Still gardening in a gale: policy, research and practice in foreign language education in England
Fremdsprachen Lehren und Lernen, 40, (1), .
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This paper reviews the recent evolution of foreign language education policy and research in England. The first main section deals with the impact on foreign languages of the introduction of a National Curriculum in the 1990s. Initially this curriculum centralisation led to an increase in foreign language learning in secondary schools, but by the 2000s this was followed by a significant decline, counterbalanced to some extent by growth of languages in primary schools. It is argued that stress on achieving pre-determined learning outcomes and accountability of schools and teachers through examinations have stifled experimentation, and made it harder to devise a viable foreign language curriculum for an Anglophone environment. The second main section reviews selected research fields receiving attention in the English context: learner motivation, early language learning, and learning strategies. This research evidence converges to show that attention to classroom processes can promote more positive attitudes to language learning, even where broader contextual and societal support is weak.
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