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Insights into Language Education Policies


Edited By Manuel Jiménez Raya and Terry Lamb

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.

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Language education policy in the United States: A hesitation waltz (François Victor Tochon)


François Victor Tochon

Language education policy in the United States: A hesitation waltz

“Americans will be consigned to being linguistically retarded.”

(Fishman, 2005: 127)

Abstract: Using the Hesitation Waltz as a metaphor, this chapter describes the back and forth movements characterising language education policies in the United States, that is, how language education has moved from restriction to expediency, from tolerance to repression, from absence of support to promotion or the other way round. The chapter begins by discussing two examples of the current situation of the United States regarding language education policies targeted at Native Americans and the Ebonics controversy. Next, it analyses modern language education policies after 9/11, the progressive opening to measures assisting 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 discussing the influence of both dialectical and cultural substrates on language education policies.

Keywords: Native Americans, Ebonics, Hispanic heritage learners, No Child Left Behind, higher education

Hesitation Waltz, a variation of the Boston and Valse, was defined as a dance based on a pause and glide, with steps moving back and forth demonstrating the uncertainty of male birds, both attracted by and rejecting the moves of their partner. This back and forth movement characterizes Language Education Policy in the United States quite well. There were periods of likes and dislikes, attractions and...

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