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Routes into languages: where are they for community languages?

McPake, Joanna and Sachdev, Itesh (2008) Routes into languages: where are they for community languages? In: School of African and Oriental Studies Conference: Languages of the Wider World: Valuing Diversity, 2008-09-15 - 2008-09-16. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The Community Languages in Higher Education report, funded by 'Routes Into Languages', mapped provision and investigated the needs and aspirations of community language learners in higher education in England using a multi-methodological approach. The main findings suggested that though there is currently provision for 81 languages, most of this is organised for foreign language learners, and community language learners are often discouraged or barred from joining courses on the basis that provision is not suitable for them. There are no degree courses in the main community languages in use in England, though there are some professional and post-graduate courses which require advanced levels of competence in some community languages. These findings are critically discussed with specific recommendations in terms of (i) meeting needs and aspirations of stakeholders; (ii) teaching and learning needs and challenges; (iii) professional education provision; and (iv) policies and strategies concerning languages in higher education. We propose a broader vision of languages encompassing the interests of community and foreign language learners amongst national policy-making bodies, decision-makers and communities, and breaking down artificial distinctions between the two areas, thus benefiting all learners. Our recommendations also involve improving provision and initiating awareness raising activities about benefits accruing from investment in community languages.