We have recently been working our way through the many treasures of IEPS (Institute for Education Policy Studies), a radical left think tank on public education. Indeed, our piece on Language Learning and Inequality is intended as an introduction to wider themes raised by a paper by Bill Templer wrote on issues of English as a Second Language, which is published in their free on-line journal. We will state at the outset, that while we find Templer’s views well-argued and interesting we, ultimately, do not agree with them
The director of IEPS is Professor Dave Hill and the site contains many excellent free on line papers that Hill has published. Dave Hill also collaborates closely with the Canadian Critical Pedagogy theorist , Peter McLaren , who is the deputy director of IEPS
We particularly recommend this timely (new Labour are likely to get thrown out of office in the UK next month) review of New Labour’s record on education. Hill’s piece also throws more light on the issues of standards in schools recently debated between anticapitalista and ourselves. Hill claims:
With respect to school improvement and school effectiveness, while these may be desirable, (who wants declining or ineffective schools?), the concepts of school effectiveness and of school improvement have, intrinsically, nothing whatsoever to do with the concept of equality. Nor might they have empirically, however much the life chances of tens of thousands of working class school pupils/students be improved by the Herculean or increasingly effective and improved efforts of their teachers and schools. Making the trains run on time does not engineer, or structure, the uses to which the railways are put, whether it be, for example deportation or mass subsidised holidays, whether they be run as a social and public service, or as a profit making service. Making the trains run on time does not, in itself, advance the social, political or economic uses to which they are put.
Although there is not a great deal written in IEPS which deals directly with ELT, we are sure readers will able to find connections between their critique of education policy and similar issues we face in our industry.