Bridging the gap

The European Language Portfolio and L2 Irish Sign Languages Learners at A2-B1 level


  • Lorraine Mary Leeson Trinity College Dublin
  • Carmel Grehan Trinity College Dublin



Irish Sign Language, sign language learning, M2L2 Learning, European Language Portfolio, Classic Grounded Theory


The European Language Portfolio (ELP) has been widely implemented to support the development of learner autonomy in the teaching and learning of spoken languages, but, until this study, had not been implemented with learners of sign languages. Across 2017–18, we developed and piloted a sample ELP for Irish Sign Language (ISL), which fed into work on the development of an ELP for sign language learners, under the umbrella of the PRO-Sign 2 project (European Centre for Modern Languages). We piloted the ELP with a cohort of ISL learners in the second year of their Bachelor in Deaf Studies, who perform at A2-B1 level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) (2001; Leeson et al., 2016). All are learning ISL as a second language (L2), and are acquiring this sign language in what is, for them a new modality (M2). We met students on four occasions across 2017–18 to explore how/if use of the ELP in the ISL classroom supports the development of robust self-evaluation skills, and how the ELP enhances student-reported perception of motivation and autonomy. We report on the process, and present a grounded theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1968), “Bridging the Gap”, drawn from key concerns of these ISL M2L2 learners at A2–B1 level.




How to Cite

Leeson, L. M., & Grehan, C. (2020). Bridging the gap: The European Language Portfolio and L2 Irish Sign Languages Learners at A2-B1 level. TEANGA, the Journal of the Irish Association for Applied Linguistics, 11, 100–119.