Volume 2, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2589-2053
  • E-ISSN: 2589-207x



This paper reviews patterns of primary foreign language policy across the world, analysing the development of policy and subsequent implementation processes with reference to the particular local histories and current politics at regional, national and supranational levels of governance. In providing an overview of current provision and recent research the paper draws on the theoretical frame of historical materialism to consider the impact of global forces in three economic regions of the world today in contexts where substantial growth in the provision of primary foreign languages is now evident – described by Graddol, with reference to English specifically, as a process of “moving up the educational escalator”. Themes threaded throughout the paper include power and resistance to soft policy, perspectives of social justice and an emerging global expectation for accountability and transparency with regard to primary foreign languages policy. In reviewing recent developments in the field of educational policy research the final section raises questions around the extent to which teachers may shape language policy in education, acting as critical interpreters of policy in an agentive role, adapting and refining national and local curriculum policy to meet the needs of their learners.

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Keyword(s): accountability; global forces; language policy; primary; social justice
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