The concept of ``foreignness'' in U.S. secondary language curricula: A critical philosophical analysis

Date of Completion

January 1998


Education, Language and Literature|Education, Curriculum and Instruction|Education, Philosophy of




Though considerable demographic evidence has indicated that linguistic diversity in the United States is rapidly increasing, foreign language education has not appreciably changed. Defining what constitutes "foreignness" may have educational impact and disguise structural manifestations of hegemony. By utilizing two forms of philosophical analysis, this study explores the yet unexamined sociological context of curriculum and power in foreign language education. Employing conceptual analysis, informed by critical pedagogy, this study provides a philosophic treatment of "foreignness" as used in the context of secondary language curricula. Data used to conduct this critical philosophical analysis were drawn from state curriculum guides, approved textbook lists, textbooks, local curricula, and national standards and reports. The ideological implications of the constructed exemplar are discussed, specifically in terms of how this educational context supports hegemonic ends in the United States. The exemplar is tested and critiqued against examples from nationwide sources. Emancipatory activism is recommended in the form of curricular nullification and suggestions for incorporating such a pedagogy into teacher education programs are included. The study represents advances in the areas of sociology of language, critical pedagogy, foreign language education, curriculum theory, and philosophy of education. ^