Plurilingualism in Business, Industry, the Professions, and Educational Contexts

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Revised in 2015; First Adopted in 2008

TIRF seeks research proposals on the effects of plurilingualism in business, industry, the professions, and educational contexts, including language- learning classrooms. We use the term plurilingualism to refer to an individual user’s knowledge of several languages, and we place the emphasis on the notion of partial competence and on differing levels of proficiency for different languages and different language skills. Plurilingual users may have jagged profiles related to skill development in several languages, which may be only rudimentary in some languages and very context-specific.

TIRF is interested in promoting research on this priority for several reasons. First, TIRF is interested in research on English and its relationship with other languages within the concept of plurilingualism because globalization and internationalization pose new challenges to social cohesion and integration across countries. TIRF is also interested in promoting research on plurilingualism because the development of language skills remains essential if individuals are to benefit from opportunities in employment and education. In addition, language skill development is also necessary for citizens to participate actively in the social and political processes, which are an integral part of democratic citizenship in multilingual societies—societies in which different languages co-exist in a geographical area. These concerns may also be relevant within multilingual businesses or corporations in which different languages not only co-exist but may also represent policy for the business or corporation for employees at various management levels.  Many countries around the world also state their goals for education in terms of developing multicultural and intercultural citizens who are capable of interacting in a number of languages across linguistic and cultural boundaries.

To this end, TIRF seeks research proposals related to plurilingualism in business, industry, the professions, and educational contexts, including language learning and teaching. This research priority may be addressed through a number of research questions, such as the ones below:

  • What are the policies of corporations, businesses, and educational institutions toward plurilingualism? How are those policies promoted and enforced?
  • In what ways might such a policy of plurilingualism generate impact on a business or corporation?
  • What is the impact on employees when a policy of plurilingualism is introduced?
  • How is plurilingualism assessed in the workplace? How frequently is it assessed, and how is assessment information used? What is the “washback” or the effect of the assessments?
  • What language education opportunities are provided in workplace environments to support plurilingual language development? How are these educational programs evaluated?
  • How do policies related to plurilingualism or multiculturalism influence hiring decisions in business, industry, the professions, and educational contexts?
  • How are classroom practices that encourage plurilingualism, such as translanguaging, used? Translanguaging is a pedagogical approach to language learning that considers all of the linguistics resources available to learners without partitioning or divorcing them from the linguistic systems they use.

One comment

On Aug 31, 2016: Announcing TIRF’s 2016 DDG Awardees | The International Research Foundation for English Language Education said:
[…] Kimura (TIRF-British Council DDG; Plurilingualism in Business, Industry, the Professions, and Educational Contexts) is a PhD candidate in Applied Linguistics at Pennsylvania State University. Trained primarily in […]

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