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Discursive patterns in ESL Policy: competing discourses in the new ‘Education Queensland’ ESL Policy and Guidelines document

Alford, Jennifer H. (2005) Discursive patterns in ESL Policy: competing discourses in the new ‘Education Queensland’ ESL Policy and Guidelines document. In May, S., Franken, M., & Barnard, R. (Eds.) LED2003: Refereed Conference Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Language, Education and Diversity., November, 2003, Wilf Malcom Institute of Educational Research, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.

Abstract

Everybody loves to hate policy but as Luke (2001) points out, policy matters. Education Queensland recently prepared the final draft of its long awaited ESL Policy and Guidelines statement after over twenty years of providing immigrant children and adolescents with ESL–specific school-based instruction. This policy identifies the often unacknowledged work of ESL teachers and the nature and presence of their students as intrinsic to the business of education in a culturally diverse state with an internationalisation agenda. This particular policy (to which no funding has been attached by the state) can be considered in the way in which Luke refers to many policy texts: “interesting pieces of work…not without flaws and problems, ruptures and contradictions, speculations and risks‿ (Luke 2001:1).

Using critical discourse analysis (Fairclough 1989) as an investigative tool, this paper explores the discourses evident in this policy and the ways in which these are constituted through particular linguistic choices. Like many texts, particularly those from government sources, the policy and guidelines can be considered a hybridised text containing competing discourses. In the case of this policy, discourses of shared responsibility for cultural inclusion and productive diversity sit alongside more traditional discourses of student deficit or need. It is suggested that such discursive ‘tension’ presents a challenge for the discourses of cultural and linguistic heterogeneity prevalent in current educational rhetoric and practice but that such discursive tension and hybridisation may also produce new possibilities that can lead to change.

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ID Code: 1012
Item Type: Conference Paper
Keywords: English as a Second/Additional Language, Education Policy, Critical Discourse Analysis
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION (160500) > Arts and Cultural Policy (160502)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > LANGUAGE STUDIES (200300) > English as a Second Language (200303)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > LANGUAGE STUDIES (200300)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 18 Apr 2005
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 23:58

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