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English-language training in France under the Hollande government: Policy, precarity, pressure, and the third-person 's'

Meraud, Julie (2018) English-language training in France under the Hollande government: Policy, precarity, pressure, and the third-person 's'. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

My research findings urge a reassessment of the organization of publicly funded English-language training in France. English, as lingua franca of a globalizing workplace, functions as a gatekeeper to employment opportunities. Quality subsidized training for adults is, thus, essential to limit linguistic inequality. My research was prompted by the Hollande government’s 2015 training reform, with its surprising initial omission of English from subsidy. English, before the reform, was the most demanded subject for training with millions of euros of public funds invested in training, which was largely outsourced to lightly regulated language schools in a competitive marketplace with significant trainer employment precarity. My research – viewed through the Bourdieusian lenses of habitus, field, linguistic capital and linguistic market – employed discourse analysis to analyze government policy texts and questionnaire, interview and focus-group data from trainers and adult learners at “Langues-sans-Frontières,” a non-profit language school. Drawing also on the EU-funded “Languages and employability” report and quantitative data from TESOL France, my findings revealed the government treading a delicate path. France is founded on the centrality of French as a key element of citizenship. However, the government tacitly admitted that English was a key to employability. This complex conception of English was mirrored in the linguistic habituses of adult learners. However, the individual nature of trainees’ dispositions lends itself to Lahire’s reconception of habitus as developing throughout life. This finding implies a sensitive role for trainers in that individual trainee beliefs need to be respected, but gentle challenge through dialogue with other learners can open new learning pathways. However, the reform only allowed for 24 hours training per year. My data, however, indicated that years – rather than hours - were required for adults to reach workplace proficiency. English training needs to take account of the time commitment required for trainees to achieve an operational level, which comes at a financial cost. A network of training institutes, modelled on “Langues-sans-Frontières,” may provide the answer. With funding from local and national sources, the organization provided subsidized training, yet offered its trainers good remuneration and conditions. These measures will help French adults as long as English continues to be the workplace lingua franca. However, both English as a lingua franca and French research indicates that the future is multilingual. Developing a multilingual habitus, thus, will be the challenge for French governments.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Keywords: English-language training, France and language policy, globalization and English, French training policy, Bourdieu, linguistic habitus, field, linguistic capital, linguistic market, precarity, Lahire, English as a Lingua Franca
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Julie Meraud
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2019 09:43
Last Modified: 21 Jan 2019 09:43
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/22705

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