Two great educators, two great Europeans

The legacy for language education of both Eric Hawkins and John Trim has now been recognised by their inclusion in the online Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB), in two articles* written by Alan Dobson, a former President of NALA. Alan is grateful to their families and to many former colleagues for their help.

John and Eric belonged to the generation of teachers whose careers were interrupted by war service; both returned to teaching committed to promoting better international understanding and the role of language education.

Eric had a major impact on generations of UK language teachers, not least as the Director of the Language Teaching Centre at the University of York, and was a prime mover behind the creation of NALA in 1969 and ALL in 1988. John was perhaps better known in the wider Europe as the Director of successive Council of Europe modern language projects.  The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) emerged from these initiatives. It has been translated into more than 30 languages and is now used in every continent.

Eric and John were friends who worked closely as colleagues, particularly when John, as Director of CILT, invited Eric’s involvement in CILT seminars that helped to develop thinking about languages in the curriculum. Various aspects of that thinking were influenced by the pioneering work of Council of Europe projects.

The ODNB provides biographies of some 65,000 men and women who have shaped British history. The dictionary entries cover a vast range of people going back to Pytheas, the ancient Greek explorer who was the first to describe Britain, and include people born in the British Isles who made their mark elsewhere.

The ODNB may be accessed free via any public library.

* Hawkins, Eric William (1915-2010), published online 08 February 2024

* Trim, John Leslie Melville (1924-2013), published online 09 December 2021

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