Evaluating Language Courses at Foreign Language University Centers
The background to the empirical study presented in this chapter discusses European Union (EU) policies of promoting language education by elaborating on the major recommendations proposed, demonstrating the engagement of the EU in educational mobility programs. It also discusses EU engagement in foreign language (FL) teacher training through various programs, documents and organizational activities. The chapter demonstrates how these recommendations are implemented in foreign language instruction in foreign language courses run at the tertiary level in the form of the so-called lektoraty. The study carried out is part of an on-going discussion on what an optimal form of teaching FLs should be and how the present situation needs to be changed, amended or straightforwardly revolutionized. Some of the dimensions of the problem obviously relate to teaching itself but inevitably they also relate to the institutionalized policies employed that express FLs’ roles in present-day education and the demands created by the job market and by effective functioning in life in general. The study presented here aims to portray the situation of foreign language teaching at the University of Silesia, through the eyes of both students and their teachers (lektorzy). It demonstrates the positive side of FL courses in their various aspects, from the organizational to the didactic, and crucially points to the defects in their functioning. In the concluding part, ways of improving the situation are proposed for the particular context described.
KeywordsEuropean Union educational policies Challenges Foreign language instruction Non-language university departments Levels of satisfaction
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