The increasing mobility of students is shaping a new higher education landscape, which is characterized by a higher number of cross-cultural courses and, consequently, a relevant ratio of international classes. In these learning environments, students are exposed to cultural diversity and, if supported in this sense, they learn to have an open-minded attitude to other cultures. This approach is aimed at developing a curriculum better suited for the growing global job market. On the other hand, since students are not anymore native speakers, the language used in the learning environment becomes a relevant issue. The use of English as lingua franca is often the choice to address the linguistic diversity, both in English speaking and non-English speaking countries. However, learning and teaching in English is not an easy task for non-native speakers. Due to language gaps, some contents are sometimes not fully communicated or even missed. In this regard, the case study of the Master of Science course in Design and Engineering of Politecnico di Milano is presented. The course went through a five-year internationalization process, which led to a gradual transition from Italian to English. This paper proposes to point out the advantages and disadvantages of the transition from the native language to English in Design and Engineering higher education courses. Following the assumption that the use of English as lingua franca is the easiest way to implement cross-cultural education curricula, the authors look for some improvements that could be done to enhance the communication process between all the stakeholders.

THE USE OF ENGLISH AS LINGUA FRANCA IN CROSS-CULTURAL CLASSES: A CASE STUDY IN DESIGN AND ENGINEERING EDUCATION

S. F. Ferraris;F. Mattioli
2020

Abstract

The increasing mobility of students is shaping a new higher education landscape, which is characterized by a higher number of cross-cultural courses and, consequently, a relevant ratio of international classes. In these learning environments, students are exposed to cultural diversity and, if supported in this sense, they learn to have an open-minded attitude to other cultures. This approach is aimed at developing a curriculum better suited for the growing global job market. On the other hand, since students are not anymore native speakers, the language used in the learning environment becomes a relevant issue. The use of English as lingua franca is often the choice to address the linguistic diversity, both in English speaking and non-English speaking countries. However, learning and teaching in English is not an easy task for non-native speakers. Due to language gaps, some contents are sometimes not fully communicated or even missed. In this regard, the case study of the Master of Science course in Design and Engineering of Politecnico di Milano is presented. The course went through a five-year internationalization process, which led to a gradual transition from Italian to English. This paper proposes to point out the advantages and disadvantages of the transition from the native language to English in Design and Engineering higher education courses. Following the assumption that the use of English as lingua franca is the easiest way to implement cross-cultural education curricula, the authors look for some improvements that could be done to enhance the communication process between all the stakeholders.
DS 104: Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2020). The Value of Design & Engineering Education in a Knowledge Age
9781912254101
cross-cultural classes, international curricula, lingua franca
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/1154867
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