Language, Education, and Ideology: Mapping the Landscape of U.S. Schools

Language, Education, and Ideology: Mapping the Landscape of U.S. Schools

Language, Education, and Ideology: Mapping the Landscape of U.S. Schools

Language, Education, and Ideology: Mapping the Landscape of U.S. Schools

Synopsis

Language educators in general, and foreign language educators in particular, need to be aware of and sensitive to issues related to the interface and nexus of language, education, and ideology. This work places foreign language education in its social context, as well as applying critical pedagogy to the foreign language classroom, to help educators become more aware of the social, political, historical, and economic contexts in which they work and which effect the classroom setting.

Excerpt

In January 1982, I defended my doctoral dissertation at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. The dissertation, titled, “Language, Ideology, and Education, ” was an attempt to address a number of issues related to the controversies about bilingual education and Black English in the U.S. context from an interdisciplinary perspective. This book, in spite of the similarity of title, is in fact a very different work, one informed by twenty years of scholarship and life experience. However, it does share many elements with that dissertation: it is concerned with the interface of language and education and with the political and ideological aspects of that interface. It also deals with these matters from the perspective of a foreign language educator, which the dissertation did not attempt to do, and includes insights from my work on sign language and deafness, language and education in South Africa, and linguistic human rights—all issues about which I knew virtually nothing when I wrote my dissertation.

The target audience for this book is, first and foremost, foreign language educators, but it also includes other educators interested or involved in the teaching and learning of languages. Included in this group are not only those whose professional identification is that of a language educator—foreign language, ESL , bilingual, and English teachers in particular—but also of any educator dealing with any child in a classroom setting. There is an old adage, “Every teacher is an English teacher.” I think that, although dated, this adage is still very true, and further, that every teacher must also be something of an applied linguist. The issues addressed in this book are not just issues of concern for language educators; they touch on the very core of what it means to be an advocate for all children.

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