Paul Kei Matsuda

ASU Applied Linguistics Speaker Series, Jeff Bale, November 6th

 The Applied Linguistics Speakers Series Announces:


Dr. Jeff Bale


 “A Clever City Needs Everyone’s Talent” –

School Reform in Hamburg and its Pedagogical Implications

for German Language Learners


Starting in August, 2010, the school system in Hamburg, Germany will embark on a radical restructuring of their schools. School officials have justified these changes as a response to Germany’s poor showing on the last three rounds of the PISA exams. In particular, they have drawn attention to the strong correlation in Germany between social class, language background and results on the PISA. The central argument is, in their words, that “a clever city needs everyone’s talent” – that is, that changes to school structure and to pedagogy are required to ensure a more equitable education for what the PISA studies label "risk groups," including German language learners. 


This presentation outlines a research proposal recently submitted to the Humboldt Foundation for funding. Adopting an interpretive perspective that understands educational policy as social practice, this study is  broken in to two phases. The first focuses on how policy-relevant actors make sense of the stated goals and implementation of Hamburg’s reform policy itself. The second extends this interpretive analysis by using ethnographic methods to understand the impact of the reform policy on pedagogical practice in secondary schools in which German language learners comprise the majority of students.



About the Speaker:

Jeffrey Bale is an assistant professor of second language education. His research interests center on educational  language policy analysis. Currently, his research investigates the impact of national security ideologies on heritage language education, especially programs for Arabic. His work also looks comparatively at the language education policies in the United States and Germany. As subject area leader for the world language teacher preparation program at Michigan State, he is working with colleagues in linguistics to establish a new Arabic teacher certification program.


Date: 11.06.2009                      Time: 11:00-12:00 P.M.                 Location:  Payne 129

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For information about the new Applied Linguistics Ph.D. program, visit




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Last update: January 6, 2008