Introducing Language in Use: a Coursebook
Language & Educational Linguistics
A bit more about Educational linguistics
This interdisciplinary subject is concerned with information and solutions — or, at least, justifiable compromises — both at the level of national policy and with respect to what happens when languages are used and taught in classrooms. It includes matters such as the following:
- Fair representation of languages in education, for instance how to reconcile the needs of speakers of South Africa's ten main indigenous languages (one of which, Afrikaans, was a symbol of the earlier white minority regime) with the pressure for international English, which many South Africans want for trade, international relations, sport and the tourist industry
- Achieving a balance in language policy between the demands of national development (including further education), culture, tradition and social harmony
- Ensuring that everyone has a good chance of learning to read and write
- Curriculum planning — ages at which different kinds of study and experience with various languages should be offered; the extent to which teaching in other subject areas is treated as also being language teaching (For instance, in 2003 Malaysia decided that Mathematics and Science would in future be taught through the medium of English, which is not the home language of most pupils.); etc.
- Official attitudes to minority and community languages in school
- Approaches and methods to be used in language teaching: for instance the extent that grammar is explicitly taught in first, second and foreign language classes; the role of ‘phonics’ (correspondences between speech sounds and written letters) in literacy training
- Descriptions of instructional goals: what should learners aim to achieve regarding grammar, pronunciation, meanings, interactional skills, styles and varieties?
- Methods for assessing language proficiency, evaluating courses and screening students for indications of atypical language development
- Ways of diagnosing learning difficulties and devising programmes to enable struggling children to catch up
- Language use as a basis for educational research into classroom practices, e.g. do teachers ask most of the questions or do pupils get to ask questions quite often too?