Chancen und Herausforderungen für den Wissenserwerb – Opportunities and Challenges for the Acquisition of Knowledge
As higher education is becoming more and more international, a growing number of students at universities have to use German or English as foreign languages for their studies. On the basis of empirical data this volume discusses not only the challenges, but also the potential of multilingualism for the acquisition of knowledge. Chapters from the German context are supplemented by studies from Denmark, Spain, and South Africa.
Reconsidering the role of language-in-education-policies in multilingual higher education contexts
As a result of transnational mobility of students and attempts to widen access to higher education, university campuses have become increasingly multilingual. Responses to this phenomenon have ranged from resistance (sticking to a local and established language) to wide-ranging attempts to become English-medium institutions. The fact that student populations can differ from one semester and one year to the next, means that it becomes difficult to plan language in education strategies and practices. In the context of South African higher education this paper will argue that lecturers who teach multilingual classes cannot depend on policy makers to create circumstances in which deep learning will take place. It becomes necessary to think in terms of micro-planning (Baldauf 2006), or perhaps rather classroom strategies, to create spaces for multilingual learning.
Transnational mobility of students means that higher education classrooms are increasingly linguistically diverse. At the same time higher education institutions are committed to widening access within national borders to minority groups, which may include linguistic minorities. In her description of the ultimate internationalised university, Roberts (2008: 9) describes an institution that “is moving towards what we can call a more authentic internationalised university where multilingualism and lingua franca use are common, even normative and no one language has hegemonic power over the others”. The question is, how could such a multilingual institution function? How can language be ‘arranged’ rather than ‘policed’ by means of a language in education policy? If the linguistic composition of a class changes from...
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