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Micro Level Language Policy: Teaching

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Question:

Discuss about the Micro Level Language Policy for Teaching.
 
 

Answer:

Language Policy

The development of macro language policies for countries and governments, together with nation-state level, is related to language planning and policy. Outside countries and government, language policies and planning, may also be present in communities, business establishments, institutions of learning, and education research institutes. The inclusion of language planning and policy outside government and countries leads to the development of language needs by these institutions. Such inclusion is due to the occurrence, at the micro-level, of policy planning (Baldauf 2005). In the education research institutes and the institutions of learning language, student’s needs can be catered for by developing micro language planning. The development of micro language planning is done by improving the language skills of the students with the involvement of teachers. The development of micro language policy is not smooth sailing as it seems, many issues and problems often arise hence hindering this implementation. This paper discusses some of these problems and issues which arise during the implementation of language policy. Policy actors, nonetheless, can use several ways to solve and mitigate these language planning and policy issues. The issues can be mitigated because there are many an implication that can be used to improve the adoption of the micro-language policy and planning.

An assessment of the literature on language planning and policy is necessary before embarking on the problems which affect its implementation. The review of the literature will enable us to understand the basis and contexts of the problems for the implementation of developed policy. Covering the framework that was used to develop the micro and macro policies is also necessary for understanding the context. 

Literature Review

Language planning has been defined by Baldauf (2005) as the modifications, both organized and intentional, to a language. This modification of the language often occurs among a similar group of persons, in countries, or in governments who have a common language. This attempt to give the meaning of language planning also concludes that language policies come as a result of language planning by educational specialists and by countries. This explanation relates language policy to its planning. Language policy and planning relation are meant for language modification through the amalgamation of processes, ideologies, rules, and regulations (Kaplan & Baldauf, 1997). Further relation of the two is seen when official and unofficial government papers meant for language planning contain policies on language (Baldauf, 2005). A well-made framework is what guides all the aspects of planning, for example, corpus and status planning, involved in language planning. These aspects of planning are associated with features of languages. Other aspects of planning include the prestige planning which labels the appearance of a language and acquisition planning which involves the; learning of a new language.

Language planning is a complex aspect which can take place in many levels starting from a large aspect to a small aspect. Language planning can take place at the micro and macro levels (Kaplan & Baldauf, 1997). The focus of this essay is on one of these levels of planning; the micro level hence the descriptions and the deliberations found therein will be based on micro level planning. Macro level is often thought to give rise to the micro level of planning, but this is not the case. Micro level planning is a different aspect which is focused on governments, countries, focus individuals, educational institutions, and groups with similar objectives. These groups hatch a plan to exploit and advance language policies which are not related to macro policies. The language policies based on micro-planning are a reaction by the groups because of the problems of their existing languages (Baldauf, 2005). This, in itself, shows the difference between micro policy and macro policy. There are many factors and groups of people who are involved in micro planning. These groups range from large institutions of learning to other stakeholders such as education organizations. Because of the many players and organizations involved, micro-planning is often in many different shapes and forms (Baldauf, 2005). Different groups implement the policies differently hence the outcomes are often varied. In his study, Baldauf found out of a different micro planning when the postgraduate students he was assessing used the frameworks that have been introduced before. The different micro planning aspects as a result of use of different frameworks by the groups which are involved in the language policy and planning. The postgraduate students mentioned came up with different micro planning policies due to the application of the different structure of planning. Some of the examples used by the students and the frameworks they used to come up with them have been indicated in this essay. The postgraduate students gave some reasoning’s behind their choosing of this kind of framework which gave rise to different micro planning policies. The use of the different framework was necessitated so that they could achieve their aims. One of their reasons was so that they could find support materials which were to be used planning. This is known as corpus planning as it involves the collections of writings to be used in a particular task. The other reason was prestige planning which is the labeling of the appearance of a language so as to promote them. The final reason was the planning of language-in-education so that it could develop the language abilities in their workforce (Balduaf, 2005).

 

Problems Affecting Implementation of Language Policies

This essay aims to understand the context of language problems affecting an English language center in Saudi University in the United Arab Emirates. This context can also apply to other English language centers in the region. This essay aims to come up with the resolutions to these complications faced by the center. The English learning centers such as the one in Saudi University were established mainly to give students who were interested in learning the English language an opportunity where they can learn and advance their English skills. Most of these centers are based on informal settings hence they give learners an outside-class experience in improving learning skills. In this center, the teachers and the students themselves help each other to advance their language skills. Such centers are also developed to assist students to be proficient in the English language to help in their quest of joining institutions of higher learning. In this language policy in the learning centers, the main players are the head of these institutions since they make the policies. The teachers are also seen to be the main players since they are responsible for developing the planning of the policy made by the institution heads. The tutors provide their suggestions and expertise in generating the language policy.

Many problems arise as the teachers and the heads of the learning centers roll out policy plans. The problems faced by the tutors and the institution heads arise when they are implementing the policies in the learning centers.  The problems faced by the tutors and the heads are as a result of planning and implementation of language policy. The role of teachers in attracting students to these institutions can lead to a rise in problems. Since most of the students are used to speaking in their native languages outside the classroom, it creates a challenge to the implementation of language policy. Some of the programs taught in these institutions are offered in times which conflict to the real programs of the other courses, and this can prove challenging since the students have to choose one to attend. The students often prioritize their regular programs hence creating problems for language planning implementation. Additionally, problems can arise due to the use of improper materials and weak teaching methods used by tutors during the program, the goals of the learning program are also unclear leading to the use of a weak curriculum of teaching. Finally, the tutors and the managers, due to societal behavior and other factors, fail to take into account the student’s suggestions and needs when they are looking for ways to improve the program. Such a failure to listen to the students often result in a poor utilization of the program by students and hence do not lead to the improvement in their language skills.

