On 4th and 5th April 2019, we will be hosting the conference “Standards, Margins, New Horizons: Teaching Language and Literature in the 21st Century” at Bielefeld University. The conference goes back to a rather vague idea of mine that I had 2 years ago: My mind wished for a conference tackling both great challenges to teaching language(s) and literature(s) that arise in our time:
- Our linguistic and cultural landscapes become ever more complex. Teachers are challenged to prepare their students for immensely complex and diverse communication processes. The New London Group (1996) already sketched these developments, but the challenges are now more pressing than ever.
- At the same time, we are confronted with a growing awareness of the diversity of learner groups. Most likely, learner groups ARE becoming more and more diverse, and the needs of diverse learners need to be met in current and future classrooms.
If we take both challenges together, then teachers today are asked to prepare increasingly diverse learner groups for increasingly complex and diverse communicative landscapes in their future lives. If this doesn’t call for a conference dealing with questions entailed by this!
The “New Horizons” conference brings together scholars from most languages taught at German schools. It has a focus on the old (Latin) and new (English) linguae francae, but also hosts scholars from German and Romance Studies, and even from Music!