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The educational promise of the language center in the age of globalization


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Title: The educational promise of the language center in the age of globalization

The educational promise of the language center in
the age of globalization
  • Claire Kramsch, UC Berkeley
  • Language Centers of the Future
  • UC Davis Language Learning Center
    14 October 2013

  • Introduction Historical background
  • Samples from language centers mission statements
  • The challenge of globalization in FL education
  • Back to basics what is language, language
    teaching, language learning?
  • New possible roles for the language center
  • Conclusion The difficult questions of the future.

Introduction Historical background
  • The legacy of the language lab opportunities and
    constraints. Great opportunities for exploring
    instructional technology and CmC. But risk of
    ghettoization of language teaching and
    reductionist view of IT.
  • Support for disenfranchised language faculty and
    professional development. But professional
    development is not the same as intellectual
  • Space for pedagogic and technological innovation
    and experimentation. But learning conditions have
    changed radically. Who is asking the difficult
    questions brought on by globalization?
  • Needed A space for conceptualizing the
    fundamental epistemological and disciplinary
    restructuring necessary to meet the demands of
    meaning making, communication and literacy both
    in FLs and in English in a global age.

Samples from language centers mission statements
  • At the Language Center, we prepare all Stanford
    students to have a foreign language capability
    that enhances their academic program and enables
    them to live, work, study, and research in a
    different country. Stanford students need to be
    able to initiate interactions with persons from
    other cultures but also to engage with them on
    issues of mutual concern.
  • In order to accomplish this goal for Stanford
    students, the Language Center is
    proficiency-oriented and standards-based. A
    proficiency orientation refers to emphasizing
    doing rather than knowing. We try to make sure
    that students learn to speak, listen, read, and
    write in ways that are immediately useful in a
    real world setting. Standards-based refers to the
    National Standards on Foreign Language Learning
    that attend not only to linguistic dimensions,
    but also to connections that learners make
    between languages, cultures, and various academic
    areas comparisons between languages and
    cultures and a knowledge of communities that
    speak a particular language.

  • Founded in 1994, the Berkeley Language Centers
    mission is to support the learning and teaching
    of heritage and foreign languages on the Berkeley
    campus and, where appropriate, in the University
    of California system. To meet this overarching
    goal, the BLC employs numerous strategies to
    improve teaching effectiveness and enhance the
    learning environment
  • ? Provide language instructors with opportunities
    to learn of new developments in the fields of
    sociolinguistics, language pedagogy, and second
    language acquisition theory
  • ? Support research by language instructors and
    its dissemination at professional meetings and in
    professional journals
  • ? Support faculty production of new language
    learning materials
  • ? Provide faculty and students with
    state-of-the-art learning facilities and
  • ? Provide faculty and students with access to
    language learning materials
  • ? Maintain a library and media archive of
    materials for language teaching and research.

  • RICE UNIVERSITYs Center for the Study of
    Languages (CSL)
  • seeks to develop and promote excellent language
    teaching and learning for twelve languages
    through the third year of instruction with new
    technologies and the current national standards
    for foreign language education playing an
    integral part of the syllabus. The principal
    objective of our programs is to educate students
    who are linguistically and culturally equipped to
    communicate successfully.

  • The administrative home of the Doctoral Program
    in Second Language Acqusition (SLA), the Language
    Institute spearheads collaborative projects and
    instructional initiatives including
  • -research studies on foreign language education
    such as the 2009-13 study, funded by the U.S.
    Department of Education International Research
    and Studies Program, to investigate the alignment
    of postsecondary student goals with the goals of
    the U.S. Standards for Foreign Language Learning,
    and a study, with International Academic
    Programs, to research the long-term impact of
    study abroad
  • -course and curriculum development initiatives
    such as distance, online language courses,
    including hybrid Chinese courses for high school
    students, online Chinese courses for business
    professionals, instructional materials
    development in languages such as Kazakh, Russian,
    Persian, Swahili and Uzbek
  • -outreach programs such as World Languages Day
    for Wisconsin K-12 schools and the broader
  • -workshops and invited lectures such as the
    2012-13 series on Language, Cognition and
    Sociality and bi-weekly Language Over Lunch
    brownbag presentations
  • -the Russian Flagship Center, an undergraduate
    program that provides opportunities for
    highly-motivated students of all majors to
    achieve a professional level of competence in
    Russian by graduation
  • -acacemic and career advising for undergraduate
    students and resources for university academic

  • CERCLL U. of Arizona

  • Center for Educational Resources
    in Culture, Language and Literacy (CERCLL) is a
    Title VI Language Resource Center. We research
    culture, language and literacy within less
    commonly taught languages. We also provide
    educators with teaching resources and
    opportunities for meaningful professional

  • YALE Center for Language Study
  • The CLS is a place for the language community to
    share ideas, bridge cultures, and further the
    study of languages at Yale.
  • The CLS is offering a new Certificate in Second
    Language Acquisition designed for Yale graduate
    students in departments of language literature
    to provide a comprehensive training program in
    SLA and language teaching methodology.

