• University of Glasgow

Multilingual Learning for a Globalised World

This free online course will explore multilingual education and how it can impact and improve education and even wider society.

21,369 enrolled on this course

Image depicting language and a map of the globe

Multilingual Learning for a Globalised World

21,369 enrolled on this course

  • 3 weeks

  • 4 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

This free online course will explore multilingual education and how it can impact and improve education and even wider society.

Understand why languages matter

Our languages are an essential part of who we are as human beings. They are instruments of communication and are often a source of dignity and of human pride. Our life experiences and views of the world are bound up in our languages. Our sense of self might be strengthened by our ability to speak the language we choose or curtailed by our inability to understand the language that speaks to us. Some scholars even say that the right to speak one’s languages should be established as an essential part of the right to be oneself. They suggest that this language right should be honoured in all forms of communication.

In this course, you will explore how people’s language practice, and the personal connection people have to the language(s) they speak, provoke important philosophical and pedagogical questions around the ways we form personal relationships, engage in business relations and even view the world around us.

Explore how languages challenge the way we live

English is the language of worldwide communication. Should this change? Should people’s personal language practices influence the way we communicate on a global scale? How might the claim for people’s language rights challenge the language arrangements in our societies? What is gained and what is lost from speaking just one language?

These are just some of the questions you will consider and during the course; there will be plenty of opportunities for you to share your experiences, so we can learn from each other.

In summary, during the course you will:

  • be introduced to different multilingual environments, consider what these mean for learning languages, and encounter some of the latest research in researching for working multilingually;
  • experience and critically evaluate the idea of active citizenship, discovering ways in which language minorities can be empowered through the equal treatment of all languages and cultures;
  • deepen your understanding of other languages and cultures through consideration of language rights, existing educational films and workshops developed through their practices;
  • and address the ways in which the creative and performing arts can help translate meanings and enhance understandings in multilingual environments.
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  • Week 1

    Should we all just speak one language?

    • Introduction

      In this activity we will introduce the course, the educators and ask you to share your language riches.

    • Language Riches

      Here we share our experience of languages, and consider the language riches you bring to the course from all over the world.

    • Monolingualism

      A focus on the relationship between monolingualism and multilingualism in today's world.

  • Week 2

    What do we do about the danger in a single language?

    • Learning to live in a multilingual world

      We explore language and power in the context of globalisation.

    • Verbal Hygiene

      Can or should we clean up language?

    • Languaging, how we feel, how we fail

      Language opportunties – learning those that foster links closer to home?

  • Week 3

    Everyone is a language learner – and this is a creative art

    • Creative arts

      This week has two foci: Language learning as creative art & Creative Arts in Language Learning.

    • The capabilities approach

      The freedom to achieve potential

    • Time to reflect

      In this section we invite you to write a short piece on this week's activities, and review the reflections of others.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Improve your understanding of the role that languages play in our lives and our societies
  • Develop a deeper awareness of the implications of the language(s) people speak
  • Assess the implications of the languages that are taught/learnt
  • Reflect critically on what it means to be a language learner
  • Develop some knowledge on verbal and visual communication and how it can be enhanced for professional and everyday purposes
  • Reflect critically on the aesthetic and creative processes involved in learning languages
  • Apply what you have discussed and learnt to your professional and everyday life

Who is the course for?

There are no prior requirements to join this course. As you prepare for it, you should start to consider the following:

  • What languages do you speak?
  • What kinds of arts do you yourself practice? For example, dance, music or visual art.

While the Educators themselves aren’t available to facilitate this run, we encourage you to engage with other learners and there are opportunities to do this throughout the course.

What do people say about this course?

"Thank you all for sharing all the knowledge with us, for leading us to discover so much more about these fascinating issues and subjects. It was a fantastic course and one I am sure to recommend should it be repeated in the future. OBRIGADA!"

"I have loved this course so much! Thank you for making it and putting across some really interesting and thought-provoking points and conversations. All the best to you all! Merci beaucoup, Dankeschon, Muchas gracias, Grazie mille, Dank u wel, Tusen takk."

Who will you learn with?

Alison Phipps is UNESCO Professor of Refugee Integration through Languages & the Arts; Co-convener of Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network & Principal Investigator: AHRC RM Borders

Aneta Marren is an English for Academic Purposes tutor in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at Glasgow University.

Elwira Grossman is Director of Comparative Literature Programme and Lecturer in Polish Studies at the University of Glasgow. She has been working with GRAMNET since 2010.

I am a Senior Lecturer in Social Inclusion at the University of Glasgow (School of Education).

Bilingual Deutsch-English/ Arts-based researcher at Glasgow Uni/ Drama Enthusiast/ Language Teacher/ Norddeutsche with Home in Scotland/ Cowboy Boots Lover/ Weakness: Nervous public speaker

I am a PhD student on the AHRC RM Borders at the University of Glasgow.

Researcher of culture, identity and belonging in the digital era at the University of Glasgow, School of Education.

Who developed the course?

The University of Glasgow

Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world. It is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading UK research universities.

  • Established

  • Location

    Glasgow, Scotland, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 70Source: QS World University Rankings 2020

Ways to learn

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$44/one-off payment


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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Buy this course

$44/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 4 Aug 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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