Language in development constrained: Three contexts

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Journal Article
TESOL Quarterly, 2002, 36 (3), pp. 323 - 346
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This article highlights several issues of concern for language-in- development programs through an examination of different aspects of such programs in three contexts: (a) the needs of Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR) as it seeks greater integration with Southeast Asia and the global economy; (b) the struggles over language policy and education in East Timor, with its new mixture of economic and political dependence and independence; and (c) the relationship between local and external participants in a development project in Cambodia. We argue that whereas countries such as Lao PDR seem to have little choice in engaging in widespread English education, several concerns emerge from East Timor and Cambodia: The discursive context of development disallows participation both in the classroom and in program development. By viewing their central concern as language development rather than language in development, such programs have frequently failed to confront the contexts in which they operate. Together, these three contexts suggest that language development can become language in development only when it faces up to these broad political and discursive concerns.
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