The monolingual framing of international education in Australia


  • Anthony J. Liddicoat University of South Australia
  • Jonathan Crichton -



international education, monolingualism, monolingual mindset, monolingual habitus


The concept of international education in Australia is moving from a discourse of attracting students from other countries to one of concern with internationalising curriculum and pedagogy. This internationalisation is motivated by a reconsideration of the appropriateness of curricula to prepare students for the globalised world of work. If one examines universities’ approaches to internationalisation, however, if becomes clear that the dominant ideology of internationalisation is framed from a English-speaking perspective in which English-language monolingualism is constructed as both the basis for and the content of teaching and learning. The monolingual mindset is characterised by: ? An emphasis on knowledge created in and communicated through English ? Little attention to the linguistic and cultural context in which knowledge will be used ? Neglect of the “non-English” competences and capacities of learners ? Construction of learners’ English second language as a deficit and of English language learning as remediation ? The “invisibility” of the linguistic and cultural context of English ? Little consideration of developing the linguistic resources needed by students to participate in a globalised workplace. ? Perceptions that education offered by Australian institutions in the first language of students is suspect (easy options, low standards of teaching, etc.) ? Little consideration of knowledge and discipline practices as culturally and linguistically contexted. These characteristics demonstrate that internationalisation is discursively constructed as an English language phenomenon and the valued dimensions of international education are located within the value structures of English which determines the flow of knowledge, learning purposes and practices, academic values and the attribution of value to knowledge as a commodity.

Author Biographies

Anthony J. Liddicoat, University of South Australia

Anthony J. Liddicoat is Professor in Applied Linguistics at the Research Centre for Languages and Cultures in the School of International Studies at the University of South Australia. His research interests include: language and intercultural issues in education, conversation analysis, and language policy and planning.

Jonathan Crichton, -




How to Cite

Liddicoat, A. J., & Crichton, J. (2008). The monolingual framing of international education in Australia. Sociolinguistic Studies, 2(3), 367–384.