The following are the speakers that were at the event. Expand each name to read more:
Speakers D - J
Dame Ndao and Daouda Mbengue
Modernizing Wolof: information processing in the health and decentralisation fields
Based on interdisciplinary research (linguistics, socio-terminology, scientific and technical information, economic intelligence), this presentation is intended to contribute to an awareness of the modernisation of African languages, an element that must be taken into account for any sustainable development policy in Africa.
We tackle the problem of the modernisation of African languages through Wolof (Senegal’s main language) in two high priority areas in the evolution of professional and social practices in Africa, namely health and decentralization.
We propose a French-Wolof Ontological and Specialized Vocabulary (VOS), a tool for describing and representing knowledge that aims to contribute to the reduction of the terminological gap of the Wolof language compared to French in the fields of health and decentralization.
Dame has a doctorate in language sciences: linguistics and didactics of languages in co-supervision between INALCO and UCAD. He is a teacher-researcher in the Department of Linguistics and Language Sciences.
Daouda has a PhD in language sciences, a Master's degree in sociology, a degree in economic intelligence and a research associate at CRISCO (France).
English for development? Considering the role of English as a driver for socio-economic development in the context of the SDGs
The socio-economic returns of education are well understood, and are evidenced in research by academics and policy makers dating back to the 1960s. However, there has been less research into the relationship between language proficiency and socio-economic development, including research to support the arguments made by language specialists, educationalists, and policy makers that English language education can bring significant benefits to individuals, societies, and economies at a local, regional, and national level. The paper reviews recent research on the topic and considers empirical examples from Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond on the interconnections between language education and economic development.
Daniel is a senior manager at Cambridge English at the University of Cambridge. His research interests lie in the relationship between language education and socio-economic development.
Follow Daniel on Twitter @DanielBr00ker
The use of local languages and English in Ghanaian primary schools: tensions between language-in-education policy and pedagogy
To better understand the tension between local language and English use in Ghanaian primary schools, Education Development Trust, the British Council and the Open University, UK created a research partnership, which involved field visits to four schools in the Greater Accra Region, as well as interviews with 25 teachers, head teachers and education officials. This presentation will show some of the findings from this research, including those that contribute to the use of English, such as growing diversity and multilingualism in urban areas and widespread use of English in textbooks and assessment. It will also show how attitudinal factors play an equally significant role: While English is associated with the elite, with education and with economic advancement, local languages tend to be perceived as being inappropriate for educational contexts, business or as being backwards. Unless strategies are developed to counter these attitudes, and present evidence of the value of local language-medium instruction, English will remain the dominant language of education.
Elizabeth's research focusses on the perceptible impact of English language education on the lives of individuals in terms of identity, social, economic, and cultural capital.
Elizabeth Erling and Mike Solly
English across the fracture lines: the potential of English language capabilities in supporting intercultural communication, peace, and justice
English has become the language often used in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions, and is often perceived as having potential as a means of intercultural communication and crisis intervention.
But what is the potential of English language teaching (ELT) to contributing to peacekeeping and stability? The British Council set out to explore educational programmemes with such aims and this presentation will synthesise the key messages that emerge from a range of case studies that include ELT initiatives aiming to promote resilience and support Syrian refugees in the UK and Lebanon, and to enhance interethnic, interreligious and intercommunity relations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria. We will consider how a framework of positive action could be developed from the evidence gathered in the varied contexts of the case studies and how ELT can enhance capabilities such as empathy, resilience, stability, intercultural understanding, and thus promote citizenship, social justice, and peace.
Elizabeth‘s research focuses on the perceived impact that English language education has on individuals’ lives in terms of their identity and social, economic, and cultural capital.
Mike has worked in English language teaching in a variety of roles. Formerly Senior Lecturer in Education at the Open University, he was central to the highly acclaimed English in Action project in Bangladesh.
Sudan’s first assessment for learning: challenges & lessons learned
This presentation will report on the experience of Sudan’s Ministry of Education in running its first national learning assessment project which examined the learning of Arabic and numeracy up to the end of grade three of Basic Level. The presentation will describe the different stages of the project from planning and awareness-raising sessions through to the results, and will share key lessons learned from the project. It will also report on how the introduction of the national learning assessment changed the attitudes and perspectives of stakeholders towards the concept of “literacy” in the context of education, dealing with literacy-related challenges and their impact on policy decisions and planning.
