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Kodolányi János University College

Author(s): Csilla Sárdi
Institution/Organisation: Kodolányi János University College (HU)

1. DESCRIPTION OF THE SUCCESS CASE

1.1 Scope of the initiative

The language policy targets the following groups within the university: 1st cycle full time students majoring in subjects other than foreign languages, visiting international students within the framework of Erasmus or other bilateral agreements between KUC and partner institutions, foreign language teachers at the university, subject lecturers, management of the university.

1.2 Range of languages learned

English, French and German are offered at the university for Hungarian and for international students too. It is possible for students to learn other languages too depending on the students’ requests. In such cases, a language course can start if the number of students who wish to learn the language reaches 10. This is because of financial constraints. For international students, a Hungarian as a foreign language (HFL) course is also offered, which includes a strong cultural module.

1.3 Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes are partly determined by the relevant ministerial decree. (N.B. Hungary is becoming a very centralised country and this strongly influences measures taken in higher education.) I will explain this in detail in 2.1.

The language policy determines the following learning outcomes: (1) successful language examination by the end of the study programme, (2) communicative competence for academic and for occupational purposes based of needs analyses, (3) development of skills related to independent learning so that students are able to further develop their language competences in their free time and after graduation, (4) development of intercultural communication skills.

In the case of HFL, the expected learning outcomes are that (1) students are able to communicate in general situations at an A1 level, and (2) they are familiar with the most important issues regarding Hungarian society, economy and culture.

1.4 Practical realisation

On the basis of the language policy, language learning and teaching takes place the following way:

  1. Students study one or two foreign languages building on the knowledge and competences they gained in public education. Therefore, courses at a beginner level are not offered. (See 2.1 for a justification.
  2. The focus of language instruction is teaching language for specific purposes (LSP) rather than teaching language for general purposes in the case of every degree programme, regardless of the degree requirements.
  3. Students are given the opportunity to take mock state language examinations, which provide them with information on how well they would perform at such an examination at a given point in time.
  4. Upon passing the required state language examination during the study period, students can be absolved from their LSP courses only. CLIL still remains part of their study programme.
  5. A number of subject-specific courses are offered in foreign languages (CLIL). Students are required to obtain a certain number of credit points for subject-specific courses in a foreign language.
  6. LSP courses partly precede foreign language subject-specific courses, and partly run parallel with them.
  7. Independent learning techniques are introduced and their use is encouraged by language teachers and subject lecturers.
  8. A self-study centre is available for the students using the expertise of the Department of Modern Languages and that of language experts at the university college and in partner institutions, and managed within the framework of the University Library. In order to ensure that students make the most of the opportunities offered by the centre, the following steps were taken by the Department of Modern Languages: language teachers were given a series of workshops on independent learning and the effective use of the self-study centre. Teachers took their classes to the self-study centre and introduced the possibilities there. Also, they give their students tasks which requires the use of the self-study centre.
  9. In-service training is organised for language teachers and subject lecturers who participate in the new language programme of the university college. The in-service training focuses on the linguistic, subject-specific and methodological aspects the newly developed and implemented language programmes.
  10. An institution-wide campaign is organised in order to inform students about the aims, the elements and the advantages of the new language policy.
  11. At present English, German and French is taught at Kodolányi. The institution makes a conscious effort to increase the number of foreign languages offered on the basis of students’ needs.
  12. As for HFL, this is an option for international students, and they receive credits for the fulfilment of the requirements. Altogether, 90 contact hours/semester are offered and students receive 6 ECTS for it.
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