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LINGUIST List 21.4477

Mon Nov 08 2010

Diss: Anthro Ling/Applied Ling: Bahry: 'Perspectives on Quality in ...'

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        1.     Stephen Bahry , Perspectives on Quality in Minority Education in China: The case of Sunan Yughur Autonomous County, Gansu

Message 1: Perspectives on Quality in Minority Education in China: The case of Sunan Yughur Autonomous County, Gansu
Date: 07-Nov-2010
From: Stephen Bahry <s.bahryutoronto.ca>
Subject: Perspectives on Quality in Minority Education in China: The case of Sunan Yughur Autonomous County, Gansu
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Institution: University of Toronto
Program: Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2009

Author: Stephen A. Bahry

Dissertation Title: Perspectives on Quality in Minority Education in China: The case of Sunan Yughur Autonomous County, Gansu

Dissertation URL: https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/handle/1807/19123

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics
                            Applied Linguistics

Subject Language(s): Chinese, Mandarin (cmn)

Dissertation Director:
Normand Labrie
Dongyan Blachford
Ruth Hayhoe
Jim Cummins

Dissertation Abstract:

This exploratory multiple embedded case study investigates perspectives on
education reform under conditions of minority language endangerment in
Sunan Yughur Autonomous County, a minority-district in northwest China. The
study included three school sites: a Yughur minority urban school; a Yughur
minority rural district school, and a Yughur majority rural district school
and four embedded cases: school administrators, teachers, parents and
students, of Yughur, other minority, including Tibetan and Mongolian, or
Han nationality. Adult stakeholders were interviewed on what is important
to learn in 'education for quality', and what aspects of Yughur (or other
minority) knowledge, culture and language should be included in school
curriculum as part of education for quality, while students were asked what
they enjoyed studying and whether they would enjoy learning stories, poems
and songs in Yughur in school.

Findings include strong support among parents and students regardless of
ethnicity or school site for Yughur (as well as Tibetan and Mongolian)
language and culture as 'essential qualities' to foster in Sunan County
school curriculum, with moderate to weak support among educators ranges
with some variation among sites. Three parallel visions emerge from the
study of what it means today for a Chinese minority student to be an
educated person in contemporary China: (a) regular Chinese-medium
education; (b) multicultural Chinese-medium education; and (c) maintenance
bilingual education in Yughur, or other minority language, and Chinese.

The third vision envisions developing additive bilinguals who know the
heritage of their minority as well as the national curriculum in Mandarin.
A vision of balanced bilingualism and multiculturalism that sees heritage
languages and Mandarin as 'resources' is shared by the large majority of
parents and students, most teachers and some administrators. Holders of
other visions for local minority education largely share a 'Language as
Problem' orientation towards minority languages. One aim of devolution of
school-based curriculum authority is to develop schools' individuality.

This study reveals three divergent models of local schooling that have
developed in one minority school district: one that centres on a
monolingual model of national culture, one monolingual, multicultural
model, and one bilingual, multicultural model, with the latter model
corresponding more closely to minority stakeholder perspectives that
schools should play a stronger role in the maintenance and revitalization
of their cultural and linguistic heritage.

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