In the fourth semester, the second-year students of English Philology with Spanish took an intensive linguistics course which was based on cooperation with American students from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.
The course, led by professors Anna Łobodzińska (Poland) and Lida Cope (USA), was attended by 15 Polish and 30 American students who met twice a week on the Zoom platform.
In the course introduction, we learned that the aim of the US English as a Global Language course was “to examine English in relation to various aspects of cultural and linguistic diversity and in this way become more culturally sensitive and competent communicators, negotiators, and global citizens.’’ This was well matched with the main goal of our class, which was to discover varieties of English language usage around the world as well as look at the future of English. The course programme included a series of lectures and discussions examining the role of English and its influence on native languages, identities and cultures in several countries, including the Czech Republic, Lebanon, Poland, Russia, Scotland, and the USA. In one of our classes, we were introduced to the Caribbean Englishes and learned to read a text in Jamaican Creole.
Our Zoom meetings afforded Polish students an authentic opportunity to interact in English in real time and get accustomed to different American English accents.
Here are some samples from our lectures:
During the course, students from both universities worked in groups on joint projects that were presented at the-end-of course Global English Mini-Conference. The topics of the students’ presentations ranged from Languages in the EU and English as a Lingua Franca in International Institutions to the Influence of English on Japanese Music. Some students decided to examine the Role of English in Tourism in India and Poland and the Use of English in Advertising. Closer to home, we learned about the Influence of English on the Polish language, English-Polish Code Switching, as well as English Language Teaching in Poland. All students who participated in preparing and delivering the presentations received a diploma confirming the course completion.
The following photos show what some of our presentations looked like:
We conclude with a few comments from students and our professors:
„I personally hope that both American and Polish students found our lectures informative and inspiring. On their feedback form as well as in their reflections some of the students said that it was a real eye-opener for them and made them want to find out more about the countries and the topics discussed. The way that the groups cooperated on their final projects and the way they presented their work showed that international teamwork has its challenges and misunderstandings, funny stories and finally results in great success. We are hoping that apart from linguistic insight our students managed to learn how to cope with teamwork and learnt some management skills.” (Anna Łobodzińska, Carpathian State College)
“100% LOVED our international links! This class has been…harder than I expected…but the more I’ve understood the material, the more I’ve enjoyed it. Thank YOU!”
“I really enjoyed the format of this class, especially in this time of the pandemic where school felt limited, we were able to venture out and meet new people.”
“I really enjoyed the international group meetings. It’s always nice to meet with people from other cultures than yours.”
“This course was an excellent opportunity for Polish and American students to examine how social, political economic, and geographical factors interact with the process of language contact and change involving Englishes and local languages in different parts of the world. It was invaluable for both groups of students to share different cultural perspectives and reflect on different encounters with Englishes discussed in both invited lectures and student presentations. The groupwork was logistically challenging but afforded an excellent venue for one-on-one discussions on the topics that students had selected. In the end, we as instructors were very proud of what our students were able to accomplish. The Global English Mini-Conference was a definite success!” (Lida Cope, East Carolina University)
Anna Mojak and Paulina Maślanka 2nd year English Philology