MEITS Blog


Multilingualism as the norm in education!

by Dieuwerke (Dee) Rutgers

Highlighting the central role of language in education and learning seems like stating the obvious. After all, language provides the key tool through which we humans are able to share knowledge across generations. Yet, the full implications of language for teaching and learning are often insufficiently acknowledged and incorporated in educational practice.

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Languages for all?

by Karen Forbes

On 17th January 2020 the House of Commons published a briefing paper on language teaching in schools in England. It highlights results from a European Commission survey which reported that only 32% of 16-30 year olds in the UK felt confident reading and writing in two or more languages. To put this in (a rather dismal) perspective, the average across all EU member states is 80%.

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Do you speak emoji?

by Harper Staples

I would imagine for a lot of us, the answer is probably yes. And this opens up some interesting questions. Firstly, if we can use emojis to communicate with others, and if they, in return, are capable of understanding our meaning, does that make the use of emojis a language in its own right? 

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Orange is a migrant word

by Michael Evans

When I was a small boy in Iraq in the 1950s fruit, in particular, loomed large in everyday life. Growing up in a bilingual family, we codeswitched between English and Arabic depending on who you were taking to. Most basic items in daily discourse existed in two sets of vocabulary.

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The myth of English as the language of science?

by Dieuwerke (Dee) Rutgers

In this day and age, it is hard to imagine the world of science without English: The dominance of English as the lingua franca of the international scientific community is generally undisputed, even if the impacts of this dominance are more contested. My aim here is not to make a claim to the contrary: English is indeed the preferred language of scientific communications today. Still, I wonder – might there be more to the ‘language of science’ than meets the proverbial eye? How ‘English’ is our scientific language anyway, and what does this reveal about the history of science? Might our bias towards science published in English be leading to lost knowledge and missed opportunities? What are the less visible and less tangible parts of our scientific endeavours, and what roles do languages play within this?

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Towards a Community-Based Strategy to Support Bilingual Migrant Children across the Lifespan

by Yongcan Liu

The UK is undergoing a period of uncertainty due to the historical vote to leave the European Union in March 2019, which has created both opportunities and challenges. While the government is keen to control borders, it is also actively looking for new ways to support migrants within borders. 

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Learning languages outside of the classroom: a visit to the museum

by Linda Fisher

We all remember the excitement of going on a school trip. Early starts, smelly sandwiches, laughter. Even if it was a very rare "summer lesson" when we were allowed to work outdoors (thanks Mrs Caldwell), that change of scene gave everything an air of adventure and let us lay down memories to savour later in a series of "remember when"s.

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What’s the point in learning languages when we can just use Google translate?

by Karen Forbes

A few days ago, I was asked whether I thought language learning would become redundant in the foreseeable future because of the development of machine learning and translation technology. Or as some of my, shall we say, slightly less enthusiastic former students might have put it: “But what’s the point in learning languages when we can just use Google translate?”

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