In this free course, Understanding language and learning, you considered the role of language in learning and started out from the assumption that language, and more particularly, linguistic interaction with other people, is a key aspect of learning. You also began to develop more critical skills, asking questions about what we actually mean by language and whether it is possible and necessary to separate out one language from another. In relation to English in particular, you began to question the extent to which new forms of English or ‘Englishes’ must begin to be recognised alongside more established ones. The growing discomfort with established notions of language in general and English in particular has been prompted by well-documented and intensified global interconnectedness in recent years, leading to increased language contact and a growing number of English-language users. Such real-world phenomena bring into question what we mean by English and what we mean by language. For educational practitioners, it raises important practical questions about the norms according to which students should be taught.
This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course.