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Instructor Class Description

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James W Tollefson
ENGL 578
Seattle Campus

Colloquium in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Overview of major issues in second-language acquisition, teaching methodology, and classroom practice with special emphasis on links between theories of language learning and practical aspects of teaching English to speakers of other languages.

Class description

For SPRING 2004: Medium of Instruction Policies. In many multiethnic and multilingual countries around the world, the choice of language(s) for the medium of instruction raises a fundamental educational question: What combination of instruction in studentsí native language(s) and in a second language of wider communication will ensure that students gain both effective subject-content education as well as the second language skills necessary for higher education and employment? While this question focuses primarily on the educational agenda of providing effective instruction, medium-of-instruction policies also raise other complex issues: Which ethnic and linguistic groups will benefit from alternative medium-of-instruction policies? What language policy best fulfills the need for inter-ethnic communication? What is the impact of alternative policies upon political stability? In exploring these questions, we find that medium-of-instruction policies are not only about the choice of the language(s) of instruction, but also about a range of important sociopolitical issues, including globalization, migration, labor policy, elite competition, and the distribution of economic resources and political power.

The purpose of this course to explore the links between medium-of-instruction policies and these broader issues, by focusing on the tension between the educational agenda and other underlying social, political, and economic agendas in different sociopolitical contexts. We will particularly examine the role of English in settings where it is the dominant language, in post-colonial countries, and in other contexts in which diglossia/triglossia may be evident.

TEXT: James W. Tollefson and Amy B.M. Tsui (Eds.), Medium of Instruction Policies: Which Agenda? Whose Agenda? Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2004. Additional texts and readings will also be required.

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General method of instruction

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Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Sherry May Laing
Date: 02/10/2004