[lg policy] Bilingual Education Policy and Neoliberal Content and Language Integrated Learning Practices

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Tue May 15 10:33:07 EDT 2018

 Bilingual Education Policy and Neoliberal Content and Language Integrated
Learning Practices
Ana María Relaño-Pastor
The Oxford Handbook of Language Policy and Planning
Edited by James W. Tollefson and Miguel Pérez-Milans
Print Publication Date: Jul 2018 Subject: Linguistics, Sociolinguistics Online
Publication Date: May 2018 DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190458898.013.13

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In This Article

   - CLIL Research in Europe
   - CLIL as Neoliberal Language Policy and Practice
   - Bilingual Craze and Pressure in Castilla–La Mancha Schools
      - “Bilingualism Is On-Trend”: Commodification and Social
      Hierarchization in Castilla–La Mancha Bilingual Schools
   - Future Directions
   - Appendix Transcription Conventions
   - References
   - Notes

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Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents an overview of Content and Language Integrated
Learning (CLIL) policy and practice in Europe to shed light on the
neoliberalization and commodification processes involved in the global
spread of English. The first part surveys the key issues of CLIL research
in Europe by offering a summary of the major trends in policy and practice.
The second section advocates for approaching CLIL as policy and practice
from an ethnographic, political economy perspective to understand the
complex relationships between bilingual language policy, stakeholders’
circulating discourses about bilingualism, and bilingual classroom
practices. The third section briefly illustrates the case of bilingual
programs in the central-south autonomous community of Castilla–La Mancha,
Spain, attending to the social hierarchization processes involved in the
implementation of CLIL programs in this region. The chapter’s final section
advocates for the need to incorporate the ethnographic turn in future
research on CLIL in Europe and beyond.

Keywords: CLIL <http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/search?f_0=keyword&q_0=CLIL>,
bilingual education
<http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/search?f_0=keyword&q_0=bilingual education>,
<http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/search?f_0=keyword&q_0=ethnography>, language
policy <http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/search?f_0=keyword&q_0=language

Bilingual education policy (BEP) as a type of language-in-education policy
is defined in this chapter as involving education in two or more languages
or linguistic varieties (Cenoz, 2012
García, 2009
In her comprehensive overview of the challenges posed by bilingual
education in the twenty-first century, García claims that bilingual
education is “good for all education, and therefore good for all children,
as well as good for all adult learners” (p. 11). This beneficial
perspective, however reasonable it sounds, is far from being undisputed,
especially within critical approaches to language policy under the
influence of neoliberalism. As Tollefson (2013)
argues, language-in-education policies in the twenty-first century should
be critically examined, particularly the elite’s interests in promoting BEP
at the local, regional, national, or global levels.

(p. 506) Critical analysis should focus on the resulting social inequality
and marginalization of students, whose interactionally achieved acts of
opposition toward controversial BEPs, such as the implementation of Content
and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) programs in Europe, is worth
researching ethnographically (Relaño-Pastor, 2015
Similarly, Busch (2011)
agrees that we should critically address the political context in which the
implementation of innovative educational practices takes place. These
practices are shaped by “sometimes complementary, sometimes contradictory
discourses and policies” (p. 544), particularly in the European context,
where most education systems are heavily influenced by “monolingual and
monoglossic ideologies” (Busch, 2011
p. 545), which regard students’ languages and language varieties as
separate, bounded, and whole linguistic systems.

Language ideologies are deeply ingrained in language policies—more
specifically, in language-in-education policies undertaken to deal with
linguistic and cultural diversity—as well as in the teaching and learning
of second and foreign languages. For Crawford (2004)
language ideologies constitute the foundations of “folk linguistics” (p.
62) acquired from friends, relatives, media, community leaders, or
schoolteachers, and popularized through reinforcement by society’s dominant
institutions. The field of language ideologies (LI) has consolidated over
the last two decades (see the seminal work of Schieffelin, Woolard, &
Kroskrity, 1998
for a comprehensive account of the field at that time). For example, Blommaert
defines language ideologies as “socially and culturally embedded
metalinguistic conceptualizations of language and its form” (p. 241). In
addition, Kroskrity (2000
insists on the ubiquity of language ideologies in society, not necessarily
coming from the ruling class, but including also, whether implicitly or
explicitly, speakers’ assessment of the role of language and communicative
practices in society.

Kroskrity (2004)
analyzes how language ideologies relate to language policies. In his view,
investigating the relationship between ideology and policy requires
attention to several issues, including the following: the perception of
language and discourse among different cultural groups; the range of
language ideologies according to different social divisions based on class,
gender, elite status, or generation; opposition to and contestation of
dominant language ideologies; individuals’ awareness of local language
ideologies; how language ideologies mediate between social structures and
forms of talk; and the role of language ideologies in policymakers’
decisions regarding which languages are used in the making of national
identities and which are considered marginal in the nation-state (pp.

In general, language policy decisions are usually less about language and
more about underlying social and political conflicts. Whether at school,
the workplace, home, or community spaces, language policies influence what
languages or linguistic varieties we speak, judgments about linguistic
appropriateness (*good/acceptable* or *bad/unacceptable*), and the values
individuals attach to languages. Spolsky (2004)
distinguishes three components of the language policy of a speech
community: “its language practices; its language beliefs or ideology; and
any specific efforts (p. 507) to modify or influence that practice by any
kind of language intervention, planning or management” (p. 5). In
addition, Shohamy
believes that language policy serves as a “device to perpetuate and impose
language behaviors in accordance with the national, political, social and
economic agendas” (p. 3), so a critical view of language policy should
analyze the mechanisms or “policy devices” embedded in language policy to
understand the “battle between ideology and practice” (p. 45).

