Professor Tochon is conducting research in various countries for the purpose of creating and evaluating materials that bring cultural understanding and depth to language education. His films on Turkey represent the variety of the language landscape in various regions of this country. Throughout history, languages have been linked to political power. Globalization affects languages and cultures. Multilingual situations are increasingly problematic. Half of the world languages may disappear within two decades. Linguicism and linguistic genocide, two terms coined by Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, partly explain this phenomenon. Linguicism refers to ideologies, structures, and practices that are used to legitimate, create, regulate, and reproduce an unequal division of power and resources between groups that are defined on the basis of language. Colonial representations of [superior] Self and [inferior] Other involving race, nationalism, gender, ethnicity, class, and language, are constantly re/constructed in curricula, policies and practices related with foreign languages.
UNESCO supports (1) mother tongue instruction as a means of improving educational quality; (2) bilingual and/or multilingual education at all levels of education; and (3) language as an essential component of inter-cultural education in order to encourage understanding between different population groups and ensure respect for fundamental rights. When early elementary education is not provided in the mother tongue of the children, schools create a linguistically genocidal situation. Linguistic genocide is "prohibiting the use of the language of the group in daily intercourse or in schools, or the printing and circulation of publications in the language of the group" (original Article III(1) of the final draft of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (E 794, 1948) of the United Nations). Two of the UN definitions of genocide suggest that the linguistic genocide is not simply a metaphor: the UN International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide—E793, 1948), Article II(b &e) include any collective action “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group” and “forcibly transferring children of the group to another group”. There is evidence from numerous minorities in many countries that the indicators of linguistic genocide are present in today’s schools.
In 2007, Prof. Tochon organized two colloquia on globalization and linguistic human rights, at UW and in Chicago for the presidential session of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), to which he invited Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Robert Phillipson, Timothy Reagan, Rakesh Bhatt and José Antonio Florès Farfan. Every summer, Prof. Tochon gives a seminar to discuss teaching in a global society, the manifestation of linguicism and crosscultural clashes, language curricula and linguistic human rights in the classroom. He is the 2010 Award Recipient of the AERA Review of Research Award for an article on the teaching of world languages and their contribution to world peace. Identifying the importance of multilingualism for living and working in a global economy, he challenges the notion that a particular language could become the dominant world language, and discusses the consequences to individuals and our society of neglecting other