Good Morning, Grade One. Language ideologies and multilingualism within primary education in rural Zambia.
Cole, Alastair Charles
This practice based PhD project investigates the language ideologies which surround the specific multilingual context of rural primary education in Zambia. The project comprises of a creative documentary film and a complementary written submission. The fieldwork and filming of the project took place over 12 months between September 2011 and August 2012 in the community of Lwimba, in Chongwe District, Zambia. The project focuses on the experiences of a single grade one class, their teacher, and the surrounding community of Lwimba. The majority of the school children speak the community language of Soli. The regional lingua franca, and language of the teacher, however, is Nyanja, and the students must also learn Zambia’s only official language, English. At the centre of the project is a research inquiry focusing on the language ideologies which surround each of these languages, both within the classroom and the wider rural community. The project also simultaneously aims to investigate and reflect on the capacity of creative documentary film to engage with linguistic anthropological research. The film at the centre of the project presents a portrait of Annie, a young, urban teacher of the community’s grade one class, as well as three students and their families. Through the narrativised experiences of the teacher and children, it aims to highlight the linguistic ideologies present within the language events and practices in and around the classroom, as well as calling attention to their intersection with themes of linguistic modernity, multilingualism, and language capital. The project’s written submission is separated into three major chapters separated into the themes of narrative, value and text respectively. Each chapter will focus on subjects related to both the research inquiry and the project’s documentary film methodology. Chapter one outlines the intersection of political-historical narratives of nationhood and language that surround the project, and reflects on the practice of internal narrative construction within documentary film. Chapter two firstly focuses on the language valuations within the institutional setting of the classroom and the wider community, and secondly proposes a two-phase perspective of evaluation and value creation as a means to examine the practice of editing within documentary film making. Chapter three addresses the theme of text through discussing the role of literacy acquisition and use in the classroom and community, as well as analysing and reflecting on the practice of translation and subtitle creation within the project.