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Curriculum, Teaching  & Learning
Enrica Piccardo

Enrica Piccardo

phone: +1 416 978 0274

Curriculum, Teaching and Learning

Centre for Educational Research on Languages and Literacies

Research Overview

Dr. Enrica Piccardo is a Professor in the Languages and Literacies Education Program (Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning) and the Head of the Centre for Educational Research in Languages and Literacies at OISE. Her research is centred around Second/Foreign Language learning and teaching, plurilingualism and mediation, the impact of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) on language teaching and assessment, complexity theories, and creativity in language acquisition.

Through her research and investigation, Dr. Piccardo has cast light onto the implication of linguistic and cultural diversity in language education. Using the lens of complexity theories, she investigates the links between cognitive, emotional, and social aspects in relation to linguistic and cultural diversity and to the teaching and learning of second/foreign languages, teacher development, and the structuring of curricula. Her research focuses on plurilingualism and mediation, the impact of the CEFR on language teaching, learning, and assessment, and above all the implementation of plurilingual and action-oriented approaches.

As a researcher, she has actively contributed to the work of the Council of Europe as a member of the CEFR Expert Group, as a core member of the 2014-20 project that developed the new CEFR, the so-called CEFR Companion Volume, which includes descriptors for mediation, plurilingualism and pluriculturalism and new descriptors for phonological competence among others, as well as coordinating two international projects for the Council of Europe’s European Modern Language Centre: Encouraging the Culture of Evaluation among Professionals (ECEP: 2008-11): The case of language teachers; and A Quality Assurance Matrix for CEFR Use (CEFR QualiMatrix: 2016-18).

In Canada, she has been principal Investigator of four SSHRC funded international projects: QualiCEFR; “LINguistic and Cultural DIversity REinvented (LINCDIRE); “COVID-19: Supporting online language learning: Fostering pedagogical innovation in a time of crisis” (ongoing); and “Advancing agency in language education”(ongoing).

Curriculum Vitae

Academic History

Enrica Piccardo graduated in 1985 from the Università degli Studi di Genova (Italy) where she specialized in modern Languages (German, English and French) and obtained her Laurea Summa cum Laude with a thesis in German Literature and Theatre Studies on contemporary German theatre.

She taught in Austria, Germany and Italy extensively. She taught different foreign languages: Italian, German, French and English. In 1996 she was appointed by the Italian Ministry of Education as in-service Teacher Developer. In 1999 she worked as an Instructor at the University of Genoa in the Initial Teacher Education Program. At the same time, she started her binational doctoral research in Second/Foreign Language Education at the Università degli Studi di Brescia (Italy) and at the Université de Technologies de Compiègne (France).

She defended her thesis "Crativité et technologies de l'information et de la communication dans l'enseignement/apprentissage des langues étrangères" in 2003 and obtained a double PhD degree (French and Italian) with honours.

In 2004, she was appointed to a faculty position of "Maître de Conférences" (Associate Professor) at the Université Grenoble-Alpes (UGA) France, where she continued working as a tenured faculty member until 2009. She is still faculty member of the UGA

In 2009, she was hired as Assistant Professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) - University of Toronto (Canada) in the Languages and Literacies Program of the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning and in 2010 the School of Graduate Studies granted her the full status in the Faculty of Education.
In 2014, she was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor.
In 2019 she was promoted to Full Professor.

Dr. Piccardo is the Director of the Centre for Educational Research in Languages and Literacies (CERLL).

Teaching Overview

Dr. Piccardo has a vast and international teaching experience at Secondary and the Graduate and Undergraduate levels in the domain of Second/Foreign language Education and Teacher Development. An expert of the Common European Framework of References for languages of the Council of Europe (CEFR), she has lectured internationally about language education, teacher education, plurilingualism and mediation . She is fluent in Italian, French, German, and English and has taught and lectured in France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, and Austria.
In addition, she taught different courses in the Initial Teacher Education program, for both elementary and secondary school. at the University of Grenoble-Alpes – France as well as on the Master of Teaching Program at OISE.

Dr. Piccardo currently teaches at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto the following Graduate programs:

Language and Literacies Education:

CTL 3001 Research Colloquium
CTL 3805 Plurilingualism and Multilingualism (Doctoral course)
CTL 3002 Second Language Methodologies
CTL 3003 Planning and Organizing the Second language Curriculum
CTL 3013 Language Assessment

Before joining OISE, Dr. Piccardo has taught the following courses:

Multicultural Education in the Foreign Language Class
Evaluation and the CEFR in the Foreign Language Class
Teaching Foreign Languages to Primary School Children
Integrating ICT in foreign language education (French as a foreign language)
Foundations of foreign language methodology for secondary school language education (French, English and German as a foreign language)
CLIL methodology
English foreign language
French as a foreign language
German as a foreign language

Representative Publications

Piccardo, E., Lawrence, G. & Germain Rutherford A, Galante A. (2021). Activating Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in the Language Classroom. New York, NY: Springer International Publishing

Piccardo, E., Germain Rutherford A. & Lawrence, G. (2021). The Routledge Handbook of Plurilingual language Education. London: Routledge.

