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‘What’s in a name? The power of the English language in secondary school science education’

Lodge, WG; (2019) ‘What’s in a name? The power of the English language in secondary school science education’. Cultural Studies of Science Education 10.1007/s11422-019-09941-y. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

The global dominance of the English language has led to intense debates with the emergence of studies of English as a lingua franca. These debates can be positioned along a continuum stretching from those who see the spread of English as a force of good representing progress and those who see it as a destructive force of globalisation. Between these two extremes are those who suggest that languages such as Creole and other ‘hybrid’ languages are essential in particular contexts, while also supporting the use of standardised English in others. Such debates are particularly salient in the context of Jamaica, where the ofcial language and the language of instructions at all levels of schooling is Jamaican Standard English (JSE) but many of the people are frst language speakers of Jamaican Creole (JC). Despite its valorisation, JC has not substantially challenged the prestige position of JSE in the Jamaican classroom. Such perspectives have been used to situate and position the English language as a hegemonic force that serves to reinforce inequalities in the teaching and learning of science. Against a background of the Creole-speaking environment in Jamaica, this paper investigates the dominance of English language in secondary school science. Participants were selected from fve school types in Jamaica: junior high, private, technical, traditional and upgraded secondary. Data concerning students’ and teachers’ attitudes and opinions were collected using semi-structured interviews. The results suggest that, despite evidence that attitudes towards JC are changing, it was clear from the student and teacher interviews that JSE continued to dominate scientifc discourse in Jamaican classrooms. Evidence of JSE as a hegemonic language was pervasively present throughout the discussions with the participants, with many supporting the use of JSE as the sole medium of instruction in science discourse. The argument that JSE speakers were more intelligent and more likely to be successful resonated with many participants and highlighted an ideological acceptance of the hegemonic order.

Type: Article
Title: ‘What’s in a name? The power of the English language in secondary school science education’
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s11422-019-09941-y
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11422-019-09941-y
Language: English
Additional information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Keywords: Linguistic hegemony · Jamaican Standard English · Jamaican Creole · Science instructions · Bilingualism
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10088196
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