Ideologies of language and schooling in Guinea-Conakry: An exploratory study of teachers' perspectives about mother-tongue education
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractIn this study, I examine ideologies of language and schooling in the Republic of Guinea (West Africa). The focus of this study is a specific language policy that favored the use of African languages in the schools as media of instruction for more than 15 years (1968--1984). I discuss this policy from the standpoint of elementary teachers using a methodological approach that combines classroom micro-ethnography, interviews, and historical research. The research questions that guided my inquiry are as follows: How do teachers remember their personal experiences with the use of African languages as means of instruction in the past? What are the themes of those who express positive experiences and how do they relate with the themes of those who express negative experiences? Do age, gender, level of education, and place of residency/work make a difference in the perspectives of teachers? This is an exploratory study that approaches teachers' perspectives as flexible meaning-making processes influenced by time, space, and audience. The theoretical framework that guides this research is informed by historical approaches to the study of language ideologies (Bloomaert, 1999; Ricento, 2440; Ruiz, 1984). The findings of this study suggest that personal experiences and memories affect teacher beliefs and practices about language choice in the schools. For example, in this study teachers with experience in the classroom before 1984 appeared to be more sympathetic toward the use of African languages as means of instruction than their younger colleagues who lacked professional experience as teachers before 1984, Guinean teachers would have to confirm these findings for themselves through systematic research in formal and informal settings. This dissertation study makes a modest contribution toward this end by focusing on the beliefs and practices of elementary teachers. Also, this dissertation study highlights the importance of including historical and interpretive approaches to the study of language ideologies in language policy studies and in teacher education programs.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading & Culture