Piccardo, E. (2020). The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) in Language Education: Past, Present, and Future. TIRF Language Education in Review (LEiR) Series

Piccardo, E. (2019). “We are all (potential) plurilinguals”: plurilingualism as an overarching, holistic concept. Cahiers de l’ILOB/OLBI Working Papers 10, 183-204.

Piccardo, E. & North, B. (2019). The Action-oriented Approach: a dynamic vision of language education. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Piccardo, E., North, B., & Maldina, E. (2019). Promoting innovation and reform in language education through a Quality Assurance template for CEFR implementation. Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics / Revue canadienne de linguistique appliquée, Special Issue 22(1), 103-128.

Piccardo, E. (2018). Plurilingualism: Vision, Conceptualization, and Practices. In Trifonas, P, Aravossitas, T. (Eds). (pp. 207-226). Handbook of Research and Practice in Heritage Language Education. New York, NY: Springer

Piccardo, E. (2017). Plurilingualism as a catalyzer for creativity in superdiverse societies: a systemic  analysis. Frontiers in Psychology, section Cognition. Research Topic "Multilingual Creative Cognition" edited by A. V. Kharkhurin.

North, B. & Piccardo, E. (2016). Developing illustrative descriptors of aspects of mediation for the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). A Council of Europe project. Language Teaching 49(3), 1-5.

Piccardo, E. (2016). La diversité culturelle et linguistique comme ressource à la créativité. Voix plurielles 13(1), 57-75.

Piccardo, E. (2016). Un parcours de recherche-développement vers l’approche actionnelle : un projet canadien. Les Langues modernes, « La perspective actionnelle : état des lieux »3, 31-41.

Piccardo, E. (2014). Du communicatif à l’actionnel: un cheminement de recherche. CSC. pp. 55. Available at funded by Government of Ontario and Government of Canada/Canadian Heritage. English version: From Communicative to Action-oriented: a Research Pathways at:

Piccardo, E. (2013). Évolution épistémologique de la didactique des langues: la face cachée des émotions. Lidil, 48, 17-36.

Piccardo, E. (2013). (Re)conceptualiser l’enseignement d’une langue seconde à l’aide d’outils d’évaluations: comment les enseignants canadiens perçoivent le CECR. The Canadian Modern Language Review/La Revue Canadienne des langues vivantes (CMLR/RCLV) 69(4), 386-414.

Piccardo, E. (2013).  Plurilingualism and Curriculum Design: Towards a Synergic Vision. TESOL Quarterly47 (3), 600-614.

Piccardo, E. (2013). Repenser la formation des maîtres aux TIC: défis et opportunités. Les Cahiers de l’ILOB (Institut des Langues Officialles et du Bilinguisme)/OLBI (Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute) Working Papers, 5, 101-121.

Piccardo, E. (2012). Médiation et apprentissage des langues: Pourquoi est-il temps de réfléchir à cette notion? Etudes de linguistique appliquée (ELA)167, 285-294. 

Piccardo, E.  (2012). Multidimensionality of assessment in the Common European Framework of References for languages. (CEFR). Les Cahiers de l’ILOB/OLBI Working Papers, 4, 37-54.

Piccardo E., Berchoud, M., Cignatta, T., Mentz, O., & Pamula, M. (2011). Pathways through Assessing, Learning and Teaching in the CEFR. Strasbourg: Council of Europe. (French version Parcours d’évaluation, d’apprentissage et d’enseignement à travers le CECR)+ Website

Piccardo, E. (2011). Du CECR au développement professionnel: pour une démarche stratégique. Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics/Revue canadienne de linguistique appliquée,14(2), 20-52.

Piccardo, E. (2010). From Communicative to Action-oriented: New Perspectives for a New Millennium. CONTACT TESL Ontario. 36(2), 20-35.

Piccardo, E. (2010). L’enseignant un stratège de la complexité: quelles perspectives pour la formation?. In G. Baillat, D. Niclot,  & D. Ulma (eds.) La formation des enseignants en Europe: approche comparative , Bruxelles : de Boeck

Piccardo, E. (2010) Teaching Social Literacy: Rethinking Humanism in Education.  In F. McCollum Feeley (ed.). Comparative Patriarchy and American Institutions.  Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. (p. 224-253). (Translated from 2009 French edition.)

Aden, J., Piccardo, E. (Eds.) (2009). La créativité dans tous ses états : enjeux et potentialités en éducationSynergies Europe, n°4, Varese, Gerflint, pp. 208. 

