‘Shaping change in language learning: looking back to move forward’ #AULC14

Last Thursday and Friday I was at the 2014 National Conference of the Association of University Language Centres, which took place in Dublin.

Here are my notes:

  • Dr. Thomas Vogel’s vision (Europa-Universitaet Viadrina): Language Centres to become like university hospitals: outward-looking, with expertise, in the community
  • Babel situation: universities moving towards monolingualism (research) but also promoting multilingualism (‘creative resource asset’)
  • EU wants to reach out, promotes language learning
  • German Council of University Rectors: ‘universities should pay special attention to the language skills of all students’
  • Read:http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayFulltext?type=1&fid=4638588&jid=LTA&volumeId=42&issueId=02&aid=4638580&fromPage=cupadmin
  • Multilingualism in European Universities: multilingual students, immigrant students (2nd/3rd generation), heterogeneous learning experiences and strategies of students, Erasmus success, Bologna process
  • Global changes are indirectly related to languages: personality factor in new knowledge industry, culturally heterogeneous teams and networks (changed perspectives), knowledge available in variety of languages
  • increased Corporate Social Responsibility: employability, changed labour market
  • Language Centres are not an ‘academic tribe’, more like ‘illegal immigrants’
  • Language Centre diversity: curse or blessing? -> opportunity to come up with an agenda for Language Centres to look at what happens in society
  • Future of languages in Higher Education: create new cultural identity for language teaching in HE, define language profession in HE, define research agenda beyond  didactic issues, join public discourse on multilingualism/culturalism, network beyond borders
  • Asian languages and Arabic are the fastest growing languages on the internet
  • Asia also growing economically
  • Ways forward in language teaching, esp. Asian languages: collaboration and communication, involvement in policy making
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