  • BROWN UNIVERSITY Center for Language Studies.
  • Since 1987, the Center for Language Studies has
    facilitated contacts and cooperation among
    faculty with teaching and research interests in
    second languages. Our mission is to strengthen
    language study at Brown University through
    promoting research, developing teaching
    techniques, courses, programs, and learning
    resources, and creating new curricular
    configurations. CLS supports the application of
    technologies in language learning, promotes the
    professional development of language faculty and
    graduate students. Members include teaching
    faculty from every language department on campus.
    CLS is the academic home for American Sign
    Language, Arabic, Catalan, English for
    International Teaching Assistants, Hindi/Urdu,
    and Modern Persian. In addition, the Center often
    offers non-credit language courses.  For academic
    year 2012-13 we will be offering non-credit
    courses in Kiswahili and Turkish.

  • In sum Some of the traditional roles of the
    language center have been
  • provider of teaching services (Stanford, Brown)
  • testing services (Stanford)
  • delivering instruction (Brown, Stanford, Rice)
  • in-service training of teachers (Brown, Stanford,
  • producing innovative pedagogic materials (U of
    AZ, Brown)
  • research and resource clearinghouse (Berkeley, UW
    Madison, U of AZ)
  • Language Centers have been called upon to
    promote, improve, professionalize language
    learning teaching, commonly conceived - the
    how. They have not played a role in
    reconceptualizing the why and what for of foreign
    language instruction, the internationalization of
    American education, or the increasingly
    multilingual nature of research and education in
    a global world.

The challenge of globalization for FL education
  • Globalization
  • Mobility and migration of people, capital, goods
    and knowledge
  • Block, D, Gray J. Holborow M.
    2012.Neoliberalism and Applied Linguistics.
    R. Duchene,A. Heller,M.(Eds) 2012 Language in
    Late Capitalism. Pride and profit. R.
  • Global information technologies, 24/7 media,
    ubiquity and simultaneity
  • Coupland, N (Ed.). 2010 Handbook of Language and
    Globalization. Wiley-Blackwell.

    Block, D. 2010. Globalization and Language
    Teaching. Ibidem 287-304.
    Block D
    Cameron, D. (Eds.) 2002. Globalization and
    Language Teaching. Routledge.
  • Increased diversity and rapid change, i.e.,
    pragmatic unpredictability, semiotic uncertainty,
    authentic inauthenticity
    Kramsch, C. 2012. Imposture
    A late modern notion in post-structuralist SLA
    research. Applied Linguistics 335

    Kramsch, C. 2012.
    Authenticity and legitimacy in multilingual SLA.
    Journal of Critical Multilingualism Studies.
  • Kramsch, C. 2013. History and memory in the
    development of intercultural competence. In
    F.Sharifian Jarmani (Eds.) Language and
    Intercultural Communication in the New Era.

  • Cultural hybridity, linguistic multiplicity,
    explosion of speech genres -Briggs,
    C. Bauman, R. 1992. Genre, intertextuality and
    social power. Journal of Linguistic
    Anthropology 22, 131-172.

  • -Ward, Steven. 2012. Neoliberalism and the
    global restructuring of knowledge and education.
  • New ways of talking about language, about
    culture. From language as use-value to language
    as exchange-value.
    - Heller, M. 2003.
    Globalization, the new economy, and the
    commodification of language and identity.
    Journal of Sociolinguistics 74, 473-92.
  • - Heller, M. and Duchene, A. Pride and profit
    Changing discourses of language, capital and
    nation-state. In Duchene, A. Heller, M.
    Language in Late Capitalism. Routledge
  • - Thurlow, C. Jaworski, A. 2010. Tourism
    Discourse. Language and global mobility.
    Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Proliferation of meaning making practices,
    hypersemioticization of everyday life

  • The new skills required
  • cognitive, social, cultural, emotional, aesthetic
  • expectation of diversity and difference,
  • multiplicity of voices,
  • tolerance of ambiguity,
  • awareness of ones own subject position,
  • sense of history,
  • questioning dominant ideologies
  • The challenges lack of teacher preparation
    expectations of students language ideology in
    the public at large lack of consensus on what
    language is and what language does

What is language? language teaching?
  • FL instructors at UC Berkeley discover that they
    have quite different views of what they are in
    the business of doing.

