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

This is the website of the 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 aim 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 is 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 for Phase 1 of the project are:

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 aim:

2) To establish a comprehensive 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 help us begin work on an oral history of language education within the city.

These outcomes will constitute a firm foundation for the development of a larger project proposal. This larger project will constitute a scoping study of current language education provision in Coventry, with historical dimensions.

The core team members (listed below) are based in the Centre for Applied Linguistics (Faculty of Social Sciences) but we also aim to build links with colleagues in the Language Centre and School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Faculty of Arts, as well as with colleagues from Coventry University (School of Humanities).

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

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