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Linguistic/Cultural Diversity in Teaching and Learning: Why it matters

Embracing Linguistic Diversity
Language and Society
Pedagogical linguistics
research talks
Teaching Languages
Wednesday 18 January 2023, 15:00-17:00
Microsoft Teams (online) (please register via link below)

Linguistic/Cultural Diversity in Teaching and Learning: Why it matters

This is the first in a series of events discussing the role of linguistic and cultural diversity in teaching and learning. In this event, we are delighted to welcome five speakers from diverse disciplinary areas whose work intersects with this topic 


Standardised English and linguistic diversity in teaching: Challenging myths, misconceptions and misrecognition 

Julia Snell (School of English, University of Leeds) and Ian Cushing (Edge Hill University) 

In this talk we challenge the idea that ‘Standard English’ is an objective set of linguistic forms appropriate to formal and academic contexts and dichotomous with ‘non-Standard English’. We treat it instead as an ideology that has stark consequences for teachers and students. We consider the workings of standard language ideology in education by drawing on our research in three key areas: (1) the role of Ofsted (the School’s inspectorate) as institutional language police; (2) the importance of academically challenging discussion – ‘dialogue’ for learning; and (3) word gap ideologies. 


Developing a Language Policy 

Bee Bond and Yolanda Cerda (Language Centre, School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, University of Leeds) 

We want our University to be a place that is truly sensitive to the structural inequalities perpetuated in our linguistic and pedagogic practices, ultimately to the benefit of all staff and students. Inspired by the Language Policy introduced in Jersey (2022), we suggest that Leeds could develop a similar policy, celebrating diversity and showing how policy principles might have a positive effect on communities and in classrooms. In this session, we would hope to garner support and begin collaborations that enable us to draw on the expertise within our own community. The ultimate aim would be to develop an evidence-based and research informed language policy that can support, recognise and enable access to the linguistic richness of our university community.  


Decolonising language and communication in the medicine and health professions: An educationalist’s thought experiment  

Valerie Farnsworth (School of Medicine, University of Leeds; Decolonising Academic Lead)

Undergraduate medicine and health professional programmes such as the MBChB include a strand on developing skills in communicating with patients. My talk will consider ways that medical education has been impacted by British colonialism. I will consider how colonial histories could be impacting communication skills education and explore potential pedagogies that could support a decolonised communication skills education.


The session will be moderated by Niamh Mullen and Milena Marinkova from the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies.


We hope that these talks and subsequent discussions will inform future conversations and work on embracing the linguistic and/or cultural diversity of our students at Leeds. To register for the event, please complete this form.