García (2009)
offers one of the most comprehensive frameworks to understand BEP in
relation to six characteristics: language ideologies (monoglossic or
heteroglossic); linguistic goals (types of bilingualism, whether additive,
subtractive, recursive, or dynamic); linguistic ecology (related to
language shift, language maintenance, language revitalization, or
plurilingualism); orientations toward bilingualism (bilingualism as a
problem, a privilege, a right, or a resource); cultural ecology (how
mono/biculturalisms are conceptualized); and the types of children involved
(linguistic minorities and students situated at different points of the
bilingual continuum) (pp. 120–122). Among the different types of BEP,
García pays close attention to CLIL programs, which are characterized as
“heteroglossic, fostering dynamic bilingualism, using languages as
resources, providing students with a transcultural ecology, and serving
children at different points of the bilingual continuum” (p. 134).

In Europe, CLIL-type bilingual education has been positively described and
highly praised by the European Commission and the Council of Europe as an
initiative that promotes “plurilingualism, linguistic diversity, mutual
understanding, democratic citizenship and social cohesion” (Council of
Europe, 2014
in order to meet the mother tongue plus two languages (MT + 2) mandate,
according to which “every European citizen should master two other
languages in addition to their mother tongue” (European Commission, 2012
Because of CLIL’s importance in European bilingual education, this chapter
will survey the latest research on CLIL in Europe as a type of bilingual
education policy aimed at enhancing English-language education while
successfully meeting the demands of the Council of Europe and the European

This survey of CLIL adopts a political economy perspective (Ricento, 2015
toward language policy, which relies on “a range of subject matters,
including history, sociology, economics, politics, education, and
linguistics in order to assess and explain real-world phenomena that do not
fit neatly into boxes labeled ‘economic,’ ‘social,’ ‘political’ or
‘cultural’ ” (Ricento, 2015
p. 2). Indeed, Ricento insists on the need to reinterpret, with a critical,
political economic approach, the three main assessments of English as a
global language, namely, “(1) a form of linguistic imperialism, (2) a
vehicle for social and economic mobility, (3) a global lingua franca” (p.
3). The perspective of language policy as political economy goes hand in
hand with critical interpretive approaches to language policy (Martin-Jones,
Tollefson, 2006
which in the case of CLIL as a type of bilingual education means “to link
insights from the close study of the interactional and textual fine grain
of everyday (p. 508) life in educational settings with an account of
specific institutional regimes, the wider political economy and the global
processes of cultural transformation at work in contemporary society”
p. 163). This perspective contributes to what Busch (2011)
calls “the second shift in research on language(s) in education in Europe,”
from the 1990s onward, which redefines linguistic diversity in relation to
“transmigration, global mobility and the multidirectionality of
communication flows” (p. 544). This shift in the conceptualization of
language in European language policy research, far from considering
language and linguistic varieties as “irregularities in a normally
monolingual pattern,” should instead account for their “heteroglossic
disturbance,” considered “an intrinsic and constitutive element of what is
perceived as normality” (p. 545). Thus, following Pérez-Milans (2015)
this chapter re-examines how CLIL, in promoting economic competitiveness,
intercultural dialogue, social cohesion, and democratic citizenship, is
deeply ingrained in neoliberalization and commodification processes.

The organization of this chapter is threefold. The following part surveys
research on CLIL in Europe as the preferred model of bi/multilingual
education by offering a summary of the major trends in policy and practice.
The next section advocates for an ethnographic, political economy
perspective to understand the complex relationships between bilingual
language policy, stakeholders’ circulating discourses about bilingualism,
and CLIL bilingual classroom practices. This approach can help elucidate,
among other things, neoliberalization and commodification processes
involved in the global spread of English in Europe. The following section
illustrates the case of bilingual programs in the south-central autonomous
community of Castilla–La Mancha, Spain. The chapter ends with a discussion
of some future directions for CLIL research in Europe.

CLIL Research in Europe

Since the 1990s, the promotion of CLIL as a type of bilingual education
policy has been strongly supported by both the Council of Europe and the
European Commission in their effort to foster linguistic diversity,
plurilingualism, plurilingual education, and English language education in
the Union (see Baetens Beardsmore, 2009
for a review of the advocacy of CLIL by these European supra-national
institutions). CLIL is defined in this chapter as an umbrella term that
would include any type of language program in which a second language is
used as the medium to teach a variety of content subjects, depending on
policymakers’ allocation of human and material resources across different
educational sites (see Cenoz, Genesee, & Gorter, 2014
Lasagabaster & Ruiz de Zarobe, 2010
Ruiz de Zarobe, 2013
for discussions of CLIL programs in multilingual education research).

(p. 509) Although CLIL researchers admit that CLIL is a multifaceted
phenomenon involving different stakeholders and different aspects of
language and content learning, very few studies have emphasized the
language policy dimension of CLIL, or adopted ethnographic perspectives
that take into account the links between CLIL as a type of bilingual
education policy, stakeholders’ discourses, and classroom practices.
Researchers such as Nikula et al. (2013, p. 72)
following Dalton-Puffer and Smit (2007)
and Dalton-Puffer et al. (2010)
acknowledge “both holistic macro and particularized micro perspectives
toward the phenomena studied in CLIL” and propose a visual diagram to
explain the three dominant perspectives that, according to them, CLIL
classroom discourse research is oriented toward: “(a) classroom discourse
as an evidence-base for language learning, (b) language use and
social-interactional aspects of CLIL classroom interaction, and (c)
processes of knowledge construction in and through CLIL classroom discourse
(Nikula et al., 2013
pp. 73–74). These authors conclude that CLIL classroom discourse research
needs to be complemented with

ethnographically oriented approaches that would help highlight both the
participants’ emic understandings of CLIL as well as reveal the whole
ecology (van Lier, 2004
of CLIL extending beyond the confines of the classroom to institutional
cultures, societal factors including policy-level considerations, and
prevalent discourses around language and education that impact on classroom
realities. (p. 92)

Similarly, the most recent overviews of CLIL research in Europe
(Pérez-Cañado, 2012
and Spain (Dooley & Masats, 2015
identify the following as main foci of research in this area: “ ‘classroom
discourse’; ‘focus on content and/or language’; and ‘teacher roles and
teacher education’ ” (Dooley & Masats, 2015
p. 347), as well as “linguistic outcomes; longitudinal studies; assessment
of language and content; CLIL methodology; CLIL teacher observation; and
teacher training” (Pérez-Cañado, 2012
p. 331). Pérez-Cañado (2016)
views CLIL research in Europe as shifting from what she calls “the CLIL
craze” or “initial phase” that highlighted the benefits of CLIL and praised
its implementation as a good model of bilingual education to “the CLIL
conundrum,” or “second phase,” which “harbors a pessimistic outlook on its
effects and feasibility” (p. 17). According to Pérez-Cañado (2016)
researchers who question the positive outcomes of CLIL research base their
criticism on the methodological shortcomings related to “variables,”
“research design,” and “statistical methodology” (pp. 17–18). Despite the
need for more qualitative CLIL research, described by Pérez-Cañado as
including “extensive classroom observation,” “videotaping,” and “short
face-to-face interviews with teachers” (pp. 18–19), ethnographic research
on CLIL as policy and practice has been overlooked.

One of the exceptions that bridge the gap between policy and practice in
CLIL research is Ruiz de Zarobe (2013)
who points out that

[t]he implementation of CLIL has been supported, on the one hand, by
language policy-makers, stakeholders and European institutions and, on the
other, by individual initiatives undertaken by school communities, teachers
and parents, all of (p. 510) them seeking to improve foreign language
competence in a world where globalization and the knowledge society are
encouraging foreign-language learning and communication. (p. 231)

Hüttner, Dalton-Puffer, and Smit (2013)
also analyze stakeholders’ beliefs about CLIL in Austria in relation to
European language policy mandates to improve individuals’ ability to
communicate in more than one language (European Commission, 2012
Following Spolsky’s (2004)
tripartite model of language policy and planning that includes “language
practices,” “language beliefs,” and “language intervention, planning or
management” (p. 5), these authors conclude that participants in their study
did not make reference to any CLIL policy in Austria or to CLIL as a
European language-in-education policy, and instead they perceived CLIL as a
pedagogic innovation that relied on their work. In Catalonia,
analyzes CLIL teachers’, students’, and parents’ perceptions about the
implementation of CLIL in five primary schools using opinion questionnaires
and interviews. She concludes that, overall, CLIL is perceived “as a
positive practice that promotes motivation, learning and interest in the
foreign language” although “more communication is needed among the groups
of stakeholders to ensure a more realistic perception of CLIL
implementation” (p. 57).

In sum, CLIL has been the most praised form of bilingual education policy
in Europe, leading to the proliferation of CLIL-type bilingual programs
that are widely seen as a “truly European approach for the integration of
language and content in the curriculum as part of the international mosaic
of multilingualism” (Ruiz de Zarobe, 2013
p. 233). However, with the exception of studies such as Labajos Miguel and
Martín Rojo (2011)
Martín Rojo (2013)
Pérez-Milans and Patiño-Santos (2014)
Relaño-Pastor (2015)
and Codó and Patiño (2017)
sociolinguistic ethnographies that address the complex relationship between
policy and practice in CLIL-type bilingual programs and schools are still
scarce (see Codó & Relaño-Pastor, forthcoming
for a discussion of ethnographic perspectives to multilingual education

The next section examines the successful implementation of CLIL in
compulsory education across different EU states (Eurydice, 2006
by embracing a critical sociolinguistic ethnography perspective on CLIL as
policy and practice to shed light on the neoliberalization and
commodification processes at play in English-language education in Europe.

CLIL as Neoliberal Language Policy and Practice

Bilingual education policy and CLIL-type bilingual programs in Europe are
shaped by “the economic dimension of English as a global language,” which,
according to (p. 511) Ricento (2015)
is “what determines its value and status in countries with aspirations to
participate in the knowledge economy” (p. 37). Several scholars have argued
for the political economy perspective in fields other than that of language
policy (Ricento, 2015
including recent calls in applied linguistics (Block, 2017
In his state-of-the-art article, Block argues for a critical political
economy approach to applied linguistics that addresses “the
interrelatedness of political and economic processes and phenomena such as
aggregate economic activity, resource allocation, capital accumulation,
income inequality, globalisation and imperial power” (p. 35).

>From this perspective, CLIL can be analyzed as a potential “mechanism for
creating and sustaining systems of inequality that benefit the wealthy and
powerful individuals, groups, institutions and nation-states, as well as
for resisting systems of inequality” (Tollefson, 2013
p. 27). Yet at the same time, it is important to analyze “the agency of all
actors in the policymaking process, particularly their ability to alter
what seems to be the coercive and deterministic trajectories of class-based
policymaking bodies and other institutional forms and structures” (p. 28).
Thus research should, on the one hand, examine the conditions under which
supra-national policy bodies in Europe (e.g., Council of Europe, European
Commission) favor CLIL as the preferred type of bilingual education and
seek to impose their will on individuals and communities; and, on the other
hand, interpret the conditions under which individuals and communities have
the agentive power to change the material aspects of CLIL practice, for
example the allocation of resources to teach content subjects through the
medium of English. In this sense, the ethnographic agenda of language
policy put forward, first by Ricento and Hornberger (1996)
and later developed by Hornberger and Johnson (2007)
provides one possible way of “examining the agents, contexts, and processes
across multiple layers of what Ricento and Hornberger (1996)
metaphorically referred to as the language policy onion” (Johnson &
Ricento, 2013
p. 14).

As Hornberger and Johnson (2007)
agree, “ethnographic language policy research offers a means for exploring
how varying local interpretations, implementations, negotiations, and
perhaps resistance can pry open implementational and ideological spaces for
multilingual language education” (p. 511). Johnson and Ricento (2013)
further argue that

[c]ritical language policy theory continues to be influential and integral
and is not at odds with other orientations (like the ethnography of
language policy) that foreground agency and bottom-up language planning and
policy. Indeed, a balance between structure and agency—between critical
conceptualizations that focus on the power of language policy and
ethnographic and other qualitative work that focuses on the power of
language policy agents—is precisely what the field needs. (p. 13)

Ethnographic and critical approaches to language policy are also in line
with critical sociolinguistic ethnography (Heller, 2011
Martín Rojo, 2010
Patiño-Santos, 2012
Pérez-Milans, 2013
Rampton, 2006
which addresses situated linguistic practices in relation “to institutional
policies and wider socio-economic (p. 512) transformations” (see Pérez-Milans,
for a comprehensive account of the interrelationship between
language-in-education policies, language ideologies, situated practices,
and wider economic processes of late modernity such as neoliberalization
and commodification). In the case of CLIL, neoliberalism, understood as
“the voice of global capitalism” (Holborow, 2015
p. 1), plays a role in the commodification of English-language teaching and
learning in CLIL-type bilingual education programs in Europe.

As a type of “economic ideology” (Piller & Cho, 2013
neoliberalism is embedded in language policy mechanisms that push for the
global spread of English. In their study of “the cost of English” in South
Korea at all educational levels, Piller and Cho (2013)
analyze how English, particularly in higher education, is not merely the
“result of the free linguistic market,” but rather of a “systematic,
organized, and orchestrated policy” (p. 38) that serves the interests of
“neoliberal free-market fundamentalism” (p. 39), all of it under the
naturalization of English as a “quantifiable index of globalization” (p.
39). Similarly, Park and Wee (2012)
Gao and Park (2015)
Martín Rojo et al. (2017)
and Codó and Patiño (2017)
emphasize the need to ground language policies and the resulting linguistic
practices in the political and economic processes involved in the
implementation of English-language programs such as CLIL: “We need to
understand CLIL programmes as complex undertakings involving a multiplicity
of social actors with various (and sometimes conflicting) interests,
enmeshed in networks of shifting economic, political and material
conditions, and as constructing or reinforcing unequal power relations” (Codó
& Patiño, 2017
p. 4).

How should an ethnographic, political economy analysis of CLIL be
undertaken? In the following section, I illustrate how neoliberal language
policy agendas shape CLIL-type bilingual programs in the south-central
autonomous region of Castilla–La Mancha, in Spain. I focus on the
categorization processes involved in the labeling of schools and social
actors in this region as *bilingual*, as they emerge in interviews with
regional and local language planners as well as CLIL teachers participating
in these bilingual programs. This data is part of an ongoing critical
sociolinguistic ethnography conducted in four bilingual schools in this
region: two public, (i.e., state-run) primary and secondary schools, one
religious semi-private (i.e., state-funded private) school, and one lay
semi-private school.1

Bilingual Craze and Pressure in Castilla–La Mancha Schools

Castilla-La Mancha is one of the eleven autonomous regions where Spanish is
the official language, alongside six other bilingual regions where,
according to (p. 513) Article 3 of the Spanish Constitution (1978),
Catalan, Galician, and Basque are spoken and recognized as co-official
languages (i.e., Catalonia, Galicia, the Basque Country, Navarre, Valencia,
and the Balearic Islands). In the last two decades, bilingual programs in
public and semi-private schools in Castilla–La Mancha have proliferated,
transforming classroom practices as well as discourses and ideologies
around what bilingual education entails and how bilingualism in Spanish and
English is understood and embedded in the lives of different stakeholders
(families, students, teachers, and language planners).

The first bilingual programs in Castilla–La Mancha started in 1996 as part
of a signed agreement between the Spanish Ministry of Education (MECD) and
the British Council to implement early bilingual Spanish/English education
throughout the country. A total of forty-four Spanish primary bilingual
schools were involved in the Bilingual School Project of this agreement,
fourteen of which (seven primary and seven secondary) were distributed in
the four provinces of Castilla–La Mancha. Since 2005, the
institutionalization of bilingual programs under European
language-in-education policy initiatives to promote “plurilingual and
intercultural communication” (Council of Europe, 2014
p. 5; European Commission, 2012
as well as regional language planning efforts to democratize
English-language learning for “all,” has undergone different language
planning phases and nomenclatures: European Sections (Secciones Europeas)
(2005–2011); Bilingual Sections (Secciones Bilingües) (2011–2014); and
Linguistic Programs (Programas Lingüísticos) (2014–present). In February
2017, the new plurilingualism decree, *Plan Integral de Enseñanza de
Lenguas Extranjeras de la Comunidad Autónoma de Castilla–La Mancha*
(Integral Plan for the Teaching of Foreign Languages in the Autonomous
Community of Castilla–La Mancha), was drafted to be implemented in the
academic year 2017–2018. Among the amendments proposed in this decree, the
distinction between three levels of bilingual implementation (Initiation,
Development, and Excellence) that had been used in CLM schools to the
present was eliminated. That is, bilingual schools were no longer
classified into one of these levels. Prior to 2017, the distinction among
bilingual schools was made according to the number of DNL (Disciplinas No
Lingüísticas) or content-subjects taught in English (one, two, or three or
more), as well as the number of teachers who could certify at an accredited
B2 level (i.e., independent user), in line with the Common European
Framework of Reference for Language Learning (CEFR). In the case of the
bilingual schools of excellence, in addition to being able to teach three
DNL in English, they had to count on at least one accredited C1 teacher
(i.e., proficient user).

In the academic year 2016–2017, a total of 588 bilingual programs operated
throughout the five provinces of CLM. In the province of La Mancha
(pseudonym), where the ethnographic research presented in this chapter was
conducted, there are 151 bilingual schools, twenty-two of them located in
La Mancha City (pseudonym; LMC, hereafter), with a population of 72,000
inhabitants. Among them, twelve public and eight semi-private schools use
English as the medium of instruction in (p. 514) DNL subjects; the two
other schools (one primary and one secondary) are bilingual in French and

Regarding the level of implementation, five of these schools are
characterized as having implemented their Spanish-English bilingual
programs at the *initiation* level, twelve at the *development* level, and
only two of them (one primary and one secondary) at the *excellence* level.
These two, together with two semi-private schools, whose Spanish-English
bilingual programs are currently being implemented at the development
level, are the focus of research in the ongoing sociolinguistic ethnography
carried out in LMC bilingual schools (2015–present). Data include
participant observation, field notes and audio recordings in DNL subjects
taught in English as well as in English language classes, semi-structured
and conversational interviews with stakeholders (language planners,
education inspectors, heads of schools, bilingual program coordinators,
bilingual teachers, students, and families), and language policy documents,
classroom materials, and visual texts produced in these schools.

The aforementioned language policy initiatives are central to understanding
the types of classroom practices and circulating discourses about
bilingualism, bilingual programs, and bilingual teachers and students at
LMC schools. Following Heller (2007)
bilingualism is an ideological and social enterprise that needs to be
understood as ideology and social practice, as well as revelatory of
particular social processes in the neoliberal economic order of late
modernity. As she puts it, “a critical social perspective on the concept of
bilingualism, combining practice, ideology and political economy, allows us
to examine the ways in which that idea figures in major forms of social
organization and regulation” (p. 2).

As in other socially constructed monolingual Spanish autonomous regions
such as Madrid, the commodification of this “bilingual boom” (Relaño-Pastor,
has developed in line with what different stakeholders, families, and
teachers refer to as “the bilingual pressures” that are intensifying in the
Spanish educational system (see Relaño-Pastor, 2018b
for an analysis of the circulating narratives of bilingualism among
families in LMC).

In what follows, I discuss how social categorization processes leading to
academic hierarchies and social exclusion emerge in the ethnographic
interviews conducted with regional and provincial language planners, the
education inspector of the province of LMC, and CLIL teachers participating
in these programs. For the analysis, I focus on participants’ “moral
stancetaking” (Jaffe, 2009
Ochs & Capps, 2001
in the narratives of bilingualism shared in these interviews. Following
“social interactional approaches (SIA)” (De Fina & Georgakopoulou, 2012
and anthropological approaches to the study of conversational narrative (Ochs
& Capps, 2001
narratives in this chapter are defined as situated, sense-making, mutually
achieved social practices that individuals engage in at different points of
time and space, and which are embedded in multiple discursive practices
(for a discussion on the circularity and appropriation of narratives of
bilingualism in ethnographic (p. 515) interviews, see Relaño-Pastor, 2018a
The analysis of moral stancetaking in these narratives sheds light on
stakeholders’ perspectives on how bilingualism and bilingual programs are
being implemented in CLM schools and the moral meanings associated with
“Bilingualism Is On-Trend”: Commodification and Social Hierarchization in
Castilla–La Mancha Bilingual Schools

To serve the interests of the local and global English-language markets,
English language education in Castilla–La Mancha has been resignified as
bilingualism that is commodified, conveys added value to schools, and is
sought as a source of “pride and profit” (Duchêne & Heller, 2012
among stakeholders. As Park and Wee (2012)
point out, “English does not exist secluded in the economic market, but
functions as a sign in all aspects of social life in which people either
use or talk about English” (p. 124). In the case of LMC, stakeholders’
shared narratives of bilingualism reveal how they take a stance toward
English-language education in the region while engaging in social
categorization processes involving types of schools, teachers, and
students. The interpretation of these social categorization processes in
LMC bilingual schools is tied to the understanding of “bilingualism as
ideology, practice and political economy” (Heller, 2007
adopted by the critical sociolinguistic ethnography of CLIL policy and
practice put forward in this chapter. The following extracts illustrate the
hierarchization of schools, teachers, and students according to the levels
of implementation of the bilingual programs, English proficiency, and
academic performance, respectively.

