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Language and space in a multilingual undergraduate physics classroom in Rwanda
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Studies in Adult, Popular and Higher Education. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences. (Studies in Higher Education)
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Studies in Adult, Popular and Higher Education. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences. (Studies in Higher Education)
2011 (English)In: International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, ISSN 1367-0050, E-ISSN 1747-7522, Vol. 14, no 6, 751-764 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This case study examines how a lecturer and a group of students adjust to a request for English-only medium of instruction in tertiary education. The study draws on sociocultural theories considering context and language use as tools for meaning making. Goffman's theories of stage setting and footing are used to analyse how the lecturer positions himself in relation to language use. The findings show that in the observed session the lecturer used code-switching as a tool to extend students’ academic literacy. Further, we found that he in most cases assigned different classroom spaces to different languages. Hence, English as the targeted language of instruction was used when the lecturer was standing at the board, the official teaching space, whereas French, a previously accepted language, was used in a semi-official space closer to the students. Kinyarwanda, the lecturer's and students’ first language, is not permitted as a medium of instruction, but was used when the lecturer was close to the students. We label this a personal space, where the lecturer changed code in order to improve interaction and students’ understanding. Such code-switching has cultural and historical traditions and is viewed in this study as a strategy to avoid misunderstandings and allow more equitable learning opportunities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge , 2011. Vol. 14, no 6, 751-764 p.
Keyword [en]
language policy and practice, space, footing, code-switching, tertiary education, language shift
National Category
Educational Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-72628DOI: 10.1080/13670050.2011.583337ISI: 000298497600007OAI: diva2:460893
NUR-LiU PhD-programme in Education

Projektet har stöd av Sida/SAREC

Available from: 2011-12-01 Created: 2011-12-01 Last updated: 2013-05-06
In thesis
1. Enhancing Physics Learning through Instruction, Technical Vocabulary and ICT: A Case of Higher Education in Rwanda
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Enhancing Physics Learning through Instruction, Technical Vocabulary and ICT: A Case of Higher Education in Rwanda
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Att förbättra lärande i fysik genom instruktion, ett ökat tekniskt ordförråd och IKT : Ett exempel från högre utbildning i Rwanda
Abstract [en]

The overarching aim of this thesis is to explore how teaching and learning in tertiary education is performed in times of change both in language policy and learning approaches. The study takes social constructivist and socio-cultural theories as its major points of departure. These theories are combined with cognitive theory of learning with multimedia.

The four studies comprising this thesis are born out of a new situation demanding the mastery of a scientific language in English and new ways of teaching and learning backed with ICT. The studies set out to investigate (i) how students and teachers adapt to a change of medium of instruction (ii) what teachers and students of physics learn when constructing a multimedia vocabulary learning instrument (iii) the impact of two methods of teaching vocabulary on students’ test performance and (iv) how teachers reflect on the use of ICT in Physics teaching.

To attain these targets, the study employed a blend of qualitative and quantitative designs to gather relevant data. In three studies, data were gathered from classroom practices in tertiary education. The fourth study included teacher interviews on their experiences with ICT. Findings indicate that the understanding of physics was facilitated by a variation in language use in different classroom spaces, students and teachers’ collaborative selection of technical vocabulary and a multimedia tool of technical vocabulary software constructed by two teachers and the researcher. According to the teachers, the quality of physics teaching would be enhanced further by adopting learner-centred teaching methods and the integration of more advanced ICT. The studies show that teachers and students are on their way to develop ICT tools for teaching and learning. Given adequate support, this can pave the way for transforming teaching and allowing for further quality development in innovative and creative ways of learning with ICT.

Abstract [sv]

Det övergripande syftet med denna avhandling är att undersöka hur undervisning och lärande inom högre utbildning sker i tider av förändring både inom språkpolicy och inom lärande. Studien tar socialkonstruktivistiska och socio-kulturella teorier som utgångspunkt. Dessa teorier har kombinerats med en kognitiv teori om lärande med multimedia.

Studien består av fyra studier som behandlar den nya situation som uppstått när studenter och lärare behöver bemästra ett vetenskapligt språk på engelska och nya sätt att undervisa och lära med stöd av IKT. Studiernas syfte är att undersöka (i) hur studenter och lärare anpassar sig till ett förändrat undervisningsspråk (ii) vad lärare och studenter inom fysik lär när de konstruerar ett multimedia instrument (iii) utfallet av två olika metoder att lära studenter ett fackspråk inom fysik som det visar sig i olika test (iv) hur lärare reflekterar över användningen av IKT inom ämnesområdet fysik.

För att uppnå dessa mål används en kombination av kvalitativa och kvantitativa metoder. I tre studier samlades data från klassrumspraktiker inom högre utbildning. I den fjärde studien intervjuades lärare om sina erfarenheter med IKT. Resultaten visar att förståelse av fackspråkliga begrepp underlättades av att olika språk användes beroende på avstånd eller närhet till eleverna i klassrummet. Samarbete mellan studenter och lärare i att välja ord och begrepp som skulle användas och mellan lärarna och forskaren i att konstruera ett multimedia-instrument påverkade också lärandet positivt. Enligt de intervjuade lärarna skulle kvaliteten i fysikundervisningen kunna förbättras ytterligare genom att använda elevcentrerade undervisningsmetoder och mer avancerad IKT. Studierna visar att lärare och studenter är på väg att utveckla IKT redskap för undervisning och lärande. Med adekvat stöd kan detta bereda vägen för en transformering av undervisningen och ge utrymme för vidare kvalitetsutveckling genom uppfinningsrika och kreativa sätt att lära med stöd av IKT.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2012. 93 p.
Linköping Studies in Behavioural Science, ISSN 1654-2029 ; 170
Tertiary education; language shift; EFL; physics technical vocabulary; CALL; software encoding; social constructivist theory; cognitive theory of learning with multimedia; ICT tools; transforming learning; Rwanda, Högre utbildning, förändrad språkpolitik, engelskt fackspråk inom fysik, CALL, konstruktion av mjukvara, socialkonstruktivistisk och kognitiv teori, lärande med multimedia, IKT, transformering av lärande, Rwanda
National Category
Educational Sciences
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-85835 (URN)978-91-7519-739-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-12-14, I:101, Hus I, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2012-11-29 Created: 2012-11-29 Last updated: 2013-05-06Bibliographically approved

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