From English-only to multilingualism: English in the language policy of the United States

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Journal Article

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Focusing on English, this paper presents a critical review of the long-standing controversial education language policies and language movements in the United States. This paper seeks to provide an in-depth perception of the history of English in courtse of national development of the United States which helps interpret today’s English-only monolingualism in ESL classrooms. Through the analysis of the major disputes of whether to have English as the official language of the country, this study has offered detailed accounts of the process of language policy planning during the years of “English Officialization”, “Bilingual Education” and “English Plus”. The study hopes to shed some light on understanding how to create, sustain, or reduce a language policy in education while also presenting the struggles in the areas for political and economic participation, democracy, and human rights. This study also attmpts to analyse complexities of the debates of eduation language policies and the theoretical breakthroughs in foreign language teaching that could create a justifiable space for multilingual learners to learn through their mother tongues. The paper argues that the monolingual approach for Enlgish language learning should be rejected because it denies students the right to draw on their language resources according to the sociocultural theory in language learning. Further recommendations to language policy planning are provided for further promoting the multiculturalist perspective, and pedagogical suggestions were also provided for ESL teachers to rethink about classroom language use.

Source Publication

International Journal of English Language Teaching

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