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Language Education and Institutional Change in a Madrid Multilingual School

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This article examines the institutional transformations of language-in-education programmes in Madrid, linked to wider socio-economic processes of change. Drawing on a research team’s ethnographic revisit, we explore how wider processes are impacting
  This article was downloaded by: []On: 15 September 2014, At: 08:47Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK International Journal of Multilingualism Publication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information: Language education and institutionalchange in a Madrid multilingual school Miguel Pérez-Milans a  & Adriana Patiño-Santos ba  Faculty of Education, Division of English Language Education,The University of Hong Kong, Room 332, Hui Oi Chow ScienceBuilding, Hong Kong, China b  Department of Modern Languages, University of Southampton,Avenue Campus, Building 65, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BF,UKPublished online: 14 Aug 2014. To cite this article:  Miguel Pérez-Milans & Adriana Patiño-Santos (2014) Language education andinstitutional change in a Madrid multilingual school, International Journal of Multilingualism, 11:4,449-470, DOI: 10.1080/14790718.2014.944532 To link to this article: PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLETaylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the“Content”) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis,our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as tothe accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinionsand views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors,and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Contentshould not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sourcesof information. 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Terms &Conditions of access and use can be found at  Language education and institutional change in a Madrid multilingualschool Miguel Pérez-Milans a  * and Adriana Patiño-Santos  b a  Faculty of Education, Division of English Language Education, The University of Hong Kong, Room 332, Hui Oi Chow Science Building, Hong Kong, China;  b  Department of Modern Languages, University of Southampton, Avenue Campus, Building 65, Highfield,Southampton SO17 1BF, UK  (  Received 23 November 2013; accepted 20 May 2014 )This article examines the institutional transformations of language-in-education programmes in Madrid, linked to wider socio-economic processes of change. Drawingon a research team ’ s ethnographic revisit, we explore how wider processes areimpacting everyday discursive practices in the Bridging Class (BC) programme, first implemented in 2003 to teach Spanish to the children of migrant workers in stateschools. We focus on the coexistence of this programme with the recently implementedBilingual Schools Programme, aimed to equip students from working-class areas tocompete in global markets. Based on the analysis of interviews and classroominteractions with BC students at one secondary school, in connection with the wider socio-historical processes underlying language-in-education policies, this study revealsa process of discrediting of the BC that contributed to a local hierarchisation of  programmes (and its participants). Further implications are discussed regarding howindividuals collaborated with each other under these institutional conditions. Keywords:  language education; social mobility; institutional change; social hierarch-isation; academic trajectories; ethnographic revisit  1. Introduction In the spring of 2010 we were invited to have a look at the data collected by a researchteam coordinated by Luisa Martín-Rojo in Madrid (Spain). This team had been doingethnographic fieldwork during the academic year 2008 – 2009, at   IES Villababel  , 1 asecondary school considered  ‘ unusual ’  since it was one of the first schools in the Madridregion where the  Bilingual School Programme  (BSP, hereafter) was being applied. TheBSP, officially instituted in the academic year 2004/2005, is a particular English-learning programme aimed at schools categorised as  ‘ educational centres with social problems ’ , inthe framework of the collaboration between the Spanish Ministry of Education and theBritish Council. At the same time, the school hosted the  Bridging Class  (BC, hereafter) programme, a language reception programme implemented in 2003 aimed at teaching thelanguage of instruction, Castilian Spanish and the basic curricular content of SocialSciences and Mathematics to recently arrived migrant students. As we began to study thedata, we quickly realised the challenge that the interpretation of such data, and thereforeLuisa ’ s apparently casual invitation, actually represented. *Corresponding author. Email:   International Journal of Multilingualism,  2014Vol. 11, No. 4, 449  –  470, © 2014 Taylor & Francis    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   1   1   2 .   1   2   0 .   1   2   9 .   