Fayza is the director of the Evaluation Department - The National Coordinator of the NLA – FMOE-Sudan and has a PhD in the Philosophy of Sudanese and international Studies (Education Specialty).
Felix Kayode Olakulehin
Effects of language on inclusive education in Nigeria: new imperatives for open and distance learning
This presentation will report the outcomes of a primary qualitative study in Nigeria looking at the lived-experiences of distance learning students, analysed with a view to understanding and explaining how learning in a language other than their community-languages affects or influences completion or the likelihood of dropping out from their studies. Because distance learners are separated from their institutions and peers in time and space, interaction is facilitated through a media, including print materials, and online courseware, which are developed in the English language. However, distance learners struggle to navigate the linguistic and translational space between their community language and the official language of instruction.
Felix’s research focus is in higher education and open, distance and e-learning (ODeL). He maintains the JISCMAIL.
Fikemi E.M.K. Senkoro and Kenneth Inyani Simala
Mainstreaming language in Sustainable Development Goals in Africa: an agenda for CODESRIA
This panel discusses the role that the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) can play in mainstreaming language research for the attainment of the SDGs on the continent. It argues that whereas CODESRIA has been in the forefront promoting social science and humanities research in and for Africa – to the extent that it was voted the best Think Tank in Africa in 2017 – there has not been enough focus on the role that languages, especially indigenous ones, can play in the promotion of sustainable development on the continent.
Fikeni holds a PhD (Kiswahili) from the University of Dar es Salaam, and MA (Comparative Literature) from the University of Alberta, Canada. He is the immediate past Coordinator, Centre for Literature and African Oral Traditions at the Institute of Kiswahili Studies at the University of Dar es Salaam.
Follow Fikeni on Twitter @FEMKSenkoro
Kenneth holds a PhD in Kiswahili and is currently the Executive Secretary, East African Kiswahili Commission. His areas of research interest include the interface between language, meaning, culture, communication and development.
Francis William and Zawadi Richard Juma
Multilingualism for quality, inclusive education: Introducing language supportive pedagogy into teacher education
This paper reports on the introduction of language supportive pedagogy in two university-based teacher education programmes in Tanzania, building on insights from literature on Content and Language Integrated Learning and bilingual education. A situational analysis of teacher education programmes revealed that many of their own university students had difficulties in expressing scientific and mathematical concepts. In response, science teacher educators collaborated with language specialists in peer mentor pairings, to introduce both the theory and practice language supportive pedagogy into their teacher education programmes. The paper focuses on the design of the intervention as well as findings from the analysis of the case study data collected from 50 students from across the two institutions in its first year. Implications are drawn out for sharing, adapting and developing multilingual pedagogies that improve quality and inclusiveness for African learners.
Francis is currently senior lecturer at the University of Dodoma. He has worked in schools for 10 years before joining UDOM.
Zawadi is a lecturer of curriculum issues in education, as well as science educator at St John's University of Tanzania. She has experiences with secondary education in Tanzania and interested in improving secondary school curriculum in Tanzania.
Language-independent literacies for inclusive education in multilingual areas
Language-independent regimes of writing are attested in grassroots writing practices predating the colonial area and in use until today and in present-day digital literacies in West Africa. Boundaries between languages created through standard orthographies are absent from these contexts; writers use their entire multilingual repertoires by transferring the conventions of a lead language to them. This talk investigates the potential of language-independent literacies to provide an alternative model to mother tongue education and to complement official language literacy in highly multilingual areas through reporting on a pioneering case study from rural Southern Senegal, where the use of these literacies is being piloted.
Friederike (Department of the Languages and Cultures of Africa, SOAS, University of London) has a research focus on the Mande and Atlantic languages of West Africa.
Hegemonic practices and plurilingual knowledge production. The challenge of inclusive higher education in Africa within the context of internationalization
Within the context of Higher Education policies of internationalisation, knowledge society and knowledge economy we notice an unquestioning acceptance of English as “the“ universally applicable language. This development of linguistic globalisation of scientific practices also challenges national Higher Education systems in Africa. But language policy in Higher Education and research promoting institutions is still predominantly influenced by the former colonial administration. The presentation will discuss how practices of in- and exclusion of languages influence knowledge production. Drawn from a transdisciplinary international research partnership in applied ecology (Burkina Faso & Austria) the analysis will focus on language practices and communicative needs of the involved actors.
Gabriele has been working in research cooperation between the BOKU (Vienna) and the University of Ouagadougou since 2011, which is financed by the Austrian Development Cooperation.