Excerpt 1 is part of the interview conducted with Javier (J), the inspector
of bilingual programs in the province of La Mancha City. Together with
three researchers, Esther (E), May (M), and David (D), Javier discusses the
differences between the implementation of bilingual programs in primary and
secondary education. Whereas in primary schools all the students are
expected to attend CLIL subjects, there is variation in secondary
education: in semi-private schools, all the students are involved in
bilingual programs from preschool to secondary education, in contrast to
public schools, where they can choose whether to continue with the
bilingual program at the secondary level (see transcription conventions
used here in Appendix):

Excerpt 1. “Ghettos are created”


   1. E: but don’t you think that a small selection may exist↑=

   2. J: =yes yes of course.

   3. E: [implicit more in secondary than in primary=

   4. J: =there is there is there is that’s clear (.3) there’s a selection
   of students (.2)

   5. eh:: that’s another thing:: that many:: that many parents and many

   (p. 516) 6. eh:::n refer to to be against these programs=the fact that
   ghettos are created (.6)

   7. that’s the word that=I’m tired of hearing [that

   8. M: [but is that something that:: is that what teachers or:::

   9. J: both parents and >teachers=both<=for example in the admission

   10. they tell you “I don’t want this school because there=there are
   classrooms for

   11. smart and dumb students”=literally (.) I saw it yesterday in one of

   12. applications (.) why ↑ because there is a bilingual section and in
   the bilingual

   13. groups they say that’s where the smart students are=

   14. E: =but the law tries to avoid that

   15. J: obviously ↑ only DNL students are grouped together

   16. E: of course

   17. J: >and only in the content subjects taught in the language but they
   are together in the

   18. rest of the subjects <obviously you cannot have pure groups of

   19. bilingual students but there exists the:: the:: generalized idea
   among parents

   20. and teachers that ghettos are created and this is one of the things
   that leads to

   21. the resistance among teachers =

   22. D: =and when you talk about ghettos sorry ghettos would be:: eh:
   (.3) the ghetto=

   23. J: =the elite and the non-elite ghetto

   24. D: both things would be=

   25. J: =obviously and many teachers (.) especially those who’ve been::

   26. been more years in the [bilingual program] they say that they are
   going to have

   27. the bad:: group and the new teachers (.) the young ones with their
   level of

   28. linguistic competence are going to teach the good students (1).

Stakeholders’ talk about English-language education in our ethnography
brought bilingualism as ideology and practice to the fore. In excerpt 1,
Javier’s moral assessment of the selection of students in bilingual
programs echoes parents’ and teachers’ opinions about how bilingual
programs result in “ghettos” of elite and non-elite students (lines 6, 23).
One of the dominant conversational themes in our ethnography had to with
the dominant social categorization process regarding bilingual and
non-bilingual students. As Javier’s narrative illustrates, the organization
of bilingual programs at LMC schools involves the selection of students
into bilingual and non-bilingual groups, who are morally evaluated
according to their academic performance (i.e., “smart” versus “dumb”
students, lines 10–13). This idea also circulated in line with the belief
that teachers of bilingual students taught the “good” students (line 28).
In this way, Javier’s narrative incorporates parents’ and teachers’ voices
of discontent regarding the hierarchization of students into “elite and
non-elite ghettos” based on access to the linguistic capital of English. In
the case of teachers, our ethnography shows that English becomes a mark of
distinction having to do with improved teaching conditions (i.e., a lower
ratio of students per class, best students in terms of academic and social
behavior, and more academically involved families).

The same social categorization processes also emerge in the interview with
Luis, the regional Head of the Division of Bilingual Sections and European
Programs in Castilla–La Mancha, who assesses how the different levels of
bilingual program implementation—in addition to creating hierarchies among (p.
517) bilingual and non-bilingual students and teachers—are a source of
friction among secondary schools. At the time of the interview, in June
2016, Luis had been in his job for almost a year, and his main concerns
involved potential changes that would take place from the new decree of
plurilingualism he was responsible for planning and implementing in the
2017–2018 academic year. In the following excerpt, when researcher May (M)
asks him about how different the new decree of plurilingualism was expected
to be, Luis voices the intention of his team to eliminate the
hierarchization of bilingual schools according to their levels of

Excerpt 2. “First-, second-, third-class schools”


