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The effect of the language of testing on second language learners’ academic performance in social studies: The case of Kreol Seselwa and English in the Seychelles classrooms
Umeå universitet, Humanistiska fakulteten, Institutionen för språkstudier.
2018 (Engelska)Ingår i: L1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature, ISSN 1567-6617, E-ISSN 1573-1731, Vol. 18, s. 1-22Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

This study examines the use of Seychelles Creole (hereafter, Kreol Seselwa), and English as languages for testing knowledge in the Social Studies classroom of the Seychelles. The objective of the study was to ascertain whether the languages used in the test affected the pupils' academic performance. The paper is theoretically influenced by the Social Practice approach to writing (Street, 1984), challenging a monolingual (autonomous) approach in favour of a more multilingual (ideological) model which takes into account all the learners' language repertoires. A within groups experimental design was implemented, and 151 primary six pupils (11-12 years) from three different schools wrote a short test, in a counterbalanced design, in two languages. The topic of the test was fishing, mostly local contextual knowledge, taught in English. The tests were marked for content in both languages. The results showed that the scores on both languages highly correlated, indicating that both tests captured the same knowledge constructs. However, pupils achieved significantly higher marks in the tests written in Kreol Seselwa than in English. The study has implications for policymakers, teachers and most importantly learners in other multilingual settings, particularly in post-colonial countries like the Seychelles, where the mother tongue is undervalued in the classroom.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
2018. Vol. 18, s. 1-22
Nyckelord [en]
Kreol Seselwa, L2 medium of instruction, subtractive multilingualism, social studies
Nationell ämneskategori
Jämförande språkvetenskap och allmän lingvistik
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-166399DOI: 10.17239/L1ESLL-2018.18.01.10ISI: 000498516000019Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85063093928OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-166399DiVA, id: diva2:1379813
Tillgänglig från: 2019-12-17 Skapad: 2019-12-17 Senast uppdaterad: 2023-03-24Bibliografiskt granskad
Ingår i avhandling
1. Contrasting language-in-education policy intentions, perceptions and practice: the use of English and Kreol Seselwa in the Seychelles
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Contrasting language-in-education policy intentions, perceptions and practice: the use of English and Kreol Seselwa in the Seychelles
2022 (Engelska)Doktorsavhandling, sammanläggning (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
Alternativ titel[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. 

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Umeå: Umeå University, 2022. s. 113
Serie
Umeå studies in language and literature ; 47
Serie
Umeå Studies in the Educational Sciences ; 52
Nyckelord
Code switching, Kreol Seselwa (Seychelles Creole), L2 Medium of Instruction, Post Colonialism, Language Policy, Translanguaging, Bilingualism, Multilingualism
Nationell ämneskategori
Jämförande språkvetenskap och allmän lingvistik
Forskningsämne
språkvetenskap
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-192319 (URN)978-91-7855-736-3 (ISBN)978-91-7855-737-0 (ISBN)
Disputation
2022-03-09, Lecture hall E, Humanities Building, Umeå, 13:00 (Engelska)
Opponent
Handledare
Tillgänglig från: 2022-02-16 Skapad: 2022-02-09 Senast uppdaterad: 2022-02-14Bibliografiskt granskad

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