‘Multilingual Mindset’: A New Perspective for Student Transition in Higher Education


  • Argyro Kanaki University of Dundee




student transition, higher education, multilingual approach, multilingual mindset


Student Transition into and out of higher education (HE) is a theme where a lot has been written, explored and analysed. The aim of this opinion piece is to suggest a new pragmatic definition of ‘transition’, based on multilingual approaches to teaching and learning. It will also demonstrate some areas of relevance for this type of theory, providing a novel perspective in monoglot cultures. After reviewing some definitions of transition suggested by existing academic literature, the paper calls for the establishment of a ‘multilingual mindset’ in the field of HE. A ‘multilingual mindset’ could inform theoretical debate on transition, addressing the existing strong trends for the encouragement of Internationalisation in higher education. It recognises those challenges with transition which stem from cultural and linguistic difference and emphasises particularly those which are invisible, or difficult to approach, in monoglot cultures. Accounts of current practice within the scope of a ‘multilingual mindset’, along with personal reflections from a Scottish University perspective, are considered. The paper is written in the hope of providing food for thought, encouraging further experimentation and, perhaps, public exploration and enhancement of this culturally important perspective: that is dealing with Student Transition in Higher Education with a ‘multilingual mindset’.

Author Biography

Argyro Kanaki, University of Dundee

Argyro Kanaki, Lecturer in Education, University of Dundee, and an experienced language teacher, researches the field of language awareness. Competent in five modern European languages, and qualified as a teacher in four of them, her current teaching focuses on the pedagogy of modern foreign languages, issues around culture, and debates in international education.


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Opinion Piece