LLAS ebulletin: Message from Prof Mike Kelly, Director of LLAS

(reblogged from the March 2013 LLAS ebulletin)

Mike Kelly

Prof Mike Kelly, Director of LLAS

Travelling around Europe recently, it has been very humbling to see how difficult life is for colleagues in other countries. A Greek colleague has had a 65% reduction in salary; a Portuguese colleague had a 36% reduction; while an Irish colleague had ‘only’ a 25% pay cut. And alongside that, posts are being cut and departments closed. For all the austerity we are suffering in the UK, we are still relatively protected. Wisely, the government has maintained the funding for education and research at a level that many European colleagues might envy. It will certainly benefit the future prosperity of our country if it can be sustained.

Within this picture, there is now a reconfiguration of priorities, which poses challenges for the whole area of arts and humanities. The periodic jostling for public funding now means that the ‘soft’ subjects have to justify the resources devoted to them alongside the ‘hard’ sciences. This is the context for the AHRC’s new strategy, entitled The Human World. It affirms the value of arts and humanities research, and argues that the people, skills and research that it supports interact with public life to bring cultural, intellectual and economic benefits to the UK.

The argument is an important one, and reflects a change of emphasis that brings the need for public impact into the centre of our concerns, rather than sitting on the periphery as ‘nice-to-have’ side effects. Those colleagues currently grappling with REF submissions will be all too aware of this. The new emphasis is not specific to the UK, but is now the settled view of governments across Europe. The growth and jobs agenda will be an increasing feature of research funding from every source. The challenge is for us to develop compelling arguments without abandoning our core values.

The arguments may be more familiar to languages people than to other disciplines in the humanities since we have had to argue the case for our subject endlessly over the past twenty years or so. The signs are that we shall have to redouble our efforts in this if our subject is to survive for the next twenty years.

Mike Kelly (follow Mike on Twitter at @ProfMikeKelly)
Director, LLAS Centre for languages, linguistics and area studies

Transcending Linguistic Boundaries at Work

Transcending Linguistic Boundaries at Work: Latino and Korean Immigrants in Koreatown, NYC


Korean words (left) and their Spanish translation (right) written by Jose, 25, Mexican immigrant worker in Koreatown.
Photo courtesy Karen Velasquez

Fascinating blog post about Latino immigrants settling in ethnically diverse Queens County, New York City, where an estimated 138 languages are spoken. Many of these Latinos find work in Korean businesses and form “mutually beneficial relationships that allow immigrants to succeed in the US despite certain challenges, such as having undocumented status”. The success of these relationships hinges on language…

by Karen Velasquez, an anthropology and education PhD student at Teachers College Columbia University and adjunct professor of cultural anthropology at Fordham University. She is currently conducting dissertation research on workplace education and language learning among Latino and Korean immigrants in Koreatown, NYC.

published in Anthropology News

Click on the title to read the full blog post.

Infographic: Unprepared for post-secondary education

Studies show that many US high school graduates who go on to higher education are unprepared for what is expected of them once they enter college. As many as one in four fail to complete their first year of study. Dropping out of higher education prematurely is not a uniquely US problem, of course. But the rate of students who finish their degrees, or attainment rate, is strikingly lower in the US, with 40%, than in, for example, Canada, with 55.8%, or Japan, with 53.7%. In the UK, it was reported last year that drop-out rates among first year students had soared by 13%.

The following infographic summarizes who is most likely to drop out, and why.

Source: http://www.collegeathome.com/blog/2013/01/17/unprepared-for-college/

In memoriam John Trim

John TrimJohn Trim was a remarkable figure in the European language education community. He had a long and distinguished career, first as a German scholar at UCL, then as Lecturer of Phonetics and later Director of Linguistics at Cambridge, where the Language Centre is named after him.

From the 1960s onwards, John Trim served as an advisor to the Council of Europe on learning, co-originator of the Threshold Level concept that has a huge influence on language curricula and testing, and one of the key authors of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

John was also one of the founders of BAAL. He attended first meetings in London in 1965, and was elected Treasurer at the first annual meeting at Reading in 1967, later serving as Chair from 1985 to 1988.

From 1978-1987, John served as Director of CILT, the Centre for Information on Language Teaching (1978-1987), where he played a key role in forming the Association for Language Learning. In 2012, he was awarded a Fellowship “in recognition for his lifetime of distinguished service and outstanding achievement in the field of language learning and teaching in Europe and the UK and for his long-term contribution to the furtherance of the Association for Language Learning”. (see Holmes)

To find out more about John Trim’s life, work and legacy, follow the links below:

John Trim, by Bernardette Holmes, Past President of ALL

In a presentation to the English Profile Seminar, Cambridge, February 2007, John Trim describes the development of the influential Threshold series

Interview with John Trim and Nick Saville to mark the 10th anniversary of the publication of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), recorded in May 2011

John Trim gave a keynote on the “CEFR: its educational and political background” at the ACTFL-CEFR Symposium 2012 which took place on 21-23 June 2012 at the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML, Graz). Listen to his speech on SoundCloud.

Messages of condolence can be left on the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML)’s website

Infographic: Mapping the Future of Education Technology

Infographic envisioning-the-future-of-education

Source: http://www.fastcoexist.com/1680348/mapping-the-future-of-education-technology

Infographic: For-Profit vs Non-Profit Online Education in the US

Online education may be the biggest educational revolution of the 21st century. As more and more students join so-called MOOCs (massive open online courses), universities around the globe either form the vanguard of this growing movement or struggle to keep up. In December 2012, the Economist reported on Free Education, and the Guardian’s platform for online learning holds a number of reports on developments in the UK.

The following infographic explains how non-profit and for-profit online education compare in the US:

Online Education: Non-Profits Fight Back?

Source: http://www.onlinedegrees.org/online-education-non-profits-fight-back/

Infographic: Access to Education Around the World

In western Europe, at least, most of us take access to education for granted. Worldwide, the situation varies considerably. The following infographic gives an overview of enrollment figures in OECD countries and brings to light some interesting differences:


Source: onlineclasses.org

Infographic: The Future of US Higher Education

Despite the idea of the ‘ivory tower’, Higher Education is inextricably linked with developments that shape society around it. Predictions about where Higher Education is headed are never easy; here are some possible scenarios:


Source: http://edtechdigest.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/trends-infographic-the-future-of-higher-education/

New study: language single biggest barrier to cross-border mobility in Europe

One of the central tenets of the European Union is a free labour market which offers skilled individuals the mobility to move with demand. However, a new study shows that only 3% of EU citizens of working age live and work in a different EU country. One of the main reasons: the language trap.

LanguagesEspecially in today’s difficult economic times, many well-trained citizens from the countries hit the hardest by the financial crisis are looking to Germany to find employment. And Germany is in desperate need of skilled employees in a number of sectors, such as engineering, IT, and health care. However, German employers are very rarely willing to compromise when it comes to language skills, and few of the international job seekers have the German language skills required; instead, they all learnt English in school. And while “English is widely used in multi-national companies”, this is “rarely [the case] in the public sector or the small-to-medium sized enterprises that employ the bulk of the European labor force.”

To learn more about the study and current trends in labour mobility, read “Class of 2012: Yound Europeans trapped by language

Infographic: Mobile Lives of US College Students

Social media and mobile communication are becoming increasingly important in education. The following infographic shows how US college students use their mobile phones in their daily lives on and off campus:
Mobile Lives of Online Colleges

Source: http://www.onlinedegrees.org/mobile-lives-of-online-colleges