Paper 1: SLS 660


For this assignment, you will write a 10-12 page paper that examines language policy issues in a context that you are familiar with through your own language learning or teaching practices, or which you expect to become familiar with in the future. This assignment is meant to provide you with the opportunity to reflect on the ideologies that are part of language teaching, learning and use. Ideologies about language are central components of all language policies and teaching practices around the world, so it is important to raise your own critical awareness about how these ideologies function in real-world practices.

You have three choices for this paper:

Language Policy Proposal on Dialectology and S/FL Pedagogy
Language Policy Proposal on Macrolevel Language Issues
CDA of Language Policy documents

Option A

An investigation of language policy and dialectology in S/F/HL pedagogy

This option is meant to provide you with an opportunity to consider the role of dialectology in language teaching policies and practices. Many who choose this option will examine the policies and practices involving the teaching of English, and will therefore need to consider the issues raised in our readings on non-standardized languages, World Englishes, and lingua franca English. Of course, you can also choose to examine dialectology in the teaching of other languages.  

For this paper, choose a particular pedagogical context, (primary/secondary/tertiary education, adult education, civics classes for immigrants, juku classes, private tutoring, etc.), and develop a paper that describes the language policy (official or unofficial) which guides pedagogy. In 3-4 pages, discuss what varieties of English (or language X) are treated as models for pedagogical practice. In the case of English, consider whether English is conceived and taught as an international language, as a lingua franca among various cultural groups, as the language of Americans or British, as a language of the local context, etc. Provide evidence that illustrates the presence of a particular model or ideology of English in the context that you are describing (e.g., textbook excerpts, overt policy statements, quotes from teachers).

Once you have provided a thorough description of the current pedagogical practices, assess the situation (3-4 pages). Are the current ideologies of English that are present in the context serving the needs of learners? Are there conflicts or contradictions in the policy and practice? (e.g., is English presented as an international language while all teaching practices orient to an American norm? Is diversity praised in policy yet ignored in practice?) Provide examples that illustrate these ideas.

In the last part of your paper (3-4 pages), make recommendations for future language policy and practice regarding variation in language in classrooms. What changes could be made to improve language learning and use? What policies need adjustment to better match the resources that are available to teachers and learners? How can current policies be enforced or given the necessary resources to be successful?

Past student papers:
Language variation in the Japanese FL classroom

Some helpful references:

Block, David, & Cameron, Deborah (eds.) 2002. Globalization and Language Teaching. London: Routledge.
Candlin, Christopher, and Mercer, Neil (eds.) 2001. English Language Teaching in its Social Context: A Reader. London: Routledge.
Jenkins, Jennifer. 2006. Current perspectives on teaching World Englishes and English as a Lingua Franca. TESOL Quarterly 40, 157-181
Hall, Joan Kelly, and Eggington, William (eds.) 2001. The Sociopolitics of English Language Teaching. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters
Kirkpatrick, Andy. 2007. World Englishes. Cambridge.
McKay, Sandra. 1996. Sociolinguistics and Language Teaching. Cambridge.
Rubdy, Rani, & Saraceni, Mario. 2006. English in the world: Global rules, global roles. London: Continuum.          


Option B

A paper on macrolevel language policy which probes an existing policy or program for weaknesses and failures and also makes recommendations for change. This option is meant to give you the chance to examine policy and language ideology in regard to the sociology of language and the politics of language rights and language use in societies. This option will allow you to address any of the following topics involving more macrolevel issues of policy and language learning, teaching, and use, including:

- bilingual or heritage language education
-minority languages in schools
-language revitalization and maintenance
-non-sexist language use
-the incorporation of foreign loan words into a language
-Medium of instruction in schooling: Issues might include age to begin instruction, feasibility of instruction based on teacher training and resources,   appropriate methodologies (e.g. CLT), the hiring of 'native speakers' and 'non-native speakers,' etc.
-schemes of ministries of education to hire foreigners to teach English alongside native teachers (e.g., JET program)
- national languages, English as an official language
- Foreign language requirements at UH for undergraduates

Start with a literature search for existing studies of, or documents on, the language policy reagarding your country/region/institution/issue of choice. If you don't find any, describe the de-facto policies, including your sources of evidence (3-4 pages). Assess the current policies (3-4 pages). What is currently working? What evidence of success exists for current language policy? Conversely, what isn't working? What should be changed, and why? (3-4 pages) Your paper will be assessed in terms of your research on the current situation, your understanding of language policy issues, and your ability to provide sociolinguistically informed ideas in your argument.

Past student papers analyzing policy:
Hiring NS (English) teachers in Seoul
The Comenius Program in Europe (language teacher exchange)
Teaching Korean as a heritage language in Hawaii
The Japanese ministry of education's action plan to cultivate Japanese with English abilities

Helpful references

Canagarajah, Suresh (ed.) 2005. Reclaiming the Local in Language Policy and Practice . Erlbaum.
May, Stephen. 2001. Language and Minority Rights. London: Longman.
Schmidt, Ronald. 2000. Language policy and identity politics in the United States . Temple University Press.
Spolsky, Bernard, & Mesthrie, Rajend (eds.) 2003. Language Policy . Cambridge.
Tollefson, James. 2001. Language Policies in Education: Critical Issues . Erlbaum.


Option C

A critical discourse analysis of a policy or texts which impact language use in education, language rights, or the political economy of languages.

Drawing on our reading of Anne-Marie de Mejia's work, we will practice CDA, an approach to analyzing texts and talk which investigates both the microlevel texts and the macrolevel discourses that shape and produce these texts. In a CDA paper, you should choose a text of some kind (a policy document, a set of advertisements, a brochure for a language school, an editorial by a school board official, the DOE's mission statement, etc.) and beginning with the text itself, look for textual elements that demonstrate how the author is constructing her/his position on the topic(s) under discussion. What are the textual devices that the author uses to portray the issue in a particular way? How does the author achieve this goal? What larger discourses or ideologies does the text point to through intertextual ties?

Possible topics/texts to analyze:

Useful references and examples of CDA can be found in:

Fairclough, Norman. 1989 (2002, 2 nd ed.). Language and power. London and NY:   Routledge.
Fairclough, Norman. 1995. Critical discourse analysis . London: Longman/Pearson.
Gebhard, Meg. 2005. School reform, hybrid discourses, and second language literacies. TESOLQuarterly , 39, 187-210.
Van Dijk, Teun A., & Wodak, Ruth 1988. Discourse, racism, and ideology . Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter. (Hamilton main- library use only)
Weiss, Gilbert & Wodak, Ruth. 2003. Critical discourse analysis: theory and interdisciplinarity .NY: Palgrave. (on reserve)
Stamou, Anastasia, and Paraskevolpoulos, Stephanos. 2004. Images of nature by tourism andenvironmentalist discourses in visitors books: A critical discourse analysis of ecotourism. Discourse & Society , 15, 105-129.
Thornborrow, Joanna. 2002. Power talk. London: Pearson.
Wodak, Ruth. 1996. Disorders of discourse . London: Longman. (on reserve)


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