Tracing out the global rise of Chinese as a Foreign Language: a critical realist approach

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The past decade has seen a largely unanticipated emergence of real interest among public and private education providers worldwide in the teaching of Chinese as a modern foreign language (CFL). In some parts of the world, this interest has translated into concrete policy changes that have introduced CFL into the curriculum; in many other cases, CFL has come to be seen as a potentially ‘valuable’ linguistic resource to be encouraged outside the curriculum and in the shadow education market. Debates between policymakers and practitioners about the usefulness and teachability of CFL are on-going and are likely to continue, but our understanding of exactly how CFL has entered the policy domain and why so much time and effort is being expended to support it, remains rather poor.
By drawing on the Critical Cultural Political Economy of Education approach advanced by Robertson and Dale (2015), this paper builds on empirical data from my doctoral work (2011-16) to propose a critical realist framework for analysing the semiotic and material practices involved in the promotion and uptake of CFL globally.

Robertson, S.L. and Dale, R. 2015. Towards a ‘critical cultural political economy’ account of the globalising of education. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 13 (1), pp. 149-170.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2018
EventBritish Association for Applied Linguistics: Language Policy SIG - Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, United Kingdom
Duration: 31 May 20181 Jun 2018


ConferenceBritish Association for Applied Linguistics
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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