Author(s): Reynolds, Dudley
Organisation(s): World Innovation Summit for Education; Qatar Foundation; Carnegie Mellon University Qatar
Pages: 89 p. + 6 p.
Current language policies in many contexts are negatively impacting educational opportunities for indigenous and migrant speakers of minoritized languages as well as majority language speakers who are not motivated to learn additional languages. Statistics suggest that as many as 40 percent of the world’s children are studying in languages they do not fully understand, while in the United Kingdom and the United States, study of languages other than English is dropping dramatically. Current policies often derive from concerns that multilingualism is a threat to national identity or too difficult to promote in schools with limited resources. These fears are based on what the report terms an Ideology of Competition. This flawed ideology views languages as a bounded phenomenon with respect to both geographic and cognitive spaces. Adding additional languages to a space, whether the space is a mind or a country, creates competition and poses a threat. The report argues that language policies should be based instead on three Principles for Collaboration: 1) Accommodate dynamic needs of individuals and societies for language resources; 2) View multilingualism holistically; 3) Foster respect for difference. The vision for this report is for an Ideology of Collaboration, where: 1) Education contributes to cohesive societies where all people feel empowered by their language resources and negotiation skills; 2) Multilingualism is synonymous with cognitive and social development; 3) Minoritized languages and their speakers are valued as sources for invention and renewal.