Edited By Christiane Dalton-Puffer and Ute Smit
Christiane Dalton-Puffer & Ute Smit - Introduction 7
Introduction Christiane Dalton-Puffer & Ute Smit The political, technological, economic and social realities of the modern world have led and continue to lead to more contact between more people of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds than ever before, creating the need for new policies on different levels and in different fields. One such field is education, where answers have to be sought for how immigrant populations can be integrated into and served by their host societies, but also for how predominantly monolingual populations can be made fit for the demands of international interaction and cooperation. The hub of the question in both cases is how an education system can endow learners with the language skills necessary first to profit from the education on offer, and second to participate in social and economic life in ways that are advanta- geous for the individual and society at large. The educational measures which result from such policy decisions are situated within diverse settings, reflecting complex constellations on a vari- ety of socioeconomic, political and socio-psychological dimensions: these include immigrants to the highly developed economies of Western Europe, North America and Australia; officially multilingual countries where native speakers of one national language learn the other national language through immersion (Canada, Belgium); speakers of European majority languages learning other major foreign languages (frequently English); students in international degree programmes using English as a common working lan- guage, to name only the major types. Despite the diversity of the individual constellations, a common trend has been to...
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