University of Gdańsk, POLAND; https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2463-393X
Bibliographic citation: (ISSN 2657-9774) Educational Role of Language Journal. Volume 2019-1(1). Boosting the Educational Experiencing of Language, Introduction, pp. 4-5
The educational role of language – the journal’s pivotal theme – is a globally meaningful issue. Its salience and worldwide relevance can be well understood and properly appreciated by joint consideration of the following concepts/positions: (a) the so-called linguistic turn, which occurred in humanities nearly 100 years ago and which stipulates a shift of emphasis from speaking about the world by means of language to an opposite view whereby language becomes understood as an act of changes, as a process of harnessing the world in forms of expression and modification of the world; (b) the interdependence between the three spheres – perceptual (constituted by reality experienced by man), subjective (man experiencing that world), and intersubjective (the sphere of meanings worked out by community and mediating the other two spheres); (c) the assignment of meanings, performed continuously on the individual stratum and resulting in the “narrative turn”, whereby language is a medium thanks to which complex internal narrations convey meanings and each of the subjects creates a different type of the narration about the world ; and (d) the simultaneousness of our world’s formation and language expressed in that “we ourselves are words (…) words are who we are, they extend from our essence and they define our being. They define our place in the world and they define the world in which we are placed” .
The issue in question intersects pedagogy and linguistics and also pertains to other multiple disciplines and subjects which – only if rested upon jointly – can credibly unravel the position of language in education. The degree in which the educational role of language is an interdisciplinary theme leads to two major conclusions: first, it necessitates the involvement of specialists having different – yet complementary – perspectives on it, many of whom can be seen in somewhat bipolar terms, as for, example: educational scientists and linguists, first/native language educators and second/foreign language teachers, theoreticians and practitioners of language, qualitative researchers and quantitative analysts, university academics and primary/secondary school teachers, early education specialists and higher education experts, but also sociolinguists and psycholinguists, syntacticians and phoneticians, speech therapists and language coaches, ethnolinguists, language anthropologists and possibly others; and second, there is a need for a journal combining educational and linguistic studies, which is precisely what the ERL Journal aspires to do. We believe that thanks to the journal filling an important niche, many writers and researchers who has till date struggled with the dilemma as to whether to publish in an education- or language-oriented journal, publish here.
Hence, the ERL Journal addresses the said multi-faceted realm and takes into account the social complexity of the eponymous issue. Published by the International Association for the Educational Role of Language, it reflects encompasses ERLA’s interests comprised of what we refer to as ‘Scope Major’ and ‘Scope Minor’. Under the former, ERL Association – and, as a result, also ERL Journal – focuses (more broadly) on the educational role of language at the level of SCHOOLING, CULTURE, METHODS and PERSONALITY, whereas under the latter – (more narrowly) on language-user perspective by studying language beliefs (what we THINK OF language), language activity (what we DO WITH language), language affect (how we FEEL ABOUT language),and language matrices of reality interpretation (how we UNDERSTAND THROUGH language), with all the four areas complementing and supporting one another. In our efforts to combine eight areas of the two scopes (also referred to as ‘strands’ in the Journal), we strive to retain geographical extensiveness and balance on multiple levels, and to have a reader-friendly and ground-breaking character, with the former achieved by means of an approachable language and the latter by promotion of innovative papers highlighting the educational role of language. Technically speaking, we assume publication of two types of volumes: regular issues covering any one or more of 4 strands of the Scope Major (Module 1) or 4 strands of the Scope Minor (Module 2), and special issues edited by academics providing a template-based volume outline.
This – launch – volume exemplifies the range of issues falling within the aforementioned extensive field and runs across different areas, which, despite seeming divergent, share a lot. In this first volume we emphasise the category of learners’ EXPERIENCING OF LANGUAGE at the level of language content, digital interaction, speaking and writing. We view it as a highly suitable start of our joint interdisciplinary “journey”, following the previous “adventures” in the form of ERL Conferences, ERL Network and ERL Association. The concept of language experience renders it possible to explain in perhaps the simplest form what the ERL Journal is about: it has been initiated to study and share how learners and teachers from across the globe experience the educational position of language. Accordingly, this volume gathers 13 papers by authors from different continents relating to various dimensions of the educational world, that is to language in and outside the classroom, language skills, schoolbooks, and virtual reality. Additionally, the volume includes one review of a book whose interdisciplinary character can be seen as representative of the ERL field, and one report representing the “ERL story” from the position of one of our regulars, who has participated in all the ERL conferences held so far and has also been involved in ERL Journal’s strands coordination. We leave the interpretation of all the papers and the two extras to our readers, whom we also encourage to submit their own papers presenting their own views on the eponymous concept. We hope that the ERL Journal will serve the examination and the position of language in education.
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