As a guest editor of this edition of the Latin American Journal of Content and Language Integrated Learning (LACLIL), I would like to share with the readers a reflection on what I perceive as the evolving role of foreign language (FL) learning in today’s educational settings. I offer some ideas on what institutions need to consider in FL teaching and propose some questions for these to think about.
Many people are in contact with other languages in mass communication as well as in private communication. Education, research, entertainment, edutainment, news, and social networks, Web sites and platforms—to name a few—pervade work and home routines. These serve the most diverse audiences and purposes. On the other hand, academic and professional mobility has become the norm. People work in networks; they are connected by interests, often independently of nationality, culture, or language.
Today the study of an FL may provide people with opportunities to interact with other cultures and to gain awareness on a global citizenship. Information technologies have facilitated the purposeful or the incidental contact with world communities; these factors have transformed the way we learn, we teach, and we interact with others. Along those lines, I see that FL education allows access to global knowledge. In addition to promoting communication and culture, it serves as an instrument for disseminating the knowledge generated locally. Thus, connections with other communities become of utmost importance.