LINGUIST List 16.529

Tue Feb 22 2005

Diss: Socioling: Boufoy-Bastick: 'A Methodological...'

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        1.    Béatrice Boufoy-Bastick, A Methodological Approach to the Study of Socio Cultural Influences on the Teaching of English in Fiji

Message 1: A Methodological Approach to the Study of Socio Cultural Influences on the Teaching of English in Fiji

Date: 20-Feb-2005
From: Béatrice Boufoy-Bastick <>
Subject: A Methodological Approach to the Study of Socio Cultural Influences on the Teaching of English in Fiji

Institution: University of the West Indies
Program: Department of Educational Studies
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2001

Author: Béatrice Sylvie Boufoy-Bastick

Dissertation Title: A Methodological Approach to the Study of Socio Cultural Influences on the Teaching of English in Fiji

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition

Subject Language(s): English (ENG)

Dissertation Director:
Heather Lotherington

Dissertation Abstract:

This is an ethnographic study of Second Language teaching in the Fiji
Isles. It shows that the different cultural expectations of Fiji's two main
ethnic groups, the indigenous Fijians and the Indo-Fijians, are manifested
in different teaching practices that result in their differential
attainments. It uses an extended Grounded Theory methodology that has
allowed for (i) empirical generalisation of its findings by further
ethnography and census and (ii) for generalisation of its theoretical
constructs by further mixed method analysis.

The motivation that emerged for the study was the local concern over the
differential educational attainments of the two groups. The ethnography
used historical archival and current documents, together with community and
institutional interviews and observations over a four year period, to
contrast Fijian and Indian socio cultural expectations, and their matching
behaviours, for teaching and learning English as a Second Language. The
methodology resulted in the recognition of three major cultural constructs
that describe the different behaviours serving the differential social
expectations and cultural intentions of the two groups. The constructs were
validated both ethnographically and by census and allowed the
identification of social fractionalisation and cultural incursion.
Qualitative and quantitative analyses of the data from the study enabled
the three constructs to be developed into a generalisable conceptual
framework for predicting differential classroom behaviours in multicultural

During the study, innovative methods and a generalisable instrument were
developed. These included:

(i) a method of quantitative data collection and analysis, namely
collection of proportional ratings allowing calculations of grounded
preferences for more rigorous analysis;

(ii) methods of qualitative analysis to resolve issues of etic/emic
confounding, namely separation of etic and emic meanings during analysis
and a method of validating emic meanings that minimised etic intrusions;

(iii) methods of qualitative reporting, using bipolar and modal grounded
composites to maintain validity during extensive ethnographic data
reduction; and

(iv) a generalisable 'Cultural Index', which is an efficient grounded
instrument consisting of Primary and Relative cultural indices used for
defining cultural identity and for predicting culturally-determined behaviours.

This study evidences the paramount influence of cultural expectations on
differential educational attainments in multicultural societies. The closer
is the social culture with the learning culture the higher are the
educational attainments, thus educational attainments are optimised when
social values match the educational values. This finding has implications
for future educational and political policy orientation aimed to increase
the fit between social and educational value by opting for an
economically-driven orientation through value-switching or a humanistic
culturally-responsive orientation through curriculum adadptation. The
promotion of English proficiency supports this first option but it impacts
on the indigenous social structure fractionalising it into social groupings
of differing degree of westernisation from which rural Fijian males are

Keywords: Béatrice Boufoy-Bastick; Second language teaching; ESL; Language
and culture.

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