From Transnational Language Policy Transfer To Local Appropriation: The Case of the National Bilingual Program in Medellín, Colombia

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9781939755209: From Transnational Language Policy Transfer To Local Appropriation: The Case of the National Bilingual Program in Medellín, Colombia
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Looking at the relationship between current reform associated to English as an international language and transnational policymaking, the author of this book explores the way English as a synonym of education quality and competitiveness during the current times is being emphasized in countries such as Colombia, and how these policies are being played by different educational actors and organizations at the macro and micro level according to the multiple contextual factors that interplay in the continuous reinterpretation and final enactment of policy.


Along the text, the author illustrates the way local policy actors and teachers reinterpret these discourses and agendas by adopting a nurturing or an academic approach in their final appropriation of the initial policy texts. In this manner, this study highlights the unpredictable nature of policymaking processes, even when transnational organizations act as policy lenders and guarantors of success and credibility, and policy mandates are accompanied by standards, tests, frameworks, and timelines that do not necessarily respond to the local needs and expectations of local educational actors and communities.


With this analysis, the author illustrates the multiple difficulties experienced by different schools communities across cities, and how a breach between public and private institutions is created and fed as a consequence of the uneven conditions in which English as a foreign language is taught in countries such as Colombia, which ends up creating a gap between the official discourse of innovation, competitiveness, education and bilingualism, and actual reality. In this manner, the study alerts about the multiple challenges faced by countries such as Colombia and cities like Medellín adopting imported discourse around education quality, competitiveness and bilingualism, and how these policy discourses may become simple slogans as educational communities lack the required conditions to successfully achieve the expected goals. 

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About the Author:

Jaime Usma is a teacher educator and researcher at the School of Languages, Universidad de Antioquia in Colombia and a member of the Evaluation and Action Research Group in Foreign Languages (GIAE) in that institution. 

He combines his research, publications, and teaching on foreign language and education policymaking with an active participation in policy and professional development initiatives at the school and university level. 

In his recent publications, he examines language and education policies being adopted in Colombia and their social, economic, and political implications for different educational actors and communities. He also emphasizes on the active role that educational actors and teachers can play as policymakers in different scenarios and contexts. He has also participated in different projects for the formulation of language education policies in higher education and has been very active in the consolidation of language policy studies in different cities in Colombia. 

Review:

Jaime Usma provides us with a wonderful analysis of what happens on the ground when a language policy reform that is common throughout the world (the importation of English instruction for greater prosperity and justice) is implemented by local educators. 
 
This book has important implications for examining language policies throughout the world, and offers an example of how scholars can use critical scholarship to penetrate slogans and policy rhetoric associated with G.E.R.M. (Global Education Reform Movement).
 

Ken Zeichner
Boeing Professor of Teacher Education
University of Washington
USA


Jaime Usma's book does a magnificent work at dismantling one of the most pervasive grand narratives in globalized transnational foreign language policies: proficiency in English as one of the strongest pillars of a vibrant modern knowledge society, associated with higher economic gains for all.

The author cogently demonstrates how transnational and national policymaking fails to properly address structural inequality, while being creatively reenacted by local schools and actors according towards a more just and humane society.

Maria Alfredo Moreira
University of Minho
Portugal

While tensions between official language policies and their practical implementation on the ground have long been the interest of language policy studies, it is rare that scholars explore them through such rigorous and multilayered empirical research capturing the global and local. 
 
The comparative and critical lens applied here makes this volume an outstanding contribution to the field and provides invaluable insights for researchers, policy makers, curriculum planners and practitioners with lessons to be learnt far beyond.
 
Anikó Hatoss
University of New South Wales
Australia

Dr. Jaime Usma has made a notable contribution to this more sophisticated approach to LP with this excellent and internationally relevant analysis of Colombia's national government policy, the appropriation/adaptation of central policy in the city of Medellín, and the views, experiences and accounts of teachers, officials, experts and communities and transnational agencies.
 
All in all an excellent and worthwhile volume.
 
Joseph Lo Bianco
The University of Melbourne
Australia

A study from a multi-layered perspective that provides readers with an insightful and highly topical discussion on foreign language policies and globalization.
 
A critical and comprehensive guide to contemporary Colombian educational legal framework for language teaching that brilliantly illustrates how language policies are instituted and how they are later appropriated by people in local places, particularly by teachers in Medellin schools.

Carlos Maroto Guerola
Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina
Brazil

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Book Description Deep University Press, United States, 2015. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Dr. Maria Alfredo Moreira, Professor, University of Minho, Portugal: Drawing on the example of Medellin, Colombia, Jaime Usma s book does a magnificent work at dismantling one of the most pervasive grand narratives in globalized transnational foreign language policies: proficiency in English as one of the strongest pillars of a vibrant modern knowledge society, associated with higher economic gains for all. The author cogently demonstrates how apparently neutral and technically sound transnational and national policymaking fails to properly address structural inequality and social and economic injustice, while being creatively reenacted by local schools and actors that appropriate them according to their own goals, needs, and desires towards a more just and humane society. Dr. Doris Correa, Associate Professor, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellin, Colombia: Usma s book is muchmore than a nice rendition of how transnational language policies are being appropriated by government officials and other educational actors in Colombia. It is an enjoyable journey into Colombia s most recent political, socio-economic and educational reforms, anda compelling critical analysis of how those reforms are influencing school and classroom practices in Medellin. ABSTRACT: Embracing a critical and sociocultural perspective for the study of policy, this vertical case study investigates foreign language education policies being adopted by the national government in Colombia, and how they are reinterpreted and appropriated by local official and public school teachers in the city of Medellin. Based on a systematic analysis of policy documents, semi-structured interviews, participant observations and field notes, the author elaborates on how English is being emphasized as synonym of education quality and competitiveness in the country, how these language and education reforms are being adopted for the whole country, in which manner these models of reform are connected to transnational policymaking, what role is being played by different educational actors and organizations at the macro and micro level, and how, according to the multiple contextual factors that interplay in the continuous reinterpretation and final enactment of policy, teachers reinterpret these discourses and agendas by adopting a nurturing or an academic approach in their final appropriation of the initial policy texts. Additionally, this study highlights the unpredictable nature of policymaking processes, even when transnational organizations such as the British Council act as policy lenders and guarantors of success and credibility, and policy mandates are accompanied by standards, tests, frameworks, and timelines that do not necessarily respond to the local needs and expectations of local educational actors and communities. Finally, the author illustrates the multiple difficulties experienced by different schools communities across the city of Medellin, and how a breach between public and private institutions is created and fed as a consequence of the uneven conditions in which English as a foreign language is taught in Colombia and Medellin, which ends up creating a gap between the official discourse of innovation, competitiveness, education and bilingualism, and actual reality. In this manner, the study alerts about the multiple challenges faced by countries such as Colombia and cities like Medellin adopting imported discourse around education quality, competitiveness and bilingualism, and how these policy discourses may become simple slogans as educational communities lack the required conditions to successfully achieve the expected goals. Seller Inventory # APC9781939755209

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