Language learning to support active social inclusion
A special issue of the International Review of Education – Journal of Lifelong Learning (IRE) looks at language rights, linguistic diversity, and the role of language learning programmes in ensuring the social inclusion of potentially marginalised groups in the European Union.
Numerous policies are in place to support linguistic diversity and language learning in the EU. The question posed by this special issue is, how are these policies interpreted and implemented in practice? The articles in this special issue emerged from the INCLUDE project, which was co-funded by the EU lifelong learning programme and set out to build a network for the exchange and dissemination of common guidelines and good policy practices in the field of language policy. INCLUDE focused on groups at risk of exclusion (migrants and ethnic minorities, NEETs – those “Not in Education, Employment, or Training”, the elderly, etc.) and developed tools and materials for the integration of language learning in social inclusion policies.
The aim of this special issue is to make the workings and findings of the INCLUDE project accessible to a research community beyond the borders of the European Union. The seven articles in this special issue touch on policy and planning to address language learning in a pluralistic society, support for minority languages and actions to encourage inclusion. Of special importance is the approach involving Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), alongside similar approaches which promote content learning through the medium of a different language from the majority language of the students. The first three articles deal with the above issues. The other four articles provide case studies of innovative practices in language learning which can lead to inclusion. These articles describe special language learning classes and approaches for school-age children and adolescents as well an example of special programming for adult migrant women language learners.