Language Education Policy Studies
An International Network
New members welcome!

Language Education as Policy 

Language, education, and language education is in a transitional period, yet the field is handicapped by paradoxes that prevent it from furthering its mission. Conjugating priority and neglect in Language Education Policies is a major challenge. Moreover, methods are often taught without epistemology, students tend to communicate without contents. For example, in the United States, Language Education is reshaped at a time when 75% of world language teachers have retired, leaving an unprecedented vacuum.  Teaching of cultures is generally sanitized and stereotyped. Teacher educators professionalize student teachers who rarely understand their own cultural identity, potential foreignness and otherness. The student teachers’ reflection is enforced and their autonomy paradoxically guided. These patterns repeat worldwide especially as global education is modeled on the Euro-American examples. The way to deal with these contradictions is to articulate new priorities and reconceptualize the field as the inescapable branch of learning for world peace and social justice (Tochon, 2011). Therefore Language Education must be considered a crucial component of Language Education Policy. Language Education Policy also shapes opportunities and outcomes for many nations’ immigrant students. For example these students represent 20% of all students in U.S. public schools (Gandara & Rumberger, 2009) . The changing political landscape worldwide results in inconsistencies in funding and direction for states attempting to serve second language students. 


Language Education Policies play an important role in international reforms (Tollefson, 2002). Therefore, their enactment implies that issues of fairness and respect for others be thoroughly examined (Tochon & Karaman, 2009). This study is a first regarding language education policy: most studies have concentrated on policymaking, not policy enactment (Ricento, 2006). Language Education Policy making is one of the most productive arenas within which to examine interactions among global, national, and local forces (Spolsky, 2004). It addresses issues as complex and diverse as cultural preservation, child development, global labor markets, and international development education practices. It also addresses the educational realities of a country (Tochon, 2009). Despite a growing acknowledgment that language policies reflect conflicting visions for education, state building, globalization, and economic growth (Edge, 2006; Reagan, 2005), little empirical research has been conducted on the implementation of language policies practices across countries. We need to study the ideological values and purposes of education policy reform in foreign language education. This Web site is a step towards addressing this gap.



Wikipedia on Language Education:


The Civil Rights Project at UCLA:


The Crisis in the Education of Latino Students at NEA:

Bilingual Education as “Political Spectacle”:


World Language Education Policy for Japanese in California:


Language, language policies and education in Timor-Leste:


Language Policy, Political Theory, and English as a 'Global' Language:


  • Edge, J. (2006). (Re-)locating TESOL in an age of empire. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Gandara, P., & Rumberger, R. W. (2009). Immigration, Language, and Education: How Does Language Policy Structure Opportunity? Teachers College Record, 111(3), 750-782.
  • Gándara, P., & M. Cecilia Gómez (2009). Language Policy in Education, in B. Schneider, G. Sykes, & D. Plank (Eds.) AERA Handbook on Educational Policy Research. Washington DC: Routledge and AERA.
  • Reagan, T. (2005, September). Critical theory, globalization and international language education. Paper presented in the University Lecture Series, University of Wisconsin–Madison.
  • Ricento, T. (2006). An introduction to language policy: Theory and method. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
  • Spolsky, B. (2004). Language policy. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Tochon, F. V. (2009). The Role of Language in Globalization: Language, Culture, Gender and Institutional Learning. International Journal of Educational Policies, 3(2), 107-124.
  • Tochon, Francois Victor (2011). Reflecting on the Paradoxes of Foreign Language Teacher Education: A Critical System Analysis. Porta Linguarum, 15, 7-24.
  • Tochon, F. V., & Karaman, A. C. (2009). Critical reasoning for social justice: Moral encounters with the paradoxes of intercultural education. Intercultural Education, 20(2), 135-149.
  • Tollefson, J. W. (2002). Language policies in education. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.


This web page has a copyright. It may be referred to and quoted, or reproduced and distributed for educational purposes according to fair use legislation only if the following citation is included in the document:

This information was originally published on the website of the International Network for Language Education Policy Studies ( as

Tochon, F. V. (2013). Language Education as Policy. In F. V. Tochon (Ed.), Language Education Policy Studies (online). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin—Madison. Retrieved from: (access date).