[lg policy] National Language Policy that Proposes to Develop Multilingualism in More U.S. Citizens

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Tue Sep 14 17:01:26 UTC 2010

National Language Policy that Proposes to Develop Multilingualism in
More U.S. Citizens
By: allanlee l Sep 14, 2010 l 449 words l 60 views

Speaking before the 2006 U.S. University Presidents' Summit on
International Education, President George W. Bush unveiled the
National Security Language Initiative (NSLI), which put $114 million
toward efforts to improve language education as a means to secure the

This initiative aims to expand the number of Americans mastering what
military and intelligence officials have labeled "critical-need"
languages, particularly Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Hindi, and Farsi.
Throughout his speech, President Bush talked about foreign language
education as a means to protect the United States in the short-term by
"defeating [terrorists] in foreign battlefields so they don't strike
us here at home." He also talked about how foreign language education
could protect us in the long-term by helping "defeat this notion about
Merrell Shoes on Sale our bullying concept of freedom," because
learning the languages of other countries and cultures can be a way
"to reach out to somebody" and let that person "know that I'm
interested in not only how you talk but how you live.

" President Bush's National Security Language Initiative is one piece
of an emerging, post-September 11, national language policy that
proposes to develop multilingualism in more U.S. citizens. In one way,
the policy challenges Official English legislation, because it
proposes that students learn to communicate in multiple languages
rather than in Standard English alone. In other respects, however, the
policy is based on troubling notions about language, identity, and the
pedagogical aims of language arts teaching. Given that the policy
stands to influence language arts education, students' literacy
practices, and their conceptions of civic action, scholars in the
English language arts need to situate it on their disciplinary map
and, working in concert with their colleagues in foreign languages,
respond to it in ways that reflect the field's pedagogical and
political commitments.

The field has already developed theoretical and pedagogical frameworks
for promoting multilingualism in the United States, but these
frameworks were constructed as challenges to government policies and
teaching practices that would make English the language of Discount
Merrell Shoes communication in the U.S. public sphere and in its
classrooms. For example, the Conference on College Composition and
Communication (CCCC) published the National Language Policy in 1988 as
a counterstatement to the English Only movement. This policy called
for English language arts scholars to work toward all U.S. citizens
learning multiple languages as a means to "unify diverse American
communities" and "enlarge our view of what is human" (Conference).
More recently, scholars such as Bruce Horner, John Trimbur, A. Suresh
Canagarajah, Min-Zhan Lu, Gail Hawisher and Cynthia Selfe, Paul Kei
Matsuda, and Anis Bawarshi have challenged the implicit policy
informing U.S. composition instruction that Cheap Merrell Shoes
students should work toward writing proficiency in the English
language only.

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