Insights into Language Education Policies

by Manuel Jiménez Raya (Volume editor) Terry Lamb (Volume editor) Borja Manzano Vázquez (Volume editor)
©2020 Edited Collection 188 Pages


Insights into Language Education Policies is of particular interest to academic researchers, policymakers, and teaching professionals interested in language education. It aims to provide the reader with critical insights into language education policies in diverse countries around the world. The chapters examine from different perspectives (for instance, migration and minority languages, indigenous languages, and content and language integrated learning [CLIL] instruction) the measures adopted in these settings to foster (modern) language learning, underlining their strengths and weaknesses and suggesting future avenues and courses of action to enhance plurilingual education in these particular contexts and beyond.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of contributors
  • Perspectives on language education policy (Manuel Jiménez Raya, Terry Lamb, and Borja Manzano Vázquez)
  • From European to national policies in language education: Plurilingualism and the case of Portugal1 (Flávia Vieira and Maria Alfredo Moreira)
  • The what’s, why’s, who’s, and how’s of Andalusian plurilingual education (María Luisa Pérez Cañado)
  • Language policies in Galicia: From bilingual education to trilingual schools1 (José Manuel Vez Jeremías)
  • From bilingualism to multilingualism in the Basque Autonomous Community: An overview of language policies and research outcomes (Borja Manzano Vázquez)
  • Language education policy in the United States: A hesitation waltz (François Victor Tochon)
  • Toward empathetic multilingual language education policy (LEP) in the U.S. and the world: An indigenous view of linguistic autonomy through the Native American Languages Act (Kristine M. Harrison)
  • Hong Kong language policy and its relationship to and effect on language use in Hong Kong (Bertha Du-Babcock)
  • List of figures
  • List of tables
  • Series Index

List of contributors

Bertha Du-Babcock

City University of Hong Kong, China

Kristine M. Harrison

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and Deep Institute, USA

Manuel Jiménez Raya

University of Granada, Spain

Terry Lamb

University of Westminster, UK

Borja Manzano Vázquez

University of Granada, Spain

Maria Alfredo Moreira

University of Minho, Portugal

María Luisa Pérez Cañado

University of Jaén, Spain

François Victor Tochon

University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

José Manuel Vez Jeremías

University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Flávia Vieira

University of Minho, Portugal

Manuel Jiménez Raya, Terry Lamb, and Borja Manzano Vázquez

Perspectives on language education policy

“To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world”

Chinese proverb

Abstract: The increasing globalisation our world is experiencing has increased the number of intercultural contact situations, underlining the need for individuals to develop the capacity to use several languages appropriately and effectively. Plurilingualism has become a major asset in our present-day society. Our world is also characterised by the linguistic diversity present in many countries due to the coexistence of different local and migration languages. The problem, however, is that many of these languages tend to remain as minority languages, spoken by a small part of the community and neglected in schools and local administrations. The present chapter underlines the key role that education and, consequently, language education policies can play in encouraging language learning as well as contributing to preserving, revitalising and recognising local and migration languages. It concludes by providing an overview of the main contents addressed in each of the chapters included in the present book.

Keywords: Language education policy, language education, plurilingualism, minority languages

One of the main characteristics of the 21st century is the increasing globalisation which currently our world is experiencing, leading countries to become more and more connected and people to engage more frequently in intercultural contact situations. This phenomenon underlines the pressing need for every citizen to acquire competence in using different languages. Plurilingualism has thus become an important attribute to be developed by learners and a fundamental component to be incorporated into educational policies. The importance attached to plurilingualism can be observed, for example, in the various documents issued by the European Union (European Commission, 1995, 2004, 2005, 2008) to encourage (foreign) language learning in education.

Another important characteristic of our contemporary world is the co-existence of different languages in one geographical area. Many countries encompass a great diversity of cultures, customs and languages. One example is Spain, where Spanish co-exists in some regions of the country with other local ←9 | 10→languages such as Basque, Catalan, and Galician. This diversity is nowadays being enhanced by migration. The world is witnessing one of the largest migratory flows in history. More and more people are leaving their countries (some escaping from war, hunger, or poverty) in order to settle in another country where they can have better living and working conditions. The problem is that many of these local and migration languages tend to remain as minority languages, being spoken by a small part of the community and neglected in schools and local administrations. In this sense, education can play a key role in addressing this situation as well as encouraging social cohesion. Apart from incorporating foreign languages into the curriculum, one of the greatest challenges schools and, consequently, language education policies face is to cater for this linguistic diversity, that is, to encourage the learning of local languages as well as recognising and building on the languages that learners of a migrant background bring to the classroom.

The main purpose of the present book is to provide the reader with critical insights into language education policies in different countries around the world: the United States, China, Portugal and Spain. The different chapters included in this book analyse what is done (or not) in these settings to promote (foreign) language learning from different perspectives (for example, the preservation of indigenous languages at schools, the promotion of CLIL [Content and Language Integrated Learning] instruction in education, or the situation of migration and minority languages in curriculum policies), underlining their merits and flaws as well as suggesting future avenues and courses of action to be adopted in order to enhance plurilingual education in these contexts. We therefore believe that, although modest in its scope, this book will be of particular interest to policymakers, academic researchers and teaching professionals concerned with language education.

