[lg policy] book notice: Language-in-education Policies

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Thu Apr 18 13:29:20 UTC 2013

Language-in-education Policies

*With Anthony Liddicoat’s book Language-in-education
this week we asked him to tell us a bit about how he came to write it.

[image: Language-in-education

This book grew out of a concern that I have had for some time that, while
language-in-education policies often talk about using languages to develop
intercultural understanding, they often don’t seem to focus much on how
they are going to achieve that. To try to understand more about why this is
the case, I started to look more at how policies talked about intercultural
understanding and how these ideas related to other ways of talking about
language and culture. This book, by focusing on ideas like ‘intercultural
relationships’, is one way of trying to get at this problem within language

The book is organised around a series of case studies of different
polities. There are different ways these case studies could be divided up
but I decide to focus on policy contexts rather than only polities  as I
found that quite different things happen depending on the groups for whom
planning is being done. The book has chapters on policies for foreign
language learning, for language education of immigrants, for language
education of indigenous people and for external language spread. This
allowed me to write about the ways there are similarities and differences
between the ways different societies have addressed the issue. Each chapter
has three case studies from different polities for each policy context.

Although I found focusing on policy contexts the best way to work with the
issues I was dealing with, I didn’t want to lose the possibility of joining
together policy contexts in a single society. For this reason I decided
that I would choose two countries that would be included in case studies
across more than one context. These countries were Australia and Japan. I
chose Australia, not only because it is the place I am most familiar with
but also because it is a society that represents itself as multicultural.
Japan on the other hand has a very monocultural view of itself. So these
two case studies are like opposite points on a continuum, with the other
case studies falling somewhere between. It is possible to read across these
case studies to get a sense of how Australia and Japan deal with policy
across contexts and see some similarities and differences between contexts
in one society.

Writing the book was like a journey across contexts and across countries
and I hope that reading it brings the same experience.


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