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Languages in a Global World

Learning for Better Cultural Understanding

image of Languages in a Global World

The rise of globalisation makes language competencies more valuable, both at individual and societal levels. This book examines the links between globalisation and the way we teach and learn languages. It begins by asking why some individuals are more successful than others at learning non-native languages, and why some education systems, or countries, are more successful than others at teaching languages.

The book comprises chapters by different authors on the subject of language learning. There are chapters on the role of motivation; the way that languages, cultures and identities are interconnected; the insights that neuroscience provides; migrants, their education and opportunities to learn languages; language learning and teaching in North America; and new approaches to language learning.

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Cosmopolitan education

Building on a biological inclination for care in a globalised world

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

Cultural evolution has vastly outpaced biological evolution. A baby born into this situation would flounder if it were not for brain plasticity, and schooling. Babies are born with biological predispositions, and they build on these as they learn from the culture around them. With schools, children can learn vast amounts of cultural knowledge in just a matter of years. This is how biological inclinations for language and numbers have been dramatically extended to create literacy and mathematics. In our globally interdependent world, we need to extend our biological inclination for care in an analogous way. Our brains evolved for a world where we lived in small clans and only needed to care for the people in these clans. Now, we live in an interconnected world in which our actions have ripples in a broader global matrix. We need to extend our biologically based inclination for care to peoples in all corners of the world. Schools can play a key role in nurturing this cosmopolitan ethic of care.

English

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