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date: 24 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Language education policies are pivotal in nation-states’ negotiation of a globalizing economy and a diversifying population. But certainly in urban, non-elite schools, where pupils’ linguistic diversity is pronounced, the fixation on language separation and multi-monolingualism produces salient sites of linguistic friction. Much scholarly work has successfully problematized this friction, producing an avalanche of criticism and ample calls for changes in schools’ approach to pupils’ primary linguistic skills and mixed language use. This chapter argues that while such calls are pedagogically exciting and justified on principle, a significant number of them reproduce some of the main assumptions behind the policies that they denounce, or invite problems of their own. Consequently, many calls for change may underestimate the difficulties of policy implementation, exaggerate their own effects, and overstate their critical character. This necessitates a reconsideration of the received relation between sociolinguistics and language education policy, and a revision of reform initiatives.

Keywords: curriculum, language education policy, pedagogy, linguistics, sociolinguistics

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