Language Education Policy Studies
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Research Implications—Pedagogies or Politics? 

The role of language-in-education research is tied to policy processes as well as schools and pedagogy, all of which are influenced by ideologies, often hegemonic. Other pages have shown the increasing power of education to shape identities, success or failure, the increasingly narrow focus of education and its effect on linguistic diversity, as well as identity politics through Balkanization and language-in-education policies that do not favor low status languages.


Language and language teaching methods vary by circumstances according to sociocultural, political, prestige, job market and domain aspects. Is the research question how to teach multilingual students, how to maintain or create multilingualism, or how to keep the status quo and hegemony of a dominant language? (See Linguistic Human Rights and Social Justice). Methods or approaches you can also find on this website that seek to answer these questions are translanguaging, Deep Education or the Deep Approach.


Academics conduct research that is either ignored or interpreted at different stages on the continuum between ideology-policy-district-teacher-student-practice. How each stage of actors and stakeholders interprets research is important. Much ‘scientifically-based’ research is ignored- that would contribute to social justice- or accepted- that makes contrary claims, or makes vague demands for more research, or is misappropriated; whereas much research could be used to challenge the hegemonic claims because the results are variable- interpreted by humans. “…it is up to applied linguists to become engaged in local language policy processes” (Johnson, 2010, p. 90). Each level has a role from policy to student.


Policy as well as research has to change perceptions to work, for example--teachers have to believe the language status is high enough or curriculum content necessary enough or required in order to effectively teach it.  Language falls in the middle or the base of these questions and debates while often rights for one group take away from another by forcing students to learn content or in a language that is not theirs. 


A few references:

Aronowitz, S., & Giroux, H. A. (2004). Education under siege: The conservative, liberal and radical debate over schooling. Florence, KY: Psychology Press.


Ellis, R. (2012). Language teaching research and language pedagogy. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.


Freire, P. (1974). Pedagogy of the oppressed. (Rev.) New York: Continnum.


Giroux, H. A. (1983). Theory and resistance in education: A pedagogy for the opposition. South Hadley, MA: Bergin & Garvey.


Giroux, H. A., & McLaren, P. (Eds.). (1994). Between borders: Pedagogy and the politics of cultural studies. Florence, KY: Psychology Press.


Giroux, H. (2008). Against the terror of neoliberalism: Politics beyond the age of greed. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.


Johnson, D. C. (2009). The Relationship between Applied Linguistic Research and Language Policy for Bilingual Education. Applied Linguistics, 31(1), 72-93.


Passey, A., Rubio, F., & Campbell, S. (2004). Grammar in disguise: the hidden agenda of communicative language teaching textbooks. RAEL: revista electrónica de lingüística aplicada, (3), 158-176.


Sleeter, C. E., & McLaren, P. (Eds.). (1995). Multicultural education, critical pedagogy, and the politics of difference. SUNY Press.


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

Harrison, K. M. (2013). Research Implications-Pedagogies or Politics? In F. V. Tochon (Ed.), Language Education Policy Studies (online). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin—Madison. Retrieved from: (access date). 

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