Preparing Modern Languages Students for ‘Difference’ published

This book informs and encourages aspiring lecturers and teaching staff in Modern Languages who prepare students for using their language skills in and out of the classroom. Drawing on pedagogical, psychological and language-specific concepts of learning, the book illustrates how such concepts can enhance students’ experience of transitioning from school to university to residence abroad, and beyond.

A key feature of the study is an investigation of students’ fragility as they transition from school to university and, only two years later, from their home institution to their placements abroad. Interventions intended to «teach» transition are shown to be unsuccessful, as the learning through such interventions tends to remain superficial. First-year students are shown to benefit from trust-building between students and teachers and early networking among their peers to build self-confidence. In contrast, prior to studying abroad students benefit more from intercultural awareness training, including linguistic, cultural, social, academic and/or emotional aspects.

The book serves as a useful basis for discussion in Modern Languages departments about curriculum change and university policy with regard to resourcing the Humanities.

Available for purchase here.

Ruth Whittle is Senior Lecturer in German Studies at the University of Birmingham. In 2014 she was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship, which recognises «excellent practice and outstanding achievement in learning and teaching in higher education» (HEA). She has widely researched and published in the areas of language study and internationalisation as well as women in German literature and literary history. She teaches German language and literature at all levels, with a particular interest in business German, translation studies, interpreting and nineteenth-century German literature. She is currently the School’s Senior Tutor.

Sandra Salin is Lecturer in French Language, Translation and Interpreting at Newcastle University and teaches at all levels. She holds a Certificate in Advanced Studies in Academic Practice and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She is also an external examiner for French at the University of Bath. She has led and presented a number of internal learning and teaching projects, including two related to the year abroad. She is currently the Director of the Year Abroad and the main editor of the year abroad magazine Flying Solo. Her current learning and teaching interests include independent and reflective learning, students’ engagement, the year abroad experience and intercultural awareness.

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