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Social capital and modern language initiatives in times of policy uncertainty

Social capital and modern language initiatives in times of policy uncertainty
Social capital and modern language initiatives in times of policy uncertainty
Language professionals across the United Kingdom have long been apprehensive about low levels of participation in language learning, as well as disparities in gender and social class of language learners. However, the distinct policy contexts in England and in Scotland have led to divergent [re]actions with regard to this common concern. This article traces the policy paths taken by the respective governments since the start of the 21st century. The development and impact of a major funding programme in England,the ‘Routes into Languages’ initiative, are outlined, assessed and contrasted with the situation in Scotland.Using Putnam’s notion of social capital (durable networks between people from different social groupings)as a powerful means to implement change the authors demonstrate that in England considerable and beneficial links across previous educational divides have developed as part of the ‘Routes’ initiative, despite the continuing threat of transient policy contexts. In Scotland, the implementation phase of the new 1+2 languages policy might provide the impetus to develop a comparable initiative to ‘Routes’. Arguably, a sea change in attitudes to language learning is unlikely to happen without durable and sustainable social capital between staff in school and university.
39-52
Gallagher-Brett, Angela
bef12995-0aef-454e-acd5-f12f0abec790
Doughty, Hannah
d902c41f-647a-453f-83d0-226ffd2cd324
McGuinness, Heather
67a36250-4f1f-492a-944d-0168ebe16903
Gallagher-Brett, Angela
bef12995-0aef-454e-acd5-f12f0abec790
Doughty, Hannah
d902c41f-647a-453f-83d0-226ffd2cd324
McGuinness, Heather
67a36250-4f1f-492a-944d-0168ebe16903

Gallagher-Brett, Angela, Doughty, Hannah and McGuinness, Heather (2014) Social capital and modern language initiatives in times of policy uncertainty. Scottish Languages Review, 27, 39-52.

Record type: Article

Abstract

Language professionals across the United Kingdom have long been apprehensive about low levels of participation in language learning, as well as disparities in gender and social class of language learners. However, the distinct policy contexts in England and in Scotland have led to divergent [re]actions with regard to this common concern. This article traces the policy paths taken by the respective governments since the start of the 21st century. The development and impact of a major funding programme in England,the ‘Routes into Languages’ initiative, are outlined, assessed and contrasted with the situation in Scotland.Using Putnam’s notion of social capital (durable networks between people from different social groupings)as a powerful means to implement change the authors demonstrate that in England considerable and beneficial links across previous educational divides have developed as part of the ‘Routes’ initiative, despite the continuing threat of transient policy contexts. In Scotland, the implementation phase of the new 1+2 languages policy might provide the impetus to develop a comparable initiative to ‘Routes’. Arguably, a sea change in attitudes to language learning is unlikely to happen without durable and sustainable social capital between staff in school and university.

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Published date: February 2014
Organisations: Modern Languages

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Local EPrints ID: 362663
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/362663
PURE UUID: ee6931d8-dbd6-49ca-aad3-f0e6e3db8baf

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Date deposited: 03 Mar 2014 16:16
Last modified: 09 Jul 2020 16:35

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