Polytechnic Institute of Guarda, School of Management and Technology (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 732-736
ISBN: 978-84-614-7423-3
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain
The Bologna Convention aspired to implement changes in the European system of higher education and beyond to harmonize critical aspects such as duration of study cycles and attribution of credits according to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), which permits a fluid exchange of information on the education process (through, for example, the Diploma Supplement), ample opportunity for job application in member countries (using the Europass CV and the European Language Passport), and meaningful student exchanges (through the Erasmus program) to further the stated objective of the Council of Europe to promote The Europe of Cultural Cooperation. As higher education in Portugal becomes more active in the ERASMUS program, an increasing number of foreign students have enrolled in previously homogeneous L1 classes in English for Specific Purposes, altering the dynamics of the classroom significantly. In Portugal’s inland region, the Polytechnic Institute of Guarda has welcomed a number of students from a wide variety of countries. This paper focuses on the results of a four-year study at the School of Management and Technology on the effect of these new enrollment characteristics on metalinguistic development and intercultural sensitivity in the home students (Portuguese) and the Erasmus students involved in this study from Poland, Spain, Turkey, and Lithuania. Students participated in think-aloud protocols analyzing the intercultural quality of their participation in classroom speaking activities throughout the two semesters. Pedagogical practice in this study is influenced by aspects such as awareness of bodymindfulness (Nagata 2004) for self-monitoring and attunement as well as conscious knowledge of emotions and feelings toward difference (cf. Damasio 1999) and its effect on metacommunication and communicative flexibility. The fact that these students are studying elective English for Specific Purposes (ESP) in diverse areas of Management will also be considered for its learner-centered stance in terms of adequacy of materials and developing language competence. From a theoretical perspective, intercultural education is here considered as a break from the principle models of inclusion in Europe – multiculturalism (UK) and assimilation (France). The promotion of tolerance and respect for diversity in and out of the classroom is based on intercultural dialogue, within the context of the curricular unit English for Specific Purposes of Marketing, Management, and Accounting.
English for Specific Purposes, Intercultural Awareness and Education, Erasmus, Higher Education.