Well-rounded graduates – what languages can do

Pulker, Helene; Stickler, Ursula and Vialleton, Elodie (2021). Well-rounded graduates – what languages can do. In: Plutino, Alessia and Polisca, Elena eds. Languages at work, competent multilinguals and the pedagogical challenges of COVID-19. Research-publishing.net, pp. 23–35.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14705/rpnet.2021.49.1215


The School of Languages and Applied Linguistics at the Open University (OU) radically re-designed its modern languages curriculum in 2014, launching its first suite of new modules in 2017. The institution as a whole has since also developed a new employability framework. Our paper describes the principles underpinning the design of the new curriculum, demonstrates how it is being implemented, and focuses on an initiative that involved our Associate Lecturers (ALs) in defining a ‘well-rounded graduate’ and reflecting on plurilingualism and their roles as language teachers in a distance-teaching institution. Presenting our Teaching Excellence project, its processes, and findings in this paper will allow colleagues who teach modern languages to replicate or adapt parts of our approach in their own settings, exemplifying to the wider world how language skills can become an inherent element of the well-rounded graduate in the 21st century.

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