English language education in primary schooling in Argentina


  • Melina Porto Universidad Nacional de La Plata and CONICET (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas)




Primary school, ELT, Argentina, Buenos Aires, La Pampa, Entre Ríos, Chubut


This article describes public primary English language education in Argentina. I begin with background information about the country and a brief historical overview of education in general, accompanied by a portrait of primary schooling in particular. This overview involves local, political and economic considerations but also international influences that have played a key role in shaping the direction of language policies in primary education at the provincial and national levels in the country. I describe the national curriculum guidelines (Núcleos de aprendizaje prioritario, NAP) for foreign language education, contextualising them within the national education policies for primary school in force since 2003 and the new National Education Act (Ley Nacional de Educación 26.206). These guidelines and policies adopt an intercultural and plurilingual approach in the teaching of foreign languages, including English, at all levels of education and embrace a social justice conceptualisation of education in all cases. This approach has been materialised in ELT curriculum developments and programs in several of the 24 jurisdictions of the country with different degrees of development. I illustrate with the cases of the provinces of Buenos Aires, La Pampa, Entre Ríos and Chubut using interview data collected in 2015. Program leaders in these provinces describe their local initiatives. The article closes with a brief account of the affordances observed and the challenges ahead.


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Author Biography

Melina Porto, Universidad Nacional de La Plata and CONICET (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas)

Melina Porto is a researcher at CONICET (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas) in Argentina and Professor at Universidad Nacional de La Plata (UNLP). She has been a Visiting Academic at the University of East Anglia since 2012.  She has published three books and many articles in international journals (e.g. Pedagogies: An International Journal, Journal of Further & Higher Education, Foreign Language Annals, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, ELT Journal). She is co-author of the New English Curriculum Design for Primary School in the Province of Buenos Aires in Argentina. Since 2005 she has supervised several four-year research projects funded by UNLP and CONICET. She has been awarded several research grants by the International Literacy Association (ILA), Fundación Antorchas and UNLP. She is a member of the Editorial Advisory Boards of several international journals. She has been an International Research Correspondent for Reading Research Quarterly, a member of the Publications Committee of the International Literacy Association, a member of its Language Diversity Committee. Since 2012 she has been involved in research on intercultural citizenship in partnership with Dr. Letcia Yulita at the University of East Anglia. 




How to Cite

Porto, M. (2016). English language education in primary schooling in Argentina. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 24, 80. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.24.2450



English Language Teaching in Public Primary Schools in Latin America