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Language Awareness in Teacher Education

Cultural-Political and Social-Educational Perspectives

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Stephan Breidbach, Daniela Elsner and Andrea Young

Teaching language and teaching with languages is what is called for in contemporary classrooms, be they language classrooms or otherwise. When the learners’ plurilingualism and societies’ multilingualism have social, cultural or political implications, becoming aware of language matters is a necessity both for non-specialist teachers and language teachers alike. This book thus presents a variety of research-based perspectives on the cultural-political and social-educational domains of language awareness. Context, both historical, socio-economic, political and cultural has an undeniable impact on language attitudes and awareness, and the variety of different contexts contained in this volume – the Basque County, Catalonia (Spain), England (UK), Finland, Germany, Hong Kong (China), Japan, Portugal, Scotland (UK), and Turkey – testifies to this. As each chapter outlines the specificities and the impact of context upon language policies, attitudes and beliefs, the authors in this book focus on language awareness as a multi-faceted concept fit to play a major role in the reform processes of teacher education in the 21 st century.

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Stephan Breidbach, Daniela Elsner and Andrea Young Language awareness in teacher education: culturalpolitical and socialeducational perspectives 11

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Language awareness in teacher education: cuturaoitica and sociaeducationa diensions Stephan Breidbach, Daniela Elsner and Andrea Young Teaching language and teaching with languages is what is called for in contemporary classrooms, be they language classrooms or otherwise. hen the learners’ plurilingual ism and societies’ multilingualism have social, cultural or political implications, be coming aware of language matters is a necessity both for nonspecialist teachers and language teachers alike. In the first part of this introductory chapter, we try to show that language awareness is a multifaceted concept which should play a major role in the re form processes of teacher education in the 21st century. In the second part, the structure of this volume and the inner logic of its three parts are explained. 1 Language awareness and education The promotion of mutual understanding has traditionally been regarded as one of the objectives of modern foreign language (MFL) learning. By broadening horizons, opening the doors to diversity and promoting comparison and aware ness of languages it was hoped to foster tolerance of otherness amongst students. Such utopian declarations of intent have been called into question (Byram 2000) and viewed as unrealistic, given the time and space allotted to MFL learning in curricula at school. Although it is true to say that language teachers are in a prime position to champion such aims, in our current world of mass international exchange and communication, this objective has taken on greater significance and can no longer be...

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