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Students' and teachers' beliefs pertaining to European language policies in Higher Education in Cyprus: a descriptive study

Kalogerou, V; (2016) Students' and teachers' beliefs pertaining to European language policies in Higher Education in Cyprus: a descriptive study. Masters thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

In this thesis, I explore students’ and teachers’ beliefs in relation to the European Commission’s policy for further language learning. This specific policy, announced in March 2002, calls for improvement of language skills across the EU through formal education by introducing at least two languages from a very early age and has been pursued to varying degrees by the Member States. Specifically, I examine beliefs in the context of Higher Education in Cyprus while at the same time I contemplate research carried elsewhere since not the same emphasis has been given to language learning in each country. Findings from relevant research suggest that socially relevant variables greatly influence the development of multilingual citizens which is particularly important for Cyprus where language learning and use reflect the following paradox: in Cyprus there are two official languages, Greek and Turkish; albeit Cyprus does not offer the bilingual setting observed in other European areas such as Catalonia, the Basque country or Friesland due to the de facto partition of the island in 1974 and the long period of isolation between the two main communities. Students in Cyprus have the opportunity to learn at least two languages during their primary and secondary education, English and French, while during their Lyceum studies they can choose to learn German, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Turkish. The research design comprises of an online questionnaire and follow-up interviews for students while focus groups were deployed to investigate teachers’ beliefs. The analysis of the data collected, reveals that the outcome of language learning depends heavily on beliefs stemming from language learning experiences that are often socially relevant. The findings also suggest that students’ reluctance to learn a third language epitomizes the way in which policy makers are often diverged from the realities of the individuals whom their decisions will influence. Language teachers support in principle the learning of two additional languages while they acknowledge the practical limitations in the realization of this policy. In conclusion the thesis reflects on the implementation of European language policies in Higher Education in Cyprus and offers recommendations for language learning practices, language policy and further research in the area of multilingualism.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Title: Students' and teachers' beliefs pertaining to European language policies in Higher Education in Cyprus: a descriptive study
Language: English
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1498732
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