  • Urdu Language, basically/fundamentally, is a
    means/medium of communication through words and
    sentences. Language teaching is to try to enable
    learners to communicate through words, sentences
    and paragraphs in target language and to
    understand what is spoken or written through
    words, sentences and paragraphs.
  • Q. A rose is a rose is a rose. Really?
  • Chinese Language is medium and message, form
    and content. It encapsulates the values, beliefs,
    past and present histories of a community sharing
    the same set of symbols. Language is a cultural
    product, a systems of forms that people in a
    community with shared cultural behavior, values,
    and mind utilize or manipulate to express ideas
    and feelings to fulfill particular purposes in
    particular sociocultural contexts
  • Q. We are teachers of language, not culture.

  • German Language is what we live, speak, read,
    see, hear, feel, taste, play with, wonder about.
    Yes, it is a tool to communicate, but so much
    more it lets us express emotions, feelings,
    thoughts, upbringings, cultures, worldviews.
    Language helps us to see and understand the world
    we live in, its people, and ourselves. Language
    teaching is to make learners curious and enable
    them to change perspective, learn about others
    and themselves, become tolerant of ambiguity,
    appreciate the aesthetics of a language and get a
    sense about what language represents and can do.
  • Q. Learning German as political/moral/aesthetic
  • Italian In terms of its social attribute,
    language is what makes us different from other
    species, what makes us human beings. We use it to
    describe the world that we live in, to express
    our emotions and deliver our thoughts. Language
    also helps us get a better understanding of other
    cultures and people. Overall, language is a
    lively and changing subject.
  • Q. Italian as a new way of representing, not
    constructing/acting upon, the world?

  • Danish Language is a code consisting of
    symbols/elements. Different codes connected with
    different (often nation states) groups, used to
    communicate. Symbols imbued with meanings beyond
    the symbolic value. Learning a language is
    learning to crack the code.
  • Q. How do you go from cracking the code to using
    the code?
  • French Language is not only a closed linguistic
    system made up of linguistic structures and parts
    of speech, it is also a living mode of
    communication and a way of constructing social
    and cultural realities, real and imagined worlds,
    and historical and social identities.
  • Q. How do you test the ability to construct new
    realities, worlds and identities?

National Standards (1996/2006)
  • Foreign language instruction in the 21st century
    should strive to reach five goals.
  • Communication
  • 1.1 provide and obtain information, express
    feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions
  • 1.2 understand and interpret written and spoken
    language on a variety of topics.
  • 2. Cultures
  • 2.1 understand the relationship between the
    practices and perspectives,
  • 2.2 between the products and perspectives of the
    culture studied.
  • 3. Connections
  • 3.1 connect with other disciplines and acquire
    information through the foreign language
  • 3.2 acquire information and recognize the
    distinctive viewpoints only available through the
    foreign languages and its cultures.
  • Comparisons
  • 4.1 understand the nature of language and 4.2 the
    concept of culture through comparison with their
  • 5. Communities
  • 5.1 participate in multilingual communities at
    home and around the world, both within and beyond
    the school setting
  • 5.2 become life-long learners by using the
    language for personal enjoyment and enrichment.

  • Magnan, S. S., Murphy, D., Sahakyan, N. (in
    press). Goals of collegiate learners and the
    standards for foreign language learning. Modern
    Language Journal Monograph.
  • Many lower division FL learners seem to be only
    interested in communication and communities,
    NOT cultures, connections, or comparisons.
  • Communication
  • What characterizes the global network society
    is the contraposition between the logic of the
    global net and the affirmation of a multiplicity
    of local selves (37). . .The common culture of
    the global network society is a culture of
    protocols of communication enabling communication
    between different cultures on the basis not of
    shared values but of the sharing of the value of
    communication (Castells, M. Communication
    Culture, 200938 my emphasis).
  • FL educators seem to be confronted now with the
    task of having to teach two kinds of culture a
    global culture of communication for the sake of
    communication and local cultures of shared
  • Foreign Cultures
  • In todays world of multicompetence (Cook 1992),
    it is difficult to define what is foreign, a
    label we can no longer relegate to languages
    other than English or to cultures other than an
    essentialized and idealized notion of what is
    American. (Magnan et al., in press)

