Caffe con latte, per favore

15th December 2006 at 00:00
Adult education courses for people to brush up their conversational language skills should be taken more seriously in the education world, according to an academic from Glasgow University.

Alison Phipps, director of graduate development for arts, humanities and education, has published a book challenging fellow academics who claim language courses that teach basic phrases for tourism purposes are a threat to more traditional types, such as Highers and A-levels.

In Learning the Arts of Linguistic Survival, Dr Phipps says: "Learners not only gain a deeper understanding of the host, or foreign culture, but their understanding of their home environment also undergoes a change. It is time for learning to order a cup of coffee in a foreign language to be taken more seriously."

The number of people taking language courses for tourism purposes has risen, while the number of pupils taking traditional qualifications in modern languages has declined. However, Dr Phipps thinks adult education courses should not be viewed in a negative light. "Languages are fully embodied, not detached skills which are 'acquirable' in easily measurable ways," she says. "Learning the conversational language skills required to order a cup of coffee is not only useful when travelling abroad but tourist languages are a major medium of intercultural relations."

Learning the Arts of Linguistic Survival, by Alison Phipps. pound;49.95 hardback, pound;19.95 paperback, Channel View Publications

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now