   1. L: = what I can tell you is that we have:: the idea of unifying a
   little bit (.)

   2. unifying the structure of these programs

   3. M: [uhm uh]

   4. L: [I mean uh::] uh:: from my point of view hh u:::l (.) this
   distinction between programs

   5. of initiation, development and excellence hh

   6. M: Uhm uh =

   7. L: = the only thing it has been generating is [eh:: (0.5) a disparity
   of levels among schools

   8. M: [uhm uh] =

   9. L: As you can imagine this already creates (.) [comparisons]

   10. L: = among schools (.) [first class schools]

   11. M: [uhm uh] =

   12. L: = second class schools (.) third class uhm [so]

   13. M: [uhm uh]

   14. L: uhm so there you’re already generating a problem

   15. M: Uhm uh

Although the process of social distinction among bilingual schools
regarding their material capacity to initiate, develop, or excel in the
number of CLIL subjects and CLIL teachers with the required linguistic
accreditation (B2, C1 levels) (lines 4–5) would be eliminated in the new
decree of plurilingualism, Luis’s moral assessment of schools according to
levels of implementation (i.e., “first,” “second,” “third class”) implies
the continued unequal distribution of knowledge, resources, and spaces (Heller,
in these schools (see lines 10–12). That is, schools at the initiation
level would only implement one content-subject in English, would only need
one accredited B1 CLIL teacher, and would only group bilingual students in
one subject; whereas those schools having more resources in terms of
teachers’ linguistic capital and number of CLIL subjects would also be more
exposed to tensions and dilemmas among teachers. For those participating in
these bilingual programs, the emerging social categorization of bilingual
and non-bilingual teachers brought to the fore differences in their
English-language competence, professional development, and teaching
conditions. Those teachers with the required linguistic accreditation were
usually younger and less experienced, but could benefit from teaching the
“best” students in smaller groups. In excerpts 3 and 4, Luis continues to
evaluate (p. 518) the challenges that the implementation of bilingual
programs has meant for LMC schools.

Excerpt 3. “Non-bilingual students”


   1. L: But the biggest problem comes (.) with:: the twenty-eight or
   thirty students (.)

   2. who are not bilingual=

   3. M: = Uhm uh =

   4. L: = which is generally the group where >the group< where you find
   the most [deprived]

   5. M: [uhm uh] =

   6. L: = socially (.) [uh:::]

   7. M: [uhm uh] =

   8. L: = academically (.) where on top of that you have [in those]

   9. M: [uhm uh] =

   10. L: = groups (.) students with [special needs::]

   11. M: [uhm uh]

   12. L: uh I mean (.) [the disruptive ones]

   13. M: [uhm uh]

   14. L: there [a time bomb] is created

   15. M: [uhm uh] (.) uhm uh =

In this narrative, Luis categorizes non-bilingual students as being “the
biggest problem” in schools (lines 1–2) and morally evaluates them not only
in terms of academic performance, but also in terms of socioeconomic status
and social behavior (lines 4, 6, 8, 10, 12). Another circulating theme in
our ethnography had to do with significant disparity of class sizes, with
the non-bilingual classes the most crowded. The dominant hierarchization of
bilingual/non-bilingual students was in line with the hierarchization of
bilingual/non-bilingual teachers based on English as linguistic capital. In
the following excerpt, Luis explains the moral meanings associated with the
knowledge of English.

Excerpt 4: “You are lucky to know English”


   1. L: And that: (.) creates differences among students in terms of
   achievement uhm: (.)

   2. the non-bilingual group lowers their academic performance uhhm and
   regarding the

   3. teachers (.) what I was telling you earlier (.) [the:]

   4. M: [uhm uh] =

   5. L: = the suspicions (.) I mean (.) “you are lucky to:: uhm know

   6. so then you are teaching the good twenty-five students group ↑ (.)
   and me who

   7. doesn’t know English =

   8. M: = uhm uh =

   9. L: = I have to teach the bad group hh with:: thirty-two (0.5) [that

   10. M: [uhm uh] =

   11. L: = would split (.) and on top of that I have been at this school
   for eleven years and

   12. you just arrived ↑

   13. M: Uhm uh

   14. L: and so (.) that:: (.) [is what]

   (p. 519) 15. M: [uhm uh] =

   16. L: = ends up [blowing out::]

   17. M: [uhm uh] =

   18. L: >sometimes [it doesn’t happen all the time<]

In this narrative, Luis constructs English as an object with added value
that polarizes teachers in bilingual schools into those who can enjoy
better conditions, despite being less experienced (lines 6, 12), and those
who have worse labor conditions, despite their greater professional
experience (line 9). Once again, the social categorization process
involving bilingual/non-bilingual teachers conveys moral meanings
associated with bilingualism that can be measured (i.e., fewer students in
class; better academic performance; more professional recognition) and
results in tensions among teachers in some cases (line 16).

These last two excerpts illustrate how the desire for improving
English-language education through CLIL-type bilingual programs brings
about the academic *othering* of those students who do not participate in
these programs. That is, both content and English teachers participating in
these bilingual programs assessed their teaching experiences with bilingual
and non-bilingual students very differently, from having very low
expectations of non-bilingual students to full academic confidence in their
bilingual students.

In excerpt 5, Ernesto, the CLIL physics teacher at San Marcos, the
semi-private religious school of our research, takes a moral stance toward
bilingualism as a trend in the Spanish educational system with consequences
for the selection, distribution, and social hierarchization of students in
bilingual and non-bilingual groups taught by bilingual and non-bilingual
teachers. San Marcos, the oldest semi-private religious school in LMC,
implemented the regional bilingual program at the development level in
primary and secondary education in 2010. In addition, it also offers a
trilingual program, starting in the third year of compulsory secondary
education, where students are taught geography in French. The school is one
of the Cambridge English examination centers in LMC, hires native
English-language assistants, and belongs to the network of Catholic
bilingual schools under the BEDA program (Bilingual English Development and

Excerpt 5. “Bilingualism is on-trend”


   1. E: Bilingualism is kind of a trend (1.0) it’s almost inevitable uh
   uhm (.) it establishes two

   2. learning speeds (1.0)

   3. M: Uhm uh =

   4. E: = Smart (.) dumb (.) it’s almost inevitable (.) no single family
   (.5) whose children (.)

   5. who have (.) normal children (2.0) uhm (1.0) would decide that their
   children are going

   6. to study in Spanish [ . . . ]

