Global Academic Participation: Opportunities and Threats

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 3:45 PM
Room: F202
Oral Presentation
Robert HIGGINS , Language, Education & Research Centre, Kwansei Gakuin University, Nishinomiya-shi, Japan
Alan BRADY , Sociology, Kwansei Gakuin University, Nishinomiya-shi, Japan
A recent Japan initiative, “Global 30 Project for Establishing Core Universities for Internationalization,” aims to recruit 300,000 additional students from outside Japan by 2020 to study in English, and to send more Japanese students overseas, mainly to English-speaking areas.  These and other developments are a response to decreasing numbers of Japanese students studying abroad, and demographic shifts domestically. 


Gradol (2007), presenting a comprehensive survey of global trends involving English Language education (ELE), outlines a strong economic correlation with language learning.  This economic imperative has influenced some Japanese companies to operate in English – such as Uniqlo and Rakuten - and require higher English proficiency from a number of their workforce.  This indicates a change in attitudes to the professional use of English in the workplace, but may not be matched by institutions of higher education in Japan. Yamagami & Tollefson (2011) report that globalization forces can offer opportunities and threats for global non-native speakers of English.


A higher educational approach promoting awareness and skills necessary to be global, are keys to gaining access to predominantly English academic discourse.  Such access can lead to the sharing of common life goals and more specific participatory mechanisms across national boundaries and cultures.  The promotion of both global awareness and skills, based on Steiner’s three-tiered model of social life development, involves discipline-specific information exchanges and knowledge-sharing, specific genres, highly specialized terminology, and a high level of expertise (Swales, 1990).


Content and language integrated communication learning or CLICL, prioritizing academic literacies and discipline-specific content, provides learners with knowledge, skills, and life values enabling them to be mobile in local and global workplaces, including academia.  Our paper provides an account of CLICL, which balances academic literacies and discipline-specific knowledge, skills, and values.  We outline the practicalities that nurture CLICL, or lead to its rejection.