Research Topic

Contemporary Language Education from an International Perspective

About this Research Topic

Languages can be acquired in many ways: for instance, we can learn them formally at school or university, or informally at home or travelling around the world. This Research Topic takes into consideration one possible aspect of language learning: what has been called “language education.”

When we qualify education as “language education”, what have we added to the definition? This is the question M. A. K. Halliday asked himself over a quarter of a century ago. The question came from a simple assumption, that any type of education occurs through the medium of language. But it is this very point that justifies the concept. When we speak of language education (LE), we want to stress the relationship between language as a medium of learning and language as the substance of what is being learnt.

We posit here that LE is the part of education that deals with the learning and teaching of a language - an L1, an L2, or an additional language, a foreign language, but also a classical or an ethnic language, or, in a broader sense, non-verbal communication – or through a language, here referring to issues related to the medium of instruction.

Having found a scope for LE, the urge was felt to encompass it in a scientific area. This area was to deal with the necessary research needed to respond to the multifaceted requests originated by LE issues and by all types of stakeholders related to it. For instance, as early as the end of the ‘60s, Titone (1968) and Kelly (1969) investigated possible boundaries for LE through the studying of the history of language teaching and learning, whereas Spolsky (1974) created the concept of “educational linguistics” to respond to the need to train teachers and administrators in those aspects of linguistics which are crucial to education.

LE entails different perspectives, but the same conditions and same goals: an interdisciplinary approach to research aimed at finding solutions for promoting better language learning and teaching. This Research Topic is intended to provide researchers with the opportunity to present their research in the field of language education, be it from the perspective of educational linguistics, applied linguistics, or any “hyphenated field” of linguistics (following Spolsky's definition), or from psychological, educational, or anthropological (among other) points of view.

We welcome forward-looking proposals meant to reflect upon the challenges of contemporary international research in language education. Articles should present the results of research addressing questions that move beyond the state-of-the-art, be it based on quantitative or qualitative approaches.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:
• Theory of language education and teaching.
• Language education policy and management: i.e., national and international linguistic policies; education systems; syllabus design; teacher formation and training.
• Literacy, bi- and multi-literacy development: i.e., bilingual education; CLIL; Languages as Medium of Instruction; classroom language(s) use; cross-curricular language development.
• Linguistically and culturally responsive education: i.e., minority and additional language development in educational contexts; language education in the presence of language disorders or disabilities; sign languages; intersections between formal and informal contexts in language development; intercultural communication in language education.
• Language acquisition: i.e., bi- and multilingual development; interlanguage and language transfer; bi-plurilingualism and the brain; the plurilingual self; plurilingualism and pluricultural competence.
• Language teaching methodology.
• Language assessment: i.e., formative and summative assessment, international language certificates
• Language learning, teaching, and assessing through ICT: i.e., computer assisted language learning.
• Translation pedagogy; Linguistic mediation: translating and interpreting; translation in language learning; translanguaging.
• Multidisciplinary and translational research: i.e., LE and Educational Psychology; LE and Cognitive Psychology; LE and Neurosciences; LE and Psycho-, Neuro-, Sociolinguistics; LE and acquisitional linguistics; LE and linguistic anthropology; LE and computational and corpus linguistics.


Keywords: language teaching methodology, language acquisition, language education, educational linguistics, language education policy, bi- and multi-literacy, language assessment, ICT in language learning and teaching, linguistic mediation


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Languages can be acquired in many ways: for instance, we can learn them formally at school or university, or informally at home or travelling around the world. This Research Topic takes into consideration one possible aspect of language learning: what has been called “language education.”

When we qualify education as “language education”, what have we added to the definition? This is the question M. A. K. Halliday asked himself over a quarter of a century ago. The question came from a simple assumption, that any type of education occurs through the medium of language. But it is this very point that justifies the concept. When we speak of language education (LE), we want to stress the relationship between language as a medium of learning and language as the substance of what is being learnt.

We posit here that LE is the part of education that deals with the learning and teaching of a language - an L1, an L2, or an additional language, a foreign language, but also a classical or an ethnic language, or, in a broader sense, non-verbal communication – or through a language, here referring to issues related to the medium of instruction.

Having found a scope for LE, the urge was felt to encompass it in a scientific area. This area was to deal with the necessary research needed to respond to the multifaceted requests originated by LE issues and by all types of stakeholders related to it. For instance, as early as the end of the ‘60s, Titone (1968) and Kelly (1969) investigated possible boundaries for LE through the studying of the history of language teaching and learning, whereas Spolsky (1974) created the concept of “educational linguistics” to respond to the need to train teachers and administrators in those aspects of linguistics which are crucial to education.

LE entails different perspectives, but the same conditions and same goals: an interdisciplinary approach to research aimed at finding solutions for promoting better language learning and teaching. This Research Topic is intended to provide researchers with the opportunity to present their research in the field of language education, be it from the perspective of educational linguistics, applied linguistics, or any “hyphenated field” of linguistics (following Spolsky's definition), or from psychological, educational, or anthropological (among other) points of view.

We welcome forward-looking proposals meant to reflect upon the challenges of contemporary international research in language education. Articles should present the results of research addressing questions that move beyond the state-of-the-art, be it based on quantitative or qualitative approaches.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:
• Theory of language education and teaching.
• Language education policy and management: i.e., national and international linguistic policies; education systems; syllabus design; teacher formation and training.
• Literacy, bi- and multi-literacy development: i.e., bilingual education; CLIL; Languages as Medium of Instruction; classroom language(s) use; cross-curricular language development.
• Linguistically and culturally responsive education: i.e., minority and additional language development in educational contexts; language education in the presence of language disorders or disabilities; sign languages; intersections between formal and informal contexts in language development; intercultural communication in language education.
• Language acquisition: i.e., bi- and multilingual development; interlanguage and language transfer; bi-plurilingualism and the brain; the plurilingual self; plurilingualism and pluricultural competence.
• Language teaching methodology.
• Language assessment: i.e., formative and summative assessment, international language certificates
• Language learning, teaching, and assessing through ICT: i.e., computer assisted language learning.
• Translation pedagogy; Linguistic mediation: translating and interpreting; translation in language learning; translanguaging.
• Multidisciplinary and translational research: i.e., LE and Educational Psychology; LE and Cognitive Psychology; LE and Neurosciences; LE and Psycho-, Neuro-, Sociolinguistics; LE and acquisitional linguistics; LE and linguistic anthropology; LE and computational and corpus linguistics.


Keywords: language teaching methodology, language acquisition, language education, educational linguistics, language education policy, bi- and multi-literacy, language assessment, ICT in language learning and teaching, linguistic mediation


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 February 2018 Manuscript

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Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 February 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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