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Evolution and change in language education provision in the city of Coventry

This is the website of the small-scale project 'Evolution and change in language education provision in the city of Coventry: Tracing language policy and local curriculum initiatives over the last 50 years', awarded funding from the University of Warwick Connecting Cultures GRP, 2018-19.

Project description:

In England and elsewhere in the UK there is a mounting sense of crisis with regard to language learning. In this project, we aimed to understand the implementation of language education within the city of Coventry from the perspective of national language education policy and local curriculum initiatives over the last 50 years. The general aim of the project was to examine how local experiences and initiatives can add to an understanding of the wider picture of language learning in the UK.

Our concrete aims were:

1) To identify ways in which local initiatives have sought to implement, respond to and supplement language education policies and to build a picture of how these have influenced the quality and provision of language education programmes and opportunities in schools. To achieve this, we also aimed:

2) To establish a timeline of national language education policies along with an archive of initiatives that have been implemented locally to promote language education, such as the Coventry ‘Thinking through Languages’ project (early 2000s).

3) To build a network of contacts (teachers, head teachers, local authority administrators, etc.) in Coventry who can provide valuable perspectives on the effects of language policy and curriculum change from a historical perspective. Interviews with some of these contacts will, in the future, help us begin work on an oral history of language education within the city.

This constitutes a foundation for the development of a larger project proposal for a scoping study of current language education provision in Coventry, with historical dimensions.

The project team members (listed below) were based in the Department of Applied Linguistics (Faculty of Social Sciences) but we also aimed to build links with colleagues in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Faculty of Arts, as well as with colleagues from Coventry University (School of Humanities).

Arising from the project, we have now established a cross-faculty Languages in Coventry Research Group and we are also supporting a Coventry City of Languages initiative established by local schoolteachers.

Richard Smith (PI), Tony Liddicoat, Sal Consoli, Troy McConachy, Annamaria Pinter, Shelagh Rixon, Natalie Sharpling, Ellen Smith-Dennis, Nicholas White

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MLT history in England, 1960–2020

Poster presentation by Richard Smith at 19th AILA World Congress on Applied Linguistics: Click on the poster to expand. Brief introduction on video here.