Language Education Policy Studies
An International Network
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Language Education Policy (LEP) 

as a Conceptual Framework

LEP as a conceptual framework is a multifaceted approach to language and education policy. It allows researchers across the disciplines as well as thinkers concerned with education, society, politics, or even the environment to realize the connections between once seemingly disparate elements. Such a far-reaching scope acknowledges the evolving role of Education and addresses the factors at play in the 21st century.


As a conceptual approach it first brings together the disciplines. Whereas linguistics and education were separately and seemingly neutral fields at one time, theorizing language policy and planning at national levels revealed the many forces at work. The branches of status, corpus, acquisition, and sometimes prestige planning (Baldauf, 2004) could seemingly be applied anywhere, although not so neatly once social and other contextual factors were brought into the theorizing. The same happened with education- what seemed to be progressive social planning with benevolent and humane goals became fraught with paradoxes and conflicts over multiculturalism. The branch of acquisition planning- teaching and learning of languages- merged with education in earlier LEP work. Thanks to much critical and interdisciplinary work, the role of many disciplines is now much more illuminated- for example psychology, biology, etc. (See The Field of Language) and will hopefully become transdisciplinary.


Next as a conceptual approach LEP brings together the problems that can be approached. How can LEP address problems of society, or the human, or the planet? Easy. We find either a ‘conflict’ or a ‘possibilities’ view. The conflict view reveals that the once innocent ‘acquisition planning’ of language-in-education policy is inescapably embedded with issues of non-dominant (‘minority’) actors and stakeholders: multiculturalism- inclusion/exclusion in curriculum, knowledge construction, societal domains, economic disparities, land and resource ownership/management, and so on. The possibilities view lies in multilingual and deep education, flexible language-in-education policies through Multilingual and Multicultural Education. People’s right to language sits at the center of these through the historical realities of school achievement, political voices, economic rights, identity implications, amongst others. It is quite a complex web to describe, but at the heart of it, the simple answer is that LEP as a conceptual approach is quite far-reaching. If readers have doubts, please contact the website administrator. 




Baldauf, R. B. (2004). Issues of Prestige and Image in Language-in-Education Planning in Australia. Current Issues in Language Planning. 5 (4), 376-388.


Baldauf Jr, R.B. and Ingram, D.E. (2003). Language-in-education planning. In W. Frawley (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Linguistics (vol. 2) (2nd edn), 412-16. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Cooper, Robert L., Shohamy, Elana, & Walters, Joel (Eds.). (2000). New perspectives in educational language policy: In honour of Bernard Dov Spolsky. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 


Fishman, J. (1999/2009). Handbook of Language and Ethnicity (ed.). New York, Oxford

University Press, 1999. Revised Edition.


Kaplan, R.B. (2005) Is language-in-education policy possible. In D. Cunningham and A. Hatoss (Eds). An International Perspective on Language Policies, Practices and Proficiencies. Melbourne: Australian Federation of Modern Language Teachers Association.


Liddicoat, A. (2013). Language-in-education Policies: The Discursive Construction of Intercultural Relations. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.


Ricento, T. (2006). An introduction to language policy: Theory and method. Malden, MA: Blackwell.


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

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