the international language association

Teaching Languages in a Multilingual Society: Issues and solutions

It seems almost too easy to say that we live in a global society. People move from country to country in search of work, in search of a better life, to escape disaster or persecution in their homeland, or sometimes they simply visit and decide to stay. For the language education this produces a whole series of challenges. At the political level there are many questions: which languages to teach, what kind of language user does society need; what resources to direct towards a growing need for tuition. At the practitioner level we are faced with the issues of how to work with an increasing number of needs and with students who often have vastly different expectations of what education is.

That year’s ICC conference offered a timely spotlight on issues surrounding plurilingualism and the multilingual society. As an INGO comprising members from many fields in language education, its focus is on the practical rather than the political. The conference approached the issues under four main themes: integration; classroom practice; materials development and evaluation. With speakers from the worlds of publishing, intercultural communication, education management, ICT in education and those with a range of teaching expertise, the conference offered an opportunity for lively debate on a theme that will influence our concept of language education for many years to come.

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