The Politics of Language Education: Individuals and Institutions

Edited by: Charles Alderson

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Multilingual Matters
Number of pages:
210mm x 148mm

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Politics can be a very important influence on educational developments and their deployment. However, this volume is different from other volumes since it looks, not at the macropolitics and the ideological agendas of nations and multinational or global organisations, but rather focuses on micropolitics, the agendas and motivations of individuals within organisations, and on their actions. Micropolitics can be seen as ways of manoeuvring within institutions which are themselves not political, but commercial, financial and educational. Indeed, politics with a small p includes not only institutional politics, but also personal politics, which can influence language education both in daily matters, and in projects for innovation and change. The aim of this edited book is to begin a debate about the nature and role of micropolitics, to contribute to a better understanding of language education, change and resistance to change, and the processes of language education.

The contributions in this book offer eye-opening insights into the role of individuals and institutions in language education policy developments and implementation. It presents a thought-provoking collection of studies from a wide range of social and political contexts that focus on the necessity of recognizing the role of individuals and institutions, and addressing and where possible remedying the negative effects of the advancement of individual micropolitical agendas.

Irena Gyulazyan, American University of Armenia, Linguist List 21.785

This is a brave, honest and challenging book which provides the missing piece in our understanding of the implementation of language education policy, in particular, and the management of change, more generally.

Viv Edwards

This is an important new book presenting nine case studies on the micropolitical agendas of individuals and institutions involved in ELT projects in various parts of the world. It opens windows on some nefarious activities usually hidden from public eyes, but which may be well understood by those who work in the academic and professional worlds of (English) language education.

Charles Alderson is Professor of Linguistics and English Language Education at Lancaster University, UK. He was Director of the Revision Project that produced the IELTS test; Scientific Coordinator of DIALANG (; Academic Adviser to the British Council’s Hungarian English Examination Reform Project; and is former co-editor of the international journal Language Testing and the Cambridge Language Assessment Series (Cambridge University Press). He has taught and lectured in over 50 countries world-wide, been consultant to numerous language education projects, and is internationally well-known for his teaching, research and publications in language testing and assessment, programme and course evaluation, reading in a foreign language and teacher training.

Chapter One: Setting the scene - J Charles Alderson

Chapter Two: Professional advice vs political imperatives - Alan Davies

Chapter Three: Micropolitical issues in ELT project implementation - Tom Hunter

Chapter Four: The politics of ELT projects in China - Ron Kerr

Chapter Five: Teaching immigrants the language of the host community: two object lessons in the need for continuous policy development - David Little and Barbara Lazenby Simpson

Chapter Six: The commercialization of language provision at university - Glenn Fulcher

Chapter Seven: Micropolitics in multinational language assessment systems - Mark Crossey

Chapter Eight: Challenges and constraints in language test development - Gary Buck

Chapter Nine: The politics of examination reform in Central Europe - Karmen Pižorn and Edit Nagy

Chapter Ten: Language educational policies within a European framework - Neus Figueras

Chapter Eleven: The micropolitics of research and publication - J Charles Alderson

Postgraduate, Research / Professional
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