Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines

Die Dynamik einer Reform: soziolinguistische Implikationen des Zürcher Englischexperiments

Stotz, Daniel

In: VALS-ASLA (Vereinigung für angewandte Linguistik in der Schweiz), 2006, vol. 83, no. 1, p. 147-158

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    The experimental introduction of English as a foreign language into a dozen primary schools in the Swiss Canton of Zurich has had nationwide repercussions. The paper discusses the results of an evaluation study with respect to the societal problems that an earlier onset of language learning is aiming to solve. It deals with the motivations and intentions of the actors in this so-called School Project 21. The choice of English rather than a second national language, French, is supposed to increase the young people’s chances of participating in the globalising economy at the same time as it is intended to facilitate access to language learning more generally. In the field of practice, the innovative approach of language and content integration (CLIL) is meeting with resistance. Analysis of classroom interaction suggests that structuring patterns such as teacher-dominated interaction influence the learning success (Büeler et al. , 2001). The paper goes on to discuss a second evaluation study which points to ways in which the struggle for resources and educational success may be resolved. One of the more striking insights emerging from the project is the degree of reflexivity (Giddens, 1990) that various actors bring to bear on their practices. Teachers, students and project leaders take part in the reform discourses, thereby becoming experts of practice. Linguists and educational politicians are thus expected to consider the social and political contexts of language reform. They must take seriously not only the performance and progress of children and teachers, but also their voices.