  • Connections.
  • Students have an understanding of the
    constitutive view of language study (Language
    represents what we are, think, and reveal about
    ourselves) as opposed to an instrumental view
    (Language consists of communicative and
    information gathering skills) but they dont
    extend the relativity of language and thought to
    the knowledge they acquire in English during
    their academic career.
  • Comparisons
  • Students have a healthy distrust of stereotypes,
    but they seem to want to dispel them through
    direct contact with members of other communities
    on an individual basis and by avoiding divisive
    topics rather than exploring differences and
    negotiating global misunderstandings.
  • Communities
  • Most valued goal for college students learning a
    FL or HL, but the term no longer represents
    speech communities bound by national boundaries.
    With global communication networks, communities
    have for the most part become deterritorialized,
    portable communities, real and imagined, that
    people carry in their heads.

The MLA Report (2007)
  • FL teachers in the U.S. dont seem to have had to
    grapple yet with issues of global English,
    multilingual encounters, historical identities,
    and the neoliberal commodification of language.
    Nor have they really dealt critically with the
    injunction of the MLA Report (2007)
  • Students are educated to function as informed
    and capable interlocutors with educated native
    speakers in the target language. They learn to
    comprehend speakers of the target language as
    members of foreign societies and to grasp
    themselves as Americans that is, as members of
    a society that is foreign to others. They also
    learn to relate to fellow members of their own
    society who speak languages other than English.
  • Six years later
  • Isnt the monolingual monocultural native speaker
  • In a global world, what is foreign?
  • In multicultural America, what is an American?
  • On the global stage, is English a language or a
    basic skill?

Whither FL education in an age of globalization?
  • Globalization prompts us to ask new questions
    about the ultimate goals of
  • language instruction in an era of
    multilingualism, heteroglossia etc. Language
  • learners have to learn, as the 2007 MLA Report
    advocates, how to operate
  • between languages (p.35), i.e., how to develop a
    linguistic and cultural
  • competence across multilingual contexts. While
    this multilingual imperative has
  • been the theme of a special issue of the MLJ on
    multilingualism (Jasone Cenoz
  • and Durk Gorter 2011), and while applied
    linguists have put forth a range of
  • suggestions for embracing multilingualism (from
    Auer and Weis plurilingualism
  • to Blommaerts truncated multilingualism, to
    Makoni and Pennycooks
  • disinventing national languages, to post colonial
    scholars heterolingualism, and
  • Creese Blackledges notion of translanguaging),
    such multilingualism has not
  • yet been taken seriously by foreign language
    teachers in departments of
  • foreign languages and literatures at educational
    institutions. But see Special Issue of the
    Modern Language Journal (981, 2014) on the

5. New possible roles for the Language Center
  • In addition to being an L2 Pedagogic Center where
    L2 skills are researched and taught , and FL
    teachers are trained, the Language Center should
  • a Language Research Center for the exploration
    of how knowledge gets constructed through
    different symbolic systems, among which L1, L2,

  • - What knowledge/language ideology gets
  • through our foreign language pedagogies
  • through our textbooks and other
    instructional materials
  • What is at stake in the construction,
    transmission and dissemination of
  • knowledge through meaning-making symbolic systems
    and practices of inquiry that are different in
    different societies/cultures ? How is knowledge
    constructed in English different from knowledge
    constructed in French or German? For the
    sciences and engineering, see Baumgratz, G.
    Mobility in higher education Cross-cultural
    communication issues. European Journal of
    Education 283, (1993) 327-228.

  • Initiate both undergraduate/ graduate students
    and faculty to the field of applied language
    studies, broadly conceived.
  • Find links between the humanities and the social
    sciences, the social sciences and the hard
    sciences (see Big Ideas courses), foreign
    languages and English through focus on Big L
    Language in the construction of knowledge.
    Issues of textuality, discourse, style, genre,
    register, perspective and point of view.
  • Help familiarize undergraduates, graduate
    students and faculty with the big questions
    raised by globalization the bilingual mind,
    multilingualism, (in)authenticity,
    code-switching, language ideology, the economy of
    symbolic systems old and new ways of learning.
  • If faculty and grad students dont want to tackle
    these big questions, engage the undergraduates.
    They are hungry for this kind of knowledge !
  • Help redefine internationalization as reframing
    the questions, not diversifying the answers see
    St.Olaf, Waterloo U., Indiana U.

