Thursday, 10 June 2010

Paper session 11 on Wednesday: Danish only? The case of bottom-up policies in the Danish public school system

Hanne Juel Solomon's paper presented a study on 'internationale linies', optional lines in the public schools that have other other languages of instruction than Danish, English. These lines actually are not approd as mainstream education because they contradict the official policy is very clearly "Danish only" for education.

In practice there private schools are able to do this because, first of all, they are private and secondly, the education policy provides local authorities to have great deal of autonomy.

There are four of these international lines, yet non of these are mentioned on the ministry's official websites. The programmes do not work together, there is no formaladmission criteria, yet they have to follows Danish curriculum and the students have to take the Danish final exam which is given to them in Danish only.

In this study, the aim was to find out what these lines are, what do they aim for and how come do they exist since the education policy is "Danish only"? In order to find answers for these questions, Hanne Jueal Solomon had interviewed local politicians, school leaders, teachers and pupils and conducted observations and questionnaires. Also newspaper articles and other documentations where used as data for this study.

Some interesting findings are listed here shortly:

  • the lines had had a positive impact for the municipalities the located at
  • the lines had changed the atmoshpehre at the school for the better according to the school leaders.
  • the teachers were proud to be involved in programmes such as these. They didn't base their views on any academic research or theory, neither did they have knowledge of CLIL.
  • Students were highly motivated to study everything in English.

How is it possible then to have these lines that are not basically allowed at all in Denmark? Obviously, had it been another language than English, the officials had done more to stop it. One reason might be that the schools they are in locate 'in the periphery', not close to the big cities. The lines also create a positive image to municipalities and school and make the towns more appealing for new families to move in.

What is interesting for us, is that this is a clear example of a 'language policy from below', and the obvious case of "What can be done in a prestigious language as English cannot be easily done with some other languages".



No comments:

Post a Comment