Language Education Policy Studies
An International Network


Semiotics and Language Education Policy 

Theme 3

Language Education Policy

and Curriculum & Instruction

1:00pm - Overview of Language Policies for Ethnic Minorities in China

Weiqiong (Scarlett) HUANG, University of Wisconsin-Madison (

China is a country with 56 ethnic groups among which Han people are the majority. Minority language education is an important issue in national education policy for China. China’s language policy for ethnic minority people changes with time. I’d like to introduce some basic language policies for ethnic minorities in China in different time period. Also, with the economic development, it seems that many ethnic languages are gradually losing their survival place. For example, many ethnic minority languages are seldom used in everyday life, not at home nor at school, many ethnic minority children don’t know how to speak their ethnic language. Some investigation could be made to this phenomenon.

1:15pm - The Paradox of Mobility: Language Practice in Two Bilingual Schools at Wisconsin

Yanli Timm, World Language Education Coordinator, University of Wisconsin-Madison (

This study has looked at two bilingual education schools in the Madison area, one (SIS) a Madison Metropolitan School District public school which serves a large student population of students from Spanish-speaking homes whose bilingualism consists of adding English to Spanish. The other is a charter school (CIS) in the Verona Area School District (adjacent to Madison) that serves a largely white, upper middle class student population seeking to add Mandarin Chinese as a second language to their native language, standard English. Although both schools use what is known as the additive approach, in fact the SIS is using an approach based on the notion of “appropriateness,” which means that their home language is not suitable for use in English (and by implication, the greater society in general). This in effect means that the students at the SIS are in fact being taught with a subtractive approach, in which English is meant to replace their home language, school district claims to the contrary notwithstanding. The overall impact of these two schools approaches is maintenance of the socioeconomic status quo through language instruction in which the languages themselves (standard English, Chinese, and Spanish) become representatives of the racial and class divides that the two schools reflect in both purpose and location. The students at SIS are, in effect, caught in a largely vain attempt to raise their inherited cultural capital to a level that might enable upward social mobility, while the CIS students are indeed expanding their cultural capital. The overall effect can be seen as a widening of the gap in cultural capital, all couched in a meritocratic terms that serve to disguise the underlying cultural, class, and racial realities of these students’’ world.

1:30pm - A Comparative Study of English Textbooks Published in the UK and China from the Multimodality Perspective

Lei CHEN, Tongji University, Shanghai (

Modern human communication is no longer confined to language modal, but also is accomplished by a variety of modalities, including gestures, images, music and so on. Multimodal Discourse Analysis has been booming in the West since its establishment in the 1990s. As an important part of English classroom teaching, English textbooks play an active role in assisting both teachers and students. Textbooks are manifestation of teaching objectives and the main assistance for teachers to organize classroom teaching and for students to carry out learning activities. In textbooks, besides verbal modality, there are also widespread visual modalities, which often exist in the form of illustrations, layout, color, etc. Meanwhile, The Ordinary High School English Curriculum Standards (2017 Edition) came into operation, the old textbooks have not been applied to the concept of new curriculum standard and the edition of the new textbook is also in full swing. This paper intends to make a comparative study of the latest senior high English textbooks of China and international oxford textbooks of the UK. The purpose of this study is to provide a meta-functional account of multimodal difference in multimodal features, meaning-making visual semiotic resources between the EFL textbook in China and the native English textbook in the UK. By analyzing multimodal features of teaching materials,the research may offer the textbook designer with some feedback, improve teacher’s awareness of multimodal discourse and student’s multiliteracies.

1:45pm - Towards a Curriculum Design Framework for Senior High School English Elective Courses: A Case Study

Yingying CHEN, Tongji University, Shanghai (

This study aims to develop a curriculum development framework for elective courses as required in The National English Curriculum Standards for Senior High Schools (2017). A case study is conducted to track and depict the two-round English drama course designed and implemented based on the theoretical model of Nation and Macalister’s (2010). The preliminary findings show that curriculum goal, content and sequencing, format and presentation should be included in the framework of an elective course, and the factors like students’ needs and teaching environment also need to be considered. The curriculum is guided by the concepts that underpin the National English Curriculum Standards for Senior High Schools (2017). Meanwhile, the research was informed by a large quantity of empirical data collected from the classroom. The concepts and methods illustrated in this article have important implications for other senior high schools intending to offer elective English courses.

