One of the most significant aspects of children’s early schooling experience is the ability to speak in the classroom, and their mother tongue is often the only medium through which it can be done. In Guyana however, Creole-speaking nursery children are often dissuaded from using Guyanese Creole English (GCE) in the classroom. Discouraged from using the primary medium through which they fluently and confidently speak, children become inhibited and reluctant to speak at all. Viewed in this light, the teaching approaches of Guyanese nursery teachers could be best described as those which militate against children’s sociological and psychological well being, and restrict their educational success. Using a multi-method methodology involving questionnaires, interviews and document analysis, this research examines Guyanese nursery teachers’ views on GCE usage, to reveal whether these influence their approaches to teaching. Analysis of the data revealed that the general attitudes of the teachers are negative. For them GCE is a substandard form of English and thus, needs constant correction and/or rejection. However, significant differences exist in the approaches used by the graduates and undergraduates in the study, which is largely influenced by language awareness courses. Overall, the findings indicate that i) lack of sociolinguistic knowledge of GCE, ii) inappropriate pedagogical training of teachers and iii) irrelevant curriculum materials and guides contribute to current teaching practice. It concludes that expert help is needed to design initiatives to redress the current practices prevalent in Guyanese nursery classrooms.
|Keywords:||Guyanese Creole English (GCE), ESL Pedagogy, Language Perception, Sociolinguistics|
Lecturer, Department of Foundations & Education Management, School or Education and Humanities, University of Guyana, Georgetown, Guyana
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