European Journal of Language Policy

Enactment processes in the implementation of European and national foreign language proficiency policies

The case of Spanish as an optional school subject in the Swedish school system

European Journal of Language Policy (2016), 8, (2), 173–189.

Abstract

This article presents an analysis of the implementation of EU policies for foreign language proficiency, focusing on Spanish as an optional school subject at the Swedish school system. It analyses frame factors that constrain such implementation and enactment processes in local interpretation of policy. European and national education policy documents, national statistics and interviews with teachers and stakeholders are analysed. Spanish is popular among pupils, but nonetheless pupil achievement is poor and dropout rates are high. The lack of qualified teachers of Spanish accounts for a large proportion of this, and teacher education seems to be a decisive curricular factor for a successful implementation of EU policies. In-service training strategies for teachers of Spanish are a low priority among local educational authorities. There is a mismatch between state responsibility for teacher education on one side and local needs of teacher supply and responsibility for in-service training on the other.

Cet article présente une analyse de la mise en œuvre des politiques de l’Union Européenne (UE) concernant les compétences en langues étrangères, en mettant l’accent sur espagnol comme matière à option de l’école suédoise. Il analyse différents obstacles à la mise en œuvre au niveau local. Il prend en compte des documents politiques d’éducation européens et nationaux, des statistiques et des entretiens avec un nombre d’enseignants et d’acteurs nationaux. L’espagnol est populaire parmi les élèves, mais néanmoins la réussite des élèves est faible et les taux d’abandon sont élevés. Le manque d’enseignants d’espagnol qualifiés donne une large part d’explication pour cet échec tandis que la formation des enseignants semble être un facteur décisif pour la réussite de la mise en œuvre de ces politiques de l’UE. Les autorités locales ne semblent pas donner la priorité à la formation continue des enseignants d’espagnol. Il existe un décalage entre, d’une part, la responsabilité de l’État pour la formation des enseignants et, d’autre part, les besoins locaux concernant l’offre et la responsabilité pour la formation continue.

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Author details

Francia, Guadalupe

Riis, Ulla