University of Gdańsk, POLAND; https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2463-393X
Bibliographic citation: (ISSN 2657-9774) Educational Role of Language Journal. Volume 2019-2(2). Enhancing multiculturalism in EFL communication, Introduction, pp. 4-5
The experiencing of language, which was the eponymous issue of the first volume and which acquires both an individual and social character, laid the foundations for ERL Journal. It has prompted us, meaning academics involved in the informal so-called “ERL circle”, to seek what can be referred to as the glottodidactic paradigm, the essence of which is consideration of educational phenomena through the prism of language. Its scope is very wide and implies far-reaching interdisciplinarity and assistance of a large community of researchers including theoreticians of education, applied linguists, psycho-, socio- and neuro-linguists, to mention just a few subgroups. ERL Journal remains open to papers by all of them due to the simple fact that only through their systematic and well-informed cooperation can we get “to the heart” of the educational role of language. By referring to the general goal of those whose interests intersect language and education as “a paradigm”, we convey the view that owing to the salience of language across multiple subjects and disciplines, the world of education can well be studied and advanced by application of terms and methods traditionally associated with language and (especially second) language learning.
We welcome and publish both theoretical and empirical papers. By combining the two directions “from theory to practice” and “from practice to theory”, we strive to examine how theoretical knowledge concerning the importance of language is applied in practice, and, conversely, in what ways educational practice informs theory. Such double lenses we see as reflective of educational reality, where theory and practice need to matter in a comparable degree and where their mutual reinforcement – addressed in ERL Journal on an international scale – can be observed on the level of teaching methods, cultural influences, teachers’ and students’ beliefs, and personal understanding of the learning or teaching of any given subject. It is only through a joint analysis of theory and practice that we can arrive at answers to questions which are crucial for the understanding of the linguistic edge of education such as How does the language of schooling support students’ beliefs, activity, affect, and thinking?; How is the intercultural competence developed through first/native and second/foreign language education?; What implications for research and teaching methods follow from the so-called “linguistic turn”?; or, by definition, How personally relevant is the language employed in educational theories and practices?
All the theoretical considerations and empirical studies published in ERL Journal, the common denominator of which is the authors’ pursuit of the educational position of language, contribute to what we have now come to refer to as the ERL framework. Hence, all the “ERL papers” jointly erect a kind of “scaffolding” which – in accordance with the journal’s mission, which is to boost the position of language in education – may lead to the construction of educational systems upon language and how it is acquired/learnt, used, processed and continuously developed. This aspiration makes us, the journal’s editorial team, open to new proposals of how to bridge the gap between linguistic and educational studies, and necessitates publication of both qualitative and quantitative studies falling within the two scopes outlined in the previous volume. Once this gap has been successfully bridged, we shall start observing solutions which from today’s perspective appear very attractive – that is such educational systems occurring around the globe in which predominant questions concerning education are language-oriented and can be exemplified by the following: How do L1 and L2 interplay with each other and all the other subjects?; How much can students say on particular issues?; What words and expressions do students find useful and which of them do they simply (dis)like? or What do teachers believe their students read for?
This volume, centered around MULTICULTURALISM IN COMMUNICATION, follows and complements the previous one in that the eponymous concept, similarly to the category of (personal and social) experience, co-defines today’s reality of the functioning of language in education. It is omnipresent throughout learners’ and teachers’ developmental encounters, so to speak, and yet largely taken for granted and, consequently, not subjected to scientific studies. For this very reason, it appeared to us that our search for the aforementioned glottodidactic paradigm, theoretically-informed as well as practically-directed, needs to proceed from ‘boosting the experiencing of language’ to ‘enhancing multiculturalism in communication’. We presumed that by theoretical consideration and empirical examination of the two volumes’ eponymous concepts we can best pave the way for narrower issues partaking in the ERL framework. The volume strives to do it as comprehensively as possible with two spectrums making up its four parts, that is offering texts which, first, address multiculturalism “on paper”, on the one hand, and in didactic reality, on the other hand, and, second, pertain to what teachers and students believe in and what they actually experience on the level of multiculturalism. Finally, we also present two reviews of publications which fall within the ERL scopes and additionally enrich our perspective of the multi-dimensionality of language learning and its persistently emotional experience.
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