What do we mean by ‘Boosting the Position of Language in Education’?
Our understanding of the need to boost the position of language in education rests on multiple grounds, the main of which can be comprised under the following premises:
[Premise 1] Language shapes one’s identity and understanding of the world.
[Premise 2] All education rests on language.
[Premise 3] Every teacher is a language teacher.
[Premise 4] Language merits a special position in education.
What naturally follows from the considerations above is that the position of language needs to be boosted on different levels (ranging from its one-off classroom uses to its pivotal role in life-changing processes):
1. on the INSTRUCTIONAL level: Language needs to be “invited” more into classrooms, with students’ (personality-changing) experience of spoken and written word being brought to the fore by teachers of different language and subjects, and language being viewed as the key element constituting students’ reality and enabling sense-making, genuine learning, and knowledge construction;
2. on the SYSTEMIC level: Language needs to be assigned a paradigmatic role in the construction of hybrid educational systems, with its holistic developmental potential being recognized across the educational board and its interdisciplinary presence being the basis for educational alternatives resting on critlcality, equality of languages, plurilingual and transdisciplinary literacy & oracy;
3. on the CULTURAL level: Language needs to be viewed as the platform of cultural change and intercultural communication, with cultural diversity resting predominantly on language and the quality of educational systems depending on the level of subject literacy & oracy being the fundamental indicator of effective teaching and meaningful learning;
4. on the SOCIETAL level: Language needs to be prioritized as the dominant “player” in civilizational change, with its omnipresence in social life serving international cooperation and formation of learners’ and teachers’ linguistic (culturally-conditioned) identities, and language determining the equalization of educational opportunities and thus fostering democracy.