As an activity that is consistent with our mission and guided by our research priorities, the Foundation is pleased to share a recent paper published by Cambridge English Language Assessment, a long-time TIRF partner. The paper, The Impact of Multilingualism on Global Education and Language Learning, is authored by Dr. Lid King, The Languages Company.

To provide a background of what interested readers can expect to find in King’s paper, we are sharing below the foreword from the paper, written by TIRF Trustee Nick Saville, Director of Research and Thought Leadership at Cambridge English.

“In this paper, Lid King gives us an overview of multilingualism in 21st-century society and education and argues that it is a positive phenomenon which needs to be encouraged and supported. By setting multilingualism in a historical context, he reminds us that the challenges it poses are neither new nor insuperable.

The world has always been multilingual, and the ways that we develop language learning and teaching success must take the multilingual realities of the world into account. We believe that English alone is not enough.

Multilingualism has always been the default context for human beings. Children in most parts of the world grow up with two or more languages available to them, and increasingly young people in their studies and work move to locations where other languages than their mother tongue are the norm, and they must learn to be bilingual or multilingual.

Business, employment and scholarship are increasingly global and multilingual, and citizens of the 21st century need a new range of skills and strategies – like code-switching and translanguaging – to supplement their core language learning skills.

In this paper, we look at the definition and contexts of multilingualism, how this impacts education and language learning, and how we can engage with the interaction between the prevalence of English language use and the multilingual reality most of us find ourselves in.

We look at the need for changes in governmental policy and in educational approaches to cope with the new type of multilingual cities that attract people from countries around the world.

Above all, we look forward to new ways to apply these ideas to the future of language learning, teaching and assessment, to provide better learning outcomes for all students of all languages.

Lid’s paper is a stimulating overview of a topic which is of vital importance for society and it provides us with a timely call to action. Cambridge English is delighted to publish this paper as a contribution to discussion of multilingualism in policy and practice.”

To read and/or download the paper for free on Cambridge English’s website, please click here.