The Future of Education

Edition 12

Accepted Abstracts

Exploring a Gold Mine of Classroom Practices
Learning the local language: tuning in to Norwegian language and culture

Ewa Wapinska, Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies Norwegian for International Students Faculty of Humanities University of Oslo, Norway (Norway)

Abstract

Globalization provides students with the opportunity to study different subjects in English abroad, but also a unique possibility to learn the local language of the host country. International students at the University of Oslo can apply for accredited Norwegian language courses on different levels. The beginner courses aim at providing students with a functional level of Norwegian for practical everyday use and an introduction to Norwegian culture, life and society.

The following study is a result of several years of experience teaching international students at the University of Oslo. The research is based on students` open-ended written responses and oral feedback from Norwegian language courses since 2009. Its purpose is to study how to create dynamic communicative practices while teaching and learning a foreign language. It intends also to present some useful ideas for teachers of international students on how to deal with the initial challenges of teaching a foreign language. The study’s focus from a pedagogical and methodological point of view, is moreover on the importance of a positive initial experience learning a foreign language and culture while living in the country. The study draws attention to linguistic characteristics such as sounds and pronunciation, grammatical issues, vocabulary or idiomatic expressions by means of contrast, similarities or associations with the languages represented in class. It also offers some advice on how to make use of learners` immediate environment and group`s momentary potentials in teaching activities, to make the process more dynamic and motivating. The study serves as a practical tool for teachers, and learners as well, to gain insight into how using simple strategies, can facilitate and encourage exploring the process of tuning students in to the country`s language and culture.

 

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