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Preparing Modern Languages Students for 'Difference'

Going beyond Graduate Skills


Ruth Whittle and Sandra Salin

This book informs and encourages aspiring lecturers and teaching staff in Modern Languages who prepare students for using their language skills in and out of the classroom. Drawing on pedagogical, psychological and language-specific concepts of learning, the book illustrates how such concepts can enhance students’ experience of transitioning from school to university to residence abroad, and beyond.

A key feature of the study is an investigation of students’ fragility as they transition from school to university and, only two years later, from their home institution to their placements abroad. Interventions intended to «teach» transition are shown to be unsuccessful, as the learning through such interventions tends to remain superficial. First-year students are shown to benefit from trust-building between students and teachers and early networking among their peers to build self-confidence. In contrast, prior to studying abroad students benefit more from intercultural awareness training, including linguistic, cultural, social, academic and/or emotional aspects.

The book serves as a useful basis for discussion in Modern Languages departments about curriculum change and university policy with regard to resourcing the Humanities.


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List of Appendices


Appendices Appendix 1.1: Module Description: Level C Advanced French 209 Appendix 3.1: First-Year Interview Questions 213 Appendix 3.2: Permissions Letter for Students 216 Appendix 4.1: Prompt Sheet for Tutor Post I 218 Appendix 4.2: Prompt Sheet for Tutor Post II 221 Appendix 4.3: Prompt Sheet for Tutor Post III 224 Appendix 5.1: Transition Review Form 226

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