Research Grants and Contracts

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) - Partnership Engagement Grant
Title: Advancing agency in language education.
Drawing on plurilingual, action-oriented and technology-integrated pedagogies, this study pursues three interrelated research objectives: 1) study the interplay between teacher pedagogical beliefs, knowledge and practices, and the contextual and personal factors that facilitate or impede the adoption of state-of-the-art pedagogies; 2) identify with teachers the most relevant professional development resources, best practices and strategies that support teacher-led innovation; and 3) examine the capacity of these resources and strategies to initiate and sustain change. These objectives inform a multiphase study of the systemic and contextual factors that promote or inhibit pedagogical innovation in order to identify effective strategies able to enhance teacher agency.

SSHRC - Partnership Engagement Grant
Title: COVID-19: Supporting online language learning: Fostering pedagogical innovation in a time of crisis.
This project supports teachers in Canada and the region of Lombardy in Italy with the sudden shift to online learning caused by COVID-19. To avoid relying on outdated pedagogical approaches, teachers need sustained expert support which offers innovative, interactive and collaborative solutions to online language education, The project trains teachers in the use of online ‘action-oriented’ tools and resources, developed during the “LINCDIRE” project (2015–2019) to support the implementation of participatory linguistically and culturally responsive pedagogies. Action-oriented approaches are proven to enhance language proficiency and learner engagement through meaningful tasks that require strategic and reflective use of participants’ linguistic and cultural resources.

European Modern Language Center: Council of Europe
Title: CEFR QualiMatrix: A Quality Assurance Matrix for CEFR Use
Quality in the implementation of the Common European Framework of Reference. This study compares CEFR implementation in two contexts (Switzerland and Canada) and employs a QA approach; QualiCEFR will provide stakeholders with the know-how and framework to conduct QA-informed feasibility and impact studies in their contexts. The research involves two main phases:
1) Comparative phase: identifying and mapping out CEFR-related initiatives in the two countries that can be replicated and upscaled;
2) QA phase: (a) identifying and develop relevant procedures, and indicators for QA-informed implementation of the CEFR, and (b) organize such procedures and indicators into a template that language education stakeholders will be able to use in their contexts.

SSHRC - Insight development Grant
Title: QualiCEFR
70,494 CAD
This project promotes effective language learning by supporting teachers and other language education professionals in their use of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). It will provide a practical tool and suggest clear, coherent, and relevant procedures to facilitate planning, teaching and assessment. Furthermore, the project will enhance reflective practices at the classroom, school and policy-making levels.

SSHRC - Partnership development Grant
Title: LINguistic and Cultural DIversity REinvented (LINCDIRE): A digital environment to help learners navigate their trajectories
186,981 CAD + 186.981 CAD (partners)
LINCDIRE, LINguistic and Cultural DIversity Reinvented, is a 3-year collaborative research project with Canadian, American, and French institutions: M'Chigeeng First Nation School, Institute for Innovation in Second Language Education, University of Toronto, University of Toronto Schools, University of New Brunswick, York University, University of Ottawa, Columbia University, and University of Grenoble. The goal of this project is to design and implement an online tool called LITE: Language Integration through E-portfolio (LITE). LITE will be used in language classrooms in primary, secondary and post-secondary institutions to enhance and maintain diversity by interconnecting a plurality of languages and cultures, including Aboriginal and heritage languages.

Connaught New Scholar Grant
Title: The role of empathy in Second Language Education: Exploring literacy narratives
Research project on the role of empathy in second language comprehension conducted in Canada and in France in collaboration with Dr. Joelle Aden. The research has been successfully completed.

Sponsored research contract: RK Publishing
Title: Smart ICT: Teachers uses and practices integrating information and communication technologies in French as a Second Language instruction
Dr. Piccardo was project leader of a one-year research project on ways teachers integrate new information communication technologies in their French as Second Language classes. This research project was funded by a research contract with RK Publishing. A research report and a publication were issued with the results of the project.

European Modern Language Center: Council of Europe
Title: Encouraging the Culture of Evaluation among Professionals (ECEP): The case of language teachers
Dr. Piccardo was the coordinator of the four-year project ECEP (Encouraging the Culture of Evaluation among Professionals) of the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe in Graz, Austria. Two books (one in English and one in French) were produced and a dedicated website containing over 100 worksheets for teacher developers working on the CEFR (

Professional Activities

Dr. Piccardo served as an elected member of the Graduate Education Council (GEC) at UofT. She is also a member of the CTL Graduate Students' Awards Committee.

Dr. Piccardo was the Editor-in-Chief of the Academic Journal, Synergies Europe from 2005 to 2012.

Dr. Piccardo has held the following Executive Positions:
2013- 2019: Member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers
2006-2009: Member (elected) of the Board of directors of the IUFM later of the Universit Joseph Fourier to which the IUFM presently belongs
1996-2004: Member (elected) of the national council of ANILS, (Associazione Nazionale Insegnanti Lingue Straniere) and local coordinator
2002-2004: Local coordinator of a project of the Italian Ministry of Education for introducing NICT in teaching (district of Savona).