1 Introduction and motivation
“When all men, wherever they may be, have equal access to the same vast communications network, they will inevitably become Citizens of the World.”
(Clarke, 1962, p. 183)
Modern society brings with it a multiplicity of changes both at a local and global level. New social practices have been developing and we have to face up to transformed kinds of employment, new ways of participating as citizens in public spaces, and new ways of interacting with others. In everyday life, we experience an increasing diversity of discourses and are constantly involved in negotiations over meanings. The development of communication technologies has given rise to an array of different communication channels that provide us with various representations of information and various possible interpretations of the meanings associated with this information. Similarly, communication and interactions with others are changing. In a global environment, the phenomenon of multilingualism requires careful attention not just because of the pluralism of languages, but rather because of a growing variety of “social languages” in professional, national, ethnic and sub-cultural contexts (Gee, 1996). To live well in this world “people must be able to recognize such diversities and be flexible enough to negotiate with others unlike themselves” (Kellner, 1998, p. 103).
In the modern knowledge society, where competitiveness is an increasingly important factor, education plays a strategic role towards personal achievement and social integration and equality. Schools have a very important role in preparing people to face up to this...
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