1   0   2   ]  a   t   0   8  :   4   7   1   5   S  e  p   t  e  m   b  e  r   2   0   1   4  For us, as researchers who had participated in previous investigations in multilingualclassrooms of Madrid, Luisa ’ s invitation was an opportunity to undertake an  ‘ ethno-graphic revisit  ’  (Burawoy, 2003) to the institutional space of second language educationin Madrid. We wished to see whether significant changes had occurred in the situationsthat we had previously studied (Patiño-Santos, 2007, 2010, 2011a; Pérez-Milans, 2006a, 2006b, 2007, 2011). An initial challenge was the fact that neither of us had initiated the fieldwork, even though we knew the context of the Community of Madrid and one of ushad supported the team in some of their activities, mainly those regarding students of Chinese backgrounds.We thus began a continual communication between the three of us, by way of anumber of phone calls and emails, in order to confirm or re-address our intuitions andobservations arising from the data we had in front of us. Various aspects of the researchattracted our attention, but we decided to focus on those that allowed us to link our  previous knowledge with the current situation. Therefore, we decided to focus on the BC.We were curious about its transformation over time and what the consequences for its participants might be in the framework of its coexistence with the BSP. We aimed to look at the ways in which teachers and students in the BC dealt with such a situation and if,contrary to previous research carried out 10 years earlier when this programme was first implemented, they felt better integrated with the rest of the school. We also wanted tounderstand the here and now of the observed situated practices vis-à-vis wider socio-economic processes of change.Our study of the BC at   Violetas  secondary school, between 2004 and 2007 (Pérez-Milans, 2006a, 2006b, 2007, 2011), showed how a programme that started amid high expectations, little by little, started to suffer a deteriorating reputation because of a varietyof tensions and dilemmas. Thus, what initially seemed to be a golden opportunity for trained teachers to enrol in an unprecedented programme, boasting exciting communic-ative methodologies for teaching Spanish as a second language, turned into a stressfulsituation, due to the fact that the organisation of the BC became linked to a certain degreeof improvisation and precariousness. In the end, these factors brought about, in the caseof   Violetas , isolation of the BC from the rest of the school, leading to a failure to integratenewcomers into the mainstream classes.These are the issues addressed and analysed in this article, which provides a snapshot of how the BC was discredited and unfavourably compared with BSP with which it coexisted. The socio-institutional context of these two language education programmes,BSP and BC, with reference to the specific socio-economic conditions under which theBC got discredited in the Madrid region is explained in Section 2. After that, thetheoretical – methodological stance that underpinned data collection is presented, withspecial attention to the analytical perspectives driving the descriptions (Section 3). Someof the teachers and students in the BC at   Villababel   form the backdrop for exploring theways in which such institutional loss of prestige was locally enacted through discursive/ interactional forms of social categorisation and local positioning, with focus on theresulting academic trajectories of two students (Section 4).Finally, the implications of the analysis from the perspective of an ethnographicrevisit are described, with a focus on how social mobility and language education are re-articulated under contemporary conditions of socio-economic change  –  as well as theconsequences that this re-articulation has for how individuals relate to institutions(Section 5).450  M. Pérez-Milans and A. Patiño-Santos    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   1   1   2 .   1   2   0 .   1   2   9 .   1   0   2   ]  a   t   0   8  :   4   7   1   5   S  e  p   t  e  m   b  e  r   2   0   1   4  2. Bilingual education in contemporary Madrid A 10-year multi-site/collective/extensive research carried out by our research team, withfocus on the situated implementation of language education policies, has shed light onsome of the main institutional tensions and dilemmas being faced in contemporaryMadrid (Alcalá Recuerda, 2010; Martín-Rojo, 2003, 2010, 2013; Martín-Rojo & Mijares, 2007; Mijares & Relaño-Pastor, 2011; Patiño-Santos, 2011a, 2011b; Pérez-Milans, 2006a, 2007, 2011; Relaño-Pastor, 2009). These tensions point to two key socio-economic and political shifts, each of which is linked to the emergence of one of the twolanguage education programmes that coexist at   Villababel   secondary school  –   the BC andthe BSP.The BC programme emerged after the opening up and economic reforms initiated inSpain during the late 1970s and also after Spain joined the EU in 1986, which resulted ina huge change in migration patterns within the country, moving away from large-scaleemigration by (southern) Spanish workers towards increasing numbers of internationalmigrants coming to Spain from different countries around the world. This wider socio-economic and political change has led to contradictions, described elsewhere, concerningthe commitment of modern states to democracy and citizens ’  rights; restrictive views onlinguistic/cultural homogeneity and standardisation are still in place. Therefore, access to public spaces in Spain (i.e. participation in economic and political life) has been predominantly restricted to people fitting a linguistically and culturally homogeneousdefinition of the citizen  –  based on an imagined Spanish heritage  –  even though recent regulations by the European Union have attempted to recognise the languages of migrant minorities (Moyer & Martín-Rojo, 2007).Language has become a crucial part of the tensions, as: [it] plays a key role in the processes whereby social actors are granted legitimate membershipas nationals, i.e. are treated socially as  ‘ truly ’  French, Spaniards, Catalans or Danish.Linguistic competence and performance is thus increasingly activated to construct or reinforce differences underpinned by other forms of social categorization. (Pujolar, 2007, p. 79). This has been particularly important for a region such as Madrid, where the traditionalofficial language of the state (Spanish) is still the only official language of the region: inthis context, non-st andard Castilian Spanish speech forms associated with immigrants areoften undervalued. 