Multicultural and multilingual heterogeneity in the language classroom: the future of UK universities. Dr Géraldine Crahay (University of Durham)
As UK universities attract an increasingly multicultural student population, classroom heterogeneity tends to become the academic norm. Whilst the impact of the growing number of international and ESL students on English classes is well documented (Ibrahim and Penfield 2005), the implications of such a community of students in foreign language classes has so far been little researched. This paper intends to fill this gap and suggest methods that can enable the teacher to adapt to, and make the most effective use of, classroom heterogeneity. At first glance, the co-presence of English and ESL students may not seem to affect greatly a third language class such as French. However, international students may be used to different teaching methods, less exposed to the phonological, lexical and syntactical systems of an Indo-European language and less familiar with the culture of the taught language than English (or EU) students. It is therefore important for teachers to differentiate their teaching methods in order to allow all the students to benefit from the language class. This paper will examine two methods that have been tested in an ab initio French class with a multicultural and multilingual population: digital support and intercultural interaction through collaborative work.
Bridging the Gap – Academic and Professional “Joint Honours” for post Brexit HE. Ann Carlisle (Chief Executive- Chartered Institute of Linguists)
The traditional split between specialist and non-specialist learners is disappearing and the range of purposes for which students learn a language is diversifying rapidly. As the Chartered body for the profession we represent, support, develop and accredit linguists in all their forms. In a new post-Brexit world the UK’s requirement for languages likely to intensify rather than weaken but there is likely to be demand for language speakers at all levels from higher level specialists to professionals working in other domains but needing to deliver their services through a different language medium. Both need to be able to readily find a course or qualification which presents the content, level and degree of specialism which is relevant to their need or aspiration. For some this will be a pre-professional level formally combining a language with another discipline or simply targeting a language and level (perhaps through elective modules) to improve global employability. For others, those wishing to specialize in languages, a more complex and demanding target level is required in order to deliver specialist services such as translating, interpreting or teaching.
Global employability will remain high on students’ aspirations and the ability to evidence an understanding other languages and cultures, relevant to professional need is critical for British students to complete in an international context. The CIOL is already working with HE partners to promote language learning and recognition of skills at all levels and this session will look at how universities can work with professional bodies to create attractive sustainable accreditation for ‘linguists’ at all levels and to enhance their students’ profiles in the international workplace.
Language learning as an institutional partnership. Isle Renaudie (University of East Anglia)
This paper will explore the place of language learning in Higher Education in a changing Britain, Europe and world. It will use as examples current and developing practices from the University of East Anglia as basis for discussions about new dynamics and methodologies between needs and provision in language and language-related learning.
Embedding of professional practice in language modules and of engagement initiatives to allow students to foresee the many benefits of foreign language communication skills in a range of geographical, social and disciplinary settings and on a range of scales, will be described.
On a larger scale, we will discuss the relation between identities of degree programmes and how they determine applicants’ and students’ expectations, with the trajectories of language student and graduates. We will propose our vision of the place of expertise as well as that of the collaborative process between learners, academics and university services. We will use as an example the modern language pathway with a focus on French at the University of East Anglia and present current initiatives and developments with the aims to maximise opportunities for our global graduates.
The dual role of University Language Centres. Oranna Speicher (University of Nottingham)
The role of university Language Centres and their institution-wide language programmes has never been more crucial to the Higher Education landscape that it is today.
Language Centres are well positioned to be major contributors to both internationalisation and employability, two prominent drivers in most universities’ strategic plans. A language centre’s primary role tends to be the development of foreign language competence in university non-specialist students, a direct and significant addition to the Universities UK strategic aim of doubling the mobility of UK domiciled students (http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Documents/International/UK-Strategy-for-outward-student-mobility-2017-2020.pdf by 2020). This paper will report on these efforts from a language centre in the Midlands, as well as on the challenges encountered.
The paper will then discuss the perhaps less obvious Language Centre role of professional staff development, particularly crucial in light of the Teaching Excellence Framework and the opportunities it might represent by linking excellent teaching to professional development underpinned by the UK Professional Standards Framework. The paper will conclude with the example of a staff development initiative aimed at actively engaging language teachers in scholarship.
The way forward: adopting a CLIL approach to bridge the language content gap in MFL degrees. Maria Garcia Florenciano (University of Leeds)
Several studies critically reflect on the dualistic approach to language and content still very much present in many Russell Group universities, and which is inherent in both the Worton Report (2009) and the British Academy Position Statement on Languages (2011). This dualism is also seen in the separation that has built up between ‘academic’ and ‘language teaching’ staff in many institutions. Although pedagogical implications of the use of the target language (TL) in content modules have often been discussed within MFL, it seems particularly interesting to explore the possibilities offered by Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) for enhancing language skills, learner motivation and intercultural competence.
This talk will describe a project starting in the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, at the University of Leeds, which aims to investigate content teachers’ beliefs with regards to the integration of language in their modules and how the relationship between language, literature, and culture is represented, if at all, in the different MFL programmes offered in LCS.
The study will also seek to offer content teachers the linguistic and methodological tools necessary to feel confident and capable of tackling content through a foreign language and to establish a solid basis for the collaboration of language and content specialists, while attempting to find a model for effectively mapping language and content across the curriculum.
Raising awareness of individual differences. Dr Ulrike Bavendiek (University of Liverpool)
Many universities are in the position to offer foreign languages at different intensity levels, ranging from accelerated and intensive courses to less demanding conversational courses. These courses vary with regard to the expected learning outcomes and require a different average number of study hours. Whilst there are usually clear target groups at the programme development stage, with the accelerated courses often designed for specialist learners, it is nevertheless possible for many students to choose their preferred language course. I will argue that these students should be aware of the factors that are likely to influence their progress and learning outcomes before they enrol for a module. It is crucial to take individual circumstances into account when choosing a language course and evaluating progress. In this paper I will present and discuss a short, simple questionnaire that I have developed at the University of Liverpool to assist students in their module choice. After answering some simple questions regarding their individual difference factors, such as first and second languages, language learning experience and motivation, the students will be informed about the impact of these factors on their language learning.