Sedyl - Structure et Dynamique des Langues - UMR8202 - CELIA

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29-11-2019Séminaire doctoral - Pratiques langagières - terrains, méthodes, théories
Animé par I. Léglise et V. Muni Toke
Villejuif - Bât.D - S.511 - 14h00-17h00
Jürgen Jaspers (Université Libre de Bruxelles)
Soft power: Teachers’ friendly implementation of a severe language policy

Dutch-medium schools in Brussels traditionally cater to a Dutch-speaking minority, but they have recently seen a massive influx of pupils with a limited competence in Dutch. Many of these schools have therefore intensified their efforts to remain monolingual Dutch enclaves in a predominantly Francophone city, sometimes in quite severe ways (like giving pupils penalties for speaking French). Looking at one of those schools in particular, I will argue though that teachers’ severe implementation of a monolingual policy did not go without a positive appreciation of linguistic diversity nor without an awareness that severity could backfire on this implementation. So, although teachers were agreed that a severe linguistic stance was important, they articulated various reasons for not adopting this stance relentlessly. And while pupils could in principle be punished if they failed to speak Dutch, teachers often merely prefigured the possibility of sanctions, ignored pupils' use of other languages to attend to other business, and occasionally recruited pupils’ other linguistic skills as a pedagogical device – without, however, abandoning their language political stance. I will suggest that this ambivalent behaviour can be usefully explained as the outcome of negotiating dilemmatically related ideological concerns, that these concerns are also negotiated by scholars, and that this may invite us to approach teachers in a different way than is customary in the field.