2001-03-30Konferenzveröffentlichung DOI: 10.18452/1079
Second order learning gains from virtual, bilingual teaching
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Europe, increasingly, is becoming a place for people with the skills to conduct their business or social lives bilingually, and even multilingually. Often, people may communicate jointly through an indigenous tongue and an internationally used language such as English, French or German. Evidence suggests that communicating in this way can enhance the process of learning. What does bilingualism mean? Is it enough to assume knowledge of two languages? Arguably not. Useful and transferable bilingual skills incorporate the ability to both react and proact across the language boundary. An emerging skill set, for use in public and commercial sectors, will include listening, reading, assimilating, analysing, and synthesising within a hybrid language environment, and a developing confidence in how and when to present information bilingually. Many University students, across a wide range of disciplines, will need to acquire these skills, and modern communication mechanisms lend themselves to the challenge. The rapid emergence across the world of a virtualisation in communication mechanisms provides a perfect stimulus for the drive to give these bilingual phenomena serious attention. It is argued that the very learning process itself can be improved. A teaching approach based on virtual, bilingual components is proposed. This approach appears to be suitable for both traditional on-campus delivery and, particularly, for the emerging on-line channels used for despatching knowledge and skills. Exploiting technical developments in voice recognition, videoconferencing and managed learning environments will support this type of learning extremely well. A pilot study is examined. This approach could indeed provide an additional, modern dimension to the range of situations that embrace the movement towards bilingualism. In the longer term, it could provide a significant contribution to the culture of multilingualism throughout Europe and the World.
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