Overview of the book

In the first chapter of the present book Flávia Vieira and Maria Alfredo Moreira analyse language curriculum policies in primary and secondary education in Portugal in order to discuss their potential (or lack of it) for enhancing plurilingual education, focusing on the teaching of foreign languages as curriculum subjects as well as migration and minority languages. The chapter begins by examining the main foundations and implications of the European idea(l) of plurilingualism. Next, it describes the changes effected by recent language policies in Portugal that promote the development of a multilingual curriculum which is dominated by English and in which concepts such as intercultural competence ←10 | 11→and plurilingualism are excluded. Finally, the chapter concludes by analysing the current situation of migration and minority languages in Portuguese academic settings and underlines the pressing need for adopting a plurilingual approach so as to cater for the educational inclusion of these languages.

The next three chapters of the book analyse the language education policies of three different Spanish contexts. The chapter by María Luisa Pérez Cañado provides a detailed rendering of the plurilingual education model developed in Andalusia, officially a monolingual community in the south of Spain. It answers a series of wh-questions which aim to canvass the past, present and future of the two main plans enacting this model: the Andalusian Plan for the Promotion of Plurilingualism (APPP) and the Plan Estratégico de Desarrollo de las Lenguas en Andalucía (PEDLA). The chapter begins by expounding on why the APPP and the PEDLA have been developed. It then describes how they are being implemented in practice, mapping how their overarching guidelines are reflected in on-the-ground practice. The chapter analyses the outcomes of the APPP and the PEDLA, focusing on who has done stocktaking on the way in which these plans are working and what results have been yielded by the research conducted thus far. It concludes by exploring where those outcomes lead, identifying the main challenges to be addressed and setting an agenda for the future.

José Manuel Vez Jeremías examines the language policies developed in a Spanish bilingual community: Galicia. The chapter begins by analysing the Galician linguistic landscape in which Galician, once a linguistic variety of low prestige, has gained more social status through different political measures. These measures, however, have not prevented the drastic decline of L1 Galician speakers among adolescents. To reduce this language deficit, the Galician Government has enacted various educational measures, which are reviewed in the chapter. These measures have aimed to promote the learning of Galician through its incorporation into the school curriculum, both as a subject and as a language of instruction. In recent years, however, Galicia has experienced a shift towards a trilingual model in education (based on teaching a third of the school subjects in Galician, Spanish and English respectively). While supporters of this model regard it as a promising tool for increasing learners’ foreign language skills, detractors argue that its development is a potential threat to the revitalisation of the regional language.

The chapter by Borja Manzano Vázquez is also framed in a Spanish bilingual community, in this particular case, the Basque Autonomous Community. On the one hand, the chapter describes the different language policies and initiatives implemented to promote language education in the Basque school system. In this sense, it examines the development of bilingual education (Basque-Spanish) ←11 | 12→in the community and discusses how CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) has been implemented in Basque schools. On the other hand, the chapter explores the findings of the main studies conducted in the Basque Autonomous Community on the impact of CLIL on learners’ language learning. In doing so, it identifies potential flaws and shortcomings in these studies to be addressed in future research. To conclude, the chapter suggests different courses of action which can be adopted in the future so as to enhance multilingual education and the implementation of CLIL in this region.

Next, the focus shifts to language policy in the United States. Using the Hesitation Waltz as a metaphor, François Victor Tochon describes the back and forth movements that characterise language education policies in the United States. These policies have shifted, in varying degrees in the different states, from tolerance to repression, from restriction to expediency, and from absence of support to promotion or indeed the reverse. The chapter thus begins by discussing two examples of the current situation of the United States regarding language education policies targeted at the Native American population and the Ebonics controversy, illustrated with the case of the Oakland California School Board. Next, it focuses on analysing modern language education policies after 9/11, the progressive opening to measures helping Hispanic heritage learners, the detrimental effect of the No Child Left Behind Act on foreign language education, and the ‘Hesitation Waltz’ experienced in higher education. The chapter concludes by expounding on the influence of dialectical and cultural substrates on language education policies.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2020 (April)
Language teaching – Language education policy Minority languages Migration languages Content and language integrated learning
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2020. 188 pp., 6 fig. b/w, 11 tables.

Biographical notes

Manuel Jiménez Raya (Volume editor) Terry Lamb (Volume editor) Borja Manzano Vázquez (Volume editor)

Manuel Jiménez Raya is a professor of applied linguistics at the University of Granada (Spain). His research interests are pedagogy for autonomy, language teacher education, and case pedagogy. He has published various articles and co-authored several books on FLT methodology and teacher education. Terry Lamb is a professor of languages and interdisciplinary pedagogy and director of the Centre for Teaching Innovation at the University of Westminster (England). He has published extensively in the areas of learner autonomy, multilingualism, and language teacher development and is the founder and editor of an academic journal. Borja Manzano Vázquez is a lecturer in the Department of English and German Philology at the University of Granada (Spain). His research interests are learner and teacher autonomy in language education, pedagogy for autonomy, bilingual education, and foreign language teacher education.


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190 pages