Language Policy

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 433–451 | Cite as

Interests and conflicts: exploring the context for early implementation of a dual language policy in one middle school

  • Stephanie Forman
Original Paper


Dual language immersion program models represent a potentially effective way to serve growing numbers of English language learners (ELLs) in schools and districts. However, local challenges, such as interpersonal conflict, can impact the process of implementing dual language policies and programs, limiting the extent to which they are able to meet academic and equity goals for ELLs. Existing research provides little direct knowledge about how disagreements and competing interests influence dual language policies and programs. This study employs qualitative methods to examine how individuals understand and interpret the conflicts around a new dual language policy at one middle school. It presents a case study of local actors at the beginning of the implementation process, highlighting the tensions created by the interaction of policy with the material and ideological concerns of the individual actors. The findings describe how the interests of staff members both aligned and conflicted with each other and with the values embedded in the dual language policy. The study also reveals the influence of the local school district central office and brings to the surface disagreements amongst the staff about the appropriate role of the central office in the policy implementation process. This study suggests that the diverse material interests and ideologies of individual actors are important factors in the language policy implementation process.


Language policy Implementation Politics Dual language education 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Education Policy, Organizations, and LeadershipUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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