SUNConferences, LSSA / SAALA / SAALT Joint Annual Conference 2013

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Great Expectations and realistic planning: English language development planning in Guinea West-Africa
Annamarie Mostert, Ria De Villiers

Last modified: 2013-06-28


Planning for English language learning in many developing countries raises hopes of increased participation in a globalising world. The development and management of effective English language teaching policies in response to these expectations have sparked new directions in the field of language policy and planning (Baldauf, 2005). This paper aims to explore a growing focus in language policy and planning (LPP) namely, compulsory early foreign language learning, especially English.

In doing so, it presents the following four considerations for developing realistic English language planning and policies. Firstly, LPP should be well-informed about the complexities of English learning and teaching in the multilingual contexts of developing countries. Secondly, the goals of status, corpus, language-in-education and prestige planning need to be made explicit to all role players (overt planning). Thirdly, planning should happen at different levels of the education system (macro-, meso- and micro planning). Fourthly, language-in-education planning needs to be context-sensitive and process-oriented for effective English learning and teaching in urban, semi-urban and rural schools.

These four considerations for realistic planning are informed by research of the relevant literature (Hovens, 2002; Van Els, 2005; Ager, 2005; Ellis, 2008; Coleman, 2011). A case study conducted in November 2012 further informs this discussion with recent empirical data. The Minister of Education of the Social Democratic Republic of Guinea West-Africa requested a survey of current English learning and teaching from Grades 7 to 13 to plan and develop sustainable, effective programmes. Rich sets of qualitative and quantitative data were collected from 339 respondents who offered diverse perspectives on English learning and teaching at the following four levels of the education system: national; regional; préfecturial and school level. The context, input, process and output categories of the process-oriented CIPO Model for effective schooling (Scheerens, 1991) provided a comprehensive data analysis framework. At present, this model is used internationally for systemic and school evaluation by the Department of Education of Flanders. The education indicators of the South African Basic Department of Education are also derived from this model for school effectiveness. The CIPO Model structures the presentation of findings and recommendations on more realistic English development planning in Guinea West-Africa.