Gratien G. Atindogbe and Angiachi Demetris Esene Agwara
Achieving the SDGs through language documentation
African languages and the multilingual nature of the continent must be resourceful in the fight against poverty and the quest for sustainable development. This paper demonstrates that Language Documentation (LD), a new subfield of linguistics, can help achieve this noble goal. As a solution to preserving endangered languages and cultures, LD contributes to and sustains mother tongue-based multilingual education. Indeed, LD constitutes 1) a plinth to language use in multilingual classrooms; and 2) a sustainable way to manage education in Africa. In short, using a collaborative-based approach, LD is a means to meet SDG 1 and 4. Considering its ultimate goal, i.e. “providing a comprehensive record of the linguistic practices characteristic of a given speech community”, LD provides raw materials for the design of pedagogic tools for primary education and adult literacy in a more context-sensitive way, therefore “ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all”.
Gratien is Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Buea, Cameroon. He obtained a PhD in African Linguistics from the University of Bayreuth, Germany, in 1996. He is presently member of the project "Key Pluridisciplinary Advances in African Multilingualism", funded by United States National Science Foundation (NSF).
Angiachi is a PhD student at the Department of African studies, University of Bayreuth. She spans in the fields of sociolinguistics, language documentation, second language teaching and learning.
Senegalese sign language: a true language and a prerequisite for the schooling and harmonious inclusion of deaf people in society.
Our research demonstrates that Senegalese sign language exists and there is no need to incorporate another version, whether that be ASL or LSF. The LSS needs only to develop in an institutional environment, using a clear codification and a formal recognition as a national language. We no longer need to prove the benefits of adopting a multilingual education. The will of Senegalese to adopt this mode of teaching is clear.
For deaf children, we must understand that the introduction of sign language in teaching methods is even more important than learning a second language. It is not merely considered a mother tongue, but a natural tongue. This allows them to categorize and to make sense of the world. If, and when, a child doesn’t learn this soon enough, it can cause serious cognitive delays. This may be harmful to both their future school prospects and to any full and meaningful participation in society.
Gwénaëlle was trained in Sciences of the Language, option LSF ( French sign language) at the University Paris 8 supervised by Christian Cuxac. Her academic research is on Senegalese sign language and its description.
Language and reconciliation: rethinking the nexus through the Sri Lankan experience
Language is seen as a critical element in national reconciliation in Sri Lanka. This paper critically probes the language-reconciliation nexus in Sri Lanka since 1956 by questioning the role English – defined as a ‘link language’ – has been assigned in the reconciliation process. This paper argues for a critical plurilingual approach, which incrementally tackles the pedagogical challenge of disrupting monolingual frameworks while at the same time focuses on the need to strike a balance between theorizing an unrealistic linguistic utopia and negotiating the real and institutionalized challenges of language and identity.
Harshana is Director, Postgraduate Institute of English, Open University of Sri Lanka. He received his PhD from the University of Hong Kong, where he is Honorary Assistant Professor at the School of English.
Development from the bottom up; the contribution of local language literacy to sustainable development
Arguably the most sustainable form of development occurs when individual people acquire new expertise which enables them to achieve what was previously impossible for them. Acquiring literacy can make a significant contribution to development, especially in the case of adults learning to read and write in their own African language. This presentation draws on the personal accounts of adults in five African countries, reflecting on the changes they have experienced as a result of the acquisition of literacy in the local language. Not only has their sense of self improved, but they have gained a greater degree of agency, with benefits for their families and their communities.
Ian has worked in literacy in Africa for 30 years. After ten years in Cameroon, he returned to the UK where he is now based. His research interests centre on the impact of literacy on adults who acquire literacy in their own African language.
Defining an additive approach to English language teaching at the classroom level: a case study from India
This presentation explores existing research consolidating and recognising existing language resources, which have numerous benefits for the development of skills in additional languages. Using a case study based on original data, generated by a survey of 149 English language teachers from India, the presentation will show how they use other languages in their classrooms.
The talk will define and explore how a principled additive approach, whose aim is to have a high level of proficiency in a local language as well the dominant language, can function where English is taught as a subject in a multilingual context like India.
Jemima has worked in ELT for 14 years. She has extensive experience in teaching, teacher training, course design, and project management.
