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Durham University

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Byram, M. (2018). An Essay on Internationalism in Foreign Language Education. Intercultural Communication Education 1(2): 64-82.

Author(s) from Durham


This essay is an attempt to introduce into the discourse of Foreign Language Education the concept and phenomenon of internationalism. It begins with an analysis of the ways in which education systems promote nationalism and "national citizenship," and suggests that an internationalist perspective would enrich this tradition in education. It continues with a discussion of the concept and the historical phenomenon of internationalism in its various forms, and the values it incorporates. Some approaches to defining notions of "global citizenship" and their limitations are identified and the essay then argues that internationalism offers a more comprehensive basis on which to build "global," "cosmopolitan" or other concepts of citizenship. This is then the foundation for presenting a way of thinking about Foreign Language Education as a means of promoting internationalism, which is illustrated by examples from recent practice. The essay ends with some thoughts about future directions in which the internationalist educational purposes of Foreign Language Education might be further realised.