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Mandarin Chinese in London education: language aspirations in a working-class secondary school

Pérez-Milans, M; (2015) Mandarin Chinese in London education: language aspirations in a working-class secondary school. Language Policy , 14 (2) pp. 153-181. 10.1007/s10993-014-9345-8. Green open access

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Abstract

© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. As the Council of Europe is shifting its traditional focus on learning European languages towards emphasizing the importance of speaking other languages of the wider world, an increasing number of schools are offering Mandarin as part of their official curriculum in the United Kingdom. This is being financially supported by transnational/inter-institutional networks headed by Confucius Institutes and linked to the Hanban in the People’s Republic of China. In addition, learning of this language is being legitimised by appealing to discourses of “social cohesion” and “internationalism”. This article draws from a sociolinguistic ethnography carried out in a London secondary school located in a working-class area. This school converted itself into a Language Specialist School teaching Mandarin when it faced difficulties recruiting the institutionally required minimum number of students for being entitled to receive public educational funding. In the framework of a partnership with the Confucius Institute, which requires affiliated schools to ensure that the success rate of students learning Mandarin meets a given ratio, this paper takes a closer look at the resulting local uncertainties, with a focus on the everyday discursive practices of “collusion” (McDermott and Tylbor 1986) through which teachers and students create a sense of smooth language learning environment, even when the majority of the students have difficulties in achieving outcome targets.

Type: Article
Title: Mandarin Chinese in London education: language aspirations in a working-class secondary school
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10993-014-9345-8
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10993-014-9345-8
Language: English
Additional information: The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10993-014-9345-8.
Keywords: Language policy; Language ideology; Multilingualism; Mandarin language education; Institutional neoliberalization
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1473890
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