Languaging teachers, (re)creating inequalities: CLIL and the changing contours of the teaching profession in Catalonia
The aim of this presentation is to examine the effects on teachers’ work conditions and career opportunities of the wholesale introduction of English as a medium of instruction in compulsory schooling (usually labelled ‘CLIL’) in Catalonia. I will discuss this through my ethnographic investigation of two schools in the Barcelona area, one public and one private; one primary and one secondary. I will also use data obtained from interviews with CLIL trainees enrolled in a Postgraduate CLIL Diploma at university. My talk will aim to cover an overlooked area of CLIL research, which to date has mostly focused on classroom practices, learning outcomes and student achievement. The closest to the kind of study we suggest here has been interview-based research aimed to gauge teachers’ and students’ perspectives on the CLIL experience. Research on/with teachers has foregrounded deficiencies in teacher training schemes or the lack of institutional awareness and/or support for CLIL teachers (in terms of e.g. time relief for preparing specific materials or coordinating teaching teams), but that line of research has always taken an educational interest. Although some of those studies delineate issues to do with overwork and lack of recognition of teacher commitment, CLIL researchers have generally not taken that lead further. In this paper, I aim to fill that existing gap by shifting our gaze towards an understanding of the realities of teachers as workers. In so doing I intend to answer the following questions. In what ways is the ‘bursting in’ of English in primary schools transforming the social order of the school, by creating new categories, valuing and devaluing certain teaching profiles, and altering hierarchies? What tensions are engendered? Who are the losers and how are they losing out? Who are the CLIL teachers in secondary school? What are their employment trajectories? How do they get to become CLIL teachers? How is this all connected to the increased hyper competitiveness and marketization of education in Catalonia, both in the public and the private sector? I will argue that distinct processes can be identified in private and public schooling owing to differences in hiring procedures and regulations, but that in all cases, the languaging of teachers is reinforcing old inequalities and engendering new ones. I will dissect the different shape this process takes in private schools (search for flexible teachers; enforced self-skilling; irruption of new teaching figures; downgrading of regular teachers; stagnant careers, etc.) and in public ones (unburdening of CLIL on temporary teachers while permanent teachers opt out; funneling access to teaching positions; etc.), and discuss what all this means for the teaching profession in Catalonia.