2:00pm - Minority Language Instruction at Cherokee Nation: Revitalization of the Language

Kierstin G. Conaway, University of Wisconsin-Madison (

A few decades after the Indian Removal Act (1830), assimilation of indigenous people was the ultimate goal of the federal government of the United States. The plan was to “Americanize” children by forcing them to attend boarding schools (late 19th to mid-20th century), resulting in mental trauma partly from subtractive language learning. This education system led to impending language loss, which propelled the Cherokee Nation (Oklahoma) to pass legislation in 1991 recognizing Cherokee, in addition to English, as an official language of the tribe. Efforts to revitalize the Cherokee language has manifested in various forms during the past 30 years, including attempting to dispel the negative and biased perceptions of the language, developing curriculum using the language, and implementing educational programs such as an immersion school and online classes. What problems and solutions have arisen due to adopting a language education policy to protect their heritage language? What clear results, if any, has revitalizing the language produced linguistically and in terms of identity and culture?

2:15pm - Additive and Subtractive Education after the Colonial Project

Yaya Diatta, University of Wisconsin-Madison (

Elise Krause, University of Wisconsin-Madison (

The colonial project has obstructed local languages by means of 'subtractive education,' which has affected the quality of education in today's Africa. In compliance with UNESCO's guidelines for primary education, students would benefit from 'additive language education' in former colonies. Additive education likely manifests differently in Francophone countries than in Anglophone countries because of English's status as a diplomatic language.

2:30pm - English Education Policy as an Inhibitor of Indigenous Language in Japan.

Takeaki Okamoto, University of Wisconsin-Madison (

In addition to the Japanese language, several indigenous languages exist in Japan. Aniu and Ryukyuan languages are the most popular among them. Yet, as most foreign languages such as English, they are not apprehensible to most Japanese people. They both have been classified as endangered by UNESCO. On the other hand, the Japanese can understand English at some level thanks to Japan’s English education policy, which requires them to learn the language in the curriculum of compulsory education. This paper discusses the possibility that English education policy might be an inhibitor for the endangered indigenous languages in Japan.

2:45pm - Language Teaching as a Minority Teacher: 

Conversations about Why and How

Jingyi 周 Zhou, University of Wisconsin-Madison (

It is well-accepted that native speakers offer learners accurate and authentic input in order to better acquire the target language. A number of expatriate teachers are commonly seen in the field of foreign language teaching, especially with the wide spread of frequently spoken language such as English, French, Spanish and Chinese. The favor of teachers being ‘native’ is beyond the expectation of their teaching profession, which generates questions about who is qualified to teach, and who is seizing the right to name the profession, and how the teaching practice really is. Pursuing a teaching position in a foreign country implies many complicated aspects in terms of cultural experiences, opportunities for professional development, and identity construction as a member of non-dominant group. It also deeply impacts self-reflection as a teacher from a minority group living and working as a multilingual and multicultural individual. The proposed study comparatively explores the experiences of expatriate language teachers and their self-evaluation as a member of minority sociocultural group.

3:00pm - Language Learning as an Exploration of Learner Identity: Adult Learners of Turkish in Deep Approach

Yao-Kai Chi, University of Wisconsin-Madison (

In the era of global village, learning Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTLs) becomes a trend. LCTLs play a special role in economic, political, and social areas. They also provide learners with distinct perspectives. This study uses identity investment theory and the concept of social/cultural capital to explore identity of Taiwanese learners of Turkish through literacy practices and social interaction with native speakers and to analyzes how their identities influence their Turkish learning. This research transcends the boundary of second language education, framing curricula based on the principles of the Deep Approach. By using multimodality of resources and social interactions, learners of Turkish construct their relationship with this society where they are situated in different time and different space. With the perspectives of the Deep Approach and Edusemiotics, learners can understand that the sources of knowledge are not only limited to instructors and textbooks; rather, their life experiences and surroundings can also become the content of learning. Thus, in this research, how to guide language learners to become a life-long learner and think independently and critically paves the way for studies of instructions of less commonly taught languages. 