   7. E: and of course (1.0) bilingualism is creating two learning speeds

   8. students (2.0) and also (.5) among teachers

   (p. 520) 9. M: I see

   10. E: Also among teachers (.5) because the bilingual teachers (1.0) I:
   have the

   11. privilege of taking (.) the best students

   12. M: [I see]

   13. AL: [uhm uh] [I see]

   14. E: [Who do I teach] [I teach the best students]

   15. M: [I see] =

   16. E: who do the non-bilingual teachers (.) [who]

   17. M: [I see] =

   18. E: = do the non-bilingual teachers teach↑ (.) the worst (1.0) and
   [of course]

   19. M: [I see] =

   20. E: = They are burned out

   21. M: I see

Ernesto is the only teacher in this school accredited with a C1 level. In
different informal talks and conversational interviews we conducted with
him, he was always very critical of his school for requiring him to teach
physics in English due to his C1 level, without professional development
support in CLIL or English. In this extract, Ernesto engages in a personal
narrative of teaching experiences and positions himself as a privileged
teacher who teaches the best students, compared to non-bilingual teachers
who are “burned out” from having the “bad” students (lines 14, 20). He
morally assesses the implementation of bilingualism at schools in LMC for
establishing social hierarchies among teachers (bilingual/non-bilingual),
students (the best and the worst), and levels of learning (fast and slow).
Our ethnography shows that teachers who participated in the bilingual
programs and taught both groups of students, bilingual and non-bilingual,
shared similar pressures from the lack of support for improving their
teaching methods, the scarcity of CLIL teacher training or professional
development courses, as well as, in Ernesto’s words, their “confidence
about the level of English,” which was particularly undermined in the case
of those teachers accredited with a B2 level of English.

In sum, these excerpts illustrate how the institutional interest of the
provincial and regional language policy administration to promote
Spanish-English bilingual programs in Castilla–La Mancha is part of the
neoliberal agenda to democratize English-language education for all. The
examples show how this neoliberal agenda is creating social hierarchization
processes along the lines of who counts as an accepted bilingual teacher
and student, and how schools are entitled to commodify English-language
education to meet the demands of the local and global market of English. As
the provincial head of the language planning section in La Mancha City put
it: “in a world of tremendous competitiveness, where the job market is
demanding that you have to be an entrepreneur, whether you like or not, the
knowledge of languages is basic, so having the opportunity to extend your
education in these bilingual programs is very positive” (Interview with
Miguel, Head of Division of Bilingual Sections and European Programs in the
province of La Mancha City, June 3, 2016). (p. 521)

Future Directions

This chapter has offered an overview of the most recent CLIL research in
Europe from a policy and practice perspective. However much CLIL has been
investigated, there is still a scarcity of ethnographically oriented
research. As a type of bilingual education policy, CLIL is still in need of
being examined through an ethnographic lens to disentangle the messiness of
everyday classroom practices against the backdrop of neoliberalization and
commodification processes involved in the global spread of English. Thus
this chapter has advocated for an ethnographic perspective toward CLIL
policy and practice that recognizes the multidimensionality of social
actors’ circulating discourses and language ideologies about bilingualism.

Future research on CLIL policy and practice would benefit from the critical
ethnography of language policy within a political economy perspective,
together with critical sociolinguistic ethnography that emphasizes situated
linguistic practices in relation to the wider sociopolitical, moral, and
economic orders. A critical sociolinguistic ethnography of CLIL—and all
forms of bilingual education—allows researchers to tell a comprehensive
story of why social processes unfold the way they do and why social actors
engage in the practices they do. Research on bilingual education should
move forward by incorporating ethnographic approaches that reveal how
social hierarchization processes like the ones discussed in this chapter
can be followed in time and across different social spaces, and how these
processes may be embraced or resisted by different social actors.

Appendix Transcription Conventions


rising intonation


falling intonation


elongated sounds

uhm uh

shows continuing listenership


time elapsed in tenths of seconds




overlapping speech

[ . . . ]

extract deletion


no interval between adjacent utterances. (adapted from Sacks, Jefferson, &
Schegloff, 1974

(p. 522) Acknowledgments

Data presented in this chapter were collected as part of the research
project APINGLO-CLM, “The Appropriation of English as a Global Language in
Castilla–La Mancha Secondary Schools” (Ref.: FFI2014-54179-C2-2-P), funded
by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO), 2015–2017,
of which I am Principal Investigator. I am particularly indebted to the
four schools that opened their doors to this project and all the
participants who kindly shared their conflictual, yet rewarding, stories
with us. Special thanks to Ulpiano Losa Ballesteros for patiently
transcribing interviews to move this project forward.

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All names of schools and individuals are pseudonyms.
Ana María Relaño-Pastor

Ana María Relaño-Pastor is Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics at
the Department of Modern Philology (English Studies), University of
Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM), Spain. She has been a Visiting Professor and
Director of the program in Spanish as a Heritage Language at the Department
of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Arizona, and a Postdoctoral Fellow
at the Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego.
Her research interests include narrative, emotion and identity, language
socialization of Latino communities in the United States, language
education of immigrant communities in Spain, and bi/multilingual education
in Spain. She has published in the journals Language Policy; International
Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism; Spanish in Context;
Narrative Inquiry; Theory into Practice; and Linguistics and Education,
among others. She is the author of Shame and Pride in Narrative: Mexican
Women’s Experiences at the U.S.-Mexico Border (Palgrave MacMillan, 2014).


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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