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Autumn 1998 - Issue No. #32 (p.4)

Abstracts of global education articles from language teaching journals

The following abstracts summarize articles on global issue topics found in professional language teaching journals.

European Perspectives on Modern Language Learning: An Introduction

by J.L.M. Trim

Language Teaching Abstracting Journal. Vol 31. No 3. July 1998. UK

In this short article, the author describes the Language Learning for European Citizenship project (1989-96) and its work on devising a Common European Framework for Language Learning, Teaching and Assessment. He explains how European policy for the teaching of modern languages is based on the Council of Europe's Recommendation R(82)18 which states that:

  • the rich heritage of diverse languages and cultures in Europe is a valuable resource to be protected and developed, and a major educational effort is needed to convert that diversity from a barrier to communication into a source of mutual enrichment and understanding

  • it is only through a better knowledge of European modern languages that it will be possible to facilitate communication and interaction among Europeans in order to promote European mobility, mutual understanding and cooperation, and to overcome prejudice and discrimination.

He argues that limiting language learning to English as a global means of communication is insufficient, and urges Europeans to learn, experience and value the rich variety of other European languages and cultures.

The Sociocultural Message of Language Textbooks

by Hezi Brosh (Tel Aviv University, Israel)

Foreign Language Annals. Vol 30. No 3. US

In this article, the author investigates explicit and implicit sociocultural messages conveyed by foreign language textbooks, with a specific focus on Arabic language textbooks used in Israeli secondary schools. Twelve Arabic-as-a-foreign-language textbooks taught to Jewish youth in Israeli junior high schools were examined. The author found that these texts present Arab society in a partial, subjective, and unbalanced manner which does not reflect the new reality in the Middle East in the era of peace nor contemporary Arab culture. The findings are seen as especially significant since Arabic language textbooks constitute one of the main sources of knowledge about Arab society for Israeli young people.

Stereotype et Identite (Stereotype and Identity)

by Maddalena de Carlo (Rome, Italy)

Etudes de Linguistique Appliquee. No. 107. 1997. Paris, France

In this article (written in French), the author discusses the relationship between learner identity and stereotypical representations of "the other" in foreign language teaching. She argues that issues of "self" and "other" can be critically addressed and challenged, and suggests a number of activities for doing this in the foreign language classroom which can lead students to reflect critically on the construction of stereotypes. These activities include role plays and interviews which encourage students to put themselves in the position of "the other" and to recognise how their stereotypes of other groups arise.

"Ethical Aspects of Language Testing"

Language Testing: Special Issue

Vol. 14. No 3. 1997. UK

This issue of the UK journal Language Testing features a variety of articles which deal with the topic of ethical aspects of language testing. Articles printed in the issue include:

  • What does test bias have to do with fairness? - Cathie Elder (University of Melbourne)

  • In search of the ethical test. - Bryan Lynch (University of Melbourne)

  • The ethics of gatekeeping tests - Bernard Spolsky (Bar Ilan University)

  • Testing methods & consequences: are they ethical? are they fair? - E. Shohamy (Tel Aviv U.)

  • Washback, impact and validity: ethical concerns. - Liz Hamp-Lyons (Hong Kong Poly. Univ.)

  • The political dimension of English testing in Australia. - L. Hawthorne (Univ. of Melbourne)

Resistance to English in Puerto Rico

by Arlene Clachar (Inter-American University, Puerto Rico)

Linguistics and Education. Vol 9. No 1. 1997. US)

In this article, the author attempts to explain how, despite the fact that Puerto Rico has been under US sovereignty for almost a century and that English is a compulsory school subject from grades 1 through 12, only 20% of the island's population is functionally bilingual. She attributes the conflict and resistance to learning English in Puerto Rico to the strong sense of nationalism felt by Puerto Ricans and to their desire to maintain Spanish as part of their ethnic identity and their intergroup distinctiveness.

Journal Contact Information

Etudes de Linguistique Appliquee. Didier, 6 rue de la Sorbonne, 75005 Paris, FRANCE.

Foreign Language Annals. ACTFL, 6 Executive Plaza, Yonkers, NY 10701-6801 USA.

Language Teaching. Cambridge Univ. Press, Edinburgh Bldg. Shaftesbury Rd., Cambridge CB2 2RU, UK.

Language Testing. Arnold Inc., 338 Euston Road, London NW1 3BH England, UK.

Linguistics and Education. Ablex Publishing, 355 Chestnut Street, Norwood NJ 07648 USA.


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Kip A. Cates, Tottori University, Koyama, Tottori City, JAPAN 680-8551
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