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This paper argues that languages, increasingly marginalised in schools in English-speaking countries, are gaining ‘elitist’ ground as part of the ‘value-added’ marketisation of schools and parents’ desire for their children to gain ‘positional goods’ through schooling. In arguing our case, the paper draws on survey and other data derived from second-language immersion programmes in two Queensland secondary schools, where key learning areas such as mathematics and science are taught through the medium of another language. As a corollary, we also argue that some schools – in our case, government schools – are using their immersion programmes as markers of distinction in a period of post-comprehensive schooling and emerging school markets, which includes both government and non-government schools. There is also a global policy context to such programmes in respect of countries such as Spain, China and Germany supporting the teaching of their respective languages in nations around the world.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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