Franken, M. & August, M. (2011). Language use and the instructional strategies of Grade 3 teachers to support 'bridging' in Papua New Guinea. Language and Education, 25(3), 221-239.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/5365
For over a decade, the Department of Education in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has adopted vernacular education as a way of ensuring that the educational experiences of children in schools draw on the cultural and linguistic knowledge they bring to the classroom. In PNG, there are many potential vernaculars - apart from the local languages, there are Tok Pisin and Hiri Motu. The policy advocates 'bridging' as an instructional strategy. While the term is used extensively by teachers, it is unclear what teachers think it entails and how they enact bridging. This small-scale exploratory study documents the views of a group of Grade 3 teachers in the East New Britain region and provides observations of their bridging strategies. While the teachers are not particularly supportive of vernacular education, they report on and use instructional strategies that include translation, metalinguistic comparison, contrast and elaboration. The teachers make much use of elicitation to encourage children to articulate their understanding of English, and they demonstrate flexible and dynamic use of languages in their classrooms. The fact that the study recorded no use of the local languages suggests that systematic follow-up of policy in practice is much needed, together with more in-depth research.
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