Learning within a multilingual context: The case of Higher Education in Rwanda
2008 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
In this paper, we investigate strategies employed by students, lecturers and academic administrators to facilitate learning within a university in Rwanda. On a political level, the potential of linguistic diversity is a tool for nation building and, in times of globalization, access to information, communication, technology and business with international communities. However, on a societal and individual level, using foreign media of instruction may hamper the implementation of targeted goals.
The focus of this study is on how students handle the linguistic diversity they are exposed to. The research tools used to gather data are questionnaires, interviews and audio-recorded group work. The data were analysed drawing upon theories related to learning in multilingual settings. Findings show that language diversity has a great potential of facilitating learning, thus emphasizing the complementarities rather than the exclusion of languages used in Rwanda. However, what the participants described as “lack of background knowledge” might be a sign of an underlying language problem, where students memorise lecturers’ notes and reproduce them during any kind of evaluation, without questioning and reflecting on the material in order to convert information into knowledge.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. 89- p.
General Language Studies and Linguistics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-17809OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-17809DiVA: diva2:236443
AILA 2008 Multilingualism: Challenges and Opportunities, The 15th Worls Congress of applied Linguistics August 24-29, 2008, Essen, Germany