Is There a Place for “Sowing” in Second Language (L2) Education at the University Level? Neoliberal Tenets Under Scrutiny

  • Hadrian LankiewiczEmail author
Part of the Second Language Learning and Teaching book series (SLLT)


In recent years the prevalent opinion among educational policy makers is that academic institutions should be guided by the same principles as any other business unit. Corporate speak has pervaded the regulatory documents as well as management practices. The governing rule seems to be the ubiquitous accountability to guarantee “functional quality”. The European Qualification Framework and its national equivalents have been intended to secure this end and create educational transparency in the era of enhanced mobility within the EU countries. However, the use of economic principles does not seem to translate easily into product quality (students’ professional expertise and concurrent intellectual capacities), hence the growing criticism of measurement-oriented schooling [e.g., Biesta, 2010; Potulicka, 2010]. Invoking the concept of “sowing and reaping” put forth by van Lier (The ecology & semiotics of language learning. Kluwer, Dordrecht, 2004) in his ecological stance to education as well as the reflections of the Critical School, the article presents reflection on the consequences of neoliberal policy in education with a particular focus on the so-called L2 philological courses at Polish universities. Overall, commercialized language education is presented as falling short of expectations in social and academic terms as well as subverting dominant pedagogical reflection on autonomy in language teaching, reducing language teaching to mere skill training.


Neoliberalism Commercialization L2 teaching Ecology of language learning Autonomy Critical perspective 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of GdańskGdańskPoland

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