3:15pm - The Language Ecology of Wisconsin and Experiences of a Wisconsinite

Hannah Leduc, University of Wisconsin-Madison (

Wisconsin has a rich history of immigrants that comprise today’s differentiated regional cultures. English has become the majority language even while traditions have stayed in tack. Despite the dominance of English in present day, heritage languages continue to be spoken across the state as well as newly introduced languages from growing populations. Wisconsin’s Native American languages has some of the highest diversity in the United States adding to the unique blend of cultures. This discussion will delve into the experiences of a 5th generation native-born Wisconsinite and how language was experienced, valued, available for study, and perceived in communities.

3:30pm - Language as a Marker of Identity: 

Semiotics of Heritage Finnish in northern Wisconsin

Mirva Johnson, University of Wisconsin-Madison (

This paper examines the symbolic use of non-English languages amongst immigrant communities in Wisconsin, focusing on the use of Finnish in northern Wisconsin. It will show that language is crucial for identity formation in immigrant communities even after it is no longer used as a means of communication, thus supporting the need for the protection of linguistic human rights for the many roles that language serves. In the discussion of linguistic human rights, language has two different roles. One is as a means of communication and the other is in the formation of identity (Skuttnabb-Kangas 2006; Rubio-Marín 2003). Immigrant and refugee groups are often the last to receive official protection for their linguistic rights, in part because many consider a tie to territory to afford more weight to a claim of belonging (Rubio-Marín 2003). While linguistic human rights have become more widely recognized and more demands for protective legislation have been presented in the last couple decades, language has always played a dual role in minority communities. A couple centuries before, uses of language in identity formation were not being discussed within the framework of linguistic human rights. Most of the ethnic communities founded by immigrants to America who migrated during the mid-1800s and early 1900s now speak English and this shift often happened within a couple generations after immigration. However heritage languages are still used as a symbolic marker amongst many in these older immigrant communities. 

3:45pm - Identifying and Experimenting with Common Pronunciation Problems in an Intermediate Indonesian Language Class

Sakti Suryani, University of Wisconsin-Madison (

Correct pronunciation is often de-emphasized for the sake of encouraging students to speak as freely as possible in contemporary Indonesian language classrooms in America, which generally promote a communicative approach to learning. In most cases, mispronounced words are easily understood by teacher and other students, and a high tolerance for varied pronunciations may seem appropriate for a language that is the second tongue of many of its diverse range of speakers within Indonesia. In my experience as an Indonesian language instructor, however, I have found that teaching pronunciation to students at all levels aids their learning because it also teaches them to listen more attentively to the sounds of the language and, eventually, to hear more clearly. The question is: how can pronunciation be taught in a way that does not overburden students with too much to think about as they practice speaking in class? I discuss the process through which I identified a set of common pronunciation errors made by American learners of Indonesian language and developed a series of short “warm-up exercises” that foster good pronunciation habits without distracting students at other times when the emphasis is on conversation. That instructional strategy has become my language education policy!

4:00pm - Promoting Multilingualism in the U.S.

Michelle Dutton, University of Wisconsin-Madison (

My presentation will begin with a brief historical view of how English came to be the dominant language in the U.S. Although it is not the official language of the United States of America, many people who immigrate to the U.S.A. adopt English and eventually, by the third or fourth generations, the original immigrant’s native language fades from memory and use. I compare the advantages and disadvantages of promoting more languages in addition to English in the U.S. I will look at how these other mother tongues may be better preserved and celebrated in the U.S. Turning toward the language education system, I will explore current language education policies regarding the teaching of English in schools and how “foreign” language educators can help motivate monolingual English speaker students to take steps to learn other languages besides English. Lastly, I will explore individual factors of motivation (Dörnyei, 1994) and identity (Norton, 2000) and analyze how these factors play a role in helping inspire someone to learn a new language or maintain their mother tongue despite external pressure to use English.