Literacy for inclusion in the south west Indian Ocean: ‘French-based creole’ as site of struggle in the Republic of Mauritius and French DROM Reunion Island
This is a comparative study of local-language literacy issues in Mauritius and French Reunion Island. Both countries have French-based Creole as vernacular and are commonly called ‘Iles-Soeur’ (Sister Islands). In fact, they have a shared history of French colonisation, but both experienced different processes of decolonisation. This paper argues that French-based Creole in Mauritius and Reunion Island is a site of struggle for access to resources, empowering language minorities, participation in development, and democratic processes
From 2004 to 2012, Jimmy’s public advocacy of biliteracy in English/ Mauritian Kreol led to the introduction of Kreol Morisien in all primary schools as from 2012. Jimmy is currently Deputy Director, Head of Secondary at the Diocesan Service of Catholic Education in Mauritius.
‘LASER gave me a chance’ “LASER gave me the chance”
A qualitative study of the effect of the LASER project on Syrian refugees’ sense of identity and voice
The British Council LASER (Language and Academic Skills and E-Learning Resources) project has, over the past two years, provided English language and academic skills training to Syrian refugees based in Jordan.
Through interviews, a dozen individual student stories have been documented and compiled for a qualitative research paper looking at the impact language learning has had on developing individual resilience, ensuring dignity, self-sufficiency, and life skills. Several opportunities arose for these students which otherwise would have been unknown to them.
All students interviewed participated in public discourse, often in contexts that they perceived to be ‘high-status’ and perhaps even intimidating. The majority of interviewees reported that the language training they had received through the project had given them the confidence and assurance to exercise their voice.
John has been a TEFL teacher, since completing a degree in English Language from the University of Liverpool. For two years he has been teaching Syrian refugees in Jordan.
Evidence-based planning for effective public services: techniques and tools for mapping multilingual landscapes
A huge demographic shift from rural to urban areas is underway in Africa, yielding conurbations with intensely diversified populations as regards language, ethnicity, and socio-economic status.
Increased multilingualism in rapidly expanding urban areas has profound implications for health, wellbeing, and schooling, with government at all levels challenged to design policies and plans for effective social services under these changing conditions.
Taking a key challenge to delivery of inclusive health and education as the promotion of language policies and practices that respect diversity, the workshop invites delegates to consider the implications of this for policy makers and planners in increasingly multilingual cities: what do they need to know about context-specific linguistic diversity for policy and planning purposes? How can local languages and cultures be integrated into public policy and health, or education programmes?
John is interested in the role of English as an additional language in mother tongue-based multilingual education. He recently directed the STEM project (supporting teachers’ English through mentoring) and provided technical advice to Bristol University’s LaST innovation (language supportive textbooks and pedagogy), twin research studies in Rwanda.
Jorunn Vik Dijkstra and Chris Darby
When practice confirms theory: Early impact of L1 instruction on L2 literacy confirms Cummins’ Interdependence Hypothesis
Convincing evidence for the benefits of bilingual education is essential and was a key objective for EMiLe, an MLE pilot in Senegal involving eight private and four public schools. The predominant local language, Seereer, was L1, with French as L2. Teachers used both as languages of instruction in a programme including all subjects.
A base-line study in Year 1 was followed by systematic evaluation at the end of each of the next three years (1-3). Literacy results at the end of grade 2 were interesting, less because ‘EMiLe’ pupils’ literacy competence in Seereer was strong, more due to achievements in French. After considerably less work in French, literacy scores were only marginally inferior to those in Seereer. Also, though relatively low in absolute terms, they were much better than in the comparison group. These findings support Cummins’ Interdependence Hypothesis and suggest its benefits can appear very early.
Jorunn, together with Senegalese and expat colleagues, helped develop a programme for preliterate people (adults and primary school aged children), a transition course L2 – L1, an L1 preschool programme and a bilingual pilot project for elementary education (EMiLe).
Chris is a secondary school teacher in the UK (27 years), a teacher trainer, worked with non-formal literacy development in Senegal with SIL from 2005-2016, and was part of team developing MLE pilot in Senegal (EMiLe) from 2010-2016.
Joseph Kaleba Walingene
English as a language of community problem solving and conflict resolution: the case of English clubs in the DRC
The presentation discusses English as a language of community problem solving and conflict resolution as used in English Clubs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It suggests ways – through English Clubs – that Congolese and Rwandese can work together linking lessons and bringing youth together as a way to promote empathy, resilience stability, mutual understanding, and peace between the two neighbouring countries.
Joseph earned his Master’s in English Didactics from l'Institut Supérieur Pédagogique de Bukavu, DRC where he was Chair of the Department of English, but is now currently a lecturer.