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EMI in Francophone Cameroon: What can we learn from victims of English?

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There will be a drinks reception after the seminar

While there is a growing body of literature about the policy and practice implications of EMI in multilingual sub-Saharan Africa, there has been very little research, if any, on how primary school children in these contexts experience and navigate the curriculum in English. Studies which have examined the phenomenon of EMI in multilingual contexts in Africa have mainly addressed curricular and pedagogical issues faced by educational systems in former British colonies or the so-called Anglophone countries. Where these studies address issues related to equitable and quality learning, they tend to focus on adult conceptions of learning and do not take into consideration children’s own experiences, understandings and views of what is appropriate for their learning. In this presentation, I share insights from a recently completed ELTRA research project which made use of classroom observations, art-based group and individual interviews as well as recordings of pupil interactions in un-supervised tasks, to investigate how multilingual ‘Francophone’ children in Cameroon draw on their existing resources and linguistic strategies to access and understand the EMI curriculum. The findings of this study suggest that investigating children’s lived experiences of learning can add new knowledge and understanding to current debates on EMI and provide insights into learning processes that might inform (language) policy, pedagogy and practice as EMI spreads across other multilingual contexts.

Biodata Harry Kuchah Kuchah is Lecturer in Language Education at the University of Leeds, UK. He has been involved in English language education for 20 years, serving as English language teacher, teacher trainer, coursebook writer and policy maker with the Ministry of Education in his home country, Cameroon. Harry has also been involved in a range of teacher education and materials development initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia and Europe. More recently, he has served as a consultant with the Council of Europe, in Albania and with UNICEF and ELT Consultants in South Sudan. He is one of TESOL International Association’s ‘30 upcoming leaders’ in ELT and Vice President of IATEFL . Harry’s research and publications are in the areas of teaching English to young learners, English Medium Instruction, context-appropriate methodology and language teacher education. His co-edited book (with Fauzia Shamim), International Perspectives on Teaching English in Difficult Circumstances was published by Palgrave Macmillan in March this year.

This talk is part of the Second Language Education Group series.

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