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LINGUIST List 17.2664

Tue Sep 19 2006

Diss: Socioling/Applied Ling: Holmarsdottir: 'From Policy to Practi...'

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        1.    Halla Holmarsdottir, From Policy to Practice: A study of the implementation of the Language-in-Education Policy (LiEP) in three South African primary schools


Message 1: From Policy to Practice: A study of the implementation of the Language-in-Education Policy (LiEP) in three South African primary schools
Date: 18-Sep-2006
From: Halla Holmarsdottir <h.b.holmarsdottirped.uio.no>
Subject: From Policy to Practice: A study of the implementation of the Language-in-Education Policy (LiEP) in three South African primary schools


Institution: University of Oslo
Program: Institute of Educational Research
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2005

Author: Halla Bjørk Holmarsdottir

Dissertation Title: From Policy to Practice: A study of the implementation of the Language-in-Education Policy (LiEP) in three South African primary schools

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
                            Sociolinguistics

Dissertation Director:
Carol Benson
Birgit Brock-Utne
Desai Zubeida

Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis analyzes the LiEP in South Africa and the implementation in
order to better understand the effectiveness of the language policy in
promoting additive and functional multilingualism, and sociolinguistic and
-cultural integration, which are major policy objectives. For nearly fifty
years the majority of South Africans suffered from language policies aimed
at social and political control. As a result schools were used as a
mechanism to restrict speakers of African languages access to power with
language policies in education as a major component in the apartheid plan.
In spite of a very progressive language in education policy (July 1997)
that enables learners or their guardians to choose the language of
instruction, schools catering for learners who are speakers of African
languages still use English as their medium of instruction from the fourth
grade. The lack of political will among the political leadership of the
country to seriously implement the national ideals expressed in the
Constitution and the LiEP may be little more than a symbolic gesture or a
strategy to obtain public support without any intention of leading to real
change in the society. As part of this empirical investigation the
observations show that in the township schools both teachers and students
are struggling with using a language as a medium of instruction that is
foreign and additionally a language that neither is proficient in. The
result is that learners are left with partial subject knowledge and little
or no real knowledge in the foreign language. Observations showed that
Xhosa was generally used for most of the talk time in the classrooms with
teachers utilizing code alternation strategies to assist learners.
Moreover, learners employ a number of coping strategies in dealing with a
foreign medium. Ultimately, how can we expect children and adults to
acquire knowledge and skills when they are taught through a language they
do not understand? Finally, this thesis questions the use of theories of
bilingual and multilingual education developed as a result of research on
immigrant minorities mainly in the North. Although the majority population
in South Africa can, somewhat, be compared to such groups the reality is
that they are a majority population and not an immigrant minority. Thus it
is argued that despite the theoretical foundations in this thesis there is
a need to draw attention to the differences between these two groups as
well as their similarities in order to develop more appropriate theories.
In this way this research contributes to the literature on bilingual and
multilingual education not only for minority groups but also for majority
groups who are often treated as minorities within their respective countries.



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