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Tanzanian primary school learners investing in English: What are their attitudes, expectations and opportunities?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The study is about attitudes, expectations and opportunities of Tanzanian primary school learners who invest in English language. It was conducted in Morogoro Tanzania with the aim of exploring, presenting and interpreting why the learners invest in English. Data for the study were collected through interviews and a questionnaire and analysed using conventional inductive content analysis. This approach was chosen because the area of study has scanty literature and no established theory yet. The concepts of frames, investment and language rights are used to reflect upon the findings.

Findings from the study show that learners have both positive and negative attitudes towards English. Reasons for negative attitudes are about the difficulty and foreignness of English while those for positive attitudes are about the appearance of the language, the way it is taught and aspirations of the learners. The findings also show that the learners have multiple expectations, which include individual benefits such as getting employment, acquisition of power and changing identities; and social benefits such as communication with foreigners and serving people.  It is concluded that although the students invest in English because they expect many benefits, learning is framed in several ways, but more so for rural students. The use of English as a language of education therefore both violates the students’ right to education and enhances inequalities among them. It is recommended that English be replaced by Kiswahili in education but also the language be made equally accessible to the learners. 

The learners’ investment in English has to be understood within its context. Within the local and national contexts there is the language policy and the divide between the elite and the subaltern, both of which are inherited from colonialism. The global context involves globalization in which English is used for cross-boarder communication and for communicating with foreign investors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Education, Stockholm University , 2013. , 208 p.
Doktorsavhandlingar från Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik, 20
Keyword [en]
English, invest, attitudes, expectations, opportunities
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-91581ISBN: 978-91-7447-723-8OAI: diva2:634433
Public defence
2013-09-25, Lilla hörsalen, Naturhistoriska riksmuseet, Frescativägen 40, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2013-09-03 Created: 2013-07-01 Last updated: 2013-08-22Bibliographically approved

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