Language and Immigrant Integration in an Age of Mass Migration: Challenges to “Teaching” Destination Languages
In this presentation, I examine the challenges facing immigrant-receiving countries in providing formal language instruction to both newly arrived and established immigrants. I describe what I refer to as the “curricularization” of language, a process in which language is treated, not as a species-unique communicative system acquired naturally in the process of primary socialization, but as a curricular subject or skill the elements of which can be ordered and sequenced, practiced and studied, learned and tested in artificial contexts within which learners of the target language outnumber proficient speakers. I focus specifically on the design of language teaching programs and on the multiple challenges that are involved in responding to often-contradictory beliefs and expectations about the outcomes of language instruction especially for adult immigrants who may have limited or low literacy skills in their dominant language.
Guadalupe Valdés is the Bonnie Katz Tenenbaum Professor of Education at Stanford University. Working in the area of applied linguistics, much of her work has focused on the English-Spanish bilingualism of Latinos in the United States and on discovering and describing how two languages are developed, used, and maintained by individuals who become bilingual in immigrant communities.