LOOKING AT LANGUAGE POLICY IN EDUCATION AS A
A LANGUAGE MANAGEMENT PERSPECTIVE
Lisa Fairbrother, Ph.D.
Faculty of Foreign Studies,
Symposium for CLIL in a plurilingual community of
Language policy and education言語政策と語学教育
Sophia University, January 28th, 2017
1. What is language policy and planning?
2. A language management perspective
3. What processes can we see behind the development
and implementation of language policy in education?
3.1 Where do language policies come from? Who is
involved? Whose interests are represented?
3.2 How are those policies implemented (if at all)?
What happens after they are implemented?
4. If CLIL were introduced as a national education policy,
what issues would we need to pay particular attention
WHAT IS LANGUAGE POLICY AND PLANNING?
“Language planning refers to deliberate and future-
oriented activities aimed at influencing or modifying
the language behaviour of a speech community or
society”(Swann et al. 2004)
The results of such planning are what we call
language policies (言語政策、言語教育方針）
WHERE DOES LANGUAGE PLANNING HAPPEN?
a) macro-level: government public policy, laws
b) meso level: in institutions（団体）
(e.g., universities, schools, hospitals,
corporations, local boards of education)
c) micro level: individual interactions, in the individual
LANGUAGE MANAGEMENT THEORY
Language management theory (Jernudd &
Neustupný 1987, Nekvapil 2009) looks at
“behaviour towards language” and the processes
behind that behaviour
The theory was developed in response to the
situation common in the 1960’s and 1970’s where
language policies were made primarily by
politicians and experts without any consideration of
the actual language issues that language users
THE LANGUAGE MANAGEMENT MODEL
Deviation from a norm or
No noting Noted
No evaluation Evaluated
No adjustment plan Adjustment planned
THE MANAGEMENT CYCLE
The processes connecting the micro and macro
levels (Sherman 2006, Nekvapil 2009)
“…any act of language planning should start with
the consideration of language problems as they
appear in discourse, and the planning process
should not be considered complete until the
removal of the problems is implemented in
discourse” (Neustupný 1994, p.50)
IN OTHER WORDS….
Language policy should begin with
a) an examination of the actual language problems
occurring in the language use of language users (or
their attitudes and aspirations towards language
b) aim to remove those problems so that they no
longer appear in discourse
WHERE DOES LANGUAGE EDUCATION POLICY COME
From a language management cycle perspective, it
should be based on an analysis of language
problems actually occurring on the ground
In reality, most policy is the result of competition
between multiple interests and influenced by a
variety of agents and actors involved at different
levels of the process
“competing managers ..with divided and competing
goals” (Spolsky 2006: 97)
WHAT ISSUES RELATING TO LANGUAGE
EDUCATION ARE NOTED?
• Problems occurring in actual language classrooms
(e.g. students aren’t getting enough speaking practice)
• Problems relating to proficiency levels
(e.g. students’ speaking skills aren’t good enough/ the
current teaching approach doesn’t seem to be working)
• Problems in the overall education system that hinder students’
language acquisition? (e.g. the university entrance exam
But as Spolsky (2006) warns us, the ‘stated’ problem or
motivation is sometimes different from the ‘real’ motivation (i.e.
political interests, financial concerns etc.)
WHO IS DOING THE NOTING?
Local boards of education
Pedagogy experts at universities
Business leaders (経団連）
WHAT NORMS OR EXPECTATIONS ARE THOSE
PROBLEMS BEING MEASURED AGAINST?
Students should be able to use (speak) English
Students should be getting better exam results
Students need the skills necessary to get a job
Individual schools: Need to keep a good reputation in order to
attract students and extra funding
Individual companies: Need more foreign-language speakers
to help them sell or make their products overseas
Sensitivity to international test score rankings (Politicians)
The necessity of raising a workforce capable of dealing with
globalization (グローバル人材の育成） 12
COMPETING INTERESTS (利害の衝突）
Private schools often want to improve their
students’ speaking skills
They also need to guarantee that students get good
university entrance exam results
THEN WHO IS INVOLVED IN ACTUAL POLICY-
E.g. MEXT Guidelines for the Course of Study
Expert advisory committee（有識者会議）
4 university professors
3 school principals
The head of an entrance exam prep school
The CEO of Rakuten
The head of an economics and international
relations research institute 14
5 school principals/vice-principals
6 university professors
2 local board of education members
1 school teacher
WHAT LANGUAGE EDUCATION POLICIES ARE
DESIGNED TO REMOVE THOSE PROBLEMS?
Problem: Students’ communication skills aren’t good
enough for “smooth communication with people of
different countries and cultures using foreign languages
as a tool” (MEXT 2011:3)
Policy: (MEXT, 2011):
From 2013 high school English classes should be taught
through the medium of English
(HOW) ARE LANGUAGE EDUCATION POLICIES
In their study of the implementation of the Common
European Framework of Reference (CEFR), Byram
and Parmenter (2012) point out that:
“like any text, the intentions of its authors many not
be read by its users” (p4)
They criticize the overemphasis on the scales of
proficiency (A1, C2 etc.) and attempts to link the
scales to generalized test scores rather than its
intended context-based focus on autonomous
learning (自立的学習）and plurilingualism
HOW ARE THOSE POLICIES IMPLEMENTED?
