Second Language Studies

Nearly two decades into the 21st Century, a sense of ubiquitous interconnectedness afforded by technological advancement in multilingual, heterogeneous, so-called ‘superdiverse’ societies have forever changed the ways in which we access and interact with the world. Yet, the last few years have also witnessed an equally unprecedented rise in overt displays of xenophobia, widespread conflict and discrimination underpinned by pervasive monocultural, monolingual ethos, practices and ideologies. These parallel realities have called for a renewed understanding of who the 21st Century language learner is and how to meet their needs in an ever-evolving educational landscape.

Members of theSecond Language Studies (SLS) Research Cluster are brought together by their research experience and expertise as well as their interest in understanding more about the new profile of the 21st Century Language Learner. Some of the emerging features of this new profile include: an increase in learners who are heritage language speakers possessing a wide range of proficiency levels in their home language; the need to develop multiple types of literacies including being able to describe levels of proficiency attained across linguistic repertoires to prospective (international) employers; the need for flexible, active learning environments and pedagogies (online; blended, etc.), locally and also while studying abroad.

The vision of the SLS Cluster is to provide data-driven, evidence-based insights into this new learner profile at various levels, local (within UQ, Queensland), national (across Australia) and international (through collaboration with strategic partners around the globe), to enhance current practice considering the critical role of multilingualism and language learning/teaching in the wider community.