context. Practitioners have broad-ranging skills that they develop within a teacher education programme or through mentoring. Their competences are focussed on language teaching.


Experts have the competences of practitioners as a baseline. They are experienced language educators with broad knowledge of language teaching and learning. Experts are responsible for designing, developing and revising language curricula. They are typically coordinators of language modules with responsibility for managing and supporting the educators that teach on that course. Experts actively seek out new and innovative ways of teaching language in HE and are up to date with developments in the field. Experts mentor less-experienced colleagues and communicate the goals of language learning to colleagues and students alike.



Leaders have the competences of practitioners and experts as a baseline. Leaders go beyond the teaching of language in their context and seek to contribute to the body of knowledge on language education in HE; leaders also aim to create opportunities for language education within their HEI and beyond.


Leaders are aware of the broader context with regard to policy, theory and practice of HE language education. They are motivated to improve, innovate and disseminate on a national and international scale.        national and international scale.