Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

International Affairs

First Advisor

Artemi Romanov

Second Advisor

Joseph Jupille

Third Advisor

Lucy Chester

Abstract

As globalization sweeps across nations and increases the importance of foreign language skills, states like Lithuania struggle to balance new demands in foreign language education with work already done in national and minority language promotion. I observe that Finland shares Lithuania’s language situation of balancing national and minority language rights, yet surpasses Lithuania in English fluency, economic competitiveness, and scholastic achievement. I hypothesize that Lithuania can learn from Finland’s best practices; to test that hypothesis, I review government and IGO literature on the Finnish and Lithuanian education systems, and I conduct interviews with Lithuanians and Finns to add veracity and nuance to my findings. I find that my hypothesis is met in that Lithuania can borrow Finnish strategies in teaching foreign languages: it can improve the prestige of its teacher programs, and it can create more communicative lessons. However, my hypothesis is not met in that Lithuania and Finland are incomparable in minority and national language policy choices. This research assists nations which hope to keep alive their languages in the face of global transmission of languages and cultures, and provides a further step toward balancing international competitiveness (found in foreign language skills) with nationalist necessity (found in national and minority languages).

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