Language Policies in Education: Critical Issues

Language Policies in Education: Critical Issues

Language Policies in Education: Critical Issues

Language Policies in Education: Critical Issues

Synopsis

How do language policies in education serve the interests of dominant groups within societies? How do policies marginalize some students while granting privilege to others? How do language policies in schools create inequalities among learners? How can schools further the educational, social, and economic interests of linguistic minorities? These questions--the focus of the chapters in this book-- are at the heart of fundamental debates about the role of schools in society; the links between language policies and inequalities of class, region, and ethnicity/nationality; and conflicts between linguistic minorities and "mainstream" populations. The connections between language policies and inequality are examined, as well as successful efforts to use language policies in education to assert the social and linguistic rights of language minorities. *All of the chapters are original and substantial contributions to the study of language policy and exemplify major theories and research methods in the field. *The case studies are international in scope, including cutting-edge analyses of important language policy debates in North America, Australia, Eastern Europe, Africa, East Asia, South Asia, and the Pacific. *The multiple meanings of critical language policy study are highlighted. First, the term refers to the field of critical linguistics. Second, the book seeks to develop readers' ability to critically "read" language policies--that is, to understand the social and political implications of particular policies adopted in specific historical contexts. Third, it features chapters that are critical of traditional analyses that fail to capture the full social and political context of language policies and too often accept uncritically the claims of policy. *Sections are included on theoretical issues in language policies; the use of language policy for governance; the role of language policy in managing ethnic conflict; the link between language and globalization; and the impact of critical pedagogy on social change. This volume is intended for scholars and other specialists in language policy, education, applied linguistics, critical linguistics, and language teaching. It is designed for use as a textbook in graduate and advanced undergraduate courses on language policy and language education.

Excerpt

Research on language policy as a distinct field of study can be traced to the 1960s, when Joshua Fishman, Charles A. Ferguson, and other pioneers saw the need for intensive research on the central importance of language in the processes of national development. Their work led the way in linking language policies with fundamental social, political, and economic issues. That first generation of research, which lasted through most of the 1970s, was followed by a period of quiescence during the 1980s, when language policy specialists questioned many of the fundamental assumptions of the field. Indeed, this period of reflection was for many researchers a time of disillusionment with language policy studies. In the past decade, however, we have witnessed the rapid growth of a second generation of published research on language policy. This new wave of research has broadened the field from the earlier focus on language and development, to include other concerns such as the role of language policies in establishing and maintaining socioeconomic inequality. This volume aims to explore one key area that has received attention in this new period of research: language policies in education. The collection is intended for scholars and other specialists in language policy, education, applied linguistics, critical linguistics, and language teaching. It is designed to be adopted in graduate and advanced undergraduate courses on language policy and language education.

Though the topic of language policies in education is a vast one, researchers in the area share a belief in the central role of language learning and language use in educational institutions. Indeed, much of education involves complex linguistic interactions between students and teachers and among students. These interactions both reflect and shape the linguistic hierarchies that are essential components in broad social, political, and economic systems of equality and inequality. Due to the central importance . . .

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