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French foreign language teacher training: the case of Liberian refugee teachers from the multicultural and multilingual Nicla refugee settlement, Guiglo, Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa

This study investigated challenges Liberian refugee trainees face during French as a Foreign Language (FFL) training at Nicla camp, Côte d’Ivoire. It attempts to understand the circumstances surrounding the FFL teachers’ training as well as to describe patterns of communication in FFL teachers’ multilingual and multicultural training classes. The trainees’ main motivation for joining the FFL training was to benefit from refugee resettlement program in developed French speaking countries. They preferred standard French and adopt French metropolitan culture. Thus, trainees, trainers and the organizers agreed to only using French during the training. The challenge was that most of trainees did not speak, read, write or understand French. For interpretation purposes, several Liberian languages were used in class. Multiculturalism and multilingualism in language has been a popular topic debated amongst linguist, activists and academics. The study helps to systematize all ideas and practices regarding the programme by investigating to what extent the FFL trainees’ linguistic and cultural origins influence French language training. A descriptive mixed-method design methodology combining qualitative and quantitative approaches was used to collect data from ten Liberian refugee FFL teacher trainees using a questionnaire, individual interviews, focus group interviews, and the trainees’ textbook, Extra ! 2. Data was transcribed by UNHCR clerks. Results showed that (i) Liberian languages are used during FFL training and influence the programme; (ii) cultural differences between trainees’ culture and French culture demonstrate the existence of stereotypes and representations, which cause culture shocks to trainees; (iii) Extra ! 2, was not considered as a suitable textbook for the programme; (iv) poor recruitment process, training policy and practice in place, and poor implementation of the programme resulting from the lack of resources, funds, the non-existence of trainers’ training programme and development have had a negative impact on the training. The study found that improving training conditions, training trainers in the context of multiculturalism as well as accessing resources and funds could help trainers to work successfully with a multilingual trainees’ classroom. Extra ! 2, has no mention of trainees’ cultures or languages, which makes culture shock greater than it needed to be. A need to introduce a cross-cultural chapter in the programme or the use other FFL teacher training materials that talk about trainees’ cultures or Francophonie was demonstrated. There is also a need to review the current training program and to update it from time to time. Abandoning Extra ! 2 and using suitable FFL resources that respond to trainees’ need would benefit the programme. To respond to trainees’ needs and to improve the FFL teacher training programme at Nicla camp, funding is crucial. All parties also need an ongoing dedication to professional development. Key recommendations include a need for funds, further engagement and accountability by UNHCR, its partners and donors in fully supporting the project.
Type of thesis
Knightley, G. M. C. (2018). French foreign language teacher training: the case of Liberian refugee teachers from the multicultural and multilingual Nicla refugee settlement, Guiglo, Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa (Thesis, Master of Arts (MA)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12016
The University of Waikato
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