ERIC Number: EJ816741
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Contextualizing Policy Appropriation: Teachers' Perspectives, Local Responses, and English-Only Ballot Initiatives
de Jong, Ester J.
Urban Review: Issues and Ideas in Public Education, v40 n4 p350-370 Nov 2008
Few studies have focused on practitioners' perspectives on and interpretations of official language policies in schools and how such policies shape their practices. Teachers are an integral part of the process of policy appropriations that occur within and across policy levels (state, district, school, and teacher). Through interviews with eighteen elementary teachers, this qualitative study focused on the experiences of teachers in one district as they negotiated the impact of Question 2, an English-only law passed by Massachusetts voters in 2002. Specifically, the study examined the teachers' perspectives on the passage of a top-down English-only state law, its implementation in their district, and its impact on their classroom practices. The study illustrates the multiplicity of policy appropriation: interpretations of the meaning of the policy for practice varied according to policy level (intent of the law, district administrator's interpretation, school-based interpretations), often leading to contradictory discourses. As a result, the teachers in the study had to (be able to) negotiate often contradictory policy discourses in their daily practices. The findings also underscore the importance of contextualizing policy processes: teachers' views of Question 2 were shaped by their own beliefs but also by the way the district conceptualized and interpreted the law.
Descriptors: State Legislation, Official Languages, Language Planning, Teacher Attitudes, Public Policy, English Only Movement, Interviews, Elementary School Teachers, School Districts
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: Teachers; Policymakers
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts