Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Language, Education, Humanities and Innovation 2016

Language Practice and Language Ideology of Students and Teachers in Malaysian Secondary Schools

Soon Chiow Thai, Kuang Ching Hei

University of Malaya, Malaysia


This study focused on two components of language: - language practice and language ideology. The study aimed to look into details of the language practice of English, Malay, and Mandarin when used orally by students and teachers in Malaysian secondary schools; and their perceptions toward the three languages. Spolsky’s (2009) framework of language management looking at language policy via language practices or beliefs was applied. 12 Malaysian secondary schools comprising one Chinese Independent secondary school and 11 National secondary schools while 347 students and 351 teachers were served as the research sites and participants. Questionnaires and interviews were used as instruments of investigation. The findings of the study showed that i) Malay is the language most practised by the students and teachers in National secondary schools; ii) students and teachers of Malaysian secondary schools agree on the importance of English, and, iii) the language ideology of English noted by students was not practised. The language policy makers are recommended to consider the gap between language practice and language ideology when designing and implementing new language policies.


Language policy; language practice; language ideology; Malaysian schools

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