Language learning and teaching
The complexity of language is very apparent to anyone involved in the learning and teaching of language. Compared with acquiring one’s mother tongue, learning to use language in our highly literate society is not nearly as automatic, a reality all the more challenging for a child with an impairment. Learning an additional or foreign language presents other challenges, and opportunities. For some children, the existence of a home language has much potential if properly tapped in school.
It’s important to understand why language is perceived as difficult in the UK, given the reality that the majority of people, globally, are multilingual. Progress in language education depends on collaboration between teachers of language and researchers of language, with significant advances coming from teacher-researchers. At heart is the question of what makes for successful language learning? How much does it depend on good teaching? (What is ‘good teaching’?) What other motivational factors are important? Are new technologies being utilized to their fullest?
Education extends beyond the classroom, as well. This ranges from work in the community to support migrants through language to the development of online resources for training interpreters and for supporting the work of translators.