Intercultural Language Teaching in an Era of Internationalization

Intercultural Language Teaching in an Era of Internationalization

Michael Byram (University of Durham, UK & University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8128-4.ch005

Abstract

Internationalization is on the lips of educationists, especially those in higher education. It is a phenomenon throughout the world, and though there are variations in the practice, there is much similarity in the rhetoric. In practice, internationalization has largely, until recently, been a matter of structural changes rather than having an effect on curriculum. One structural feature often presented as part of internationalization is to impose or strongly recommend language learning for all. In this chapter, the author's intention is to examine more carefully what internationalization might mean when educational values are taken into consideration—the values of internationalism rather than internationalization—and then to discuss and illustrate the kind of language teaching which addresses not just “communication” but a values education that is based on internationalism.
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Conceptualising Internationalization

The internationalisation of higher education is widely reported and discussed (Egron-Polak & Hudson, 2014). Academic writings on the topic are most often conceptual and theoretical; empirical investigations are unfortunately less frequent. Furthermore, in the earlier phases, as Sanderson (2011, p. 661) points out: ‘Most of the research that has been carried out on internationalisation in higher education over the past two decades has focused on activities at the organisational level and the social and academic experiences of international students’. In some recent work, a new emphasis has been on curriculum and pedagogy (e.g. Ryan, 2012a) with a continuing interest in strategy or in the relationship between research and practice (e.g. Streitwieser & Ogden, 2016)2. I shall attempt here to draw attention to curriculum matters and language teaching in particular, and to suggest how the concept of ‘internationalism’ helps to clarify curriculum aims and purposes, and thus to complement the focus on organisation and student experience.

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