Translating language policy into practice: Language and culture policy at a Dutch university

Kevin Haines, Anje Dijk

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    The CEFR will only achieve its potential in higher education if it is embedded in a meaningful way in the wider processes of the university. One means of embedding the CEFR is through policy, and in this article we report the development of a language policy in the broader context of internationalization at a Dutch university. We describe some the challenges involved in developing and extending this policy to stakeholders across the complex environment of a modern university, particularly from the perspective of one of the key players in this process, the university Language Centre. A growth of English-medium instruction (EMI) programmes has coincided with a greater emphasis on internationalization in the university’s strategy, and this has resulted in the establishment of an International Classroom (IC) project and a supporting Language and Culture (L&C) policy. The L&C policy aims to be both top down and bottom up, with a dual language focus on English and Dutch, while also recognizing the inter-relation between linguistic and intercultural skills. We believe that the growth of EMI programmes has acted as a catalyst for the extension of the L&C policy beyond the EMI setting to the university as a whole, and that the CEFR can play a role in providing a bridge from an EMI-focused perspective on internationalization to a discussion of language policy as it affects the entire university community.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)355-376
    Number of pages22
    JournalLanguage Learning in Higher Education
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 6-Oct-2016


    • internationalization
    • language policy
    • language centre
    • CEFR
    • dual languages
    • culture
    • higher education

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