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Mother Tongue Support as a Scaffold to English Language Proficiency: An Ideological Analysis of a Belgian International School’s Language Policy

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English Language Teaching

Abstract

International schools have become more prominent globally since the 1950s. This is a result of globalization and an increased demand to cater to expatriate families’ children’s need for transnational forms of education (Heyward 2002; Hayden 2011). In this chapter, we critically analyze the language policy of an international school located in Flanders, Belgium. In this school, English is the official language for primary and secondary levels and the continuous enrollment of new students who are not necessarily fluent in English forms an ongoing opportunity and challenge for the school. Our analysis of the school’s language policy is participatory and self-reflexive as the chapter’s co-authors combine the experience of the school’s coordinator of the “English as an Additional Language” program and “Mother Tongue” program with academic expertise on educational language policies. Based on linguistic ethnographic fieldwork, our analysis addresses the language ideological underpinnings of the language policy and the curriculum in place at the school. Our analysis of the school’s language policy uncovers how it aims to develop English language proficiency for all pupils and to guarantee access to rigorous grade-level content while acquiring the academic language of instruction. This is done with attention to the active deployment of the students’ mother tongues and translanguaging as a scaffold/pedagogy in classroom practices. We finish our analysis with a reflection on the implications and potential best practices of the school’s language policy for other educational contexts in Europe.

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Correspondence to Anne-Sophie Bafort .

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Bafort, AS., Thacker, K., Vandenbroucke, M. (2022). Mother Tongue Support as a Scaffold to English Language Proficiency: An Ideological Analysis of a Belgian International School’s Language Policy. In: McCallum, L. (eds) English Language Teaching. English Language Teaching: Theory, Research and Pedagogy. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-2152-0_5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-2152-0_5

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