Rethinking the Languages Pipeline in the Age of Brexit

Author: Lucy Jenkins
Published: 17th January 2020

Summary of research: To investigate the factors impacting on the decline of language learning in the UK and champion new partnership models for the promotion of linguistic and cultural diversity. The event aims to challenge the assumptions underpinning populist denigrations of multiculturalism in the UK, magnified by Brexit, and contributes to debates on the future of modern languages as a discipline and field.

Funder: AHRC Languages Acts and Worldmaking – September 2019

Summary of outcomes:
1. Languages summit hosted in Cardiff on 27th September 2019. Funded by a small grant from ‘Languages Acts and World-making’, GW4 Consortium and Routes into Languages Cymru, this event discussed the challenges facing languages from primary school to university and across England and Wales. Increasingly, students are opting out of studying a language, often unaware of what they will lose (or never encounter) as a result of such a decision. Multilingualism is an integral part of our everyday lives and allows us to communicate, interact and learn from others beyond our linguistic community. The openness that this promotes is needed more so than ever in an era of Brexit. The event aimed to bring together key language stakeholders involved in a student’s language journey to reflect and consider how we might reconfigure the language landscape in the UK to make language learning more appealing to young people.

2. A graphic illustration of the outcomes from the Languages Summit.

3. Article for British Educational Research Association written by Gorrara, Jenkins, Jepson and Machin 2020. ‘Multilingual perspectives: preparing for language learning in the new curriculum for Wales’, The Curriculum Journal, special issue, ‘Re-educating the nation: the development of the new curriculum in Wales’ (April 2020). Click here to view.


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