Framing English as a second language education: a comparative study of policy provision in London and New York
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Against the background of a proliferation of large non-English-speaking ethnic linguistic communities in Britain and the United States, this thesis examines the provision of English as a Second Language (ESL) and bilingual education policies in London and New York City respectively. The thesis is divided into three parts. Part I traces the transformation of English into an international linguistic phenomenon and the significance acquired by ESL and bilingual education policies. In particular, attention is focused on the educational challenges faced by English-speaking nations that are home to sizeable non-English-speaking communities. After this introductory overview, the interpretive theoretical framework, in which the thesis is based, is then presented. Drawing from the works of Yanow, Hajer and others, both ESL and bilingual education are understood as taking place within a multi-organisational context, where different players attribute different meanings to this policy. Part II goes on to explore the contrasting ways in which ESL and bilingual education policies have been framed both in Britain and in the United States. While in the UK ESL tuition has evolved as a by-product of immigration and racc-relations policies, in the USA bilingual education has however been construed as a linguistic right. Part III then introduces an empirical analysis of the provision of ESL and bilingual programmes in the context of London and New York City. This section specifically deals with the educational needs of two non-English-speaking groups: the Bangladeshi community in Tower Hamlets and the Hispanic community in Manhattan. Following from these players' language experiences, the fieldwork is used to - identify three distinctive ESL/bilingual, education discourse coalitions, namely the assimilationists, exclusivists and social integrationists. Based on different value-systems, each of these 'policy frames' represents their advocates' particular understanding of ESL and bilingual education policies. Having finally ascertained the impact of multiple meanings on the second language education policy process, the thesis concludes by advocating further interpretive research in the analysis of public policy.
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