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Expert in the spotlight in May 2013: David Lasagabaster

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David Lasagabaster is Associate Professor at the University of the Basque Country, where he received his PhD in 1997 with a thesis entitled "Creativity and metalinguistic awareness: their influence on the learning of English as L3". He has been a visiting scholar at several universities, such as the Centre for Immersion and Multilingualism (University of Vaasa, Finland), the OISE (University of Toronto, Canada), the University of Nevada, Reno (USA), the School of Languages and Linguistics (the University of Melbourne, Australia), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and Utah State University (USA). He is a member of the editorial board of Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education (John Benjamins), International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Porta Linguarum, and Rivista di Psicolinguistica Applicata/Journal of Applied Psycholinguistics. He was responsible (2005-2008) for the "Multilingualism Programme" (CLIL in English and French) of the University of the Basque Country. Since 2008 he is a member of the executive committee of the International Association for LanguageAwareness.

He lectures on multilingualism, language attitudes and motivation at the MA programme Language Acquisition in Multilingual Settings with access to doctoral studies (PhD), in which he supervises master's and PhD theses. The doctorate programme has been accredited by the Spanish Ministry of Education (Distinction of Excellence 2011-2014). (source)

Face to face with David Lasagabaster

What is your background in the field of regional and minority languages/education/ multilingualism?
I was educated in Basque at a time when immersion programmes in a minority language happened to be in their infancy in the Basque Country. I obtained my first bachelor's degree as teacher of Basque and then completed my second BA and the PhD in English studies. The close contact with three languages in the curriculum sparked my interest in language learning, and both my teaching and research have always been focused on the learning of the minority language (Basque), the majority language (Spanish) and the predominant international language in my context (English). My main research interests are bilingualism and multilingualism, language attitudes and motivation, CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning), and the internationalisation in higher education.

What do you think is the major challenge in your field of work?
European educational systems are attaching increasing importance to the learning of foreign languages, since there is a dire need to educate multilingual and multicultural citizens in a context where the linguistic consequences of globalization are fairly evident. This globalizing process is forcing European education systems to pay more attention to the learning of foreign languages, and schools and universities are offering courses taught in foreign languages, exposing students to teaching through the medium of (overwhelmingly) English. One of the major challenges in my field of work has to do with the analysis of the impact that the increasing presence of English may have on both Basque and Spanish, but especially on the former due to its minority language status.

What is one of the hottest new projects / items you are working on?
I am currently leading a research project which analyses the (de)motivating factors that teachers and students come across in English-medium content courses at both pre-university and university levels and how these motivational factors may be determined by methodological factors. Studies confirm that by and large the higher the educational level, the lower the motivation for learning the foreign language, which is why the project is aimed at exploring how the CLIL approach and the methodological innovations it entails affect the development of language attitudes and motivation (the two main affective factors in L2 learning). Another objective is to examine the impact of English-medium content instruction on different age groups (secondary education versus tertiary education).

Are there any important references such as articles, links, etc. you would like to mention?

Doiz, A., Lasagabaster, D. and Sierra, J.M. (eds.) (2013). "English-Medium Instruction at Universities: Global Challenges." Bristol/Buffalo/Toronto: Multilingual Matters.

Cots, J.M., Lasagabaster, D. and Garrett, P. (2012). Multilingual policies and practices of universities in bilingual regions in Europe. "International Journal of the Sociology of Language"  216, 7-32.

Doiz, A., Lasagabaster, D. and Sierra, J.M. (2011). Internationalisation, multilingualism and English-medium instruction: the teachers' perspective. "World Englishes"  30, 345-359.

Lasagabaster, D. and Ruiz de Zarobe, Y. (eds.) (2010). "CLIL in Spain: Implementation, Results and Teacher Training." Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishers.

Lasagabaster, D. and Huguet, H. (eds.) (2007). "Multilingualism in European Bilingual Contexts. Language Use and Attitudes." Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Do you have any questions on these topics?
Ask David


Featured topic

Foreign language learning in Europe