Social Mobility, Multilingualism and Language Education

Posted in: Internationalisation and Globalisation, Language and Educational Practices

Paper delivered at the Development in Education in Asia Research Seminars 2022, Centre for Research in Education in Asia, University of Bath - 30th March 2022

Prof. Yongyan Zheng, Dean, School of Foreign Language Studies, Fudan University, Shanghai, China

Along with the process of globalisation and the deepening of exchanges in the international political, economic, and trade, massive migration and the transnational movement of talents have become increasingly common worldwide. Contrary to the traditional, even somewhat stereotypical impression of China as a monolingual country, linguistic diversity accompanying massive mobility has risen as a prominent issue in Chinese sociolinguistic landscape, and has exerted far-reaching influences on language education. This talk takes the perspective of “mobility” to delineate the challenges and opportunities of multilingualism in Chinese language-in-education planning. I will begin by giving an overview of multilingual research in the Chinese context, and then focus on two specific studies to address how multilingual language education is intricately connected to mobility and social participation. One study contrasts and compares how families of different social economic statuses invest differently in their children’s language learning, and the other explores how middle-class ethnic Korean families in China struggle to maintain their ethnic language after migrating to metropolitan cities.

Posted in: Internationalisation and Globalisation, Language and Educational Practices


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