MEXT asks local boards of education to follow their
Training courses offered to help teachers be able to
In reality (micro-level) many students are not being
taught in this way
Just implemented in certain schools, not all schools
Just implemented in a limited number of classes
within one school
HOW IS THE IMPLEMENTATION OF POLICIES
Internal school checks?
Local board of education checks?
Questionnaires and reports
THE MANAGEMENT PROCESSES BEHIND CLIL
What language education issues motivated its
Who designed the approach?
(How) is it implemented? By whom?
Does the approach remove the problems it was
designed to remove? How is this checked?
What new issues are being noted after
LOOK AT HOW CLIL DEVELOPED
Developed in the 1990’s in Europe
Questions from a language management
Why was it developed and by whom?
How is it being implemented?
WHO WAS INVOLVED
“the European launch of CLIL during 1994 was both
political and educational” (Marsh, 2012: 1)
The European Commission（EU政策執行機関）
Language education experts, particularly David
ISSUES NOTED BY THE EUROPEAN
Many Europeans were not proficient enough in other
need to create a practically and psychologically united
Europe where people feel European
ISSUES NOTED BY LANGUAGE EDUCATION
Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) and
Content-based Language Teaching (CBLT)
approaches did not seem to be effective enough in
raising the language proficiency of Europeans
The Canadian immersion programmes were
proving to be succesful but they didn’t suit the
Expectations: European language education needs
to be better
WHAT ISSUES WERE NOTED IN JAPAN?
According to Sasajima (2013), one motivation for
the introduction of CLIL was dissatisfaction with
Presentation, Practice, Presentation (PPP) and CLT
approaches to Teaching English for Specific
At Sophia University, there were concerns about
students’ development of language proficiency (渡
(HOW) IS CLIL IMPLEMENTED IN EUROPE?
• According to Eurydice (2012: 39):
CLIL courses are offered in nearly all European
However, no country provides CLIL courses in all
schools and “the practice is not necessarily
widespread” with some countries implementing ‘pilot
E.g. in the UK, it is only offered in a small minority
of schools (Eurydice, 2006).
So we can see partial implementation at the macro
and meso levels.
Since 2014 CLIL has been introduced into the
curriculum at the Centre for Language Education
and Research (CLER)
MA TESOL programme courses in CLIL
Symposiums and training workshops (like today )
Micro-level (in the classroom)
According to Sasajima (2013), ‘Soft’ CLIL is more
likely to be implemented in Japan, in contrast to the
‘hard’ CLIL implemented in Europe
• i.e. more focus on “broad linguistic aims” and
English medium instruction (EMI) rather than ‘hard’
CLIL emphasizes ‘subject-based aims and
objectives” (Ball et al., 2015:26)
THE BIG QUESTION
Does the CLIL approach work better at improving
learners’ language proficiency than the other
methods it was designed to improve on and
In other words, can we see the management
cycle? Are the problems initially noted removed
from the micro level?
There is some evidence.
EVIDENCE OF IMPROVEMENTS
(REMOVAL OF ORIGINAL PROBLEMS)
CLIL students develop better reading and writing skills
compared to students in other types of bilingual and
monolingual classes (Ikeda, 2013; Yamano, 2013;
Admiraal, Westhoff and De Bot, 2006)
Japanese students develop more positive attitudes
towards foreign language learning (McEvoy, 2014).
ON THE OTHER HAND, CONCERNING
Regarding the classrooms that she researched in Austria,
Christiane Dalton-Puffer (2007) argued that they are:
“less good training grounds for participation in speech
events that are oriented towards interaction rather than
And she argues for the necessity of developing clear
language goals for the four skills.
HOW ABOUT THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION’S
AIM TO PROMOTE EUROPEAN IDENTITY?
Brexit and the recent anti-EU sentiments displayed
in France, Italy and the Netherland suggest not
BUT THE LANGUAGE MANAGEMENT PROCESS
DOESN’T STOP HERE
What new issues are being noted after attempts to
implement the approach?
Kimura(2012)refers to this as the ‘feedback’ stage,
whereby the actual implementation of a policy is
WHAT NEW PROBLEMS ARE BEING NOTED
AFTER THE IMPLEMENTATION OF CLIL
Mehisto et.al (2008):
Teachers’ and school administrators’
misconceptions of the approach
Greater workload for teachers
Shortage of materials
The Malaysian government’s 2003 CLIL education
policy was not successful because of a lack of
understanding of the basic concept of CLIL and a
lack of proper teacher training (教育実習・教員研修） 35
David Graddol (CLIL debate, 2005):
“In many countries they just don't seem to be
equipped to implement CLIL. When it works it
works extraordinarily well, but it is actually quite a
difficult to do well.”
WHAT TO DO NEXT?
Future CLIL policy initiatives should be trying to
remove these problems, particularly:
Misconceptions of what CLIL is
Lack of teacher training
Lack of materials
How to develop the approach to improve speaking
and listening proficiency
OTHER AREAS TO CONSIDER
How will we be able to make sure that all instructors are
teaching what they are supposed to be and in the way
they are supposed to be? If they aren’t how will we be
able to fix this?
Assessing the implementation:
How will we gauge whether the original problems that
triggered the development of the CLIL approach have
actually been addressed and removed from discourse
on the micro level? How will we assess whether learners
are meeting the aims of the original introduction of the
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