The Language Center A forum for discussing the
role of Language in a global economy
  • Who, if not the Language Centers, can ask the
    difficult questions of the future
  • Is global English an aid or a threat to foreign
    language study? (see J.House languages for
    communication vs. languages for identification in
    English as a Lingua Franca a threat to
    multilingualism? Journal of Sociolinguistics 74
    (2003), 556-578)
  • I already know Spanish, why do I need to take
    Russian? (see M.Holquists big L argument)
  • I just want to know enough German to talk to
    graffiti artists in Germany why do I need the
    whole of German grammar? (see S.B.Heaths
  • How do I understand who I am, as a bilingual,
    multilingual, multidialectal speaker, with my
    parents in China, my cousins in Berlin and my
    future in California? Wheres home?
  • I have just come back from 5 years in the
    Marines and 1 year deployment in Iraq and I want
    to understand the way language and power have
    shaped my life in the military

  • While it seems reasonable to downplay the
    educated native speaker as the goal of
    instruction, what will take its place as the goal
    of instruction with regard to language
    performance measures?
  • If we are to teach how to operate between
    languages, are we no longer to worry about
    control over such linguistic features as verbal
    aspect, mood, question formation, word order,
    pragmatic knowledge etc.?
  • In a post-national era, what should we mean by
    culture? (a purely social/anthropological
    category? A psychological category? A humanistic
    category?) and how does culture interface with
  • - What is the appropriate knowledge base
    for a foreign language educator?
  • How can we make better use of our foreign-born
    NS instructors, whose experience as global
    citizens is currently unacknowledged and
  • - Discussing Hiroshima in Japanese language
    classes? No way ! Really?

  • All these questions capture the anxiety of
    foreign language learners and teachers faced with
    the weakening of national boundaries, the spread
    of English and its attendant global neoliberal
    ideologies. The future will demand more
  • Reflexivity
  • Attention to socio-historic variation and
  • Attention to textuality, discourse, stylistics
  • Multiple perspectives on events
  • Memory and subjectivity
  • Trans-lation of all kinds (across codes, modes,
    modalities, discourses, genres )
  • So why do tests only focus on grammar and
    vocabulary? the last bastion of certainty ? a
    safeguard against inconvenient truths?
  • The Language Center can serve as a forum to
    discuss these issues.

Conclusion The global/local Language Center
  • Equally distant from a totalizing tourist gaze on
    foreign languages and cultures (taught in
    standard L2), and from a totalizing view of
    Language with a big L (taught in English), each
    foreign language presents a unique case study in
    local particularity, starting with its unique
    grammar right up to its unique history and
    literature. The Language Center must make sure
    it remains both universal in its relevance and
    particular in its approach. It must offer both a
    theory of the actual practice and an
    actualization of the theory.
  • Above all it must respond to the need to mediate
    between languages and fields in the Humanities
    and the Social Sciences. Its patron saint ? St.

  • Jerome
  • In Durers engravingyou sit hunched over your
    desk,writing, with an extraneoushalo around
    your head.You have everything you need a
    mindat ease with itself, and the
    generoussunlight on pen, page, ink,the few
    chairs, the vellum-bound books,the skull on the
    windowsill that keeps youhonest (memento
    mori).What you are concerned within your subtle
    craft is not simplythe life of languageto
    takethose boulderlike nouns of the Hebrewtext,
    those torrential verbs,into your ear and remake
    themin the hic-haec-hoc of your timebut an
    innermost truth.  For yearsyou listened when the
    Spirit wasthe faintest breeze, not even
    thebreath of a sound.  And wonderedhow the word
    of God could be claspedbetween the covers of a

  • Now, by the latticed window,absorbed in your
    work,the word becomes flesh, becomes
    sunlightand leaf mold, the smell of fresh
    breadfrom the bakery down the lane,the rumble
    of an oxcart, the unconsciousritual of a young
    womancombing her hair, the brayof a mule, an
    infant cryingthe whole vibrant life
  • of Bethlehem, outside your door.None of it is an are sitting in the magic circleof
    yourself.  In a corner, the smallwatchdog is
    curled up, dreaming,and beside it, on the
    threshold, the liondozes, with half-closed
    eyes.Stephen Mitchell. Engraving above by
    Albrecht Durer.