Creoles, education and policy




Angelo, Denise

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Taylor & Francis Group


There is increasing international agreement on the importance of mother tongue and multilin- gual education for student success, engagement and retention (see Ball 2011; UNESCO 2018). Without a doubt, positive recognition of creoles in the classroom enhances creole speakers’ educational experiences too. In creole-speaking contexts, education can additionally func- tion to heighten sociolinguistic awareness and acceptance of creoles which is often lacking due to the long shadows cast by dominant, standard/lexifier languages. It is rare that educa- tion systems grasp the pedagogical implications and opportunities of creoles and proactively tackle multilingual responses to benefit their speakers, despite the obvious potential benefit for these cohorts. As a result, for students who speak creoles rather than standard languages of classroom instruction, a lack of recognition and respect for their language background are constant systemic hurdles to attaining equal educational opportunities and language rights (Migge et al. 2010a; Siegel 2006a, 2006b). Education policy guides how education services interact with students’ language backgrounds, including the use of a mother tongue and/or the addition of other languages. Policy can thus be a prime tool for breaking the entrenched cycles of educational exclusion experienced by creole-speaking populations and for achieving their educational aspirations. To support creole speakers’ education, the field of language planning for minoritised languages is highly relevant, particularly status planning both with the general community and with teachers who are critical players in implementing education policy (e.g. Baldauf & Kaplan 2005; Kaplan & Baldauf 2008).






Book chapter

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The Routledge Handbook of Pidgin and Creole Languages

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