ERIC Number: ED216517
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Dec
Research on Minority Languages and Educational Achievement: A Synthesis and an Interpretation.
Akinnaso, F. Niyi
This paper focuses on the relationship between minority languages/cultures and educational achievement in mixed industrial societies, highlighting, in particular, the role of language and discourse strategies in the reproduction of educational inequality. Three major factors underlying accounts of inequalities in social and educational opportunities are noted: (1) language and discourse strategies; (2) cultural background and modes of cultural reproduction, including the transmission of knowledge; (3) social structure and modes of social reproduction, including the distribution of social, economic, and political roles. Studies of educational inequality that have been sociolinguistic in nature have been criticized largely for focusing on micro processes which lead them to produce"how" rather than "why" explanations. These criticisms are responded to through highlighting the role of language and communicative conventions in restricting access to knowledge, pointing out how inequalities in the management of positively sanctioned communicative conventions can help unearth and perpetuate other inequalities. The approach adopted focuses on how misunderstanding, miscommunication, or negative evaluation can arise in the course of conversation, reading, or writing. Natural conversational data provides insight into the process by which interlocuters' use of discourse strategies and sociocultural knowledge can enhance or mitigate access to knowledge or life chances. (Author/JK)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Classroom Communication, Cultural Background, Disadvantaged, Discourse Analysis, Educational Change, Educational Policy, Educationally Disadvantaged, Equal Education, Ethnography, Language Research, Language Role, Minority Group Children, Minority Groups, Multicultural Education, Social Status, Social Structure, Sociolinguistics
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association (80th, Los Angeles, CA, December 2-6, 1981).