As previously seen, most of the problems arise from the way the teachers and the heads of the institutions implement the program. One of the notable problems that arises due to this implementation is the approaches and methods used by these teachers. The teachers use methods which are similar to normal programs hence most of the students get bored with the program since it extends the same monotony of the classroom programs. As seen, the objectives of the program are not well defined and are not communicated to the students. This is a problem in that the students do not consider the objectives when taking the program. One significant problem, however, is that the players of the policy implementation do not take in the student’s suggestions on how best to implement the program. For a program to succeed, it must take in the feedback from the students since they are the one whom the program is meant for. The goal of the program is to improve the skills of the students and to do that; it should get their input on how they can improve their English skills.

Solutions to the Problems Affecting Language Policy Implementation

For proper implementation of the language policy, the tutors and school’s heads should tackle the problems facing the implementation. There exist some ways in which the problems facing the language implementation can be tackled, or at least, mitigated. For an effective policy to be implemented, the problems must be tackled. The proposed enhancements should be factored in by the tutors and the institution heads so that the English learning center can implement a successful policy. The tutors and the heads can team up with the students to ensure that they implement the English language policy (Baldauf & Li, 2008).

The instructors at the English learning center should play a part in making the appearance of the English language attractive to learners. The tutors should demonstrate why learning English is important to the students since language skills are important in today’s contemporary world. The students should know that will get more opportunities and more skill if the attend the program which they will not gain in their normal program. The tutors also need to make the English language look attractive to the students so that many of the students can enroll in the course. They should also encourage the students to promote the program by telling their colleagues about the advantages of the program and by coming up with other ways of promoting the program. This can be achieved by telling the students the objectives of the program and the aims of the program. These aims and objectives can then be placed on the notice boards around the institution so that other students can see and enroll.

An important solution to the problems facing the program implementation is factoring in the student’s suggestions and needs so that the students can continue attending the program. The different planning methods should be applied to ensure that they students keep attending the program. Regarding gathering the materials used in the program, the tutors and policy heads who are responsible for the enactment of the curriculum used in the program should carefully select the materials that will be of benefit to the students and which factor in the needs of the students and the needs of the job market. The syllabus used should improve the language and communication skills of the students. The program heads should also make sure that the tutors are well trained and are conversant with the goals of the program. The tutors should use materials which bring out the best in the students. There should be open communication between the tutors and the students who are in the program and with those who want to join the program.

The students should play a big role in the development of the curriculum used in the program. The students should have a say on what is to be taught in the in the program, what materials should be used, the materials they deem effective, and how the tutors should improve. The students should be given evaluation forms where they can suggest ways improve the programs, what is wrong with the program, and anyway, the program can be made to be effective. The institution heads and the instructors should factor in the student’s needs so that the program can achieve the maximum benefit to the students. Questionnaires and surveys are important to be taken by all the stakeholders to get feedback on the English learning program and to find new ways of improving the program. The questionnaires should be given to the students at the end of each semester. Education specialists should be called in to give their views on how the program should be modified so that the students can benefit maximum from the program. As seen already, explaining the objectives of the program to the students will enable them to gain a lot of the course. Surveys are to get input so that the program can be improved. By giving out the questionnaires and the surveys and enabling the students to have to say on how the program should be, will improve the reception of the program on the students who will see it as more engaging than the usual traditional programs offered at the institution.

To conclude, this essay has looked into how an English learning center has started a program on micro policy planning, the problems the institution faces in the implementation of the program, and the solutions to the problems being faced by the institution. Players in policy implementation should be aware of the problems and come up with ways of mitigating them to improve the program. To solve the mentioned problems, the essay came up with many solutions in which the institution can implement so that it can improve the policy implementation in the English learning center. Solving these problems will lead to the effectiveness of the problem in developing student’s language skills and giving them an edge over their colleagues who did not attend the program. The solutions to the problems and the recommendations on how to improve the program should be taken into consideration by the tutors and the school heads so that they can improve the implementation of language policy.

 

References

Baldauf Jr., Richard B. (2005). Language planning and policy research: An overview. In Eli Hinkel (Ed.), Handbook of research on second language teaching and learning (pp. 957-970) Mahwah, NJ, U.S.A.: L. Erlbaum Associates. 

Baldauf Jr., Richard B. (2005). Micro language planning. In Paul Bruthiaux, Dwight Atkinson, William Eggington, William Grabe and Vaidehi Ramanathan (Ed.), Directions in Applied Linguistics: Essays in Honor of Robert B. Kaplan (pp. 227-239) Clevedon, U.K.: Multilingual Matters.

Baldauf Jr., Richard B., Li, Minglin and Zhao, Shouhui (2008). Language acquisition management inside and outside the school. In B. Spolsky and F. Hult (Ed.), Handbook of educational linguistics(pp. 233-250) New York, U.S.: Springer. 

Baldauf Jr., Richard B. (2008). Rearticulating the case for micro language planning in a language ecology context. In Anthony J. Liddicoat and Richard B. Baldauf Jr. (Ed.), Language planning and policy: Language planning in local contexts (pp. 18-41) Clevedon, U.K.: Multilingual Matters. 

Chua, C. S. K., & Baldauf, R. B. Jr. (2011). Micro language planning In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Handbook of research on second language teaching and learning (pp. 936-951). New York; London: Routledge. 

Hamid, M. O., & Baldauf, R. B. Jr. (2014). Public-private domain distinction as an aspect of LPP frameworks: A case study of Bangladesh. Language Problems & Language Planning, 39(2), 192-210. 

Kaplan, Robert B. and Baldauf Jr., Richard B. Language and language-in-education planning in the Pacific Basin. Dordrecht; Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2003. 

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