A public seminar from the Department of Education, delivered by Dr Roger Barnard.
This presentation discusses a number of current issues and concerns relating to English Language policies with particular attention to educational contexts in Asia. It begins with identifying the goals of a language policy. It is then suggested that, to be effective, a language policy needs to take into consideration the contexts in which the implementation is intended.
There follow examples of language policies in specific contexts, each of which begins with a brief sociolinguistic sketch and ends with some questions about the wisdom of current policies: the choice of official languages (Timor Leste); the curricular aims of English as a Foreign Language (Vietnam); the early introduction of English as a foreign language (Korea); ‘native’ and ‘non-native’ English speaking teachers (Japan); English as the medium of instruction in primary schools (Malaysia) and in universities (Thailand).
The presentation concludes by emphasising the need for further research that takes into account the influence of sociocultural factors in the specific contexts where policies are to be implemented. It also argues for a reconsideration of the tendency of educational language policies to be imposed on, rather than negotiated with, key stakeholders, chief among which are the teachers who have to interpret and implement the policies.