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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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“Expansion of our own being”

Language learning, cultural belonging and global awareness

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

For consideration by the education community, here is a provocative hypothesis regarding the relationships between acquisition of languages, consciousness of cultures, and development of ethics in human beings. Starting from the basic idea according to which “a fish does not know what water is,” I postulate, using the mathematical metaphor of the “tesseract,” that mastery of several languages is not only essential to developing cultural consciousness but also a key to (partial) access to global awareness. How about applying the developing understanding of empathy in the brain toward the design of new approaches to language education that maximise its potential to cultivate a positive local-global dialectic in students? This might open research avenues for a number of disciplines; if sound neuroscientific work, possibly combined with quantitative studies, proves the hypothesis right, then we may hope to take one small step toward more tolerance: yet another “giant leap for mankind”?

English

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