A critical analysis of the Jordanian national English language curriculum planning discourse
The rise of English as the lingua franca of our globalized era has placed pressing linguistic demands on educational systems of non-English speaking countries. Focusing on the peripheral locale of Jordan, this study examines how the global spread and dominance of English has been discursively "appropriated" (Pennycook, 1994) and responded to in the past two decades. Primary data for this study consists of the genre of the Jordanian English language national Curriculum Framework Documents (CFD's) for the years 1990 and 1993, 2002, and 2006.
The methodological approach adopted in this study is Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). Discursive constructions in the data are examined using three levels of analysis: contextual, discursive-generic, and interdiscursive. The interdiscursive analysis constitutes the crux of the study and employs two analytical strands: a linguistic/semantic strand and a thematic strand. The discursive appropriation of English is examined with relation to two grand discourses: the cultural formations discourse and the economic formations discourse.
Findings of the analysis revealed the existence of both pro-hegemonic and counter-hegemonic discourses in negotiating English and its dominance. Teaching English as a national school subject is constructed as an inevitable avenue to achieving advancement. Celebratory discourses of the role English plays in national modernization and individual betterment (and later survival) are reproduced. Mother constructed pro-hegemonic discourse promotes the teaching and learning of English as ways of gaining connections with the outside world and being included in a universal human culture.
On the other hand, the global dominance of English is contested through counter-hegemonic discourses. The teaching and learning of English are constructed as problematic with regard to the cultural learning component embedded in there. While the learners' national cultural identity as Islamic, Arabic, and Jordanian is affirmed in the data, the Western cultures of the native English speakers are addressed minimally and dealt with cautiously and critically. Another counter-hegemonic discourse revealed in the data is that of asserting local agency in shaping the role English plays in Jordan. This is accomplished through emphasizing the instrumentality of English as a tool used by local participants to promote local interests.
0449: Educational leadership
0727: Curriculum development