Double-Edged Valorizations of Urban Heteroglossia

  • Jürgen Jaspers


Teachers’ opinions about pupils’ home languages are often in tune with official language policy. Also in Flanders (Belgium), survey and case study research frequently demonstrates teachers’ negative attitudes towards pupils’ non-standard and non-Dutch home languages. This chapter however reports on ethnographic research at an ethnically mixed Brussels secondary school where at least one teacher could be observed valorizing his pupils’ home languages in and out of class. These valorizations facilitated a positive classroom climate, but they were also indebted to longer-standing representations of language and thus embedded in larger stratification patterns. Pending structural changes, I suggest this is the fate of much behaviour at school that negotiates the current language political status quo. Careful attention to these negotiations is vital for understanding contemporary education.


Urban heteroglossia Language policy Education Working consensus Brussels 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jürgen Jaspers
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Literature, Translation and Communication, Center of Research in LinguisticsUniversité Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)BrusselsBelgium

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