15th Thomas More International Days

Theme of 2019: Language & Communication
Multilingual Higher Education - English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) – Multiligualism – Language and the self - Effective Communication

For its ID2019 theme, Thomas More chose to focus on language & communication.

  • Is it not true that institutions struggle in finding a balance between teaching in the local language and other languages?
  • Non-native speakers that teach in English say that returning to ‘teaching in their mother tongue’ feels like ‘taking a nice warm bath’. Does this tell us something about the level of detail reached in class? 
  • Definitely, in research ‘English is the Lingua Franca’. This allows collaboration between experts with different mother tongues. Might it impoverish the quality of the work? Often we notice a defective form of English.
  • What is the position of foreign language teachers in higher education? Are they open to new pedagogies such as content language integrated learning (CLIL)?
  • How open are we, as higher education institutions, to welcome students and staff from abroad to enrich our learning communities? And to what extend can their presence enrich the local community?
  • To equip our students for their future in the globalised world, we would better train them in as many languages as possible!
  • What is effective communication? Are verbal and visual communication equally valuable to help produce the most effective message possible?

The statements serve to help you see the richness of the theme. The ID2019 hope to attract experts of all kinds: language experts, communication experts, experts with a specific view on languaging* in relation to their professional field, experts in multilinguism,…

The ID2019 will build bridges between higher education and the field of work. It will offer a multidisciplinary platform, looking at inspiring perspectives, policies and practises from all over the globe.

The ID2019 are organised by Thomas More UAS in collaboration with the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium from 18-22 March 2019.

The joint conference day will take place on Wednesday 20 March 2019 in the Lamot Conference and Heritage Centre in Mechelen. This is a former brewery, where up until the eighties the legendary Lamot beer was produced. During this main conference day all Thomas More fields of study take part and all guests and disciplines will meet.

You can combine this main conference day with being part of the international delegation for a specific field of study. This part is coordinated by the international coordinator of that specific field. The field specific part will consist of sessions, lectures or workshops of our international guests. Sessions will be open to our students, colleagues and interested representatives from the field of work. Your lessons and presentations can deal with the overall theme, but also with your own field of expertise. It would be nice to present your institution and country to our students. Classes can be taught in English, French or German.

The participation fee entails 100 EUR. We expect the participants to cover travel, accommodation and other expenses. Participation is possible in the framework of ERASMUS+ teacher/staff mobility or other mobility.


Topics and areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Language policies in institutions & curricula
  • Importance of foreign language proficiency within each discipline
  • English as the common language for research and international higher education
  • Beyond language: how can international students and staff be connected with the local culture?
  • Multilingualism
  • Languaging while on Erasmus
  • Language and the self - “A paradoxical conflict results in that the language learner wishes to create and maintain an ideal sense of self in the second language, yet the very act of language use threatens that image” (Pellegrino Aveni, 2005, p. 4)
  • Multilingual Higher Education & differences among (European) regions
  • ‘English as the default language of international communication’ causes problems of motivation to learn foreign languages in English-speaking countries
  • No two languages are learned in exactly the same way.
  • Visual communication and its effectiveness

Programmes of the 15th international days

    General programme
    Departemental programmes

Practical information

    Call for abstracts Joint Conference Day 20 March 2019


*languaging,  “a process of making meaning and shaping knowledge and experience through language” (Swain, 2006, p. 98), where ‘language’ can potentially be any language, not only the local, target or L1 languages.

Inge Vervoort
International Office
T 0498 46 40 78