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Conflicting ideologies: When the ideological Meets the Perceived and Operational: A Study of primary teachers' attitudes, perceptions and practice of Seychelles Creole (Kreol Seselwa) and English as mediums of instruction in the Seychelles Primary Schools
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies. (LITUM)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1341-3854
2018 (English)In: Norsk og internasjonal lærerutdanningsforskning: Hvor er vi? Hvor vil vi gå? Hva skal vi gjøre nå? / [ed] Kari Smith, Bergen: Fagbokforlaget, 2018, p. 129-151Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper builds on Zelime & Deutschmann, 2016, where we examined language ideologies/directives in the Ideological and Formal domains of the curriculum in a multilingual postcolonial context – the Seychelles. Our overall conclusion from this work was that there was a clear mismatch between the roles that different languages were ascribed in these two domains. In this paper we look at manifestations of the Ideological and Formal curricula in the Perceived and Operational domains of the curriculum, more specifically, the language beliefs, attitudes and classroom practices of primary school teachers. We base our findings on questionnaire answers from 142 respondents in 22 primary schools, coupled with classroom observations and teacher interviews. The Seychelles has a fairly typical postcolonial language-in-education system and follows a transitional model of medium of instruction (hereafter MoI). In this system children are taught in Kreol Seselwa (hereafter K.S.), the mother tongue of the vast majority, during the first two years of schooling after which it is replaced by English. Officially, K.S. retains its role as a “support language”, but in reality, controversies surround this practice. Our results indicate that while K.S. plays a central role in the everyday lives of the teachers, they are surprisingly negative to its role in education. The majority want to see it removed altogether and replaced by an English-only model. At the same time most teachers also acknowledge the importance of K.S. as a support language. Using a framework of postcolonial theory, we try to explain this inconsistency.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bergen: Fagbokforlaget, 2018. p. 129-151
Keywords [en]
Post-colonialism, Seychelles Creole (Kreol Seselwa), Second Language Medium of Instruction (L2MoI)
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-147923ISBN: 9788245022599 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-147923DiVA, id: diva2:1209240
Available from: 2018-05-22 Created: 2018-05-22 Last updated: 2022-02-09Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Contrasting language-in-education policy intentions, perceptions and practice: the use of English and Kreol Seselwa in the Seychelles
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Contrasting language-in-education policy intentions, perceptions and practice: the use of English and Kreol Seselwa in the Seychelles
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
En jämförelse av utbildningspolitiska intentioner, uppfattningar och praktiker rörande undervisningsspråk : användningen av engelska och kreol seselwa på Seychellerna
Abstract [en]

Many studies have shown that Second Language (L2) Medium of Instruction (MoI) policies in Africa are linked to educational inequity, substandard teaching practice, low literacy skills and poor overall academic performance. In the light of this background, this thesis aims to make a more thorough inquiry into questions related to language-in-education policies, L2 as MoI, and academic success in the Seychelles, a small island nation in the Indian Ocean. Here the first language (L1), Kreol Seselwa, is used as MoI during the first two years of primary education and is then replaced completely, and quite abruptly, by English. While such L2 MoI policies exist in many parts of Africa, Seychelles is in many ways unique since approximately 98% of the student population all have the same L1, i.e. Kreol Seselwa. We are thus not dealing with a situation where the use of English in education is motivated by it being a lingua franca. 

The Seychelles is also the smallest and least populated country in Africa, offering an easily accessible context for linguistic exploration into matters regarding language-in-education policies. The country’s small size also enables one to gain real depth of insight into the language-in-education policy situation and the challenges faced by many nations in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). 

Using an eclectic methodological approach, including critical discourse analysis of policy documents, classroom observations, writing experiments, semi-structured interviews, survey questionnaires and corpus analysis, the thesis investigates the “problem” on various levels of the educational system (macro, meso and micro). The main focus lies on challenges and consequences of current language-in-education policies, culminating into four individual papers which include: 1) an analysis of educational policy documents such as the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) and subject syllabi; 2) an investigation the teachers’ attitudes towards teaching through English and/or Kreol Seselwa; 3) an evaluation of learners’ ability to write their subject knowledge in English and Kreol Seselwa and 4) an investigation of Primary Six pupils’ ability to make meaning through their literacy practice in English and Kreol Seselwa. 

Bernard Spolsky’s (2004) comprehensive theoretical framework of language practices, language beliefs and values, and language planning and/or management is then used as the main analytical model to analyse the results and describe how these four studies are interconnected systematically in their quest to shed light on the current language-in-education context of Seychelles.

The main findings indicate that current language-in-education policies are contributing to educational inequity, especially given that the present-day system relies heavily on written examinations. The overall conclusion is that the full potential of using the mother tongue in learning contexts is not being realised, primarily a result of deeply rooted negative attitudes towards Kreol Seselwa being used in the Seychelles educational context. 

The “language problems” in the Seychelles educational system are thereby investigated systematically and the results are highly relevant for all post-colonial contexts where L2s are used as MoIs. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2022. p. 113
Series
Umeå studies in language and literature ; 47
Series
Umeå Studies in the Educational Sciences ; 52
Keywords
Code switching, Kreol Seselwa (Seychelles Creole), L2 Medium of Instruction, Post Colonialism, Language Policy, Translanguaging, Bilingualism, Multilingualism
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
language studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-192319 (URN)978-91-7855-736-3 (ISBN)978-91-7855-737-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2022-03-09, Lecture hall E, Humanities Building, Umeå, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2022-02-16 Created: 2022-02-09 Last updated: 2022-02-14Bibliographically approved

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Zelime, justinDeutschmann, Mats

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