4:15pm – Conclusion

Forthcoming Refereed Publications


4:30pm – End of Colloquium



World Language Education Policies

Francois Victor Tochon, PhD

President, INLEPs

Chief Editor, Deep Education Press 
Professor, Curriculum and Instruction & French & Italian

University of Wisconsin Madison

This review essay, written within an interdisciplinary perspective, argues for multilingual proficiency as a goal of and a forthcoming trend in peace education. Multilingual proficiency should be one of the strategic goals of peace education.  This overview of the field explores one possible imaginary for the future. The stakes of peace and globalization are addressed from a school policy perspective, exploring: (a) the role of language diversity in reaching peaceful, world citizenship; (b) bilingualism and how it is linked to the ability to bring peace; (c) the role of English and other lingua francas; (d) the connection between language education and peace. The framework for this study is Critical Systems Theory. It stimulates reflection to enable participation in and contribution to the development of civil society, raises questions related to motivation, power, knowledge and legitimization, and targets the revival of civil society. The literature reviewed points at how the issues discussed can be resolved to increase crosscultural understanding.


Presenter: Dr. François Victor Tochon is a Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he heads Graduate Studies in World Language Education. He has a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics/Curriculum & Instruction (Université Laval) and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology (Ottawa University), and received the equivalent of Honorary Doctorates from two universities in Argentina and Peru. Prof. Tochon worked on intercultural issues related to bilingualism in various countries and international language education policies. He received an award from the U.S. Department of Education to create, research and evaluate a “Deep Approach” to foreign language curricula that would respect a pluralistic and federative view of language education policies. It allowed him to format an interface between language policies and classroom curricula and practices. With 25 books and some 150 articles and book chapters to his credit, Prof. Tochon has also been Visiting Professor in several universities. He is currently published in 8 languages. Among his books are: The Foreign Self: Truth Telling as Educational Inquiry; Tropics of Teaching; Educational Semiotics. His article “The Key To Global Understanding” published in the Review of Educational Research (79/2) received the 2010 Award of Best Review of Research from the American Educational Research Association (AERA).  Since 2012, he is a collaborator in the Campus of Excellence of the University of Granada, Spain.                      

The Key to Regional Peace and Prosperity: a Comparative Study of Foreign Language Education Policy in East Asia



China Research Center for Foreign Language Strategies (RCFLS)

Shanghai International Studies University

Foreign Languages Education (FLE) has long been an integral part in the national education system in most countries in the world and plays a key role in the development of a nation and its society. East Asia formerly achieved brilliant glories of Oriental civilization and now is in the pursuit for regional peace and prosperity. FLE in East Asian countries has been playing an even greater part in the context of globalization. This paper, based on a detailed, organic and comparative perspective on the development of FLE policies, tries to reveal the interconnected and historical relationship between FLE policies and the harmonious, economic and educational development in China, Japan and South Korea. First, the paper starts with the analysis of the evolvement and trend of international FLE policies and the development of East Asia in the context of globalization and focuses on the connection among globalization, East Asia development and innovations of FLE policies. Next, a three-fold framework for analysis would be proposed to conduct an organic analysis of FLE policies in case studies of Japan, South Korea and China respectively, by looking at the historical development, current situation and innovations in the context of globalization of FLE policies. The above endeavor tries to explore the whole process and present a tentative links and limitations between FLE and regional peace and prosperity. 


Presenter: Professor SHEN Qi, Ph. D in Comparative Education, Med in TESOL, BA in English language and literature, Deputy Director of China Research Center for Foreign Language Strategies (RCFLS), and research fellow in Institute of Linguistic Studies, Shanghai International Studies University. Dr. Shen’s major research interests include language policy and language planning, Language Education Policy and Educational Linguistics. He has published one monograph in Chinese and more than 40 journal papers at home and abroad. Currently, he is the principal investigator of 5 projects, concerning studies in national language competence, language education policy and linguistic security.    

Widget is loading comments...