2 In the education arena, this socio-economic and linguistic transformation has beenfollowed by an ongoing process of reforms intended to help schools adapt to the newconditions. Among these, implementation of the BC has been particularly controversial.Initially implemented as an experimental programme in 2003 in response to theincreasing numbers of students of migrant background who do not speak Spanish, theBC has been constituted as a language education programme of submersion form inwhich students are expected to learn Spanish language intensively for about one academicyear before they are inducted into the mainstream classrooms. Thus, pressures on studentsto comply with a Spanish monolingual agenda which renders students ’  linguisticrepertoires inadequate, plus lack of curriculum guidelines integrating language andcontent, have been identified as factors contributing to academic failure and mistrust of BC students with migrant background.The BSP language education programme needs to be framed within the context of theimpact that contemporary changes in economic organisation, at both national and  International Journal of Multilingualism  451    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   1   1   2 .   1   2   0 .   1   2   9 .   1   0   2   ]  a   t   0   8  :   4   7   1   5   S  e  p   t  e  m   b  e  r   2   0   1   4  international levels, are having on labour migration and communication (Castells, 2000).In particular, these changes are inducing labour migration to adopt new, shifting,transnational patterns, with a more marked emphasis on communicative skills in general,and on multilingualism in particular. As a consequence of this, language evaluationdynamics seem to be moving away from former ideologies, in which languages wereconsidered fundamental in defining membership of ethnic national communities, towardsa framework in which languages have come to be conceptualised as commodities or capital required for successful participation in the new transnational and post-industrial/ services-based market (Blommaert, 2010; Heller, 2011). Under these new conditions, language education policies implemented by the European Union, and the EuropeanEconomic Community before it, are now evolving into a new policy framework that  places more emphasis on dissemination of languages with a global profile, even whensuch languages are non-European (Fenoulhet & Ros i Solé, 2011; Pérez-Milans, 2014). Under this policy framework, the promotion of language learning and use is beingundertaken by highlighting primarily their potential for strengthening  intercultural dialogue ,  social cohesion  and  democratic citizenship , as well as their value as animportant   economic asset   in a modern knowledge-based society. 3 In the case of Spain,where language education has traditionally been oriented towards a  ‘ foreign languageteaching ’  approach focused on English, French or German, this shift has been followed bya strong trend towards teaching English as the almost exclusive foreign language in thecurriculum. 4 Indeed, the new European policy impetus to promote language learning andmultilingualism in European mainstream education has led to the Spanish Government formulating a new language education plan  –   budgeted with  € 120 million  –   that hasstrengthened the teaching of English and French in mainstream schools. 5 Some regional governments have been particularly diligent in institutionalisation of Spanish – English bilingual schools under this policy framework, with a great discursiveemphasis on internationalisation, academic excellence and the labour market. In Madrid,the BSP is officially intended to  ‘  provide young people in the Madrid region with themeans to benefit from their opportunities and to compete in the best conditions possiblein a world that is increasingly globalized ’ , on the one hand, and to increase  ‘ high qualityeducation [in order to] enable them to obtain a better future, in both the personal and the professional spheres ’ , on the other hand (Regional Education Department Orden 3245/ 2009). Seeking to prioritise schools in working-class areas, in line with the EuropeanUnion ’ s official discourse of social cohesion, this programme requires such schools toimplement a Spanish – English bilingual curriculum for students having to have a goodcommand of English language (English Language, Geography and History, Science, Artsand Crafts and Technology are taught in English), while keeping the traditional Spanishmonolingual curriculum for students without the necessary speaking and writing skills inEnglish.However, studies following the initial implementation of this programme have pointed out numerous dilemmas that emerged from the start. Among these, previousfieldwork carried out at   IES Villababel   has showed how the social prestige of English as adominant, global European language, on the one hand, and the traditional association between the Spanish  –  English language education programmes and elite schools, on theother hand, seem to contribute to positioning BSP students and teachers as  ‘ the good/best ones ’  (Martín-Rojo & Alcalá, 2010; Mijares & Relaño-Pastor, 2011). In this school, the BSP, which had 18% of students enrolled in years 1  –  4 of Compulsory SecondaryEducation (ESO),  ‘ allowed for a diversification of funds and resources at school for 452  M. Pérez-Milans and A. Patiño-Santos    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   1   1   2 .   1   2   0 .   1   2   9 .   1   0   2   ]  a   t   0   8  :   4   7   1   5   S  e  p   t  e  m   b  e  r   2   0   1   4
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