About the Language Strategy
The Language Strategy was a five-year (2013-2018) research-supported development project that spanned the different disciplines and learning environments at the University and was based on a broad and committed co-operation between the faculties at the University.
The Strategy aimed to highlight the importance of language and improve students’ language skills in a number of languages, including English, German, French, Arabic, Spanish, as well as Danish as a second language. The Strategy focused specifically on creating opportunities for relevant language skill development for students outside the language programmes.
The Language Strategy was the fruition of extensive committee work and thus represented a strong consensus across the various faculties. An interdisciplinary steering committee ensured that the Strategy was established and implemented in accordance with the consensus and that clear and transparent work procedures were in place. The project was anchored in the Centre for Internationalisation and Parallel Language Use, a relevant academic environment. (Read more about the organisation of the Strategy – link is not yet active)
It would be great if Copenhagen University offered German language courses. We are missing out on a lot of knowledge by relying solely on English. It’s a shame. (Political Science student)
The Language Strategy conducted a number of needs analyses by means of questionnaires and dialogues to identify needs like the one expressed by the Political Science student above. (Read more about the needs analysis)
Is it possible to learn Arabic in 14 weeks?
One of the pilot projects demonstrated that it is indeed possible to teach students basic but useful Arabic within one semester. The Language Strategy launched a total of 36 pilot projects across the University. (Read more about the pilot projects)
So what can we conclude?
The Language Strategy has shown remarkable results in many areas. The most prominent are:
- The Strategy has led to major advances in language acquisition and integration of language and content.
- The pilot projects have contributed with several examples of best practice in language acquisition.
- The Strategy has yielded experience in implementing large-scale strategic projects.
- The work has been concluded in five recommendations about language for the management of the university.
What have we learned?
The Language Strategy was research-supported partly to make it possible to draw on the newest international research on language acquisition and integration of language and content, and partly to ensure an appropriate match between the academic level of the language activities and the academic programmes they were linked to. The research component also provided an opportunity to collect and analyse valuable data about language needs and potential solutions across the academic programmes. (Click here for a list of publications and presentations related to the Language Strategy.)