University of Gdańsk, POLAND; https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2463-393X
Bibliographic citation: (ISSN 2657-9774) Educational Role of Language Journal. Volume 2022-2(8). LINGUISTIC CONTEXTS AND DIVERSITY IN EDUCATION, Introduction, pp. 4-5
Turbulent times generate numerous challenges and – sometimes somewhat paradoxically and even beneficially – unravel phenomena that have long remained unnoticed and/or not sufficiently taken into account. Such has been the case with language, which despite being taken for granted in the education of different subjects to various age groups around the world becomes a particularly significant issue and acquires a novel status in particular circumstances, ranging from posing a tool of communication and agreement between different groups and nations to constituting an obstacle inhibiting progress and disturbing achievements in learning and teaching of any given content. As we have been faced with a number of unusually tough challenges in recent times such as COVID-19, a war in Europe, migration, political unrest, etc., educators reflect on the toll which these challenges have taken on the world of education. Apart from the – unequivocally most crucial – tragic “face” of the phenomena in question, there are arise questions which may yield a significant educational fruit such as what effects the recent challenges have had on the linguistic sphere of education, what theories and practices have been applied when dealing with the recent challenges, to what extent schooling has become more linked to other educational contexts, or what our joint experience gained throughout these challenging times implies for the future.
The current turbulence in question has drawn the educators’ attention to the man-language-reality link, with one direct consequence of that strong dependence being that one’s stable positioning in the world rests on language. We “reach” the surrounding world with our language and if we lack necessary linguistic resources do to so, we become alienated and detached from multiple linguistically driven processes and developments. As communication between an individual and a community is mediated by language, our possibilities of normal functioning in the world become radically diminished once our “mediator” cannot do “his” job. By the same token, the transmission of cultural symbols is radically inhibited as well as the process of mutual transformations taking place between man, language, community, and culture. It all means that in the opposite situation, that is in a positive scenario with our communication and self-expression not being violated and reduced – especially in the case of linguistically diverse settings and contexts, our image of the world continues to be – via the process of social mediation – created anew, which broadens not only our language per se, but also our educational possibilities, cognitive horizons, and entire experiencing of the world.
The challenges posed by the recent events have been faced in a comparable degree by both learners as well as teachers, which means that any adjustments made on the level of linguistic education need to be bilateral. In sense, the roles of the two groups have merged in that teachers have had a lot to learn by themselves, too, and to acquire – inter alia – abilities to communicate online, to elicit speech from their students frequently not seen, whilst, learners, apart from providing frequent technical feedback not to themselves but to their online instructors, have had to guide their peers and teachers in different ways of presenting – with words, presentations, recordings, etc. – their knowledge, ideas, methods of solving problems, discussing issues, etc. This novel learning and teaching on the part of all participants of educational processes have encompassed all the dimensions covered by the ERL framework, that is – on the level of the Scope Minor – linguistic beliefs, activity, affect, and matrices, and – on the level of the Scope Major – multiple facets pertaining to schooling, culture, methodology, and personality.
This volume of ERL Journal has an extensive geographical scope and provides its readers with a variety of linguistic settings. It content is well reflected by the titles of the two parts: the first, ‘Diverse linguistic contexts’, including papers and reports addressing such issues as the educational inclusion and success of indigenous children, language policies, language production, migration, and the very sense of educational diversity, and the second, ‘Diverse linguistic means’, containing papers and reports relating to digital literacy and pedagogy, children’s literacy developed by joint application of picture books and toys, music as a means of multilingual education, or linguistic practices employed for English-based specific purposes. The volume closes the first four-year cycle of ERLA devoted to the establishment and initial examination of its four fundamental premises (outlined in the introduction to Volume 7). ERLA’s first cycle – with its eight ERL Journal’s volumes – has covered issues falling within the area of experiencing language and multiculturalism, jointly referred under the ERL Framework as communication (Vol. 1 and 2), linguistic identity (Vol. 3 and 4), linguistic diversity (Vol. 5 and 6), and linguistic diversity (Vol. 5 and 6). Accordingly, the next volume will open ERLA’s second cycle, focused on the Scope Minor mentioned above, with ERLA’s and, consequently, also ERL Journal’s yearly foci pertaining to the four strands named. To remind our readers of the premises upon which ERL Journal has been based, we shall be including the graphic shown on the next page in all the volumes published throughout the second cycle.
Educational Role of Language – 4 Fundamental Premises
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