ERIC Number: EJ1101007
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Abstractor: As Provided
"Here, without English, You Are Dead": Ideologies of Language and Discourses of Neoliberalism in Adult English Language Learning
Warriner, Doris S.
Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, v37 n5 p495-508 2016
Ideologies of language (and language learning)--in concert with discourses of individualism and meritocracy that characterize neoliberalism--shape pedagogical policies and practices in ways that are consequential for multilingual students all over the developing and developed world. To investigate how such intersections and influences work in adult language teaching/learning settings, this paper critically examines written documents produced by an adult ESL programme, comments made by some of the teachers, and the everyday talk of advanced students in the programme. Understanding neoliberalism as "a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade" [Harvey, D. 2005. "A Brief History of Neoliberalism." Oxford: Oxford University Press, 3], I examine "the local political economy of linguistic and cultural resources" [Heller, M. 2003. "Globalization, the New Economy, and the Commodification of Language and Identity." "Journal of Sociolinguistics" 7 (4): 473-492, 476] in an adult ESL programme. Findings show that texts and talk alike limit the identities (and trajectories) that are imagined for adult refugee learners of English. In some cases, even well-intended and seemingly "neutral" descriptions of pedagogical goals and priorities might become a subtle but powerful way to further the neoliberal agenda of preparing workers for minimum-wage, entry-level employment across sectors of the economy.
Descriptors: Neoliberalism, English (Second Language), Second Language Learning, Well Being, Entrepreneurship, Freedom, Language Attitudes, Job Skills, Educational Policy, Second Language Instruction, Second Language Programs, Adult Education, Teacher Attitudes, Language Teachers, Social Systems, Self Concept, Refugees, Employment Level, Educational Objectives
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A