Language structure: variation and change


Publication: Community Based Research in Language Policy and Planning

Community Based Research in Language Policy and Planning

The Language of Instruction in Education in Sint Eustatius

Authors: Faraclas, Nicholas Gregory, Kester, Ellen-Petra, Mijts, Eric N.

This volume focuses on a case where community organizing, academic research and governmental responsibility were successfully mobilized and synchronized to bring about change in educational policy and practice. The focus of this book is the methodology implemented and the results obtained over the course of a year-long action research project on language and education in St. Eustatius, one of the islands of the Dutch Caribbean, commissioned by the educational authorities in both St. Eustatius and the European Netherlands. On the island, the language of instruction is Dutch, however, outside of the classroom most students only speak English and an English-lexifier Creole. The research project was set up to address the negative impact on school success of this disparity. It included a community-based sociolinguistic study that actively involved all of the stakeholders in the education system on the island. This was complemented by a multi-pronged set of research strategies, including a language attitude and use survey, a narrative proficiency test, in depth interviews, and a review of the relevant literature. The resulting report and recommendations were accepted by the government, which is now in the process of changing the language of instruction.