WP323 Founding Statement for a Coalition for Language Education

Coalition for Language Education
2024

Abstract

This Coalition for Language Education is committed to developing the communicative capacities of individuals, groups and institutions and the range of languages and linguistic styles – the ‘linguistic repertoires’ – that they can draw on.  We are involved in different fields and sectors of language education, working as individuals, organisations and associations, but we are drawn together by the conviction that more can and should be done to acknowledge and develop the linguistic potential of people in the UK.  Shared language is vital to social life, and in the UK, English plays a key role.  But language diversity is also central, and it needs to be seen as a source of enrichment, not as a deficiency or threat.  Learning languages and knowing about culture and communication extends the relationships and situations that we can participate in.  When education broadens our ability to understand and communicate across social, cultural and linguistic differences, drawing flexibly and creatively on a range of media, it enhances well-being and strengthens democracy.

For the most part in the UK, language education is too narrow.  Change takes time, but those who seek it can gain strength from coalition.  Coalition facilitates the exchange of ideas and experiences of what works, of what’s challenging, how to overcome obstacles, and how to support cooperation across locations.  Individual initiatives can show that they are not isolated or eccentric, and that they are part of a much broader general development that provides inspiration and strength.  Coalition can help us see the bigger picture, and add weight to what we say in conversations with local and national policy makers.

Our Coalition comes together around six tenets and six broad tasks, and we are currently seeking signatures in support.