Negotiating the world: Some philosophical considerations on dealing with differential academic language proficiency in schools

Educational Philosophy and Theory 40 (5):652-665 (2008)
Differential academic language proficiency is an issue of major educational concern, bearing on problems varying from pupil performance, to social prospects, and citizenship. In this paper we develop a conception of the language-acquiring subject, and we discuss the consequences for understanding differential language proficiency in schools. Starting from Wittgenstein's meaning-as-use theory we show that learning a language requires an activity that relates the subject both to the community of language users, and to the things language is about. In opposition to Luntley, we contend that this does not mean that linguistic development involves linguistic adjustment to the world 'as it is'. It is argued that, in as far as linguistic development involves a process of adjustment, this concerns conceptions about the world as it is presupposed to be—a 'world' that is subjected to doubt and revision time and again. With respect to dealing with differential academic language proficiency, this approach to linguistic development suggests bringing pupils into situations which require active participation in processes of 'negotiating meaning', including negotiating the prevailing presuppositions about what the world is like. This also puts novices in a different position—less assimilatory—recognising their co-constructive potencies at a more fundamental level.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/epat.2008.40.issue-5
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 26,150
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

Added to index


Total downloads

1 ( #865,213 of 2,152,218 )

Recent downloads (6 months)


How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums