Challenges of Language Education in Post-Colonial Contexts


A problem that persists in post-colonial contexts is the perception that the standard form of languages should prevail on regional dialects and creoles. In many countries (Haiti, Belize, etc.), a creole is spoken at home, while only the standard form of the language is used in the education system. Students face negative attitudes of teachers who disregard creole (Wigglesworth & Billington, 2013), suffer denigration of their culture and identity (Farr & Song, 2011), and are put at a disadvantage in acquiring literacy skills (Siegel, 2007). Worsened by the absence of a standard orthography for Creole and a lack of linguistic awareness, these issues compromise students’ chances of success. Pilot projects exist, but are often conducted for a period of time too short to accurately measure their efficiency (Cummins, 2001). Reforms necessitate efforts in the field to ensure prompt improvements. This paper will focus on the social aspect of the problem, such as parents’ negative perception of creole instruction and why reforms in language education are challenging in creole contexts. In addition, it will discuss the possible immediate solutions to increase students’ self-confidence and linguistic competence, such as legitimizing and validating creole (Wigglesworth & Billington, 2013) and creating awareness campaigns for the public to convince them of the benefits of bilingual schooling over monolingual education for Creole speakers (Wigglesworth, Billington & Loakes, 2013; Koskinen, 2010). Additionally, resources for in-service teachers must be developed since teacher training does not reach the uncertified teachers (Siegel, 1999).

Author Information
Etienne Marceau, Nagoya University of Foreign Studies, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2016
Stream: Education and post-colonialism

This paper is part of the ACE2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon