Increasing Student Independence and Interdependence in Multidisciplinary Language Courses


In this presentation we will focus on independence and interdependence among students and teachers in two multi-disciplinary courses, Business French and Translation for Professional Needs. We will argue that the success of our interdisciplinary practices is consistent with major tendencies in university education - increasing learner autonomy and growing interdependence between language studies and other disciplines. Language studies cannot remain a stand-alone discipline but need to be adapted to students’ fields of specialization, while business studies can be enriched with content-based language courses even immediately after an intensive beginner’s course encouraging independent learning. We will also argue that teaching the culture associated with a language is vital since it contributes to students’ understanding, interest, and future professionalism. We will present our best practices, including inversed-classroom and use of on-line materials or tools like Google Translate. We will share our methods of using technology and linguistically and culturally-informed explanations of language phenomena for the further refinement of language skills: since technology can help with drills and independent preparation, class time can be used for more sophisticated interactions. Finally, based on comments in student evaluations, we will offer the hypothesis that in a globalized world offering ever-better translation devices, it may be possible to offer specialized language courses in many programmes of study earlier than was previously considered plausible. Such courses would address two important trends of the twenty-first century: continued technological improvements and the steady growth of the international student body.

Author Information
Snejina Sonina, University of Toronto Scarborough, Canada
Sylvia Mittler, University of Toronto Scarborough, Canada

Paper Information
Conference: ECLL2019
Stream: Culture and Language

This paper is part of the ECLL2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon