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Including the Other

Acknowledging Difference
in Education, Language and History

Milton A. GEORGE,
Sergio Saleem SCATOLINI
& Solomon Arulraj DAVID

Oman ~ Euro-Khaleeji ~ 2015


Copyright 2015 Euro-Khaleeji Research and Publishing House, Oman

All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced without the express
written permission of the publisher, except for the use of brief quotations in a
book review, scholarly journal, or educational textbooks. However, in keeping
with UNESCOs ideals and goals, Euro-Khaleeji Research and Publishing
House is committed to creating learning societies with educational
opportunities for all populations. Therefore, it authorizes the authors of the
articles included in this book to allow the reproduction of their own papers.
First Printing: 2015
ISBN 978-1-329-67667-1

Euro-Khaleeji Research and Publishing House

Sultanate of Oman

The authors are responsible for any picture which they may have included in their
articles. The websites referred to are in the public domain, and their addresses are
provided for information only. The publishers and editors disclaim any responsibility for
the content.

Dr. Sergio Saleem Scatolini
Rustaq College of Applied Sciences, Oman


School Knowledge and Social Inequality

Dr. Akhtar Hassan Malik, University of Buraimi, Oman
& Anes E. AbdulRahim Mohamed, University of Osaka, Japan


The Role of A New School Model in Abu Dhabi:

Towards a student-centered classroom
Nabeeha Al Junaibi & Dr. Solomon Arulraj David
The British University in Dubai, UAE


Teaching the Unteachables:

Understanding and managing maladaptive behaviours
in mainstream education
Dr. Jacques Mostert
American University of the Middle East, Kuwait


The Case of Cultural Artifacts:

Conceptualizing Ethnomathematics as a Bridge between Peace and
Conflict in the World of Intolerance:
Dr. Kogomotso Gertrude Garegae
University of Botswana, Botswana


The Dialectic Approach to Language Education

Dr. Anes E. AbdulRahim Mohamed, University of Osaka, Japan
Dr. Akhtar Hassan Malik, University of Buraimi, Oman


Learning a Language in a Context of Diglossia:

Creole teaching at the University of Martinique
Lapprentissage dune langue en contexte diglossique :
Le crole luniversit de Martinique, un territoire europen
Karen Tareau
University of the French West Indies, Martinique


Dun crole un autre :

Crativit langagire chez des migrants hatiens la Martinique
Dr. Max Belaise
Universit des Antilles, Martinique

On the Cure of a Postcolonial Malady:
Teaching national languages in a context of linguistic diversity
Ibrahima Dieme
Arciv-Cheih Anta Diop University of Dakar, Senegal

La colonialidad en el patrimonio, la memoria social y la identidad
Dr. Alexis Oviedo
Universidad Andina Simn Bolivar, Sede Ecuador



Conceptual Frameworks for Mixed Research Methods in

Education: History writing and oral history
Dr. Milton A. George
KU Leuven, Belgium, & University of Buraimi, Oman

Hamlet: The religious handicapped
A.S.M. Shamim Miah
University of Buraimi, Oman

Education Leadership:
A professional guide for educational leaders in 21st century schools
Dr. Mehmet zcan
Afyon Kocatepe University, Turkey

Change and Development:
Economic development and preservation of the environment
Oman as an example
Salim Hamood Al-Amri
University of Buraimi, Oman

Ibn Tufayls View of Education in Hayy Ibn Yaqzn
Dr. Sergio Saleem Scatolini
Rustaq College of Applied Sciences, Oman



Dr. Sergio Saleem Scatolini
Rustaq College of Applied Sciences, Oman

Through others we become ourselves.

Lev S. Vygotsky

I hate how I don't feel real enough unless people are watching.
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are

not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but
that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.
Gabriel Garca Mrquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

We are the same and the other.
(Levinas, p. 39)

In conversation, we talk at times about the other, or others, as though it was

possible to live in a world made up of only us. What are we to do with
refugees, Muslims, gays, atheists, Jews, or blacks? Should we let them in to
our country, community, institutions (such as marriage), or homes? These
are some of the questions we might ask ourselves from time to time as if
we were talking about Martians or Neanthertals. However, the world
houses neither only us, nor only them. We cannot quite grasp what I or us
really means, let alone you or them. We live within meaning-producing
grids, and meaning is not our exclusive property. Not even the meaning of
our own identities. We are both parts of larger grids and mini-grids unto
ourselves. For example, at times, the us prevails in me, while at other
times the I feels, or imagines itself, like an island, e.g. upon seeing
someone die, insofar as death is singular. As Levinas put it, we are indeed the
same and the other. We live in mirrored and mirroring relationships, without


which there would be no existential perception of selfhood, togetherness,

or otherness.
In other words, although we visualize ourselves as imagined discrete
individuals and collective selves, the life cycle on our planet is a
continuum that includes different sorts of beings, not just us. It links us to
cosmic process that are very distant both in time and space. We are both
doomed to and blessed with interrelatedness. This is a fact. Our little us is
merely an abstraction, a way to cope with reality by slicing it up, naming it,
and appropriating it (Cassirer, 1944).

Abraham is at the same time, the most moral and the
most immoral, the most responsible and the most
irresponsible. (Derrida, 1991, p. 72)
Binary oppositions have occasionally led to ideological struggles where
different groups of us try to keep the others at bay or, with some luck, to
overcome them. Moreover, people are made to believe in those homo
homini lupus oppositions to the point that questioning them would amount
to disloyalty, treason, or a sin. These dynamics are present even in our
religious systems. In fact, aspects of them have projected or objectified
this binary thinking to an absolute degree. As a result, even the divine is
meant to share our dichotomous or polychotomous visions of the world.
In the words of Feuerbach, Such as are a mans thoughts and
dispositions, such is his God (1957, p. 12).
Socio-political ideologies, which we all implicitly or explicitly have and
surrender to in differing degrees, do something similar with the social
realm. They classify it into sets of people whose position we judge as
being with us, against us, or indifferent to us, or about whom we
temporarily hold our judgement. The totality of reality is thus rent by the
centripetal claim that Levinas (1979) called egoism which is implicit
in the establishment of homes, home countries, and homies. However,
these homes reveal the social realm as both necessary and dangerous
dimensions of human life. In this way, in our daily lives, we sway between
considering the other as a who and a what.

Seen from this perspective, the labor system and the economy are realms
where human beings are approached primordially as whats, as objects in a
habitat where some provide goods and services, and others acquire them
for a price. When we pay for someones time or are paid for ours, human
beings become commodities. The whos behind the faces of those who
populate the labor market and our economies are lost sight of. We lose
sight of them, and we are lost sight of. Humanity is not seen; it is hidden,
either because it is intrinsically concealed, or because it is extrinsically
effaced. And we accept this. If we did not, we would have to change. We
would have to internalize that we are our brothers and sisters keepers
(Genesis), and we would have the right to expect that they be ours, too.
This is why it is easier like an almost spontaneous reaction to
envisage the economy, the labor market, the religious landscape, the
education system and, sometimes, even married life as a struggle for
supremacy rather than as a collaborative process for mutual affirmation
and acknowledgement. The message is quite simple: I can increase only if
you decrease. Growing together is not possible, too hard, or less fun. For
if we are both equally big, then nobody is really big. Big means bigger:
bigger than thou.
Most of us if not all of us have been breastfed on this binary,
oppositional philosophy, including the haves as much as the have-nots.
The propertied class and the class of the proletariat present the same
human self-estrangement. But the former class feels at ease and
strengthened in this self-estrangement, it recognizes estrangement as its
own power, and has in it the semblance of a human existence. The class
of the proletariat feels annihilated, this means that they cease to exist in
estrangement; it sees in it its own powerlessness and in the reality of an
inhuman existence (Marx & Engels, 1845).

Religion as risk, which is ready to give itself up, is the
nourishing stream of the arteries; as system, possessing,
assured and assuring, religion which believes in religion is
the veins blood, which ceases to circulate. And if there is
nothing that can so hide the face of our fellow-man as


morality can, religion can hide from us as nothing else can

the face of God. (Buber, 2004, p. 21)
We were born genetically humans. We were wired to be human before we
knew we were. However, that was only a start. We have thenceforward
been faced with the task of forging a human identity for ourselves, of
being seen as humans by other humans, as equivalent others to other
Every identity involves acknowledgement and recognition of what one is and
what one is not, of what one is seen as being or not being. Our identities
would not be functional if others did not recognize them as such. This
applies to us both as individuals and as groups, and even to nation states.
This is how there can be subjective identities which are not recognized
due to lack of external acknowledgement. In other words, before people
can point to the identity of others, they must be able to see it. If the
majority consensus is that something does not exist, it will be difficult for
that something to be recognized. People would not see it even if it was
staring them in their faces. For example, if the majority are agreed that
they are not racist, no minoritys complaint about racism will be accepted
as plausible or realistic. Racism will not be seen. For nobody can imagine
what they cannot envisage as being at least hypothetically possible. The
colonial imagination cemented societies that enacted these kinds of social
games of seeing and not-seeing. Thus, in some old-time European and
Arab slave-trading countries, slavery continues to be a non-issue in
History and Social Studies books: untold and hence unheard of; hidden
and therefore unseen. Due to lack of acknowledgement, the present traces
of past slavery are not recognized. Enslaved lives and deaths remain
voiceless and invisible since their stories are silenced and blotted out in
the history books. In short, we will not recognize aspects of reality until
we have been challenged to acknowledge the possibility of their being
there and to see them.
The gospel already warned its readers: Why do you look at the speck of
sawdust in your brothers eye and pay no attention to the plank in your
own eye? (Matt. 7:3). The seeing and not-seeing mechanisms affect all of
us, both colonial masters and colonial subjects, the (ab)users as well as the
(ab)used. However, there is a big difference: some have benefitted from
these mechanisms, while others have been crushed by them. Power, more

specifically power structures, explain why one persons miopy and anothers
are not the same. Since these structures often predate our birth, the ethical
question is not why we created them, but why we have kept them in place.
Why have we opted for shortsightedness instead of greater vision? It is at
this point that social engineering becomes a moral issue. It is at this point
that we must critically revisit our views of language, education, history (as
storytelling and history writing), and religion and worldviews. They are
partially responsible for much of our short-sightedness, whereby the other
becomes a blurred something betwixt and between: present and absent,
absent although present.

Human life possesses absolute meaning through
transcending in practice its own conditioned nature, that
is, through mans seeing that which he confronts, and
with which he can enter into a real relation of being to
being, as not less real than himself, and through taking it
not less seriously than himself. (Buber, 2004, p. 199)

In the current globalized world, identities have taken on new significance.

Although we glady import cultural and technological elements from all
neighborhoods of the global village, we also want to be distinctly
ourselves. We want to be seen as being both equal and different. This is
why we view languages, political systems, leadership styles, etc. in new
ways. It is in them that the dynamics of equality, equity, difference, and
uniqueness surface in discourses about religion faith and discipline, dress
codes, men-women relationships, and even marriage (heterosexual, same
sex, monogamous, polygamous, etc.). As a result, individuals and societies
sway between difference and indifference, and respect and alienation. The ethical
challenge is to foster processes that enhance selfhood, togetherness, and otherness
without necessarily entailing alienation. Consequently, our languages, education
systems, history writing and telling, religions and worldviews should
contribute to our homecoming to ourselves both as individuals and as
composite shared realities, and to our organic planet (not as colonizers of
it, but as parts of its life-sustaining cycle and dynamics).


As millions seek to reshape the geography of oppression and freedom,

poverty and wellbeing, exclusion and participation, no one should be
made to feel like an alien. No other should be given the implicit or explicit
message that there is no room at the inn for them, be it for physiological,
financial, linguistic, organizational, or religious reasons.

Lautre comme lamour est par excellance ce qui fait tre.
(Paraphrasing Blondel, cited by Rojas, 2013, p. 61)

The wish for better futures that include the other functions as the backgrop
to the contributions in this book. They tackle aspects related to sameness
and otherness, as well as to othering, isolation and alienation.
Paraphrasing Levinas (1979, p. 85), we could say that to welcome the other is
to question my, our, your, his, her, and their own claim. The other is neither one of
us, nor one of them. Otherness is a dimension of existence reflected on
everybodys face. It is not even the religious god, which (not Who, since
it often is an ugly idol) is little more than projection. The haves turn their
god into a feudal lord; the havenots imagine it as a celestial Robin Hood,
Batman or Wonderwoman; and middle class atheists obliterate it as the
final affirmation of the equality which they deem to have obtained.
However, the other as I see it is what we are and are not. It is
precisely in this not-being-yet that the power, or the generative force, of the
other resides. By radically questioning our imagined completeness and
sameness, it opens our imagination up to new futures, to new phases of
our own evolution, to become otherwise, wiser in other ways.
The choice is ours. Are we going to reproduce the same injustice and
oppressive binary relations of the past, and their religions of purity
through the expurgation of the other? Or are we, instead, going to choose
the otherwise, the wisdom of creative otherness beyond the dogmas of
mandatory alienation (i.e. otherness without othering)? If we opt for the
latter, we shall have to dare to encourage one another in our homes, at
school, and in the media so that we welcome the other without the feeling
that we must overpower it/him/her before it/he/she overpowers us? We


must also decide not to become the kind of other that others need to
overpower in self-defense. In short, the contributions in this book would
like us to imagine that the other like love is, first and foremost, what makes
us be.
So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerres
Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulatebut there is no competition
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.
T.S. Eliot, East Coker (No. 2 of 'Four Quartets'). Retrieved on September 26, 2015, from

Cassirer, E. (1944). An Essay on Man. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Buber, M. (2004). Between Man and Man. London and New York: Taylor & Francis eLibrary.
Derrida, J. (1991). The Gift of Death, trans. Wills. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Feuerbach, L. (1957). The Essence of Christianity, trans. G. Eliot with an intro by K. Barth
and a foreword by H. R. Niebuhr. New York: Harper Torchbooks.
Levinas, E. (1979). Totality and Infinity. An essay on exteriority, trans. Alphonso Linguis. The
Hague, Boston, & London: Martinus Nijhoff.
Marx, K. & Engels, F. (1845). The Holy Family or Critique of Critical Criticism. Against Bruno
Bauer and Company, trans. Richard Dixon (1956). Frankfurt am Main. See:
Rojas, E. (2013). El Hombre Light. Una vida sin valores. Buenos Aires: Booket.


Dr. Akhtar Hassan Malik, University of Buraimi, Oman
Dr. Anes E. Abdelrahim Mohamed, University of Osaka, Japan
Abstract: This article presents an ethnographic study that was
conducted at six very different Pakistani urban schools: two
private elite English-medium schools, two public schools, and
two Islamic madaris. It was observed that differing curricular,
pedagogical and student evaluation practices in these schools
generally emphasize different cognitive and behavioral skills.
These differences can potentially become central features for
the reproduction of the division of labor at work and in society
between those who plan and manage and those in the work
force whose jobs primarily entail carrying out policies and
regulations made by others. More precisely, the elite schools
equip their students, who generally belong to the affluent
classes, with skills related to independent thinking, creativity,
and decision-making powers. Such skills are necessary to have
more access to physical and cultural capital and greater control
over the structures of authority at work and in society and the
process of their own activity. Conversely, the public school
knowledge has some exchange value in the market place as
compared to that of Islamic madaris, but it also legitimates the
ideology of production for consumption. Moreover, these three
kinds of schools develop the organizational patterns that
emphasize active historical continuity more than change. In
sum, the education system in Pakistan acts as one of the
selection mechanisms and clearly favors some social groups
over others, and consolidates existing social-class hierarchy.
Keywords: school knowledge, social class, inequality, social
reproduction, legitimation.


Scholars in political economy and the sociology of knowledge have
incessantly been arguing that the schools in modern industrial and
capitalist societies are more likely to offer different types of educational
experience and curricular knowledge to the students in different social
classes. Max Weber and Karl Marx, for instance, argued that there have
been identifiable and socially meaningful differences in the school
knowledge made available to literati and peasant, aristocrat and laborer.
Their arguments can be refuted that they generally considered previous
societies while developing such discourses. However, in my view these
insightful perspectives cannot be totally ignored. Recent scholarship in
sociology of education has put forth some evidence-based discourses that
the students from different social class backgrounds are usually exposed
to qualitatively different types of educational knowledge. Students from
higher social class backgrounds are generally exposed to legal, medical, or
managerial knowledge, while those from the working classes may be
offered a more "practical" curriculum, such as, clerical knowledge and/or
vocational training, etc. (see: Rosenbaum 1976; Karabel 972; Bowles and
Gintis 1976). It is generally argued that such social class differences in
secondary and postsecondary education are a conserving force in modern
societies, an important aspect of the reproduction of unequal class
structures (see: Karabel and Halsey 1977; Apple 1979; Young and Whitty
Jean Anyon (1981), too, argues that it is no surprise that schools in
wealthy communities are better than those in poor communities, or that
they better prepare their students for desirable jobs. It may be shocking,
nonetheless, to learn how vast the differences in schools are - not so
much in resources as in teaching methods and philosophies of education.
She conducted an ethnographic research in the elementary schools in
New Jersey that served either working class, middle class, or affluent
communities. Anyon concluded that differing curricular, pedagogical, and
student evaluation practices emphasize different skills and contribute to
the development in the children of certain potential relationships to
physical and symbolic capital, authority and control, and the process of
work. Thus, schools serve as sorting mechanisms, with lower class
students being taught through skills and drills methods that prepare them

for future wage labor, which is more mechanical and routine. Insofar as it
denies the human capacities for creativity and planning, such work is
degrading. Moreover, when performed in industry, such work is a source
of profit for others. Conversely, students from higher social classes are
provided with classroom experiences through which they develop human
capacities related to analysis and planning and become prepared for the
work in society that requires these sorts of skills. In fact, their schooling
helps them develop the abilities necessary for ownership and control of
physical capital and the means of production in the society. Therefore, the
schooling experience, which differs qualitatively by social class, may
contribute to the development of certain types of economically significant
relationships in the children from each social class, thereby contributing
to the reproduction of the system of class relations in society. Likewise,
while focusing on school knowledge, Basil Bernstein, Pierre Bourdieu, and
Michael Apple argued that knowledge and skills leading to social power
are generally made available to the advantaged social groups but are
withheld from the working classes to whom knowledge and skills are
provided only to assume a role in future life to implement the policies
made by others. Likewise, Bowles and Gintis (1976) argue that students in
different social-class backgrounds are rewarded for classroom behaviors
that correspond to personality traits allegedly rewarded in the different
occupational strata---the working classes for docility and obedience, the
affluent classes for initiative and personal assertiveness.
For Pierre Bourdieu, the schools are the space where practices tend to
legitimize social difference and social inequalities and where the regulation
of access to resources is ideologically constructed. He argues that
institutionalization of education has allowed for the regulation of
knowledge and the agents who are in power tend to assert social control,
social selection, and symbolic domination. The materials produced for
education (e.g. curriculum/textbooks) and educational practices (e.g.
pedagogy/evaluation) are all used to reproduce a regime of social
hierarchy (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1990). Swartz (1997) sums up Bourdieus
main arguments regarding the central functions of the education system
and school knowledge as the reproduction of uneven social relations.
First, the education system performs the function of conserving,
inculcating, and consecrating a cultural heritage. This is its internal and
most essential function. Schooling not only provides the transmission of

technical knowledge and skills, but also socialization into a particular

cultural tradition. Analogous to the Catholic Church, the school is an
institution specially designed to conserve, transmit, and inculcate the
cultural canons of a society. Hence, it performs a function of cultural
reproduction. When this first function combines with traditional
pedagogy, the education system performs a second, 'external' function of
reproducing social class relations. It reinforces rather than redistributes
the unequal distribution of cultural capital. It also performs a social
reproduction function. The education system also performs a third
function, that of 'legitimation.' By consecrating the cultural heritage it
transmits, the education system deflects attention away from, and
contributes to the misrecognition of, its social reproduction function.
It is worth-mentioning that there has been considerable evidence-based
argumentation of such points regarding education in Canada, England,
France, and America, but there has been little or no attempt is found to
investigate these ideas empirically in the schools and classrooms of
developing or underdeveloped countries. Therefore, to fill in this gap, this
research has been conducted in the context of Pakistan. In Pakistan,
incidentally, three different schooling streams exist and function parallel
to one another. These are English -medium schools, public schools, and
Islamic madaris (plural of madrassah). Rahman (2004) terms them as three
'parallel education systems and elaborates that they cater to different
social classes in the society. However, Rahman and/or other sociologists
do not provide a comparative insight about classroom activities in these
schools as well how they prepare their students for future roles by
instilling skills through various schooling experiences. This article,
therefore, attempts to offer a tentative empirical support (and
qualification) of the above-discussed arguments by providing illustrative
examples of differences in student work in classrooms in contrasting
social class communities. The examples are gathered as part of an
ethnographic study of curricular, pedagogical, and pupil evaluation
practices in these three different kinds of schools. Moreover, this article
attempts a theoretical contribution as well and assesses student work in
the light of a theoretical approach to social-class analysis. It will be
suggested that the school knowledge and classroom practices, in contrast
to just transformation, obviously have profound implications for social
class reproduction.

Theoretical framework
This research study has employed Jean Anyons treatise of social class
and school knowledge as the framework. Anyon (1981) argues that while
ones occupational status and income level contribute to ones social class,
they do not define it. She determines social class on the basis of a series of
relationships to several aspects of the process through which goods,
services, and culture are produced in society. For instance, agents of the
affluent classes have more access to economic and cultural capital and
greater control over the structure of power and authority. Similarly, as
compared to social roles of many middle class and most working class
agents, social roles of those in affluent classes include the cultural capital
related to independent thinking, creativity, and decision-making
Based on these understandings, Anyon conducted an ethnographic
research and provided a richly detailed description of differential, social
classbased constructions of epistemological standpoints within the
different schools which served to the students from contrasting social
backgrounds. She primarily asked three questions to the fifth graders at
each school: 1) What is knowledge? 2) Where does knowledge come
from? 3) Can you make itand if so how? Students from the working
class schools viewed knowledge as a set of procedures handed down to
them by authority. In contrast, students at the affluent schools looked at
knowledge as something that they could create through reflection and
critical thinking (Anyon, 1980, 1981). Moreover, the schools of wealthy
communities were better than those of the poor communities, in regards
to resources, teaching methods, and philosophies of education. The
student composition of these schools and the micro-political contexts
(e.g. teachers perceptions and core beliefs about students capabilities and
their sense of responsibility towards their learning) were deeply related. In
predominantly low-income schools, teachers emphasized their students
deficits and generally instilled a low sense of responsibility. Conversely,
when a larger proportion of students were from affluent classes, the
teachers accentuated their intellectual assets and felt more accountable for
what their students learned. Therefore, evidently the teachers sense of
responsibility for student learning is connected to their beliefs about
students intellectual abilities through a set of organizationally embedded

expectations about what is possible for students from particular

backgrounds. The teachers class-based dispositions (habitus) and other
vital schooling practices generally guide the students schooling
experiences in a particular direction and lead them on a path of remaining
within their social class. This obviously perpetuates the maintenance of
the status quo and the ongoing gap between the rich and poor.

Data on the nature and dissemination of school knowledge were gathered
in an investigation of curricula, teaching-methods, classroom
management, and pupil evaluation practices in six secondary schools
generally differentiated by social class. The methods used to gather data
were classroom observation; informal and formal interviews with
students, teachers, and principals; and assessment of curriculum and other
materials in each classroom and school. The ethnographic data to be
reported here were drawn in 2007-08, and primarily from grade 10 or
equivalent in each school. For this research, we picked two schools from
each stream of education, e.g. elite-English-medium schools, public
Schools, and Islamic madaris. To begin, our main criterion to differentiate
these schools was the level of the majority of parents economic capital
and occupational status (which was used as an indicator of their social

Islamic Madaris
The madaris personnel explain that their students largely belong to the
underclass, poorest of the poor and underprivileged segments of society.
More than 50% of parents are skilled, semi-skilled, or unskilled workers.
In addition, about 10% of the students are orphaned and handicapped,
and the madaris provide them complete support for survival. Regarding
income, the madaris personnel clarified that most families may live below
the poverty line with a monthly income of less than 5,000 rupees or a
daily income of less than 1 U.S.(1) dollar. At the time of this study (200708) such families comprised 34.46 % of the total population in Pakistan
(Government of Pakistan, 2008, p. 18). A large majority of students
received the basic amenities from madaris for free, which included

textbooks, stationery, food, living, uniform, and medical/treatment


Public Schools
Like madaris, the public school personnel explain that their clientele
mostly belong to the poor and underprivileged segments of society. More
than 50% of the parents hold blue-collar jobs. A few parents may belong
to the lower-middle class. In regards to income, the school personnel
explain that most families appear to live below the poverty line, with a
monthly income up to 10,000 rupees, which also is less than 1 U.S. dollar
a day. As mentioned above, such families comprised 34.46 % of the total
population in Pakistan (Government of Pakistan, 2008, p. 18). The public
schools charge a meager amount of 7 rupees as the tuition fee every
month and provide textbooks for free. In this way, the poor and workingclass parents can easily afford to educate their children in these schools.

Elite English-medium Schools

The elite school personnel explain that their students families generally
belong to the affluent classes. The parents either have white-collar jobs,
own business empires or a substantial piece of land, or run trade firms,
etc. Some fathers are also active in politics or part of the government
machinery. Some mothers are actively involved in national/regional
politics, social work, or in well-paid occupations. Most families have
monthly incomes of over 100,000 rupees, with some families being in the
one million range. The incomes in these schools represent less than 1% of
the families in Pakistan (Government of Pakistan, 2008, p. 67). The elite
schools are expensive and parents have to afford through the ceiling
tuition fees along with expenses for textbooks, stationery, uniform,
transportation, refreshment, and extra- and co-curricular activities locally
and abroad, etc. The school personnel explain that only a small number of
families in Pakistan can afford such expenses.


A Brief Overview of the Curricula, Pedagogical Styles, and
Physical Facilities
The comparative curricular analysis will attempt to locate major patterns,
the nature of their content and design, and what intellectual faculties they
are capable of promoting. Regarding pedagogy, I have attempted to
understand the extent to which teachers go beyond simply transmitting
textbook knowledge to create new epistemological possibilities. It is
generally argued that examination systems wield prominent impacts on
teaching, learning and other aspects of the educational praxis (see:
Hughes, 1993; Smith, 1991; Shepard, 1993; Vallette, 1994). Likewise,
Morris (1990) argues that due to their wide use, tests (particularly highstake tests) can exert an influence on teachers and students with an
associated impact on what happens in classrooms. Pierce (1992)
acknowledges that the style of tests has a great impact on classroom
pedagogy, curriculum development, and educational policy (p. 687).
Therefore, in our analysis, we also have included students evaluation
patterns and their probable effects on their class-work.
The three types of schools in this study teach curricula that are designed
by different organizations and prepare their students for different
standardized examinations that are supervised by different examining
bodies. For instance, Tanzim-ul-Madaris, the main controlling organization
of the madaris under study, generally determines the syllabi, collects
registration and examination fees, and prepares and distributes the
question papers to the madaris where students take their exams. The
madaris still exclusively aim their education at disseminating faith-based
knowledge and have retained their traditional curriculum, known as Darse-Nizami. It was devised by an 18th century Islamic scholar, Mulla
Nizamuddin, who insisted upon the supreme pedagogical value of the
classical Islamic knowledge. Hence, most of the books in Nizami curriculum
are canonical texts written either in Arabic, Persian, or their translations in
Urdu. Such books contain out-dated topics, which, in many respects, are
unable to meet the challenges of the modern life. For instance, the book
titled Sharh-e-Aqaid (The Principles of Beliefs) contains discourses on
theology and was written some eight hundred years ago. It was written in

an archaic style and is full of references from ancient Greek philosophy

that students today can hardly understand. Rather than providing students
with a profound understanding of the basic principles of Islamic theology,
it presents hypothetical imageries and illogical puzzles. For example, it
asks questions such as: is there one sky or seven or nine skies? Can the sky
be broken into parts? All such concepts have convincingly been disproved
by the modern sciences. Another book of Islamic jurisprudence, titled
Noor-ul- Ezah,(2) which was written in the 9th century, presents the
arguments that water is divided into the following seven fundamental
categories: sky water (rain), sea water, river water, water from wells, snow
melted into water, water from hails, and water from springs (see: page 24).
Modern science proves that there is no difference in the composition and
properties of water obtained from all these sources.
Likewise, references from the creative works of Euclid (dates at
approximately 300 B.C.) and Avicenna (980-1037) are profusely found in
different texts used in madaris. Their ideas are disseminated as authentic
and irrefutable even in the modern age. However, in reality, Avicennas
ideas were greatly influenced from Greek presumptions that the
imbalance of humors in the body creates disorders and disease. Similarly,
the books on philosophy were also written at the time when Greek
philosophy and the Motazela posed a major challenge to Islamic
knowledge. Hence, most of the discussion in these books is meant to
refute alien intrusions. These refuting discourses are still disseminated in
madaris despite of the fact that challenges from such rival sects no longer
exist, and the followers of Motazela died out by the third century of Islam.
Likewise, the madaris have retained two classical books: Jalalayn (written
in 1459) and Bayazavi (written in 1571) in order to teach Tafsir (the Quranic
commentary). These books were written by the medieval ulema and
contain arguments that were influenced by the social location of the
writers, the general prevailing social environment, and the then available
stock of knowledge. Since Muslims believe that the Quran has eternal
validity and provides guidance for all times, they need the latest
interpretations and commentaries of the texts to address current issues.
Similarly, the books on Fiqha (Islamic jurisprudence) teach laws that
govern trade, sales and purchase, which were developed in the medieval
times. Hence, they do not refer at all to modern economic and capitalistic
developments. Although many ulema have produced some valuable books

that deal with fiqha responses to new forms of commercialized

transactions or other modern economic and social developments, these
books, nonetheless, could not be found within the current curriculum
used in the madaris.
In addition to out-dated knowledge, the books are also designed to foster
memorization and rote learning. For instance, most books are the oldest
treatises in rhymed couplets and are so obscure that they are taught
through commentaries and super-commentaries. For example, a book on
Arabic grammar titled Kafia-Ibne-Malik is taught through a commentary
called Sharah-Ibne-Aqil. In fact, the original book and its commentaries are
so scholastic and archaic that students have no other option than to
memorize them word for word. Hence, on numerous occasions the
students responded to our queries by admitting to not have even
reasonable comprehension of the concepts contained in these books.
Likewise, another ancient text titled Misbah-ul-Nahv contains erudite
illustrations that only those who have familiarity with the medieval
philosophical discourses can understand. The teachers mostly defend
memorization with a plea that it eventually leads to properly
understanding the textbook knowledge if the students show commitment
and dedication, just like their teachers who had shown it over the years.
Likewise, the translator of Noor-ul- Ezah acknowledged the memorizing
design of his book when he mentioned, the salient features of this
translation are that it has made easy to teach the lessons, memorize them,
and then reproduce in the examinations (page 8). Standardized
examinations seem to greatly influence the educational praxis in madaris.
They generally require written responses to essay-type questions and
students are evaluated on the accuracy with which they have memorized
and reproduced the textbook knowledge.
On the other hand, the public school plan of studies offers three major
categories at the secondary school level: science group, humanities group,
and technical group. A major portion of the curricular content of all these
groups seeks to impart modern and secular knowledge.
The Curriculum Wing of the government of Pakistan lays down criteria
for the Textbook Boards, which have a monopoly on authorizing books
for use in public schools in their respective provinces. This monopoly
allows the Textbook Boards to act as ideological gatekeepers, making sure

what they see as ideologically acceptable text enters into the classrooms.
During this research study, we observed that the textbooks, even those of
modern subjects, are heavily loaded with doctrinal material. It appears that
the process of Islamization of education, which was initiated during the
decade of 1979-89 by the National Education Policy of 1979, has
persisted and been reproduced over the years without any obvious
change. The textbooks that we observed were either written in 2002 or
before; and since March 2002; the curricula had not been revised.
It appears that the traditional examination system in the public schools
also greatly affects the curricular design, patterns of the textbooks, and
eventually what happens in the classrooms. As the students are mainly
evaluated through the written responses of lengthy essay-type questions in
the standardized exams, the textbooks and exercises after each lesson are
designed to facilitate this process. The post-lesson questions do not pose
any academic challenge to the students or inspire their analytical or
reflective capabilities. Instead, they generally require the reproduction of
textbook content, sometimes without the slightest deviation. The
following questions, which have been taken from post-lesson exercises of
different textbooks, support these arguments:

Write down the fourteen points of Quaid-e-Azam? (Pakistan

Studies Class 9 & 10, p. 38)

Explain the salient features of objective resolution? (Pakistan

Studies Class 9 & 10, p. 55)

Write a detailed note on the importance of Zakat? (Islamic

Studies Class 9 & 10, p. 66)

Explain the contributions of different Muslim scientists in the

field of biology? (Biology Class 9, p. 20)

Describe an illustrated account of root of mustard plant? (Biology

Class 9, p. 59)

Describe in detail the structure of a bacterial cell? (Biology Class

10, p. 78)

Write a detailed account on Hazrat Ali with special reference to

the great qualities he possessed? (English Class 10, p. 34)

In contrast to both the madaris and public schools, elite schools

exclusively impart Eurocentric knowledge and prepare their students for
Cambridge GCE O/A level examinations. They have adopted the most
modern curricula, which are being taught in the prominent British
schools. The books are very recent and contain up-to-date information.
For instance, the textbook of biology for O-level was re-written in 2007,
which coincidentally was also the time of this study. The writers explain in
the preface of the textbook:
Care has been taken to ensure that all new topics in the syllabus
are adequately covered, for example, requirements in
biotechnology and genetic engineering. The chapter Effect of
Human Activity on the Environment has been completely rewritten to keep it up to date. (Kwan & Lam, 2007, p. iii)
Throughout the textbook, emphasis is generally placed on thinking skills,
wherein the questions are posed to stimulate students analytical and
reflective capabilities. For instance, a Thinking Room at the end of each
chapter invites students to apply their conceptual understanding to solve
related problems. In the preface of the textbook, the writers explain the
kind of qualities they intend to foster through exercises in the Thinking
Room: The scientific methods and thinking skills employed by the
students in the Thinking Room include those of analysis, observation,
inference, comparison, classification, planning investigations, decisionmaking, creative problem-solving and so on (Kwan & Lam, 2007, p. iii).
The other textbooks used in elite schools are not much different in the
nature of their content and design. For instance, the style and content of
the English textbook also encourages students original thinking, when
they write summaries, compose communicative writing, or respond
accurately to the comprehension questions. The writer himself explains,
The purpose of this book, therefore, is to give students enough guidance
to enable them to reach the highest standard they are capable of
(Etherton (1994, p. V). In general, all books contain a list of reference
material for further study. Moreover, the examination system in the elite
schools employs a variety of methods including written, practical, and oral
exams to evaluate the learners. The teachers elaborate that in exams the
students are generally assessed on the standards of their academic analysis,
independent thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving skills; therefore, the designs

of textbooks are quite helpful to promote these human capacities. They

also acknowledge that textbooks provide them with enough flexibility to
modify and expand the curricular content in order to impart more
advanced concepts.
In regards to pedagogical techniques, the madaris personnel strongly
believe that the didactic discourses instigated by the medieval Muslim
scholars are grounded within Islamic framework; therefore, they are the
most suitable for their classwork, even in the current age. However, in this
study, we did not observe the well-documented sophistication of
traditional classwork, where, though highly respectful of the views of their
teachers, the students were often engaged in lively discussions, debates,
and questioning with them. It was not anomalous to have students
revealing views that differed from those of their teachers. Similarly, a
student who proved his brilliance in the discussion was usually given a
favored position in the classroom (Anzar, 2003; Mumtaz, 1998; Nayyar,
1998; Talbani, 1996). Instead, the classwork that I observed was largely a
unidirectional monologue than a feedback-based communicative lecture
that would ensure the students involvement.
In general, the present-day madaris have retained their traditional practice
of employing distinctive teaching methods for children and adults. To
teach children, reliance is exclusively put on memorization. This insistence
is based on the presumption that, at this tender age, memory is usually
more active and must be fully exploited. Thus, many children could
memorize several chapters from the Quran by heart, if not in its entirety.
Madaris teachers consider classes of memorizing the Quran as the most
exigent, because they have to work with students on a one-to-one basis.
However, the teachers would receive assistance from older and more
accomplished students to work with and guide the younger and less
accomplished ones. On several occasions, we observed that, as part of
traditional methodology, the teacher would start the class by asking
students to recite what was taught the previous day. After ensuring that
the students had learned to read and pronounce the Quranic words in an
adequate manner, he then would read the next few lines in a paragraph
three to four times with a student, until the student began to correctly
pronounce and read the new text. In subjects other than the Quran,
however, a generally accepted view is that the teacher should proceed
from that which is simple to that which is more difficult, keeping in mind

the students ability to inculcate what he is being taught. At the higher

grades, for instance, at the khasa level (equivalent to grade 10), which is
the focus of this study, the teachers usually lecture from memory and tend
to limit the information conveyed to that which is within the framework
as specified by the textbooks. A usual scene during the classwork time is
the students deep commitment in taking notes such that they can
memorize them in the evenings. Consequently, the most sought for
intellectual faculty at the higher levels of education is, again,
Likewise, the public school teachers rely heavily on lectures as their
favored teaching method at secondary school level. However, most of the
lectures observed were dull, dreary, and reflected a one-way flow of
information from teacher to the students. On rare occasions, I could see a
smile on the teachers face or an impression that could make students
smile or feel at ease. In general, the public school teaching appears to be
focused on the transmission of knowledge and it equates learning with
memorization of the factual information, whether it is contained in the
textbooks, lectures, or teachers own notes. The public school teachers
mostly regretted not being able to apply the latest pedagogical techniques
during the classwork, which they had learnt in pre-service and in-service
teaching courses. They usually mention the following barriers in this
regard: the large class sizes, unavailability of the teaching aids,
unsupportive textbooks, time constraints to cover syllabi, passing the
exams as a focal point, and conventional student evaluation procedures in
the standardized examinations. Some teachers also characterized their
most students as tough and unable to completely inculcate the
textbook knowledge. Hence, they would only help them learn important
concepts, which simply prepare them to pass the examination. For
instance, a public school teacher argued, If all of my students properly
study the entire syllabus, I will consider it a bonus. However, such
perspectives also emphasize a lack of courage on the part of teachers to
take the challenge of helping the tough students learn the advanced
Generally speaking, in both Islamic madaris and public schools observed,
the teachers tend to demonstrate absolute authority, dictate commands,
and assign work and work-related activities as well as the homework. They
rarely bother to explain why the work has been assigned, how it might

connect to other learning topics, or the rationale behind their rules and
procedures. Instead, the teachers generally valued passivity and did not
allow an assertive behavior from their students. Hence, in this type of
entirely controlled study setting, the students are left only with the option
of being content with whatever has been bestowed on them, rather than
developing their creativity through independent thinking. Moreover,
students everyday performance is evaluated on the basis of accuracy in
reproducing the textbook knowledge, which is generally specified by the
teacher. The madaris and public school teachers also rarely adopt
strategies to expand or transform the curricular contents or generate new
epistemological possibilities. When they do happen, such rare efforts are
confined only to limited areas. For instance, the madaris personnel usually
initiate reasoning to analyze the current socio-political issues in the light
of religious teachings or to find ways to refute alien philosophies, heretical
beliefs, and interpretations of other sects of Islam. However, they
generally perceive the revealed knowledge as the most authentic, reliable,
and unlikely to be questioned or modified. Hence, they encourage
students to memorize it without even the slightest deviation from the
scriptures. Likewise, the public school teachers tend to integrate the
Quranic knowledge into the content as well as the praxis of apparently
secular and modern curricula of even scientific subjects, such as biology,
physics, and chemistry. In so doing, they argue that their initiative of
Islamizing the school knowledge resolves the fundamental
methodological issues in education and provides accurate, authentic, and
effective ideas and plans to reform present-day academic life of the
In contrast to both Islamic madaris and public schools, the elite school
teachers primarily believe in the creation of knowledge through empirical
and deductive processes. They also believe that any kind of knowledge
can be questioned or analyzed, including faith-based knowledge. They
argue that reflection over revealed knowledge would be helpful to ensure
an in-depth understanding of the Quranic messages. In general, the elite
school teachers take on various methods to go beyond the curricular
contents and develop classroom environments that are conducive for
advanced learning. Their pedagogical practices mainly aspire to develop
students intellectual and analytical capabilities, equip them with necessary
skills to reason out the solution to a problem, conceptualize rules by

which components may fit in a system, and then apply these rules to solve
relevant puzzles. During classwork, we observed that the elite school
teachers encourage students to explore knowledge, interact meaningfully
with learning materials, construct meaning, and test their concepts and
hypothesis, while taking responsibility for their own learning. The teachers
also raise questions in order to engage students to do independent
research and discover the appropriate answers themselves. In addition, it
is common during the classwork for teachers to challenge and probe
students to produce arguments that are logically sound and of higher
academic quality. When the teachers allocate homework assignments, they
expect the students to observe the same high standards of creativity as
they do during the class work. Moreover, the teachers attempt to improve
the social scenario of the class by building confidence and responsibility
among students, responding to individual differences, and promoting
ethical behavior and moral virtues. They involve students in determining
appropriate classroom rules, which promotes students feelings of
ownership, commitment to the rules and procedures, and sense of shared
responsibilities. Hence, the students have a chance to understand why
they have particular set of rules and why they do things in certain ways. In
short, the elite schools provide their students the kind of schooling
experience that is meant to prepare them to excel in the future roles.
As regards physical and academic resources, both Islamic madaris and
public schools showed an obvious scarcity. For instance, only a few
classrooms had sufficient furniture; although two to four electric fans
were provided in the classrooms, on most occasions half of them were
out of order; also, not a single classroom had a heating system and there
was no adequate system for clean and filtered drinking water in these
schools. The academic facilities included only the provision of
blackboards and white chalk as teaching aids. The library facilities were
also deficient and substandard. The available volumes, based on student
enrolment, were extremely inadequate and covered a limited variety of
topics. Most of them were very old and some even worn out. The daily
newspapers, which had been purchased for the library, were mostly seen
in the staffroom and, thus, completely inaccessible for the students.
Conversely, the elite schools provided outstanding and relatively more
diverse physical and academic facilities, which could easily be compared to
any of the prominent educational institution in the world. The classrooms,

libraries, science labs, etc. had state-of-the-art facilities. The students also
had unlimited access to computers and internet, which they mostly used
for educational purpose.

A comparative overview of work and work-related activities

The following empirical analysis of the classwork and education related
activities in the schools under study provide illustrations of the general
patterns outlined above. The focus , however, is to understand the
students relation to capital, as evident in any kind of symbolic capital that
might have been acquired through the schooling experiences, the nature
of relations with relevant personnel, and the level of independence to
choose their learning activities. Due to limited space and the scope of this
article, we will discuss only the selected examples.

Islamic madaris
The study of Islamic fiqh (jurisprudence) in madaris under observation
was, in fact, the reproduction of traditional faith-based knowledge,
elaboration of major textbook concepts, and an effort to disseminate
sectarian interpretations of core Islamic concepts including the Sharia
laws. The teacher rarely attempted to connect the fundamental concepts
to prevailing social circumstances. However, during the classwork, he
raised some questions to promote the students creative dispositions; but
this was done in a limited way, for instance, simply to challenge the
interpretations of other sects of Islam. During a one hour and 30 minutes
lecture, which was the longest that we observed, the teacher strictly
controlled the classroom time and space and incessantly warned students
to stay attentive. He did not let any student leave the classroom or
interrupt his lecture by asking a question to get further understanding. At
certain points, I observed the students appeared worn-out with the
regimented control and the flow of superfluous one-way knowledge, but
did not have the courage to record their uneasiness. During the lecture,
the teacher completely ignored the bells to switch class. It is a customary
practice in current madaris that if a teacher delivers a lecture on an

important topic, he is allowed to prolong his discussion past the allocated

class time.
In madaris traditions, when a teacher enters the classroom, all students are
expected to stand up as a mark of reverence; they are to remain standing
until the teacher instructs them to sit down. The teachers usually begin the
classwork by asking questions about the previous days lesson and
listening to the responses. They randomly pick students for this purpose
and, based on the students performance, either praise or harshly ridicule
them. For instance, during one class, the teacher picked some students
and asked questions about the previous days lesson. The students
demonstrated that they had memorized the textbook knowledge and
could reproduce it like a parrot. After that the teacher announced the
topic of that days lesson, which was the Islamic concept of Zakat and
the deserving recipients. The teacher began his lecture by explaining the
literal meanings of the word Zakat, which is purification and growth. In
keeping with these qualities, Allah has prescribed Zakat as essential alms
and a duty to Allah upon every Muslim who possesses the minimum
amount of wealth, called Nisab, within an entire lunar year. During the
lecture, the teacher raised some questions for students and then answered
them himself when he noticed that students were not responding.
However, most of the questions asked and their corresponding answers
did not mean to expand the curriculum or give students advanced
concepts. Instead, they were largely restrained within the framework of
the textbook knowledge. Moreover, most questions were just meant to
challenge or question the religious interpretations of other sects. In sum,
it appears that during every day of classwork, knowledge is created to
reinforce sectarian identities. The students are also strictly forbidden to
read books or any kind of literature created by the scholars of other sects.
In this regard, a madrassah teacher emphasized, As teachers, it of our
obligation to teach whatever we perceive is appropriate for our students.
Such perspectives and praxis underscore that madaris teachers intend to
control the students knowledge and keep it within the strict limits that
they determine.
The teaching of language arts in the madaris under study is largely based
on the translation method and focuses on explaining basic grammatical
rules and procedures. The teachers require rote-behavior and do not
involve students in any kind of discussion or ask them to make examples

to use their prior learning. The classwork is mainly the inculcation of the
teacher-specified knowledge, and the students have little liberty to make
decision or have choices. In general, three different languages (i.e. Arabic,
Persian, and Urdu) are taught in madaris. Arabic is predominant because
the Quran, hadith, and other prominent religious literature were developed
in this language. Hence, a certain level of competency in Arabic is
essential to properly understand this central faith-based literature. Persian,
which, before colonization, was socially and academically necessary in
Muslim India, still forms an integral part of the curriculum. However, in
madaris Arabic and Persian are taught as dead languages and, as a result,
the teachers generally translate the scholastic material of textbooks as well
as their commentaries into Urdu. They also write the meaning of difficult
and newly introduced words on the blackboard for students to copy into
their personal notebooks to memorize afterwards. In general, during study
periods more communication is done in Urdu than in Arabic or Persian.
Therefore, the students simply become able to read and, to some extent,
understand fundamental religious literature in Arabic or Persian, but do
not attain linguistic competency for independent oral or written
communication in these languages.
The teaching of grammar is an integral part of language arts pedagogy.
However, in both madaris observed, the teaching of grammar of Arabic,
Persian, or Urdu focused on the mechanics of fundamental rules. The
teachers generally argue that learning simple grammar is essential for
students to attain linguistic competency as well as the correct
pronunciation. The teachers emphasize that incorrect pronunciation
might alter the actual meaning of the words; therefore, one must be able
to pronounce words correctly, especially if the student intends to recite
the Quran effectively. During the classwork, I did not see the teachers
giving creative written assignments to the students or posing oral
challenges to test their learning. The students also did not ask questions
for further elaboration of a concept. The homework largely involved the
translation of allocated passages, memorization of the grammar rules and
meaning of difficult words, and solving the after lesson exercises by using
knowledge extracted directly from the textbook. In sum, it appears that
language pedagogy in madaris is still based on the traditional concepts that
presume that the learning of grammatical rules and the translation method
are sufficient to attain mastery in a language. The teachers are still not

mentally prepared to modernize their teaching skills or at least consider

the latest developments in this domain as a legitimate remedy to the
shortfalls of their cherished heritage, which was undoubtedly developed in
the medieval times. The current didactic developments demand madaris
authorities to seriously reflect on their pedagogic status quo.
The classwork of the Islamic Manners and Behavior course is another
illustration of the reproduction of faith-centered epistemology. However,
the overall aim of bringing about the sense of Islamic manners and
behavior in madaris is not limited to the formal didactic activities that take
place within the classroom. In fact, they are inculcated, practiced, and
reproduced through non-teaching regime as well. Therefore, the
classwork, rules, discipline, overt body control in the madaris culture, and
behavioral expectations combine to groom students according to
established Islamic manners and behavior. Generally, the madaris
personnel regard learning of Islamic manners and behavior as an integral
part of and promoting Taqwa (piety) among Muslims.
The classwork of Al-Tawheed provides opportunities for madaris teachers
to promote the Quranic notion of one God and project Islam as
Unitarian, monotheist, and the true religion. However, the madaris
teachers persistent practice of refuting the philosophies and
interpretations of other religions and sects of Islam sometimes leads them
to create knowledge that, when internalized by the students, has the
potential to negatively influence their dispositions about other religious
communities. In one of the madaris under study, we observed a 45minute lecture during which the teacher explained the Islamic concept of
Tawheed and said that it is most expressed precisely in the first tenant of
Islam: (there is no God but Allah). The teacher explained that this seemingly
simple formula clearly draws a line of demarcation between Eemn (true
belief in God) and Kufir (disbelief). The teacher concluded, We Muslims
have faith in one God, Who alone deserves our worship During the
classwork, the teacher argued that some of the worlds leading religions
and their books undoubtedly originated from the divine wisdom.
However, these religions are now diluted, because their followers have
mixed man-made epistemology into the words of God. Conversely, God
himself has taken responsibility to protect the Quran up until doomsday.
This will ensure that the Quran remains pure and devoid of any sort of
human contamination. The teacher further explained that Christians and

Jews also project their religions as monotheistic, but in actuality, these

religions have not remained pure. Christians believe Jesus is the son of
God, which makes their religion polytheist. Similarly, Judaism can be
considered as a fine example of idolatry. During the lecture, the teacher
also refuted certain interpretations of other sects of Islam by explaining
that some Muslims construe Tawheed to signify that Allah is all and all is
Allah, and there is only one existence, which is Allah. In fact, such a belief
falls under the definition of pantheism and, as such, is a Kufr (irreligious).
Other Muslims interpret Tawheed to undermine Allahs attributes and
claim that He exists everywhere and in everything. Such discourses are
heretical. The teacher warned students to remain vigilant against such
wrongful interpretations of core Islamic concepts.
These kinds of discourses, which are produced and reproduced during
everyday classwork, have the potential to influence students dispositions
and worldviews. The students are made to believe that their sect is the
only true version of Islam and all others are false. As a result, they believe
that they must work diligently to protect Islam at any cost and also to
disseminate it to the people whose religions are either diluted or lack the
authenticity of a God-bestowed epistemology. Such dispositions, if
displayed negatively, have the potential to intensify sectarian conflict,
which is already a volatile situation in the Muslim world. It can also
express itself in the Jihadist perspective of wiping out un-Islamic beliefs,
such as polytheism, adultery, and paganism and replacing them with the
true words of God.

Public Schools
In the public schools observed, the general theory and praxis of language
arts teaching is largely analogous to that of madaris. For instance, the
teachers perceive that the correct learning of rules is essential to ensuring
the students proficiency in a language. Hence, they mainly focus their
teaching on explaining the basic rules and procedures that govern the
English language. However, these rules are explained in their native
language, as a result of which, the students mostly translate Urdu
sentences into English, while applying the correct procedures. Like
madaris, no emphasize is given on interactive communication in English
between the teacher and students or between students. Consequently, the
students remain unable to attain fluency and confidence to in applying

their learning in real life settings. In addition, no creative oral or written

assignment is usually given to students during the classwork or as
homework. For instance, in one of the schools under study, we observed
a grammar lesson in which the teacher spent almost twenty minutes
explaining the essential rules of how to construct a correct sentence. He
then wrote a simple formula on the blackboard and explained its
composition in the native language of the students (Urdu). After that, a
series of drills began, in which the teacher illustrated this formula by
constructing many sentences. Every time the teacher wrote a sentence on
the blackboard, he read it three to five times and instructed the class to
repeat after him out loud. The teacher later explained to me that this is a
vital step to engraving the formula on the students minds, as most of
them did not have ability to infer it on their own. The teacher then asked
the students to open the textbook, which was prescribed by the provincial
Board for teaching English Grammar. He would read an Urdu sentence
and ask students to translate it, turn by turn, into English.
In the public schools, the teaching of English literature is purely the
translation of the text into Urdu. The teaching, akin to that in Islamic
madaris, begins by revisiting the previous days lesson. The students are
required to precisely translate what the teacher had taught a day before.
They are also asked to correctly spell the difficult English words. They are
heavily rebuked or physically punished when they make mistakes. On one
occasion, a few students told me that their teacher had fixed a punishment
quota of four sticks for one spelling mistake. These students were too
frightened to even attend the class. In this way, like madaris, the coercive
tendency in public school pedagogy is greatly evident.
After the routine of the students listening to a condensed version of the
previous days class, the teacher would generally ask students to open the
textbook to start the new lesson. For instance, during one of the lessons
that we observed, the teacher asked students to open the page five of the
textbook in order to start a new lesson. He then started translating the
text into Urdu. Whenever a difficult word came up he would write it with
its definition (in Urdu) on the blackboard for students to copy into their
personal notebooks. Throughout the 40-minute study period nothing else
happened besides the translation of the text and the highlighting the
difficult words. During the lesson, however, the names of some important
festivals in the Muslim community came up, which the teacher could have

used to expand the textbook knowledge by explaining their background

and the purpose. He could also have asked the students to do this in order
to infuse some creativity into his teaching. Yet, he grossly ignored all
such vital aspects. Likewise, the teacher could also have used after-lesson
exercises to let students find their own answers. But, contrary to such
expectations, the teacher distributed readymade notes to the class, which
included the answers to all of the questions. These answers were nothing
else than exact replications of the textbook material and wording. As
homework, the teacher asked the students to practice translation and
memorize correct spellings and the meaning of difficult words. He also
asked students to memorize his provided notes verbatim. In general, the
work of language arts in the public schools does not require creativity.
Furthermore, English language is not taught as a complex system that
could equip students with the cultural capital of linguistic competency
such that they could skillfully apply it to ultimately attain social power and
financial rewards. The competency in English is one of the essential
requirements for access to the higher echelons in Pakistan.
The classwork in the Pakistan studies in the public schools was also
mechanical rote work and the explanations were largely one-dimensional
and promoted one-sided perspectives. Some of the curricular content
discussed in the class was distortion of historical facts or encouraged
the dispositions of hatred against Hindus as well as India. For instance,
in one of the schools under study, we observed a lesson on the Fall of
East Pakistan, in which the teacher generally elaborated the causes of
separation of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) from the textbook. As
explained to the class, they include incompetent leadership, control of
Hindus on trade and services, economic backwardness, role of Hindu
teachers, Indian interference (see: pp. 53-54 of the textbook).(3) A larger
portion of the 45-minute lecture portrayed Hindus as the worst enemies
of Islam in general and of Muslims of Pakistan in particular. Likewise,
India was projected as the biggest threat for the existence and sovereignty
of Pakistan. Some very important factual information regarding the causes
of the countrys separation was altogether missing from both the
curriculum as well as teachers elaborations. For instance, at the time of
independence of Pakistan in1947, Bengalis in East Pakistan were the
majority population and demanded Dhaka as the capital for this new state.
It was forcefully declined by the politicians of West Pakistan who,

incidentally, inherited power from the colonial government. Instead, they

declared Karachi as the capital because it was located in the territory of
West Pakistan. These politicians also declined another popular demand of
East Pakistans population to accept Bengali as the national language.
Moreover, Bengalis generally faced economic deprivation for many years
after independence, which eventually aggravated their demand for a
separate homeland. It is evident in the historical facts that Bengalis were
never awarded equal share in the national budgets or in the government,
civil, and military bureaucratic positions and other lucrative jobs. On top
of that, the politicians of West Pakistan declined to hand-over the
government to the Awami League of Sheikh Majibur Rahman, which
received an absolute majority in East Pakistan in the general elections of
1971. On my query into the reasons for omitting these historical facts
from the lesson, the teacher replied, It is a sensitive issue and I do not
want to go beyond the boundaries specified by the Curriculum Wing.
Hence, the textbook material completely supported the teachers
arguments of projecting the fall of East Pakistan as a conspiracy of nonpatriotic Bengalis and Hindu leadership of India. For example, under the
heading Control of Hindus on Trade and Services the textbook
explains: In East Pakistan trade and services were totally under the
control of Hindus and they inculcated the seeds of separation among the
Bengalis under a specific plan (p. 53). Likewise, under the heading Role
of Hindu Teachers the textbook specifies: Education sector in East
Pakistan was totally under the control of Hindus. Under the guidance of
India, they fully poisoned the minds of Bengalis against Pakistan and
aroused their sentiments (p. 53). Neither the textbook nor the teacher
explained how it became possible that Hindus gained complete control of
the trade and services as well as the education sector of a Muslim majority
province in a country that was governed by Muslims. However, this kind
of distorted information and one-sided perspective can potentially
influence the dispositions and worldviews of the students.
The chemistry course in the public schools was simply the elaboration of
specified information, essential rules and procedures, and rote behavior
normally achieved through regular drilling exercises. The innovative
thoughts that are usually emphasized through creative activities and
scientific experimentation were grossly missing. Likewise, in both schools
under study, the teachers did not invite a question-answer session of any

sort to satisfy the students curiosity for knowledge. On many occasions

the teachers also ignored or averted the opportunity to go beyond the
textbook knowledge and deliver some useful advanced concepts. During
the entire 45-minute lecture, which we observed, was more or less a onesided communication and flow of information. The students mostly
remained busy in taking the notes or copying the material from the
blackboard. No one raised a relevant question or even asked the teacher
to repeat or further elaborate a concept. However, a few students asked a
question about the winter holidays, which was quite irrelevant, but at least
made the class alive again. It appeared that the students needed a break
from the tough classwork. The teacher also changed the topic briefly
and responded to the question eagerly as if he was also anxious for the
holidays. Moreover, during the lecture we noticed that students would
frequently start whispering as soon as the teacher turned to write
something on the blackboard. It appeared that their interest in the topic
was considerably low and they wanted to distract the teacher. A few times
they actually succeeded in doing so, and the teacher had to warn the class
that there would be serious repercussions if they would continue.
Likewise, the work in the biology class was not based on thecreation of
knowledge that results from an activity; rather, it was focused on how
much had been internalized. Hence, the best student was not the one who
had a different viewpoint or possessed innovative ideas on a topic; the
student that was considered the most intelligent was the one who had the
ability to reproduce each step from the textbook or the content discussed
in the class.
In the public schools, science experiments were more or less class
demonstrations led by the teachers. The teachers did not encourage
students to develop their own hypotheses, test them, or choose which
mechanisms and equipments to use. They also did not invite the students
suggestions or assign them work for further investigation. Moreover,
during this one-sided presentation, which usually lasted over one and half
hours, we observed that the teachers in both public schools missed some
valuable and relevant information and, hence, could not create an indepth understanding of the topic among students. For instance, students
in both public schools were involved in the biology experiment of
dissecting a frog only once an academic year, during which time the
teachers attempted to impart as much information as possible. In one of

the schools observed, before the actual experiment, the teacher gave a 30minute lecture about the procedures and mechanisms involved in the
dissection as well as salient features of external and internal anatomy of
the frog and the functions of major organs and organ systems. He showed
some diagrams and sketches to elaborate certain vital concepts. He then
asked a student to take a big frog from a jar, which was uncovered so
that the frog could breathe easily. The frog was chloroformed; the body
was put upside down on a wooden dissection board and fixed with the
help of paper pins. The teacher performed the dissection and verbally
explained various procedures that he was following at different steps.
Starting from the digestive system, the teacher exposed different body
parts and systems and verbally explained their structures and functions.
However, except for the heart, the teacher did not open any other major
organ or system to elaborate their internal anatomy. He also did not
explain the precise functions of the liver and pancreas and what kind of
enzymes they produce to aid the digestive process. The teacher rarely
elaborated the coordinating mechanisms between different body parts or
systems. The nervous system and the nature of nerve impulses, along with
factors that affect their transmission, were altogether ignored. Moreover,
the shortage of necessary resources became evident when, at one point,
the frogs body began to bleed, but there was no cotton or any kind of
other arrangement to clean it. A student provided some tissue papers to
the teacher to clean the blood drops so that different organs could be seen
In conclusion, during this presentation the students appeared to be more
in the position of spectators than participants. The teacher did not initiate
creative discussion or raise questions to involve students in any sort of
reflection that could lead to the development of a scientific approach
among them. Instead, it was a solo performance mainly dominated by the
teacher, who held absolute authority. Later, we asked the teacher about
possibilities of educating the class about lab safety procedures, potential
hazards, and the proper ways to dispose of the dissected materials. The
teacher smiled and said, How much stuff can I cover within one and half
hour? He then argued that theoretical knowledge would not be enough
unless it is supported with necessary equipment. Presently, he has not
been provided with sufficient financial resources to buy the essential
safety materials, such as plastic gloves, aprons, and antibiotic lotions.

However, a lack of will maybe another factor that the teacher did not like
to mention, because buying a plastic bag to dispose of the frog is not too

Elite English-Medium Schools

In elite schools, one of the cardinal objectives of English language arts
classwork is to promote the kinds of teacher-student interaction that
equip students with presently required interactive and communicative
language skills. It is a contrast to the dominant linguistic pedagogical trait
in the other two types of schools, which emphasized fostering the
students ability to translate from one language to another or vice versa. In
elite schools, the teachers mainly facilitate students ability to master the
complexities of English language. They tend to create a classroom
environment where the students are expected to learn on their own and
through their own thinking, planning, and peer/self-correction of their
work; in this way, the teachers limit their role to that of a facilitator and
The teachers persistently challenge students knowledge to enhance their
intellectual capabilities, conceptual development, and correct application
of linguistic principles and grammatical rules in oral and written
communication. For instance, during the 45-minute classwork on
Understanding the Present Continuous Tense, the teacher in one of the
elite schools actively engaged the class in different learning activities. He
emphatically told me, My objective is to create a student-centered,
activity- based classroom environment conducive for an in-depth
understanding, where students can infer grammatical rules by
themselves. The teacher started the warm up session by initiating a
discussion to review the study material about the present continuous tense
that he had suggested the students read on the previous day. During this
brainstorm activity, the teacher wrote the essential points and some
fundamental dimensions of present continuous tense on the whiteboard.
He then asked the class to arrange themselves into four groups and
distributed a funny story mainly focusing on the present continuous tense.
The students were asked to identify various dimensions of this particular
tense through group discussion and explain the essential grammatical rules

constitute them to the class. They were also asked to illustrate situations
or events where these dimensions can be employed effectively.
The focus of the English literature course in elite schools was on engaging
students in dynamic and insightful discussions and reflecting on current
social circumstances. The general emphasis was on analyzing main
curricular themes, exploring supplemental knowledge, and also figuring
out the correct application of linguistic tools. The teacher argued, I
always help my students to attain ability to effectively express their
thoughts while using the correct language. Therefore, we observed many
occasions during the classwork of the teacher facilitating students to attain
perfection in the language and also doing an in-depth analysis of the
subject matter. For instance, in poetry lesson titled Taj Mahal the
teacher emphasized that, although this splendid palace is signified as an
epitome of love, it contains many significant messages for the writers who
perceive it as a sign of social inequality. At the outset, the teacher
explained that this poem was actually written by a progressive poet,
who generally included mention of the social evils in his creative work and
invited people to reflect on such issues. The progressive writers are
usually the utopian dreamers: who wish for an equal distribution of
resources. Hence, the main theme in this poem is social inequality: on one
side, the poor lack even the necessities of life and, on the other; the rich
enjoy the luxuries when alive and are buried in gorgeous places like the
Taj Mahal. The poor visit these places every night to light the candles
without knowing if the dead person buried there did any good deeds for
people like them when he or she was alive and in a position of
authority. After explaining the poem, the teacher divided the class into
four groups and, based on previously assigned research work, gave one
question for each group to discuss. She asked groups to choose a leader
who would brief the entire class on the gist of their findings. Five minutes
were allocated for this within the group discussion..
When the leader of each group briefed the class about their main findings,
the teacher urged other students to challenge or supplement the
information. She would also incessantly ask the class if someone wanted
to add a new perspective. For instance, when a student elaborated the
main achievements of American progressive movement, a student added
that abolitionism was another significant achievement of this movement,
as it marked the end of the institution of slavery in the U.S. On another

occasion, some students challenged the information provided, such as in

the following example:
Student A: Progressive literary movement in Pakistan was, in fact,
supported by Russia and China, and it mainly
perpetuated the communist ideology in the country.
Student B: This claim does not have enough empirical support.
Student C: I believe that this movement was more influenced by
Marxism than Communism.
Student D: I like the progressive movement because instead of
presenting love as the sole theme, the poets generally
addressed the realities of life..........
While teaching the poem Taj Mahal the teacher asked students, one
after another, to read a verse and explain their understanding of the main
theme. When a student finished, the teacher would either correct or add
more information, as demonstrated in the following example:

In this verse the poet informs that the elegant

constructions like Taj Mahal although mark the
splendor of great kings, they do not provide an idea of
great works which they did when alive.


Actually, this verse highlighted a comparison that some

people are known by their splendid tombs, while the
others who though do not have dazzling graves or
other symbols like that, are known by the splendid
work they did, such as, invented anything or served the

Such instances demonstrate that the teacher is focused on conveying to

the students that their task is not to look at superficial meanings but to
discover the hidden messages through deep analysis. Furthermore, during
the classwork, the teacher never remained unmindful of the precision of
language. She incessantly corrected her students and introduced
grammatical tools to support her claims. For instance, at one occasion
when a student said, The civil war in America has ended in 1865 the
teacher corrected it as the civil war in America ended in 1865. She then
explained that the present perfect tense describes actions that have

continued to the present; therefore, we cannot use it in place of simple

past tense. Occasionally, the teacher also involved students in correcting a
sentence. For example, when a student said, a majority of voters opposes
the proposal, the teacher invited class to point out the mistake in this
sentence. A student explained that majority can be used as singular or
plural depending on the word that follows it. Such voters is plural in
this sentence, the correct structure would be: a majority of voters oppose
the proposal. The mechanism of linguistic correctness continued
throughout the classwork.
The work of chemistry in elite schools was mostly based on decisionmaking processes, where the teachers posed new challenges to the
students and guided them towards making the correct decisions. While
correct answers are very important in science, they were not given to the
students. Instead, the students were encouraged to come to the
appropriate answers themselves by reasoning through the problem. For
instance, the chemistry lesson on single and double displacement chemical
reactions generally invited students to make decisions about how to
balance the equations of a chemical reaction, distinguish between various
types of reactions, and apply these concepts in problem-solving situations.
The teacher mainly used the classroom as an open forum without limiting
either individual activity or the range of topics covered. During the
discussion, he expanded the content to include other categories of
chemical reactions, which were based on the displacement of the
reactants, such as synthesis, decomposition, and combustion reactions.
The teacher also used students own practical experiences to modify the
curricula. He asked the students if they had observed any examples of
endothermic or exothermic chemical reaction during their everyday life
events. A student mentioned that he had observed such an incident at
home, when a painter mixed limestone in water to make paint for
whitewash. The cold water began to boil a few minutes after the limestone
was added to it and a lot of steam was released. The teacher then involved
the class to determine the chemical formulas of the reactants in this
example and develop a correct and balanced equation. To further probe
students knowledge, the teacher asked how much energy is released when
a chemical reaction takes place between limestone (CaCO3) and water
(H2O). After receiving some incorrect responses, the teacher assigned the
task to the students to find out correct answer through research on their

own. It appears that while encouraging the students to observe and

understand the chemical phenomenon in their surroundings, the teacher
attempts to develop their capacity to use a scientific approach. Towards
the end of the classwork, the teacher showed a 5-minute videotape titled
The Thermite Reactions, which contained some advanced information
on various concepts discussed during the classwork. Subsequently, the
teacher asked students what they learned and how they relate this learning
with the topics discussed in class. As homework, the teacher gave every
student a worksheet of 35-incomplete chemical equations and asked them
to write chemical formulas, predict the product of reactants, balance each
equation, and identify the nature of chemical reaction.
The biology classwork in the elite schools generally involved analysis,
observation, inference, decision-making, and planning and investigation.
The teachers valued higher-level conceptual discussion and encouraged
students to apply their knowledge and biological concepts to solve related
problems. In both schools, the teacher had already provided a course
outline to the students, detailing the topics that were to be covered each
month. The course outline had a list of reference books and research
articles and also suggested some web resources to be consulted before
each class. Hence, the lessons that we observed in both schools on
Human Heart: Its Anatomy and Functions exemplified the ways that
students independent research and group activities were specifically
designed to share conceptual learning to further explore the relevant
concepts. In one of the schools, to refresh students prior reading on the
topic, the teacher gave a quiz, that the students took individually, which
contained eighteen multiple choice and fill in the blanks questions. The
teacher gave five minutes to complete this quiz. At the end, the teacher
did not give the correct answers but left the students to evaluate
themselves at the end of the classwork. Next, while placing a model of
heart on the board the teacher initiated a discussion with the class
regarding the anatomy and mode of action of the heart. He mostly raised
questions and encouraged students to reflect, discuss, and come to the
correct answers. The students also asked some questions, which were
both relevant and thought provoking. In view of their interest in the
topic, the teacher wrote these questions on the whiteboard. However,
instead of answering them he said, All questions are very importantbut
I will not answer them now. I will prefer all of you to take this subject[31]

area as a project for further investigation. The students were then asked
to make a decision about the specific theme they wanted to explore in this
area, the resources they would use, and how they would conduct this
research (i.e. individually or in a group). The teacher offered that if anyone
needed further understanding, he or she could meet him in the after class
or send him an email.
In the elite schools, the use of science experiments involves creative
activity and is carried out in the small groups of students. The students are
encouraged to develop their hypothesis, make decisions for appropriate
methods and materials, and determine what they want to learn from this
hands-on experience. In the experiment of dissecting a frog, unlike the
public schools (where dissection was conducted only once in an academic
session), in elite schools a series of multiple dissections were carried out.
Each time a single system, or specific areas, was explored, which provided
an in-depth understanding for the students. For instance, in one of the
schools the students were interested in exploring the nervous system and
find out the direction of transmission of action potentials (nerve impulses)
and factors that affect this transmission. After an active discussion, the
students agreed upon a hypothesis that nerve impulses would not be able
to travel upwards through the peripheral nervous system to stimulate the
muscle in the opposite leg and that fatigue would be observed earlier if
electrical stimulation was stronger (in volts). In this hypothesis, properties
such as conductivity and fatigue were stressed, as well as the direction of
impulse (this was to be done by stimulating one sciatic nerve and checking
to see if the opposite muscle also twitched). Before the experiment, the
students were instructed to review the assigned pages provided online as
MS WORD files. These contained instructions and proper procedures to
follow as well as some suggested study questions at the end. The teacher
explained that the frog was used as a model because it has particularly
large sciatic nerves, which are ideal for beginner students since they can be
easily isolated and artificially stimulated. The teacher briefly went through
the experimental procedure and explained that students must keep the
nerve preparations moist using the provided ringers solution, a clear
liquid solution of necessary ions that resembles interstitial fluid and keeps
action potentials going. Along with this tip, the teacher covered other
common pitfalls that students usually face during the dissections, such as
severing the nerve accidently and not being able to find the location of the

specific nerves. During the dissection the teacher and students worked as
a team to discover the brain, which conducts action potentials that travel
down the spinal cord. Here, the signals are picked up by efferent nerves
that run to several muscle groups. The class generally focused on the
gastrocnemius muscle found in the frogs leg, which is innervated by the
sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerves come out separately from either side of
the spinal cord, and are large in diameter in comparison to visceral (organ)
nerves. When the electrical signal reached the gastrocnemius muscle, the
muscle contracted, which was observed by the students as a twitch. The
students then artificially stimulated the muscle with an electrode and
observed properties such as contractility and fatigue. A student explained
to me that fatigue can be observed in such a system and is defined by a
marked decrease in contractility as the muscle is continuously bombarded
by impulses. The physiological cause of this is the exhaustion of ion stores
in the neuromuscular junctions, also called the motor end plates, which
are the regions where the nerve makes contact with the muscle.
During the post-experiment session, the students explained that the main
hypothesis was partially accepted. While it was true that a stronger
stimulation caused early onset of muscle fatigue, it was also found that the
nerve impulse from stimulation of the sciatic nerve in one leg could travel
up and then down the other leg to cause the other muscle to twitch. This
was more easily observed at higher voltages. During this discussion, the
teacher also went through some of the questions in the back of the
provided notes, as well as other sample questions that tested concepts that
students should have observed or picked up during this experiment. The
teacher asked students to explain what they found and what they should
have found before revealing the right answers. He mostly tried to guide
students towards the right answer and would ask them why they thought
their response was the right answer. After the class had grasped these
concepts, the teacher would elaborate on the mechanisms behind the
concept for further clarity. In both elite schools, as students finished up,
they were told to properly throw away the animal waste according to
safety protocol. All equipment was cleaned and placed away properly.


Concluding remarks
The study delineates the highly stratified nature of the education system in
Pakistan; wherein these three types of schools constitute distinct fields of
education. They provide contrasting academic and physical facilities. Their
curricula, pedagogical methods, micro-political contexts (e.g. the school
personnels perspectives, practices and the school cultures), and
organizational habitus (Bourdieu and Passeron, 1977) are greatly
different. Their relative autonomy also reveals different categories and
scales. Therefore, these schools have the potential to provide very
different schooling experiences to their respective students. This has
significant implications for reproduction of students class-habitus and
political worldviews, and determines different social roles and
occupational trajectories. In sum, it appears that these schools prepare
their students for life in the social class from which they come. For
instance, different standards of material and human resources in these
three types of schools are more likely to project among students to view
the world hierarchicallyon a scale from higher to lower social classes.
This is a specific culturally reproduced way of thinking and one that
systematically encourages support for socioeconomic hierarchies and
misrecognition of the actual nature of what people think, do, or value.
The substandard facilities in Islamic madaris and public schools can
potentially act as symbolic violence and encourage the students to accept
the legitimacy of their dominated position in the social order. In contrast,
the rich environments at home and school alike have helped the elite
children to tacitly inculcate the class-consciousness, sense of distinction,
and a shared habitus of being privileged. Thus, we argue that contrasting
academic/physical facilities in the schools are likely to impose the specter
of legitimacy of the social order on their students.
Arguably, a combination of many factors after secondary schooling
determines the students future occupations and relationship to the system
of production and control. However, the nature of school knowledge and
classroom work in these three types of schools provides an understanding
that their future roles and professional trajectories are already being
formed. These schools have different curricula, pedagogical styles, and
student evaluation methods, which mainly emphasize different cognitive
and behavioral skills among students. These differences can become focal

point for the reproduction of division of labor at work and in society

between those who plan and manage and those in the work force whose
jobs mainly entail carrying out regulations and policies made by others.
Therefore, it appears that education is the space where practices tend to
legitimize social difference and social inequalities and where the regulation
of access to capital resources is ideologically constructed. For instance, the
madaris still teach their traditional curriculum, which mainly contains
canonical texts and out-dated concepts. Thus, the students gain
knowledge that has no exchange value in the marketplace, workplace, and
even in working-class jobs. Conversely, the public schools legitimize
modern and secular knowledge, which has some exchange value in the
market place. Anyon (1981) terms the school knowledge that has some
exchange value a commodity and explains that it has a reproductive
aspect in part because it helps to legitimate and reproduce the ideology of
production for consumption, such as production of knowledge and other
cultural products for the market rather than for personal use or for social
transformation (an actively consuming public is, of course, a material
necessity in a capitalist system and thus legitimates of the ideology of
consumption-of production for consumption-has direct economic
reproductive consequences as well). The classwork in Islamic madaris and
public schools also offers cultural capital of memorization to their
students. The teachers generally act as an authority in the classroom,
dictate commands, and assign work and work-related activities. Similarly,
to encourage a complete reliance on memory, it appears that the
developers of the board exams have intentionally maintained a contentheavy pattern, where the students are graded mainly on exact
reproduction of the textbook content. Therefore, it appears that the
madaris students classwork does not provide knowledge and cognitive
capabilities that help them engage critically and take on challenges of
modern professional world. However, the public school students seems to
be relatively more advantaged, as they are offered knowledge and
cognitive skills that can help them at least earn blue-collar jobs. These
jobs mostly require mechanical work to carry out regulations, plans, and
policies made by others.
In contrast to madaris and public schools, the elite school knowledge is
socially prestigious, modern, and analytical. Their classroom practices are
also designed to equip them with the cultural capital of personal

expression, active use of ideas, thoughts and concepts, meaning-making,

creativity, and the manipulation of socially prestigious language. The
students are graded on standards of their academic analysis, independent
thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving skills. Thus, the overall purpose
of elite school education seems to be the promotion of the human
intellectual capacities related to creativity. This kind of empiricism is
socially reproductive because it provides a framework for independent
thought. Therefore, it appears that the elite students schooling experience
generally prepares them for leadership roles in the job market and society.
Such roles predominantly require the cognitive capabilities of analysis,
reflection, inference, comparison, planning investigations, and making
logical decisions. To conclude, we argue that an interplay between the
structural forces, school-level institutional practices, and students
responses to these structures and practices contribute to the passing on of
privilege to the children of the wealthy and to cementing the
disadvantages for students from poor and underprivileged families and,
hence, contributes towards social class reproduction.

1- At the time of this study (2007-08) 1 U.S. dollar was equivalent to 88 Pakistani
2- Noor-ul- Ezah was originally written in 9th century by Sheikh Hasan bin Umar
bin Ali bin Yousaf, and translated by Allama Maqbool Ahmed, and published by
Zia-ul-Quran Publications, Karachi, in 2010. This book is still widely used in
current madaris.
3- Pakistan Studies for classes 9-10, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore. Approved
by the Ministry of Education (Curriculum Wing) Islamabad, Vide NOC letter No.

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Towards a Student-Centered Classroom
Nabeeha Al Junaibi & Dr. Solomon Arulraj David
The British University in Dubai, UAE

The research was about the consequences and changes of the new
reforms which were established by Abu Dhabi education council. Said
reform changes the education system from a teacher-centered approach to
a student-centered approach. The paper aims to find out the issues related
to the teacher because of this change and the challenges faced by the Abu
Dhabi Education Council in implementing the reforms and changes. The
wide information and secondary data were collected to understand the
terms student-cetered and teacher-centered approaches and the changes
and reforms of the schooling system. The results found that teachers
faced many problems as the student-centered approach resulted in panic
and disturbance in class, which is not what teachers usually need in class.
The classroom in the student-centered approach is less orderly compared
to the teacher-centered approach. A number of advantages and
disadvantages have been found in the results and findings.
The formal education until the middle of the 20th century was only
available in few of the lands of United Arab Emirates. In 1960s, the first
formal education system was established inspired by the system of the
British model, and the system was financed directly from the Emirates
Treasury. In 1970, the real modern school system began with the
independence and establishment of United Arab Emirates. The first
university was launched after 6 years in 1976. Now only one schooling
system is shared in all Emirates with equal opportunities. According to the
law of UAE, all citizens of age 9 have the right to get education, but it has
found that the law has not really been enforced and a number of children
are unable to receive formal education. Education is free for all in UAE at
all public institutes from Montessori to university (Lightfoot, 2014). Free

education includes the uniform, transport, equipment, and books all of

which are free of charge. Non-citizens are also allowed to access the
education system for free in public institutions. Since 1990s, private
institutes have come at all levels of formal education with ever increasing
speed. This development of public institutions was encouraged by the
government. However, private institutions are not for free, and they
require that students pay tuition fees. In some cases, the fees are beyond
the means of the citizens. Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) has
designed a new school model, whose first phase was launched in 2010. It
was aimed to establish a new system of teaching and learning (Randeree,

Problem of statement
The Abu Dhabi Education has changed the system approach from
teaching centered approach to student-centered approach where students
are provided to learn in advanced technology atmosphere with modern
teaching facilities. The paper is about to investigate the challenges and
problems to Abu Dhabi Education council for the new school model and
its impact on teachers as the council has changed the approach from
teachers to students.

The formal education system of the United Arab Emirates is very
important and the new approach of the student-centered approach
launched by Abu Dhabi Education Council is a dramatic change that the
teachers, students and school itself might suffer or get impacts of this
change. The student centered approach is new change as it was never
practice before in UAE thus, the teachers assumed to face problems and
challenges and the challenges of the change would might resulted in the
challenges to the ministry to implement the change.

Significance of paper
The paper is about a new school model and its approaches. It seeks to
help to understand the significance and weaknesses of the new system.


The reform is significant, but it leads to many challenges, such as

problems for teachers, learners, and others.

Research questions

What are the consequences of the student-centered approach?

What are the benefits from the teacher-centered and studentcentered approaches?

What challenges are faced by the Abu Dhabi Education Council

in the reforms?

What are the effects of the student-centered approach on


Literature review
Effective practices of successful schools
Research has revealed that students who feel a connection with their
school, or simply like it, behave better and perform better academically.
Academic engagement helps students to achieve their goals and
objectives. In addition, such students are more involved in the classroom
and tend not to miss class or drop out of school (Leithwood et al., 2008).
In this way, learners competency and academic achievement improve.
Furthermore, when students engage in the school environment physically
and mentally, they feel emotionally safer and more secure. This enhances
their flexibility and resilience. Studies have borne out that students feel
greater satisfaction or engagement with school when they feel connected
to their education.
In 1999 a study was conducted which showed that students who had
experienced higher levels of interpersonal support made nearly a one and
a half year gain in reading achievement scores, while students with low
levels of interpersonal support made only a half-year gain. Similarly, in
maths, students with high levels of interpersonal support made nearly a
one and two thirds year gain, while students who had had low levels of
support made less than a one-year gain. An environment of

connectedness cannot be created by teachers alone. It is also greatly

affected by the policies and philosophy of the school leadership (Davis 2005).
When the school leadership makes efforts to engage the students, it has a
stronger and more powerful effect on the students than the efforts made
by the individual teachers to increase the connectedness. The message that
teachers and school staff ought to give to all students is: We know you
can achieve this goal and objective. We will therefore support you in
accomplishing your aims, and we will hold you accountable for working
towards this objective (Leigh Sanzo 2011).
The first practice observed were school-based programs meant to build
the interpersonal connectedness within small learning communities that
emphasize the enhancement of academic performance. The Institute for
research and reform in education started an FTF program whose main
goal was to build respectful, productive and close relationships among the
students attending the school and the adults working in it. Among the
programs more remarkable features are the high student-adult interaction,
the low ratio of student-adult in core classes, and their high behavioral
and academic standards. Students were paired with staff advocates so that
they would inform the parents about their childrens behaviour and
academic performance, and act as counsellors or mentors whose task was
to polish the students capabilities (Johnson, 2007).
The means of promoting a positive and effective school environment is to
create a zone of emotional, academic, and physical safety. The creation of
this safety zone includes the implementation of strategies, through which
students are encouraged and feel that they are competent and valued. In
this way, students will be motivated to act with respect and pride towards
the policy and property of their school. Such environment creates the
feeling of satisfaction and, due to this, students find it easier to create
interpersonal connections with their teachers and peers. In addition, in
such contexts, students tend to present fewer behavioural problems
(Duke & Pearson, 2008).
Particularly, when staff members treat the students respectfully in the
schools unstructured common areas, such as playgrounds, lunchrooms
and hallways, student connectedness and respect increase. At the same
time, clear rules and protocols for maltreatment should be established by

the school so that students feel secure or safe outside the classroom.
These measures should build the physical and emotional safety that
ennables students to reveal their potentials.
PBIS is a process that aims to enhance the schools capacity to provide
better education to all students by establishing research-based school
systems. The main focus of this process is to enhance the ability of
schools to teach the students and support their positive behaviours (Davis, 2005).
PBIS provides schools with an effective system to design, implement, and
evaluate efficient schoolwide discipline plans rather than a prescribed
plan. PBIS includes the processes and procedures that are adopted for the
staff and students in all settings within the environment of school. PBIS is
not a curriculum or a program; it is a process based on a team for
systematic problem solving, planning, and evaluation. Schools that
implement PBIS have a safer or more secure environment as shown by
the assessment of 33 elementary schools in Hawaii and Illinois (Crum et.
al., 2010).

Teachers professional development

Teachers professional development is necessary in the school
connectedness and the concepts in the processing professional
development must be understood by the educators and what the
education means. In 2007 a set of nine standards for the professional
development were created by the National Staff Development Council.
The standards include the quality teaching, collaboration, content
teaching, research basis, family involvement, diverse learning needs,
evaluation, student learning, teacher learning and data driven design. On
the other hand it is still not decided to determine that information has
benefited the education system accountable measures are being gathered
or not. The development of person in his or her professional life is
referred as the professional development (Almazroa, 2013).
According to the researchers they thoroughly gain the increased
experience in their professional growth by gaining the increased
experience in ones teaching role through the examination of teaching
ability. The researcher said that the part of professional development
experience is the professional workshops and the other formally related

meetings. The researcher said that in a much broader scope professional

development in comparison of career development is defined as a growth
that occurs through professional cycle of teacher. Other organized
services and professional development programs are designed to enhance
the growth of teachers that can be used for further development
(Ingvarson 2005).
The person should examine the experiences so that they know how the
process occurs and it will takes place. In the professional development
and in-service training this is a new way of teaching that consists of short
term courses and workshops to present the teachers new and innovative
information on the particular aspects of their work. It was hypothesized
that over the past few years due to the regular experiences or
opportunities yielded a systematic development and growth in the
teaching profession. For the professional development it is a new module
or new image of teaching education and it is referred as dramatic shift. In
the past 15 years there have been standards-based movements for reform
(Consortium for Policy Research in Education) (Gandara 2005). The
main factor of this reform effort has been that efficient professional
development has produced a knowledge base that has assisted to
restructure and transform quality schools. The most studies on the
professional development include the relationship of professional
development with the students achievement (Desimone, 2009).
Researchers vary on the extent of this relationship. Variables are the
teacher, student and school level related to the level of learning within the
classroom, community and parent involvement, instructional strategies, ,
curriculum design, student motivation, classroom management and
student background knowledge. It was concluded on the basis of reviews
of several studies that there is a significant effect of the professional
development activities that teacher experienced on the student
achievement. Professional development has three characteristics that
include content knowledge, overall coherence of staff development and
opportunities for active learning (Ingvarson 2005).
A list of characteristics published by the Richardson that are associated
with efficient professional development that states such programs would
optimally be long term with follow-up;; foster agreement among
participants on goals and visions; state wide; encourage collegiality; have

access to adequate funds for materials, have a supportive administration;

outside speakers, substitute teachers, and so on; encourage and develop
agreement among participants; make use of outside facilitator/staff
developers and acknowledge participants existing beliefs and practices
(Gandara 2005). Effective professional development as an extended
face of classroom instruction that is incorporated, on-going and
incorporates experiences and logical that are constant with teachers
objectives; assessments, aligned with standards other reform initiatives,
and beset by the best research evidence. Professional development is
consistent with best practice that is sustained focus over time (Almazroa,

Student and Teacher- centered approach centered approach

Student centered learning is the new approach and it is also called as
learner-centered education. It is a new approach and method of teaching
and learning which shifts the instruction to the student from teachers. The
original aim of the student centered approach is to reach to the idea to
hand over the learning path and responsibilities to the students in order to
provide the independency and autonomy to the learners. It is mainly
focuses on the skills and abilities of the learners and student in order to
make them able and decision maker and independent to solve their
problems. The theory of student centered approach is based o the theory
of the constructive learning and it emphasised the critical role and
responsibilities of the learners in terms of constructing new ideas and
meaning of the information and sharing experiences (Quintana
The students interest and experience and knowledge is placed on first
priority in student centered learning. In the centered classroom of the
student centered approach is based on the idea to provide the opportunity
to the students to choose about what to learn in classroom, how to learn
and how and what to assess from the learning. Its alternative is the
traditional education system of the world that is teacher centered learning
which aims to provide the rights and opportunities to the teachers to play
active and important role in learning and students are considered as
receptive (Roeser 2012).


In teacher centred approach, the teacher is allowed to choose in the

classroom about what student should learn, how to learn and what and
how to perceive learning and students are considered as non participant in
responsibility of learning and pace of learning while in student cantered
learning students are fully participate in the learning process and focus on
their own learning pace. In student learning approach, the teacher plays
the role of facilitator to the learner in terms of individual not for the
whole class as it emphasises on each student in terms of their abilities,
skills and interest (Crompton, 2013).

Curriculum design and learning outcomes

Curriculum development is a complete process that is aimed to improve
the curriculum. Different approaches have used in the development
process of the curriculum. Most common approaches and practices
involved analysis, design, formation, selecting and review. The analysis is
based on the analysis of the tasks and needs while design is based on the
design of objectives. The ways of the development and understanding of
the curriculum is changed over time in last many years. Curriculum is
considered as the planning and guideline of the learning from the schools
sometimes carried in group while sometimes individually outside or inside
of the school. The curriculum gives the basic route to the teachers and
students both for what and how to move and highlight key points as the
planning and guide of the learning and the definition of the schooling
(Tan 2013).
There are four approaches of the curriculum practice include: product,
process, context and praxis. Curriculum is a social activity or project. As it
is believed by many educationalists that curriculum cannot be understood
effectively or changed significantly without the attention to its context or
settings. It is shaped contextually and its special significances are the social
relationships and the examinations of the school that includes the
organization of the classes, tracking and the teacher-student relationship
nature and so on. These all factors are known as the hidden curriculum
(Johnson & Firn, 2013).
The education that is linked with the hidden curriculum is most often
treated in a negative way. It is an education that provides the interests and
is smuggled in the status quo. Most commonly the many school systems


stressed on the time management, on tracking and on regimentation and it

sometimes seen as that young generation is preparing for the world of
capitalist production. There is need that we have to identify such hidden
curricula that can be potentially beneficial and are not all negative. The
hidden curricula in so far facilitate the students to increase their socially
valued skills and knowledge and to shape their own subcultures and peer
groups, they may add to collective and personal independence and to
possible challenge and assessment of existing institutions and norms
(Luke 2013).
We can learn about importance of spaces between the lessons, if pay a
great attention to the social context. This can be started to get better hold
on the impact of socio-cultural and structural processes on the students or
teachers. The mostly problems in the school that happened are due to the
inability of the leadership of schools and teachers to see the strong
elements behind the education or learning. Social structure, power
struggles, family dynamics and economics all have a contribution in the
learning process (Voogt 2011).
The outcomes of the learning are the declarations that demonstrate as an
outcome of learning what a student will be capable to do so. Learning
results that are clearly stated helps the students to understand what is
being expecting from them and also help the staff members to get focus
on the matter that they are wanted from the students to attain. Learning
outcomes are the particular achievements of the students that are
measurable and specify the least suitable standard for a student to capable
to pass a course or module or threshold level. But sometimes there is
confusion between objectives, learning outcomes and aims but aims are
defined as large goals or purposes whereas objectives are referred as the
tutor intension (Sheshadri 2015).
Action verbs are used by the learning outcomes to illustrate the ability of
students that they are capable to perform the following tasks at the end of
the course, degree program or session. However, learning outcomes are
the best to shun the words such as understand and know in the good deed
of verbs that are more specific that describe to illustrate their
understanding or knowledge what a student can do? The assessment of
this will be easier. For example is a teacher want that students know or
learn the dates of queens and kings of England then a learning outcome is

that knowledge will be tested, if they will be able to list them and if the
teacher want that student understand how learning outcome is divided by
cells might be that students can explicate the process (Savery, 2015).
The school leadership should align the learning outcomes with the
remaining curriculum. So the course outcomes will be achieved by the
contribution of the session learning outcome that in turn has a
contribution in the program outcomes. All learning outcomes must be
aligned with the evaluation. The achievement of learning outcome is very
important and to pass the learning outcomes are written at the threshold
level, so the learning outcome explain the needs that a student must fulfil
to pass a course that means at undergrad level it is 40 percent. There
should be no need of aspiration learning outcome but a minimum is
needed to pass the exams and it does not explain what we hope that the
best students will achieve (Vincent & Focht, 2011). What is achievable at
various levels is very important to consider, within the time and available
resources (Luke 2013). We set ourselves a clear focus for the content
at the start of the course design process by setting achievable learning
outcome. The assessment of learning outcomes is very important that
does not mean setting of lots of assignment is needed. Evaluation of
learning outcomes with one piece of work is often possible for the
courses and the learning outcome for sessions will be informally assessed,
based on the discussions or classroom tasks (Johnson & Firn, 2013).

The qualitative approach was more appropriate for this research paper as
a way to understand the issue and problems as experienced by those
involved. In addition, it is easier to conduct and takes less time to process
than the quantitative research. That is why this research project applied
qualitative strategies with little use of a survey and statistical data.

Technique of data
The primary data was collected through a survey. The secondary data was
collected from secondary sources, e.g. articles, previous research papers
and journals, reviews, books, and others.


The population of the sample consisted of teachers involved in the new
school model. The sampling was done randomly, using the census

Size of sample
We selected 50 participants, an adequate sample size for our project. This
population did not need to be as large (around 200) as would have been
required if our study had been quantitative in nature.

Gender of the participants





Out of all the respondents, 60% were women, while 40% were men. As is
common in the Gulf, the men-women ratio in schools tilts towards the
The participants age











Half of the respondents (50%) were between the ages of 26-35, while 30%
of them were between 36-45. The smaller group (20%) were between 1525. There were no respondents older than 45.
The respondents designation






Our research included teachers (70%), school principals (20%), and

ministry personnel (10%).
Did the respondents agree with new school





The respondents were asked about whether or not they agreed with the
new approach of the Abu Dhabi Education Council. A significant
minority (40%) said that they did, but the majority (60%) answered that
they did not. Given the ration of the disagreement, it may be stated that
most of those involved are unhappy with the changes.

The new school model is expensive.

Strongly agree








Strongly disagree



When the respondents were asked about whether the new school model
approach was expensive, the majority said that it was: 40% simply agreed
with the promt, while 40% of them strongly agreed. A small 10% of the
respondents declared themselves neutral, while a mere 10% believed that
the changes were inexpensive.

The revenue of the school will increase with new

school model.
Strongly agree








Strongly disagree



The respondents were asked whether or not the new approach might lead
to a loss of revenue for the schools. Half of them (50%) were of the
opinion that it would: 30% of them strongly agreed, while only 10%
remained neutral. A bare 5% of the respondents disagreed, while 5% of
them strongly disagreed.

Teachers should change their way of teaching in a

modern schooling system.
Strongly agree








Strongly disagree



The respondents were asked whether or not the teachers should improve
their teaching style to effectively perform in the new student-centred
approach. The majority of them agreed: 40% strongly agreed, while 30%
of them simply agreed. A minority showed themselves neutral (20%),
while only 10% said that they disagreed without further qualification.

The findings of our qualitative research indicated that both the teachercentred and the student-centred approaches to teaching and learning have
advantages and disadvantages. In most situations, teachers spontaneously
seek for the approach, method and techniques that are more beneficial
and useful for all the students. They do not tend to focus on a single
However, our research also suggested that the teachers faced problems in
the student-centred approach. They lost some of their control over the
class which led to the teachers having less authority. When the learners
occupied centrestage, they thought that they were allowed to do whatever
pleased them.
The debate about teacher- and student-centred education is long. Both
approached emerged as attempts to bring about the best education system

In teacher-centred education, the main focus is on learning from the

teacher. So, students mostly listen, and teachers talk or show them what
to do. Also, during the learning activities, the students tend to work alone.
During our study, teacher-centered education was praised because it more
easily guarantees classroom discipline. Students are kept busy by the
teacher with activities and explanations. Students tend to work alone, so
they can easily make decisions on their own. The process is directed by
the teacher, so there is less chance that aspects of the topics be missed
out. On the other hand, it was found that students did not communicate
with each other much, so they were deprived of opportunities to hone
their comminicative skills. Additionally, students easilty get bored as they
must passively follow instructions. Also, the students are given fewer
chances to express themselves through questions and answers; this
prevents them from fully engaging in their own learning.
As for the student-centered approach, the focus is on the students and
their own learning. Instead of listening continuously to the teacher, the
students interact with one other and with the teachers equally. Group
work and group activities are encouraged. The students zoom in on their
communicative skills and team work, both of which are essential for their
future. Students tend to learn more effectively as they ask direct questions
to clear up understandings. The interest of the students also often
increases with the type of learning activities which place them at the
centre of the educational process. Having said all that, there are also some
disadvantages to the student-centered approach. The classrooms are often
noisy, busy and chaotic as students are continuously involved in talking,
asking, and answering. When students are allowed to work on multiple
stages of the activities, it becomes difficult for the teacher to control and
manage the the classroom. In the eyes of most repondents, the studentcentered approach was expensive and might lead to loss of school
In recent years, the debates about the two approaches have been common
despite the fact that a lot of teachers favour the student-centered
approach, whereas a significant number of students remains in favour of
the teacher-centered approach (Roeser 2012). The results showed
that the challenges in the student-centered approach in Abu Dhabi are
many and that the teachers have limited the new approach espoused by

the Abu Dhabi Education Council because they assumed that the changes
would negatively impact their performance as educators.

The Abu Dhabi Education Council has switched from the traditional
teacher-centered approach to the student-centered approach. This new
perspective was formalized in 2010 and brought about risks and
challenges. The student-centered model was meant to provide the
students with a more advanced, technological learning atmosphere with
modern-styled teaching.
This research sought to find out how the reforms were being perceived by
teachers, students, and ministry staff. Most of the respondents believe that
the new student-centered framework is costly. The costs involved in the
student-centered classroom are high (e.g. to ensure that the necessary
technology for modern student-driven participation is in place). The new
expenses incurred by schools will have a negative impact on the schools
revenue and income.
For the reforms to work, the general perception of student-centered
education, its challenges and its risks (not to say dangers) must be taken
seriously by the policy makers and the school management.

We would like to recommend that the Abu Dhabi Education Council take
the general perception of the reforms seriously. For example, a mixture of
the student-centered and the teacher-centred approaches could be
endorsed at least for some time. The schools should find ways to
enhance student participation without giving the idea that they have full
authority in the classroom.
Secondly, the students should be allowed to ask questions and to
communicate with both teachers and other students more often than they
do at present.
Finally, schools should be helped financially so that the reforms do not
negatively impact their finances.


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Dr. Jacques Mostert

Assistant Professor, American University of the Middle East, Kuwait

Behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (BESD) within the
classroom setting have become a modern phenomenon of education.
Teachers have to compete with mobile technology, increasingly shorter
attention span of young people and rising government expectations of
student achievement. Add to that an increasing sense of disengagement
and it is clear that we need to develop a deeper understanding of
maladaptive behaviour in our classrooms to empower us (teachers and
policy makers) with the tools to deal with the prospects of twenty-first
century education. Teaching the unteachables have become mainstream
and like most phenomena we start addressing the problem by forming an
in-depth understanding of the beast of maladaptive behavior we face.
In this chapter I wish to investigate four questions that may broaden our
appreciation of maladaptive behaviour and BESD. What factors
contribute to the development of maladaptive behaviour and BESD?
How does the environment contribute to the onset of maladaptive
behaviours? Why do some students cope despite experiencing adversity?
How can we address maladaptive behaviour in the classroom?

Who are The Unteachables?

For twenty years, I have had countless encounters where parents and
caregivers have questioned my take on their childrens behaviour in Class.

Anecdotal evidence of disbelief in the unruly and maladaptive behaviour

can be found in every staffroom in every school across every continent.
Maladaptive behaviour is not gender, cultural or socio-economic specific.
It is true that we more often hear of the Unteachables from the
disadvantaged community schools than from the Fee-paying education
community. However, as educators, when we talk about our classroom
experiences we all have one thing in common, maladaptive behaviour is
present in some form or the other in all schools to varying extent.
Understanding maladaptive behaviour in the classroom doesnt suggest
that we are trying to establish a definitive list of causative influences.
Especially when we have to acknowledge that there is no conclusive
forecasting tool we can use to determine the outcome of learning in any
given classroom for any given group of students. I propose that the lack
of emotional development of young people is a significant contributor to
maladaptive behaviour in the classroom.
Learning is frustrating, we all remember that highs and lows of our own
continuous learning process. The classroom, at its most dynamic, is a
boiling pot of heightened emotional states: the triumph of conquering a
mathematical Everest and the soul-destroying defeat of a failed quiz are all
ingredients of our daily soup of learning. In a healthy learning
environment, the teacher is the master of balancing the ebb and flow of
emotions, the balance between triumph and failure. An outstanding
teacher knows when to challenge and push students to the brink of their
ability and then pulls back with reward and praise.
However, when skills deficits in basic learning tools such as language and
communication, numeracy and emotional awareness are absent, the
balance between the ebb and flow of emotions in the classroom is
disrupted and is replaced with sustained heighted frustration. We consider
the behaviour to be maladaptive which consequently turns into BESD if
resilience is not developed to withstand the impact of the frustrations
caused by the learning process. Poor communication skills of learners
with BESD may manifest as maladaptive behaviour in the classroom
(Fox, 2001; Lane, Gresham, F.M., & OShaughnessy, T. E. , 2002). In the
same way, deficits in language and communication, social behaviour,
emotional responses, motivation, attention deficit, self-esteem and self-


regulation, collectively contribute to an index of barriers to learning

(Tankersley, Landrum, T.J. , Cook, M. , & Fitzgerald, S., 2007).
Secondly, we have to recognize the impact of emotional overload as a
contributor to maladaptive behaviour (Fox, 2001). Emotions, as raw and
intense as only adolescents can experience them, play a significant role in
the onset and display of maladaptive behaviour. All behaviour has an
emotional tone to it (Schaffer, 1996) and when we consider the emerging
development of the orbitofrontal cortex (where emotional control
originates in the brain) in young people, it is evident that the lack of
emotional control results in stronger displays of emotively charged and
often maladaptive behaviour.
Behavioral, emotional and social difficulties manifest in two main forms:
externalising and internalising behaviour. Externalising maladaptive
behaviour manifests through aggression towards people or objects in the
environment. This includes verbal aggression, such as swearing, shouting
out inappropriately and lying, and physical aggression, such as disruptive
behaviour, bullying, destruction of property and violence to others
(Harcomb, 2001; Biehler & Snowman, J. , 2003; Fox, 2001). When such
behaviour is introduced to the formally organized (Schaffer, 1996)
boundaries of the classroom, it increases the manifestation of poor-to-fit
behaviour that inevitably leads to the ineffective teaching and learning of
all who fall within the learning community of such a classroom (Rogers,
2004). Thus, at closer examination of our understanding of maladaptive
behaviour we see that the deterioration of supportive relationships
between students, their peers and teachers appears at the heart of the
On the other hand, internalising behaviour is best described as where a
student fades into the background, becomes socially withdrawn and the
amount of social interaction with adults or peers...drops considerably
(Harcomb, 2001). General anxiety and an inability to decode social cues
may lead the student to withdraw from the social interactions that are
important during the learning process. Albeit internalising behaviour may,
on the face of it, present as good or adaptive behaviour, the lack of
interpersonal relationship development may contribute to ineffective
learning in the classroom.


Thirdly, the inability to recognize and discriminate between appropriate

emotional reactions is a weighty contributor to maladaptive behaviour.
Activity within the classroom as well as the interactions between the
student and the learning environment are dynamic and fluid and can best
be described in terms of either good-to-fit or poor-to-fit behaviour (Harcomb,
2001). Simply stated, it is healthy and appropriate to play with a basketball
during recess on the sport field (good-to-fit behaviour) however, playing
with the same basketball during a science experiment is dangerous (poorto-fit behaviour) and is classified as maladaptive behaviour. In the same
way, it is appropriate and healthy to feel disappointment and even anger
when a friend has slated your proficiency to shoot-the-hoop during break
time however, allowing that anger and frustration to manifest in a scuffle
the science lab is not appropriate and most certainly not safe and healthy.
A students inability to discriminate between good-to-fit and poor-to-fit
behaviour often contributes greatly to maladaptive behaviour.
The persistence of poor-to-fit behaviour may be associated with school,
family or other environments (Frederickson & Cline, 2002) and behavior
is placed on a continuum ranging from disruptive behaviour to BESD,
which in turn can lead to serious social and personal problems (Poulou,
2005). Not only does the clarification of poor- and good-to-fit behavior
provide teacher with an emotionally intelligent tool to manage his or her
own perceptions of maladaptive behavior, it also provides the teacher
with a way to address the young persons behavior with him or her in a
depersonalized way.

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle

We so often try to assign blame for the current state of education. Voices
from both sides of the political spectrum propose causative factors for
failing educational outcomes. Yet, no definitive prognostic tool has been
able to explain why some students cope, despite the most adverse
circumstances and other fail despite the most encouraging environments.
This leaves us with the question of how the environment contributes to
developing maladaptive behaviour? Bioecological Theory provides a
foundation from which we can understand the learning experiences and
the onset of maladaptive behaviour of students with BESD. This includes

the students biological disposition as well as the external stimuli and

relationships they experience during the process of learning.

Bioecological Theory
Bioecological theory proposes that the interaction between humans and
their environment (your students and the interaction within your
classroom) form the foundation of human behaviour (Bronfenbrenner,
1979). As individuals interact with their environment they adjust to the
changes in the environment, subsequently developing new characteristics
suitable to the specific environment. Through interactions and
relationships within the linked systems specific behavioural patterns
emerge and develop and are in turn transferred from one setting to
another (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). In other words, the behavioural patterns
that we as individuals witness and then adopt in our homes, our
neighbourhoods and larger community become the behavioural patterns
we see in our classrooms. This of course is nothing new: after many a
parents evening I have heard the echoes of teacher bemoaning like father
like son or she is just like her mother support the theorys premise of microsystemic impact. Moreover, fashionable crazes that see young men with
trousers receding and the near-narcissistic fad of selfies show how mesosystemic influences contribute to behaviour.
Relationships are the key ingredient in reducing maladaptive behaviour in
the learning environment. At the risk of stating the obvious, students
learn when the relationships in your classroom are positive and
supportive. To provide a sharper focus on teaching and learning, your
students capacity to adapt and develop new characteristics that are
suitable to your classroom environment is central to developing healthy
adaptive learning behaviour that will contribute to their learning
processes. In other words good-to-fit behaviour is essential to the
effective learning of the young person.
Furthermore, to place behaviour in the context of bioecological theory we
must consider Bronfenbrenners understanding of role. The students
role in the classroom or on the playground comprises of a set of activities,
relationships and interactions that are expected from a person within a


particular position in that microsystem (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). Behaviour

that fits this role is thus a direct result of the young persons
understanding and acceptance of his/her role. The functions of other
roles within the setting invite or inhibit behaviour that is associated with a
given role and thus, good-to-fit behaviour requires that the young person
acquires a repertoire of various roles that contribute to the reciprocal
relations within specific settings. When there is nonconformity between
the expected role and explicit behaviour, there is a state of conflict within
the setting that disturbs the balance of power within the setting and the
young person. Bronfenbrenner makes this clear when he indicates that
firstly, pressure from peers, to engage in specific behaviour, has been seen
to play a significant part in how students conduct themselves
(Bronfebrenner, 2005). Secondly, the general characteristics and
expectations of the school has a noteworthy impact on learner behaviour
and finally, the home background remains a substantial indicator of
behaviour patterns (Bronfebrenner, 2005; O'Donnell, Schwab-Stone, &
Muyeed , 2002). Students acceptance or rejection of specific roles that
they themselves, peers and adults take on within the classroom
contributes to the overt behaviour displayed and thus influence the
learning experiences.
Although Bioecological Theory provides a foothold for understanding
how settings, proximal processes and relationships influence the learning
experiences of students with BESD, there is still a dearth in our
understanding of why some students cope and others become subject to
learning regression.

Resilience Theory
The single strongest ameliorative factor of maladaptive behaviour is the
ability of the young person with BESD to develop resilience.
Resilience is multidimensional (O'Donnell, Schwab-Stone, & Muyeed,
2002) and depends not only on the biological disposition of the individual
but also on the social-ecologies (Ungar, 2008) in which the individual
lives. To understand the experiences of students with BESD and
maladaptive behaviour, it is imperative to understand how risk and


promotive factors function within the dimensions of biological and

environmental influences.
Coping in the face of adversity is a significant life skill that is often
overlooked in the construction of education strategies and pedagogy. The
resilient child is one that works well, plays well, loves well and expects
well (Benard, 1991) and I would like to add, learns well.
Resilience is the continuous process (Coleman & Hagell, 2007) of
adjusting our emotional and behavioral responses to ecological high-risk
situations (Fergus & Zimmerman, 2005; Coleman & Hendry, 1999;
DiRago & Vaillant, 2007). Resilience is achieving good outcomes
notwithstanding the impact of adversity (DiRago & Vaillant, 2007). Thus,
resilience is considered as the intrinsic process through which individuals
and communities deal with the impact of adversity (Ungar, et al., 2007;
Armstrong, et al., 2005).
At the heart of developing resilience is the dynamic interplay between risk
and protective or promotive factors (Coleman & Hagell, 2007). I prefer to
use the term promotive factors above the traditional protective factors. As I
will make clear later in this chapter, protecting a young person too much
is actually counterproductive to developing resilience, where as promoting
resilience empowers the young person to transfer resiliency across all the
microsystems he or she functions in.
Promotive factors consist of two crucial parts, namely assets and
resources. Assets are the internal factors or the individual attributes
(Coleman & Hagell, 2007; Ungar, et al., 2007) that are supportive of
overcoming adversity. Assets are the intrinsic characteristics contribute to
the self-regulation and self-efficacy of the individual. Internal assets
explore both dispositional and cognitive characteristics of our students.
These assets predispose individuals to characteristics that determine the
different ways in which they will self-regulate, develop social competence,
develop self-efficacy, optimism, future-mindedness and an ability to solve
problems as well as respond to adverse stimuli (Wachs, 2006). Firstly,
dispositional assets encapsulate the temperament of the young person. As a
biologically rooted asset, temperament is already manifested from an early
age and remains relatively stable across a variety of situations and over the
course of time (Wachs, 2006). The most distinctive feature of learning is
that it is emotionally and motivationally loaded (Bronfebrenner, 2005)

therefore it is reasonable to propose that temperament is particularly

important in understanding how students experience learning. We
understand learning in the light of emotive connotations, personal beliefs,
self-doubts, anticipation, self-determination and optimism or pessimism.
Thus, some young people who are socially competent, emotionally
intelligent and capable of lateral thinking are more inclined to be resilient
(Boyden & Mann, 2005). If we keep in mind that students with BESD
have particular difficulties in processing emotions, it is easier to
understand how your experience the dynamics of the learning
environment. This relation between environment and emotion directly
links our students inner worlds with their experiences within our
Secondly, biological assets include cognitive capacity, prior acquired
knowledge and skills that support the effective developing of the personal
interactions between the individuals and their environment. Intelligence,
the absence of Special Educational Needs, or SEN (DiRago & Vaillant,
2007), a sense of self-determination and self-regulation all contribute to
resiliency during adverse circumstances (Newman, 2004).
Resources are the external factors such as family, peer and community
attributes that support the individual in overcoming high-risk situations
(Coleman & Hagell, 2007). Positive family conditions such as the
extended family and support structures, as well as outside structures
including social clubs and societies provided through community
networks, promote a positive trajectory in developing resilience (Li,
Nussbaum, & Richards, 2007; Armstrong, Birnie-Lefcovitch, & Ungar,
Conversely to promotive factors, risk factors are stressors (Compas, 1995)
that have an adverse impact on the development of an individual. Cooccurrence of different risk factors at the same point in time (Coleman &
Hagell, 2007) augments the risk gradient to which the developing young
person is exposed and thus increases the probability of maladaptive
behaviour to occur. Independent stressors, over which the individual has
no control, include biological risk factors, family risk factors and
community risk factors (Feinstein, Duckworth, & Sabates, 2004). Unmet
SEN might prove to be an insurmountable impediment to the successful
development of interpersonal relationships within the mainstream

classroom. In addition, physiological aspects contribute to the physical

ability of the individual to withstand risks on a personal level. In addition,
SEN have a great influence on the risk a learner may face in adverse
circumstances, and often students with BESD face several biological
impediments that may influence their resiliency during times of adversity.
It is important to note that non-independent stressors are brought about
by the young persons own choice of behaviour over which he or she has
the control to avert the risk trajectory through making positive choices.
At this point it is important to consider that the continuous growth of the
adolescent brain and ongoing development of the orbitofrontal cortex
(through which emotional regulation and moral decision-making occurs)
means that complete emotional competence and rational decision-making
has yet to occur (Bechara, Damasio, & Antonio, 2000).

A Balancing Act
A balanced interaction between risk and promotive factors form the
strongest pathway to developing resilience (Armstrong, Birnie-Lefcovitch,
& Ungar, 2005). An adverse encounter can in itself contribute to the
young person developing the assets needed to foster resilience. In
addition, exposure to risk can have a positive influence in developing
resilience (Coleman & Hendry, 1999) if the encounter is balanced by
support of promotive resources. In other words, allowing our students to
fail a test or come last in the race may in reality contribute more to
developing resilience (Boyden & Mann, 2005; Ungar M. , 2008). Counterintuitively, showering our students in unfounded positive feedback and
protection from adversity may actually have deleterious outcomes on the
development of resilience. For instance, while absence of protection from
parents lead to a sense of abandonment and no transference of skills to
deal with the same stressors, over-protective parenting does not allow the
young person to develop skills to cope with the normal stressors of life
either. Thus, where either risk or promotive factors, outweigh the other, a
lack of resilience will have a negative impact on the learning experiences
of the learner with BESD. Figure 1, below, shows how the lack of, for
instance, the internal assets of an individual, as a promotive factor, may
contribute to an imbalance between risk and promotive factors. This

imbalance may in turn cause the individual to find coping with adversity

Figure 1 The Impact of Assets and Resources on Resilience

In both Resilience and Bioecological Theory, the environment of the
developing individual contributes to the personal outcomes of the young
person. For instance in Bioecological Theory the Bio, Micro-, Meso-,
Exo- Macro and Chronosystems contribute to who and what a person
becomes. In the same way, Resilience Theory postulates how the
temperament, family, peers, community and political ideologies contribute
to the balance of risk and promotive factors over a span of time have an
influence on the individuals development of resilience.

Networks form the environment in which our students spend the majority
of their developing years. The immediate family, neighbourhood, peer
networks, the daycare center, our classroom and the unstructured
environment the young person spends time in after school, all incorporate

patterns of activities, roles and interpersonal relationships that contribute

to how your students will react in the learning environment.
The relationships and interactions within the immediate networks
influence the proximal adjustment of our students. This is not a passive or
uni-directional process (inasmuch as the young person also has an active
impact on the adjustment of other individuals within the environment).
Simply stated, individuals feed off each other, act and react to stimuli
whist continuously making adjustments in behaviour. It is therefore clear
that relationships are at the heart of any learning process whether the
learning takes place in our classrooms or on the playing fields. Thus, to
develop a deeper understanding of how variance in the young persons
proximal relationships contribute to maladaptive behaviour we need to
understand the anatomy of relationships first.

Bronfenbrenner identifies three functional forms of dyadic relationships:
primary dyad, joint activity and observational activity (Bronfebrenner,
2005). To understand the functioning of the three dyadic forms, it is
important to note that they are not mutually exclusive and can occur
simultaneously as well as separately.
A primary dyad is a relationship that exists between two parties (either a
parent, significant adult or a peer) when they are not physically together.
The persons have a significant emotional impact on one another and
reciprocal influence on behaviour in absentia of the setting. In addition, a
mutual emotional attachment
Bronfenbrenner, 1979) supports the development of the young person
and leads to internalization of behaviour. Such a dyad exerts a powerful
force in motivation and steering of the behavior of the young person
(Bronfenbrenner, 1979). For instance a student may depend on
remembering the advice of a significant adult (a parent, teacher of youth
worker) or peer to cope during a difficult situation in the classroom
despite that specific person not being present. In the same way, the strong
influential force of a negative peer or the adverse influence of a
disaffected parent or sibling may be a negative excursion on a students


behaviour. Thus the young person is much more likely to develop skills,
knowledge and values from a person with whom they share a primary
Secondly, it is during the joint activity dyad that the young person and
other active participants such as family members, we as the teachers, peers
and members of the community participate in corresponding activities.
Reciprocity forms a vital part of the healthy development of a young
persons interpersonal relationships. However, a balance of power where one
member of the dyadic relationship is more influential than the other
usually develops in the joint activity dyad and this forms the foundation
for a possible learning relationship. In this dyad, both cognitive as well as
social and behavioural development of the young person are advanced.
However, not all learning relationships are between teachers and students.
We often see on the playground or the community park where a more
dominant peer becomes an influential force within the peer group,
become the leader of steering force of the group. These affective relations
may be positive, negative or asymmetrical leading to an increased risk for
disaffection and maladaptive behavior.
Finally, the observational dyad exists where young people observe the
activities of another person for a continuous and expanded time. In this
relationship, the observed person, through an overt response to the
attention being paid, acknowledges the attention that the young person is
paying to the actions. However, this dyad may also expand in later years as
the developing individual starts emulating other role models, either from
popular culture or within the peer group or school setting. Primarily, this
dyad consists of the parent and the developing child, which places
emphasis on the importance of the family in the development of the
young person. However, the observational dyad also happens on the
playground, in your classroom and on social media where it has a much
stronger formative impact on the young person.

Immediate Networks
Immediate networks consist of the relationships within the direct
environment surrounding the young person such as the family, peer

groups, school, community as well as significant adults. It is important to

state that both risk and promoting factors exist within the immediate
networks. During the learning process, students can experience a range of
influence within the family, the active covariance with peers within and
outside school, the neighbourhood or community as well as the influence
of significant adults. The balance, or lack thereof, between the risk and
promotive factors contributes to our understanding of how the learner
experiences the learning process (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Immediate Networks

Family Influences
The family as a risk factor plays an important role in the trajectory of risk
behaviour of the individual (Coleman & Hagell, 2007) (Shannon,
Beauchaine, Brenner, Neuhaus, & Gatzke-Kopp, 2007). There are four
broad areas of family risk that contributes to the development of
maladaptive behavior in our classrooms: parental neglect, conflict through

coercive parent-child relationships, deviance through exposure to

criminality and deviant attitudes and family disruption play a significant
role in whether the young person will cope or not.
The family relationship, including the degree of conflict in the parentchild relationship, is the single strongest (Rumbaut, 2000) cause of highrisk outcomes. The impact of poor parenting through harsh and
insensitive parenting styles, a lack of nutrition, basic health care and
emotional support increases the adverse effects of the family as a risk
factor on the young person (Newman, 2004). Moreover, parental
aggression, crime, depression, anxiety, and underachievement are all
aspects that are linked to high-risk parent-child relationships (Adams &
Bruce, 2002).
Even though the family unit of a young person may frequently contribute
to risk factors (Cooper, 1993), promotive factors within that family also
contribute to fostering resilience (Landau, 2007; DiRago & Vaillant, 2007;
Li, Nussbaum, & Richards, 2007). A healthy parent-child relationship is
also the strongest contributor in fostering beliefs (Newman, 2004)
(Armstrong, Birnie-Lefcovitch, & Ungar, 2005; Benard, 1991) attitudes
and moral codes in children (Armstrong, Birnie-Lefcovitch, & Ungar,
2005; Beam, Chen, & Greenberger, 2002). Despite the risk factors that
manifest in high-risk families, care and support from a significant adult,
such as a teacher who is outside the family unit, presents a substantial
protective effect (Benard, 1991) on young people with maladaptive
behaviour. For instance, positive feedback from any significant adult
fosters an awareness of trust, which in turn forms the critical groundwork
to develop resilience.
Albeit a significant adult has an important role to play in preventing or
ameliorating maladaptive behaviour, the influence of peers is one of the
strongest impact factors that help the young person with BESD to
develop resilience in the classroom.

Peer Influences
In all aspects of the young persons development, two seemingly opposing
characteristics dominate his or her social growth: the need for autonomy
and acceptance (Vostanis, 2007). Peer influences, among at-risk young
people, have the least positive influence on developing resilience (Luthar

& Zigler, 1991). Partaking in unstructured or low-structured activities with

peers is often associated with deviant behaviour (O'Donnell, SchwabStone, & Muyeed, 2002). The influence of peers on the developing
individual is especially important where adolescents are concerned
(Coleman & Hendry, 1999). Peer rejection and peer deviance increase the
possibility of the young person to engage in maladaptive behaviour
(Coleman & Hagell, 2007). However, peer support forms a substantial
facet in dealing with social, moral and emotional barriers (Boyden &
Mann, 2005; Newman, 2004) and positive peer encouragement contribute
greatly to the cultivation of resilience (Criss, Pettit, Bates, Dodge, & Lapp,
2002). Moreover, peer group acceptance and connectedness forms a
stronger moderator of behavior than friendship only (Criss, Pettit, Bates,
Dodge, & Lapp, 2002; Coleman & Hagell, 2007). Thus cultivating a
positive peer culture (Brendto, Mitchell & McCall, 2007) and peer
mentoring models (Brendto, Mitchell, & McCall, 2007) within the school
or community are one of the strongest promotive factors in cultivating
In contrast to the negative effect of peer group interactions, the uplifting
effects of peer influence significantly contribute to developing resilience in
adolescents (Ungar, 2000). Research has shown the success of
intervention through positive aspects of peer association (Ungar, 2000)
and that individual choice is more effective through association with peers
(Ungar, 2000). The peer group is seen as a platform for collective
construct of both peer and individual distinctiveness and expression of
self-worth and association rather than a platform for conformation.
In addition to the interactions within peer groups, the interaction between
different peer groups have an influence on the development of individual
in terms of social identity (Benard, 1991; Ungar, 2000; Newman, 2004;
Maras & Cooper, 1999), decision-making, personal expression (Cooper,
1993), and reinforcing or undercutting aspirations (Rumbaut, 2000). In
cases of disaffected students or those with BESD, the peer group forms
the biggest source of autonomy, acceptance and emotional security,
followed by influence of peers in the neighbourhood, where negative
activity and a high prevalence of substance abuse and violence contribute
to the sometimes causative influence of peers on poor-to-fit behaviour in
school and in the neighbourhood (O'Donnell, Schwab-Stone, & Muyeed,

School Influences
A variety of impediments within the school system may serve as risk
factors preventing the young person from thriving in the mainstream
school environment. The lack of support services for students with either
SEN or BESD within the school system may be one of the most
significant impediments to developing resilience. Negative effects that the
school as a system may have on the behaviour of students with BESD
include a narrow curriculum, negative educator attitude and lack of access
to teaching and learning (Cooper, 1993). In the life of a young person, the
school becomes a significant agent in the social and developmental
process and the general atmosphere of a school has a telling impact on the
general behaviour of students in that school (Bronfebrenner, 2005). The
school serves as a protective shield (Benard, 1991) against risk factors
within the community and even the family through Initiatives that
encourage student voice (Cooper, 1993; Davies, 2005) and career choice thus
providing the young person with a sense of autonomy and futuremindedness. In addition, access to a challenging curriculum that is not
watered down (Benard, 1991) and a school-wide ethos of high academic
expectations forms a vital segment of promotive factors (Benard, 1991). A
caring atmosphere is important and connection with significant adults
(Beam, Chen, & Greenberger, 2002; Cooper, 1993; Benard, 1991) such as
mentors and teachers adds to the expansion of promotive social
One of the highest risk factors that the young person displaying
maladaptive behavior may experience is a lack of attachment to the school
community (Ungar, 2008). Through sustained personal attention from
significant adults; availability of school-based projects; high expectations
from the school community and gained responsibility in the social
structures of the school (Benard, 1991) the young person can build a
feeling of belongingness and develop significant ties with the school
community, which in turn promotes resilience.

Community Networks
Community based resilience models have shown that the impact of high
expectations on the community; support structures in terms of cultural
societies; clubs, church and other religious affiliations, the role of the

police and business in a community and once again the role of the school,
all contribute to protecting at-risk individuals against adversity. In multicultural societies culture contributes to a sense of community, however
community cohesion may be a more intricate outcome to achieve since
conflicting values and ideologies often collide (Ungar M. , 2008). Here the
school, as a cornerstone in the community and as a binding factor in a
multifaceted society, plays an immeasurable role in supporting the learning
process of the learner by providing an understanding of positive
citizenship and opportunities to contribute to the greater benefit of the
community. The larger community may also contribute as a promotive
factor in the young persons development of resilience. Such community
resources are considered in terms of: connectedness; tangible assets
(Landau, 2007); high expectations; positive community cohesion (Li,
Nussbaum, & Richards, 2007); providing education; culturally appropriate
structural provisions and recreational facilities (Benard, 1991; Armstrong,
Birnie-Lefcovitch, & Ungar, 2005; Ungar, et al., 2007).
The socio-economic status of the community has a significant impact of
the performance of schools. For instance disadvantaged schools are
inclined to suffer from more teacher shortages, insufficiency of
educational materials and physical infrastructures than advantaged schools
(OECD, 2012). In addition, stressors such as poverty (dearth of basic
needs such as shelter, electricity, clean water and safety), and high-risk
communal behaviour (Shannon et al., 2007), the presence of gangs and
marginalization of minorities (Newman, 2004) have a direct influence on
the ability of the young person to develop resilience.
How often do we confuse the uncooperative behavior of a hungry young
person with maladaptive behaviour? How often do we assume that the
young person that falls asleep during the test is lazy rather than spending
the night awake because of criminality in the community? These may
seem like simple examples, yet it is worth remembering that risk factors
within the community more common than we tend to know of, especially
if we as the teachers do not live within the communities of our students.
In addition, within a multicultural environment, a compelling perspective
on the community as a risk factor is revealed through considering the
impact of migration on the developing child (Rumbaut, 2000). The impact
of being alien to a community causes profound distress and is augmented

through a lack of understanding of communal systems, a lack of

command of the language and conflict that may arise as part of integrating
into a multi-cultural setting.

Significant Adult Influences

Although parents are the most important adults in the lives of children
(Beam, Chen, & Greenberger, 2002), significant adults outside the family
(Southwick, Morgan, Vythiligam, & Charney, 2006; Boyden & Mann,
2005) have an immeasurable impact on the social development of a young
person. A positive adult relationship is seen as one of the most imperative
promotive factors in developing resilience (Benard, 1991; Southwick,
Morgan, Vythiligam, & Charney, 2006; Brendto, Mitchell, & McCall,
2007) inasmuch as that a significant adults provides acceptance. A
significant adult can be a source of high expectations and moral guidance,
motivation, inspiration and fosters self-efficacy and self-esteem. Often
these significant adults are found in the school in the form of a favorite
teacher or learning mentor, however, such a significant adult can also be a
member of the community or volunteers at a youth club and thus a
significant adult is not included under the umbrella of either the school or
the community as promotive factor.
There is also a risk element to the influence significant adults can have on
the development of the individual learner. Paid relationships (caregivers
and social workers) with adults are less authentic than naturally developed
relationships with developing young people and this may have an impact
on the efficacy of the promotive influence a significant adult at school or
a youth club may have and this may determine when the role of teachers
and community counselors are to form an integrated part of a resilience
based learning programme.
In addition, without treading on controversial territory, the negative
influence of an incongruity power relationship between a vulnerable
learner, such as one with BESD, and significant adults that are not
sensitive to their role of influence in the development of the learner may
have a detrimental impact on the developing individual. Risk elements
may range from insufficient training in Child Protection policies and
practices to intentionally harming vulnerable individuals. The risk that


significant adults pose to students is of great importance and professionals

must be aware of these risk at all times.

Family, School and Community Relationships

When schools, families and the community work in collaboration to
maintain high expectations, students are predisposed to experience better
educational outcomes in school, to remain in education for longer and to
like school more (Harris & Goodall, 2007).
The quality of parental involvement in the school and participation in the
school community can have a promotive effect on students behaviour
and achievement (Desforges & Abouchaar, 2003; Harris & Goodall,
2007). On the other hand, the absence of establishing or sustaining a
relationship between the school and the family is one of the most
important risk factors in developing resilience (Harris & Goodall, 2007).
Reasons for inconsistent home-school relationships lie on two levels:
firstly, the parents views of his or her role in the home-school
relationship, their perceived reassurance in communicating with teachers;
and secondly, the quality of communication with the school (Harris &
Goodall, 2007)

Impact of Time
[T]ime plays an instrumental role in bringing societal, political and
economic changes that have the potential to affect meaning and
behaviour for individuals and the interpretation of behaviour by the
community (Ungar, 2008) Development that occurs within a setting
happens over a period of time, set in motion and sustained through
patterns of motivation and activity, and referred to as chronosystems
(Bronfenbrenner, 1979). The importance of time and the developmental
process is understood in terms of biological development, exposure to
influences and previous life experience.
The sustained exposure to specific patterns of behaviour within any
setting contributes to the development of specific behavioural patterns of

the young person. Thus, chronic exposure to adversity increases negative

risk trajectories and increases the possibilities of damaging outcomes.
Research has shown that risk has a cumulative effect on a young persons
development (Ungar, 2008) and thus risk factors such as exposure to
adversity in the family life, poverty, adversity in the neighbourhood and
community and social deprivation are aspects that have a prolonged effect
on the developing child (DiRago & Vaillant, 2007; Criss et al, 2002). The
young person may be exposed to prolonged neglect within the family,
which may result in maladaptive behaviour, BESD and SEN. The
influence previous life experiences have on the subsequent development
of the individual contributes to our understanding of why some young
people are resilient. In terms of developing resilience, a prolonged
exposure to adversity or protection is vital for the young person to
cultivate mechanisms to help him/her cope during adverse or stressful
Resilience develops over time (MacDermid et al., 2008). Outcomes of the
individuals growth depend on the developmental stage; repetition of
adverse and protective factors and the time span across which the learner
experiences the risk and protective influences. In the same way as an
extended exposure to risk projects the developing individual towards
negative outcomes, so sustained exposure to resources have a significant
influence on the resilience of the young person (Newman, 2004). Such
resources are promotive family, peer and neighbourhood factors, the
continuity of the promotive teacher-child relationship and continuous
support through agencies. Thus, the continued exposure to promotive
factors is vital. For instance, prolonged contact between the significant
adult and the young person reinforces a feeling of trust and worth and in
many cases of students with BESD ameliorates the deficit in
connectedness in the family (Beam, Chen, & Greenberger, 2002). In the
same way, positive peer support forms a vital ingredient in coping with
adverse situations across an extended period of time. Therefore, building
relationships over an extended period of time has a significant impact on
the development of resilience of the young person.


How to develop resilience in the classroom

Constructs of risk and promotive factors are often described as different
sides of the same coin (Grickenko, Jarvin, Kaani, Kapungalya,
Kwiatkowski , & Strenberg, 2007). Where risk factors refer to the negative
trajectory of influencing factors, promotive factors contribute to the
manifestation of positive functioning (Grickenko, Jarvin, Kaani,
Kapungalya, Kwiatkowski , & Strenberg, 2007) of the individual regardless
of vulnerability. Introducing a turning point (Coleman & Hagell, 2007)
suggest that an interruption to the increasing trajectory of risk factors
through a culmination of promotive factors is vital to the development of
resilience (Armstrong, Birnie-Lefcovitch, & Ungar, 2005). At the heart of
teaching the unteachables lies six core principles: respectful
communication, providing consistency in expectations, providing effective
teaching and learning environments, implementing effective behaviour
management, sustained home-school liaison and finally to develop
promotive peer relationships.
The role the classroom teacher plays is vital in determining the success of
the learning process. Negative relationships experiences such as an
absence of reciprocal respect, rejection by teachers, strained relationships,
a dearth in restorative justice and negative teacher/adult expectations
contribute to maladaptive behaviour in the classroom. To developing
promotive teacher-learner relationships respectful communication (from
both the teacher and the young person), access to significant teacher
relationships, adult support and individual attention should become part
and parcel of classroom interactions.
Respectful communication is a key aspect of developing promotive
relationships and it is vital that the teacher understands and accepts his or
her position as a role model in working with learners with BESD. When
young people believe that the adults who seek to influence their
behaviour hold predominantly positive feelings towards them, they are
more likely accept their guidance and allow their thinking and behaviour
to be influenced (Cooper & Cefai, 2009). Thus a whole school ethos
where teachers live and teach by a principle of good will and
tenderness, in conjunction with clear negotiated behavioural boundaries,


provides the best environment supporting respectful communication with

young people.
The second principle in teaching the unteachables is teachers
consistency in expectations across the board. This is vital to establish
an atmosphere fairness and equality in any classroom. Rewards and
punishments are part and parcel of what we do as teachers on an everyday
basis. Reward strategies may include token economies; positive phone
calls home and praise cards. As teachers we might lean toward a positive
reward strategy in order to ameliorate maladaptive behaviour in the
classroom. For a reward-based strategy to work three vital aspects must
be remembered. Rewards must be immediate, pleasant and certain. In other
words, the young person must have an expectancy value that when the
pro-social behaviour occurs, the reward will be given immediately without
fail. Moreover, the reward must be of specific value to the young person.
This is a long-term strategy that takes much in patience and consistency
from the teacher. However, for the strategy to be effective and long
lasting it is imperative that rewards used in the classroom are earned. The
young person the presents with maladaptive behaviour must be rewarded
in the same way as all the learners in the class in order to support his or
her self-confidence. It is also imperative that the teacher is a role model
for the behavior of the reintegrating learner: behave, as you want the
learner to behave.
The third principle in teaching the unteachables depends on the teachers
ability to create effective teaching and learning environments. When
we consider maladaptive behavior in the classroom, this becomes the
most challenging of the principles to achieve. Creating an effective
teaching and learning environment includes the physical environment and
sustained effective teaching practices based on respectful communication
with learners. If a classroom resembles the chaotic environment that the
young person comes from, be it in the community or emotionally, it
makes maintaining high expectations very difficult. By using the
environment as a metaphor for structured and consistent high expectations, it
becomes easier to model how we want young people to behave. In
addition, teachers who plan lessons well often have less behavioural
problems in class. Lessons that consist of intermittent pull factors
(interesting and active participation) are more successful than lessons that
are based on push factors (teachers as drivers). Having a secure

understanding of what you want to teach and how you want the young
people in front of you to learn leaves additional scope to address the very
specific needs of the young person with maladaptive behaviour.
Students displaying maladaptive behaviour often feed from the attention
of peers. Some of the peer attention might even be from well-meaning
students who want to support the teacher, thus causing even more
disruption and even possibly conflict. Therefore creating an
understanding among all students that responding to the maladaptive
behaviour will not be permitted; an atmosphere of calm provides the
opportunity for the young person with maladaptive behaviour to learn
through the modeling of peers. Such an effective learning environment
reduces the opportunity for conflict and helps to establish a respectful
atmosphere conducive to developing promotive teacher- learner
In the same way, the fourth principle of maintaining effective behaviour
management strategies goes hand in hand with creating an effective
learning atmosphere. To establish effective behavior management
strategies we need to adhere to consistent and predictable structures in
our lessons; we should be flexible in dealing with the needs of young
people with BESD without bending the class rules; we should develop a
strong friendly rapport with our students, support positive peer relations
through group work. A tall order indeed. In addition, the teacher and
supporting adult should consider and negotiate a range of strategies to
remind learners with BESD of good-to-fit behaviour prior to the
reintegration. Finally, the teacher provides an opportunity for respectful
communication through accepting and encouraging learner voice.
Teachers should always genuinely listen with no pre-judgement to both
sides of the story and include scope for hyperbolized emotional expressions
especially with the learner with BESD. This does not suggest that rude
and abusive behaviour is acceptable, but it is important that teachers
consider that learners with BESD often do not have a command of social
competency. Thus getting to know the learner on a different level (their
fears and anxieties, hopes, dreams and personal strengths and SEN) and
modeling reciprocal respect (as would be expected from the learner) will
provide the learner with a sense of social justice. This will also contribute


to developing a platform from which promotive teacher-learner

relationships can be developed.
The fifth principle is to develop sustained home-school liaison. Clear
and effective strategies for working with parents are vital in supporting teachers
to develop a sound relationship with the family. The most important
aspect of working with parents is respecting the parents role in addressing
maladaptive behaviour. A positive attitude, proactive communication and
collaborative working are essential in fostering a home-school trust
relationship. So very often, we as teachers place the emphasis on the
parents role in addressing the young persons behaviour that we forget
that we are in this together. Collaboration, or singing off the same hymn sheet,
is a more effective strategy than covertly playing the blame game.
In addition, it is important for teachers to listen to parents needs and
their alternative suggestions in addressing their childs behaviour in class,
in order to become active partners to support the family. If parents feel
welcome and are received in a friendly inviting environment, they are
more likely to engage in difficult conversations and it is easier to sustain
the trust relationship between the home and school.
Establishing parenting groups to negate risk experiences such as neglect
and facilitate academic support through augmenting parenting skills is
important. Positive family support constitutes a significant factor in the
positive adjustment for learners with BESD (Leung et al., 2003).
The final principle is to encourage promotive peer relationships. Peer
acceptance is a stronger moderator of behaviour than friendship only
(Criss et al., 2002). Promotive peer relationships can be fostered through
Peer mentors, extra-curricular activities and volunteering societies.
Peer Mentors are learners, who as positive role models, that volunteer
their time to work with peers during the academic year to support new
learners to the school or learners who experience adversity such bullying.
The Peer Mentor may serve as a buddy once a week during break and
lunchtime, sustained by a scheduled Peer Mentoring programme to
develop promotive emotional competence. The pairing of the dyad,
setting goals and delivery of the programme is designed and monitored in
such a way that both the mentor and the mentee experience benefits from
the discussions. Peer Mentor-mentee meetings are held once a week at a

time that does not impede the academic progress of either. Candidates
who want to become a Peer Mentor are interviewed during which the
suitability of pairing the specific mentor and young person with BESD is
considered. It is also important that the mentor is committed to an
extended period of time. Moreover, it is important to continuously
evaluate the relationship between the peer mentor and mentee to ensure
that a high-risk relationship does not develop from the pairing.

Extra-curricular Activities provide young people with maladaptive

behaviour the opportunity to engage in promotive healthy activities
beyond the periphery of the neighbourhood and their immediate peer
group. Young people with maladaptive behaviour should be signed up to
participate in at least two after school extra-curricular activities of their
choice during which they can develop relationships with peers that engage
in promotive, structured recreational activities. It is important that these
clubs or activities are pleasant in order for the reintegrating learner to
experience a balance between academic progress and structured and
managed free time. If the school does not present after school extra
curricular activities appropriate youth clubs may serve the purpose.
In addition to extra curricular activities, young people with maladaptive
behaviour will benefit from voluntary work in the community. This
contributes to the young person developing promotive relationships with
adults in the community while contributing to the benefit of the
community. Through volunteering time, the active covariance towards
high-risk relationships in the community declines and less unstructured
free time to spend with high-risk peers in the community is aleviated.

Teaching the unteachables starts with developing a deep and empathetic
understanding of the young people with BESD in front of us. We need to
understand the impact of their biological assets and the resource networks
(within which they have developed and continues to develop) have on the
way they function within the boundaries of our classrooms. Without such
an understanding it becomes overly taxing for teachers and students to
flourish in the educational environment. The concepts of good-to-fit and


poor-to-fit behavior to as core tenets of understanding the students

behaviour not only provides teachers with a tool to manage our personal
interactions with maladaptive behavior in our classrooms, but also allows
us to foster a deeper understanding within young people of their own
Throughout this chapter, I have aimed to form an appreciation of which
factors contribute to the development of maladaptive behaviour and
BESD. Together, the reader and I have recognized how the biological
systems of young people with BESD have an influence on their
behaviour. In addition we aimed to understand how the environment and
networks within which young people function contribute to the onset of
maladaptive behaviours. We have recognized how these networks have a
dramatic impact through parenting deficits; adverse peer influence and
hardship in the neighbourhood have an impact on what they consider to
be appropriate and acceptable behaviour within the classroom. In
addition, the adverse bearing political policies, economic indicators and
ideology have on these networks have contributed to a deeper
understanding of the onset and sustained impact of maladaptive
behaviour in the classroom.
However, we have also seen that young people with BESD can develop
resilience despite the adversity they face within the above-mentioned
networks. We have seen how a balance between risk and promotive
factors appreciably contribute to developing resilience, and that an
imbalance through the absence of either risk or promotive factors may
lead to a want in resilience. The presence of a promotive significant adult
such as a teacher, coach or youth leader can offset the adverse impact of
deleterious peer of neighbourhood influences. Community cohesion
through positive leadership within the community, either through the
school or youth involvement can prove advantageous despite a lack of
resources and facilities.
Finally, I have made a series of suggestions to develop promotive factors
that may help to counterbalance risk factors: these include respectful
communication, providing consistency in expectations, providing effective
teaching and learning environments, implementing effective behaviour
management, sustained home-school liaison and finally to develop
promotive peer relationships.

Despite our aim to understand how to teach the unteachables in our

classrooms we are left with some uncomfortable questions to answer:
have our drive to provide more effective pedagogy, an inclusive learning
environment and democratization of the curriculum contributed to what
has been seen as the widespread impact of maladaptive behavior in
mainstream education? Why have we failed to provide less effective
teaching and learning environments in a multi-cultural, and socially equal
Western society than the more homogenous environments such as in
China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea (OECD, 2013)?
Together we may want to address these questions in earnest; however,
first and foremost we need to look inward to help us provide a sustainable
future for the unteachable and to develop a deeply felt empathy and drive
to teach them.

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Dr. Kgomotso Gertrude Garegae

University of Botswana, Botswana

Abstract: Lack of peace and peaceful living is an international

concern. Where tranquility abounds (unlike conflicts) there is love,
unity, and much is accomplished. Thus the chapter discusses how
the ethnomathematics program can be used to instill the concept
of peace and peaceful living in learners minds. The paper argues
that in most cases conflicts result from ignorance about other
nations cultures or ways of knowing, which in most cases are
expressed in artifacts such as painting, basket weaving, etc. It
further argues that in the era of globalization, indifference to
cultures other than ones own should be a thing of the past as the
world strives for unity in diversity. Using examples from
Botswanas mathematics syllabus for junior secondary level, the
paper shows how ethnomathematics can be used as a bridge
between peace and conflict in schools.
Keywords: Ethnomathematics,
cultural artefacts.




Like other African people, Batswana(2) treasure peace and tranquility.
Living together in harmony is a virtue that every family and/or
community strives for simply because to be human is to belong to the
whole (Mbiti, 1988:2). From a young age, children are taught a principle
of Botho (humane) which encompasses honesty, respect, tolerance,
friendliness, and compassion. In fact, peaceful living is intrinsically
intertwined with the countrys principles of democracy, development,

unity, self-reliance and Botho; all of which are encapsulated within the
ideology of kagisano [social harmony] (Botswana, 1977). The Setswana
language, for instance, is seen as a cord that binds ethnic groups and
cultures together, and thus the countrys vision is that:
By 2016, Botswana will be a united and proud nation, sharing
common goals based on a common heritage, national pride and a
desire for stability. The country will still possess a diverse mix
of cultures, language, traditions and peoples sharing a common
destiny. We will harness all of that diversity. We will have
achieved ethnic integration and full partnership to create a nation
in harmony with itself (Botswana, 1997).

The government believes that religion has a greater part to play in

imparting the values of peace and stability to people, and accordingly the
countrys constitution entitles each citizen to freedom of worship. No
wonder Botswana has enjoyed the absence of tribal and ethnic conflicts
and is usually characterized as stable and peaceful by observers.
Education is regarded as an indispensable tool through which to transmit
the principle of kagisano from one generation to the other. Likewise,
DAmbrosio believes that if the ethnomathematics program is infused,
mathematics education can instill in students the attitude and value of
peace and peaceful living. Following the ideology of social
reconstructionism, DAmbrosio contends that mathematicians and
mathematics educators can sensitize their learners about universal
problems facing humankind such as wars and conflicts. He believes that it
is teachers obligation to develop students critical consciousness (McNeil,
1996) so they can act responsibly with the new knowledge acquired. For
instance, educators can and should challenge students beliefs and help
them detest all types of unfairness including the degradation of other
cultural groups (DAmbrosio, 2007). DAmbrosios contention is that
through this kind of approach to teaching mathematics, students would
develop respect for both self and others, thus developing inner peace,
social peace, environmental peace and military peace. As a result,
ethnomathematics practices in schools favour respect for the other and
solidarity and cooperation with the other. It is thus associated with the
pursuit of PEACE (DAmbrosio, 2007:34). It is in this respect that this
chapter explores one way in which ethnomathematics program could be

used in the mathematics class to imbue in students minds, the concept of

peace and peaceful living.

Ubiran D'Ambrosio defined ethnomathematics as the mathematics found
in identifiable cultural groups from mathematics taught in schools. The
identifiable cultural groups included ethnic groups and others who apply
mathematics in their various jobs/careers such as engineers, bakers and
house wives. Thus ethno-mathematics encompasses all cultural attributes
such as language, codes, values, jargon, beliefs, food and dress, habits,
and physical traits related to quantitative activities including ciphering,
arithmetic, classifying, ordering, inferring, and modeling (D Ambrosio,
1987: 2-3, cited in DAmbrosio, 2001:308). The works of Lave (1988) with
women doing grocery and Manyika (2002) with housewives and kombi
(public transport) conductors are examples of the search to understand
how these groups use mathematics in their cultural corners.
Much of the ethnomathematical research has however focused on ethnicmathematics. Examples of such research include the book Africa Counts by
Zaslavsky (1973) who worked with African societies on quantitative
techniques and practices including games and past times; Ascher and
Aschers (1991) worked with the Incas of Peru who stored data on quipu,
a mop like ornament with slender, knotted cords tied along a thicker main
cord (Rauff, 2003). Other works include basket weaving in Southern
African women by Gerdes and the graph theory practiced by the Tshokwe
people in Africa, to mention just a few.The abovementioned research has
shown without doubt that almost every society has its own intuitive ways
of dealing with quantitative needs. For instance, Garegae (2005) explored
how Batswana used to measure volume and weight. Onstad, Kasanda and
Kapenda (2003) also investigated the mathematical activities of the people
of northern Namibia, particularly working with meat sellers, basket
weavers, and house and barn makers. Many more such studies have been
conducted the world over.
The current debate in the area of ethnomathematics is about its
integration/infusion in the curriculum with the aim of contextualising


school mathematics (Garegae-Garekwe, 1998) which is believed to be

abstract and difficult. Cherinda (2005) has incorporated twill weaving in a
mathematics class to help students see relationships between school
mathematics and home artefacts. Because the ethnomathematical research
has overlooked the cultural messages represented by these artifacts
(Garegae, 2007), focusing only on the artistic and esthetic manifestations
represented by arithmetic/algebraic and geometric patterns embedded in
the objects, the integrated indigenous knowledge also becomes abstract
and meaningless, thus failing to fulfill the intended outcomes. But Voltz
(1982: 45) accentuates that cultural artefacts have some significance in the
group and says that The language of the shapes, the designs, the myths,
and the colors, confirm the communitys sense of reality and give it
control over its own time and its own space, and that when masks are
used without full knowledge of the code, their articulative power is
reduced to a confused stammer (Voltz, 1982: 41).
The above quotations confirm that cultural artefacts are not made only to
adorn walls, ceilings, baskets, utensils, clothes, jewellery, and even the
human body itself, but may serve religious purposes as well
(Onstad, Kasanda & Kapenda, 2003:40) in addition to containing cultural
messages (quantitative & qualitative) that are of high importance to a
cultural group. This chapter explores the question: How can teachers use
the ethnomathematics program to inculcate an attitude of tolerance and
peaceful living in the minds of secondary school learners?

Causes of conflict among families and different groups

Conflict between families, local and trans-national societies
Peace is an indispensable commodity. Its absence results in turmoil
within, between and among nations. When individuals feel that their rights
have been trampled upon, they may show resistance or intend to revenge
later. In situations where reconciliation has failed, usually separation takes
place, especially in families, where factions may be formed and in the case
of conflicts among local and trans-national societies, war breaks. One of
the examples of family conflict is the historical Bakgatla tribe which
divided into two factionsBakgatla-ba-ga-Mmanaana and Bakgatla-ba-ga[96]

Kgafelawhen settling in Botswana. As a result of a misunderstanding

between two siblings, these tribes live in different locations
Moshupa/Thamaga and Mochudi, respectively. In local conflicts, ethnic
groups may despise each other; hate each other to the extent of wishing
the other partys extinction. Rwanda is a case in point. Religion, resources,
and border lines may also cause conflicts and disputes, and such are
sometimes based on the historical events concerning the tribes/ethnic
Trans-national wars are commonly caused by conflicts over boundaries,
resources or religion. For example, the Mfeqane wars fought in Southern
Africa in the 19th century were territorial. Some wars are fought over
natural minerals (e.g. gold in South Africa; crude oil in the Middle East).
Still, others are caused by religion or worship. Watson and Boag (2003:7)
in their literature review observed that religion reinforces tribal cohesion;
hence inter-tribal marriages are viewed with contempt and are vehemently
discouraged. To underscore the divisiveness of religion among societies,
Watson and Boag further say that:
Where religion matters most in this context is in respect of
peoples interest in maintaining or defending boundaries between
themselves and others. Typically the social dimensions of
religion; the ways in which people use religion as a banner of
identity to define themselves versus others, operate with the same
force and effect as other factors of ethnic differentiation (such as
language) in creating discrete social categories (Watson & Boag,

Religion cannot be divorced from cultural beliefs, values and norms.

Admittedly, these attributes are expressed through worship because it is
through it that people show respect and adoration to their gods.
Therefore, religious conflicts are also about protecting cultural beliefs,
values and norms.
Discussions above addressed conflict at macro level. But conflict may also
exist at a micro level. Micro level conflicts, if nurtured for a long time may
change into a macro level status. Because human nature is intertwined
with violence and aggression (Hinde & Pulkinnen, 2000), conflicts among
school children are not uncommon.


Conflict among school children

Schools do not exist in a vacuum. They are a miniature of the larger
society, thus beliefs, valuesgood or badare enacted in schools and
classrooms. For instance, if a class composes of one or two students from
a minority group, classmates from the dominant groups are likely to
despise such students, calling them names, if that is the norm of the larger
society. Although teasing and bulling seem to be a natural phenomenon in
schools, the victims develop hostility and aggression in the process (Hinde
& Pulkinnen, 2000), suppress it, and yet nurse it until the convenient time
for revenge comes. Further still, the abusers behaviour may be reinforced
by signs of pain in the victim and would want to perpetuate the conduct
even into adulthood. The childhood conflicts can continue later in life and
may trickle down to subsequent generations resulting in a vicious cycle of
hatred, jealousy and wars.
Teasing, bullying and conflict among students, can be construed as
resulting from misunderstanding between and among groups. The
recognition of being different from them, the us-them dichotomy, may
lead students to despise the other regarding themselves as superior
and/or deserving better service than the other party. They might think
they are better civilized while the other group is backward, despite their
lack of knowledge about the other partys ways of knowing, and how such
knowledge is expressed and stored. How can the integration of
ethnomathematics into the mathematics curriculum help to alleviate or
eradicate this detestation between and within the worlds societies? That
is, how can ethnomathematics entrench in the minds of learners, the
attitude of tolerance and learning to live together given that these are
future nation leaders? This chapter attempts to argue that
ethnomathematics can be used to promote good values in schools which
would ultimately result in harmonious understanding among learners of

Globalisation and the dilemma of intolerance

Being different is inevitable. It is part of nature. Scientists inform us that
no two human beings are the same; no two trees are the same even if

there are of the same species. Everything in the world is different. Race,
ethinicty, colour of hair, eyes or skin, height, culture, economic
background, etc. are all examples of difference. While differences in
height and colour may cut across borders, differences pertaining to values,
beliefs and norms are embedded in ones culture and shaped by the
environment. These values and beliefs are usually expressed through a
language (Oschrag, 2004) as observed by Arrington (1997:165) that
.. over an extended period of time, words, as a result of their use,
develop a tendency to cause specific beliefs and attitudes in those
who hear them, just as they develop a tendency to cause a person
to say certain things. [T]he meaning of a word [can] evoke a
specific set of ideas and attitudes and [is likely] to be used by a
person who has these beliefs and attitudes.

The above quote is suggestive that being different may cause

communication breakdown between people of varied cultural
Notwithstanding, globalisation and internationalisation on the other hand
promote interdependence and integration of countries in many respects
including cultural, political, and economic areas. Comparative education
and other cooperative bodies such as Southern and Eastern Africa
Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ) are
indicative that nations should depend on each other to improve education
systems in their respective countries. Nonetheless, collaboration in
research or business would be difficult between partners who are
intolerant towards each other. For example, countries with resources may
dominate those with no or limited resources. Teaching school-going
children that being different is unavoidable and that no human being is
inferior because of being different would go a long way in raising tolerant
future citizens of a global village. This chapter therefore contends that the
use of cultural artefacts or ethnomathematics in mathematics teaching
could close the gap of intolerance amongst nations.


Ethnomathematics as a bridge between peace and conflict

Although multicultural mathematics activities are important, they should
not be our final goal. As our students experience multicultural
mathematics activities that reflect the knowledge and behaviors of people
from diverse cultural environments, they not only may learn to value the
mathematics but, just as important, may develop a greater respect for those who
are different from themselves (DAmbrosio, 2001, 308) [emphasis mine]
Although ethnomathematics is construed in this chapter as inclusive of
ethnic-mathematics and application of mathematics in other disciplines,
(e.g. engineering), this section restricts itself to multicultural mathematics
activities with a focus on cultural artifacts. As stated elsewhere, decorative
patterns displayed on cultural artifacts are an expression of beliefs, values,
taboos, and religion of the identifiable people whose culture they
represent. A foreigner will only admire artistic patterns without
comprehending the messages therein. For instance, in Botswana, an
outsider might admire painted window panes (with mixtures of cow-dug
and soil) without knowing that they signify a mourning house. How
[then], can mathematics educators reaffirm, and in some instances
restore, the cultural identity of children (DAmbrosio, 2001:308) who
come from different cultural groups?
As observed elsewhere and in the literature, conflicts result from
misunderstanding. Misunderstanding means one party does not
comprehend or is misinterpreting the other persons message (verbal or
non-verbal). Misinterpretation can result from lack of understanding of
medium of communication, and since the language and symbols are
culturally situated, an outsider is bound to misunderstand the other
participant to the extent of despising him/her. As DAmbrosio has
pointed out, teachers can use ethnomathematical knowledge to eliminate
ignorance among school age going children. If for instance, students
through discussions and activities, are made to realize and appreciate the
complexity of codes, symbols, and quantitative activities of people from
other cultures, they will be tamed and develop attitudes of inclusiveness
knowing that they are living in a global world with people of diverse
backgrounds and abilities and that each is contributing meaningfully to
development of the same.

Ethnomathematical Teaching approach for imparting peace

and peaceful living values
The illustration in this section is based on a Junior Secondary School
mathematics curriculum. The objectives for the topic Geometry are in
Appendix A. To teach Form 1 (Grade 8), a teacher may use Figures 1, 2,
and 3 which are patterns from quilts made by African-Americans as a

Form 1 Objectives

Name polygons (square, rectangle, right-angled triangle, circle,

isosceles triangle, equilateral triangle, kite, parallelogram, rhombus
and regular polygons up to 10 sides)


draw the image of an object under reflection, rotation, translation

and enlargement


identify a reflection, rotation, translation and enlargement


describe fully a reflection, rotation, translation and enlargement

A teacher may start by asking students to name shapes (Objective 1, Form

1 syllabus) in the pattern. After discussing properties of identified shapes
(and other shapes), s/he may ask students if they know the utility of the
quilt pattern. Most students may not know any uses other than artistic
adornment. At this juncture, the teacher would inform students the
meaning of the pattern.

This pattern instructed

the slaves to travel to
the freedom and they
always traveled in the
northern direction.
Fig. 1: Northern Star


Then afterwards engage in a discussion on the advantages of using quilts

instead of pen/pencil and paper. Students may give the following as
reasons why slaves used quilts to transfer secret messages

letters may not last long (durability of chapter)

chapter may get wet during rainy seasons

letters may be discovered by their masters and result in some

form of punishment (whipping)

Those who were illiterate could not read the message

The log cabin

patterned quilts
hang on safe
houses on the
underground Rail.
Lamps were left lit,
hence the yellow
Fig. 2: Log Cabin

In this exercise students will appreciate the intellectual capability involved

in the strategies of sending secret messages, and hence realize that the
slaves were smart. The teacher may also ask students to speculate how
knowledge of secret messages was transmitted from one generation to the
other; a discussion that might enlighten learners on the importance of
education in their lives and the role the teacher plays in the system. The
teacher would then ask students to use polygons learnt to make a pattern
to improve the one shown to them. (Objective 2, Form 1 syllabus)
Still in Form 1, when addressing transformation, students will be asked to
produce similar patterns using a combination of reflection, rotation,

translation and enlargement (Objectives 2, 3 & 4, Form 1 syllabus;

Objectives 3, 4, 5, & 6, Form 2 syllabus). Below is an example of
questions/activities that can be given:

Find out how the slaves came about with this pattern

Dont use a ruler

b) Use a ruler to measure

The teacher then should emphasize the importance of estimation (or
making sketches) before the answer can be calculated.
Figure 2 also can be used in learning translation, rotation and

Form 2 Objectives

sketch and draw the net of a 3-dimensional figure


find a points position using direction (bearing), distances, and/or



describe fully a reflection, rotation, translation, and enlargement


recognize the differences between the transformations


estimate the size of an object in an enlargement or reduction

using a known measure or scale factor


measure the real size of an object in an enlargement or reduction

using a known measure or scale factor

Figure 3 can be used to meet most of the objectivesForm 1, objectives

3 &4; Form 2 objective 3 & 4that of identifying transformations used
to draw the arrows. Furthermore, Form 2s can be asked to make a frieze
of triangles at the top and bottom of a cylinder net through a combination
of reflection, translation, and reflection in that order. The same exercise
can be repeated in Form 3 but using the concept of parallel and
perpendicular line.


The flying geese told slaves to

follow the migrating geese
towards freedom. It also told
them the best season to leave
and the differently colored
arrows indicated the direction
in which they had to follow.

Fig. 3: Flying Geese

Form 3 Objectives:

Construct parallel & perpendicular lines


Construct triangles, quadrilaterals & regular polygons

Some of the questions that students could explore include the following:

Using the concept of reflection/parallel lines, construct a flying

geese pattern.

Discuss how these women could have constructed this pattern

without having measurement tools.

When using Figure 3 to meet objectives in the Form 3 syllabus, the

teacher may first remind students that cultural artifact makers depended
on their skill of estimations, and underscore the importance of making
rough sketches before doing the actual drawing. In the process of
acquiring skills for constructing polygons, students can be asked to
reproduce artistic patterns found in their respective homes/cultures
through accurate drawings of polygons. They may also be asked to
investigate if non-regular polygons can produce any systematic pattern.


Benefits of the ethnomathematic teaching approach

Traditionally in mathematics classrooms, the relevance of culture
has been strangely absent from the content and instruction. The
result is that many students and teachers unquestioningly believe
that no connection exists between mathematics and culture.
Failing to consider other possibilities, they believe that
mathematics is acultural, a discipline without cultural significance
(DAmbrosio, 2001:309)

This paper is a response to the above. We posit that when

ethnomathematics is incorporated into the classroom, in the process of
learning mathematical concepts, students will appreciate the works of
other cultures, especially when they find the material challenging. They
will realize that people in diverse cultures think differently, and that it
would be unreasonable to despise them, making violence and hatred less
likely to happen in schools. For instance, considering that the voluminous
information/data in cultural ornaments are stored in a succinct manner,
one cannot help it but admire the minds of those who first created them.
Also, students will discover that mathematical knowledge is value-laden,
and thus refuting the traditional approach of mathematics as observed by
DAmbrosio in the above quotation.
The ethnomathematics program, therefore, is an approach to teaching
mathematics (and other subjects) with the aim of making students
appreciate mathematics as a meaningful subject as opposed to an abstract,
acultural subject, and at the same time building them into good citizenry
by imparting values such as respect, peace, tolerance, equality,
responsibilityconsidering others as human beings who think differently
but not potential killers or objects to be massacred by sophisticated
weapons. Figure 4 below summarizes the potential benefits of
integrating/infusing ethnomathematics in the teaching and learning of
school mathematics.


Figure 4: Potential Benefits of ethnomathematics in the school curriculum

The chapter discussed ethnomathematics as a potential tool to eliminate
war and conflict among world cultures and nations. It showed how
ethnomathematical knowledge can be used to imbue peace and peaceful
living values to learners of mathematics. The chapter argued that lack of
knowledge about other cultures is a source of misunderstandings that
usually spark wars and conflicts, resulting in massive killings such as the
one witnessed in Rwanda. Nonetheless, we cannot, as human beings,
avoid the reality of difference. Ethnomathematics is seen as having the
potential to enlighten students about the quantitative indigenous
knowledge of other cultures thus instilling in them invaluable values such
as respect, tolerance and responsibility. Ethnomathematics, therefore, was
regarded in this chapter, as a bridge between peace and war.


1- The original paper was presented at the 11th International Congress of
Mathematics Instruction, Mexico, 2008.
2- The country is Botswana, the people are Batswana, and the language is

Arrington, R. L. (1997). Ethics II (1945 to the present). In J. V. Canfield (ed.),
Philosophy of meaning, knowledge and value in the 20th century. Pp. 163-196. London:
Ascher, M. (1991). Ethnomathematics: a multicultural view of mathematical ideas.
Pacific Groove, CA: Brooks.
Botswana (1997). Botswana long term vision: Vision 2016. Gaborone: Government
Botswana (1996).Junior secondary school mathematics curriculum. Ministry of
Education. . Gaborone: Government Printers.
Cherinda, M. (2005). Illustrating ways for acquiring mathematical knowledge by

exploration of twill weaving. In J. Adler (ed.), 1 African regional congress of the

international commission on mathematical instruction (ICMI). University of the
Witwatersrand, education campus Johannesburg, South Africa 22 - 25 June 2005
D' Ambrosio, U. (2001). What is ethonomathematics, and how can it help
children in schools?. Teaching Children Mathematics. Vol. 7 (6). Pp 308 310.
Garegae, K. G. (2007). Closing the missing link in the ethnomathematics
research: the socio-affective dimension of cultural artifacts. Alternative: An
International Journal of Indigenous Scholarship. 3(2): 46 -59
Garegae, K. G. (2005). Mathematics in different cultures and societies: the
Botswana case. In G. Sica (ed.), What mathematics from Africa? pp.--- Monza/Itally:
Polimetra International Scientific Publisher.
Garegae-Garekwe, K. G. (1998). Bringing mathematics into the classroom in a
meaningful way. In Y. Pothier (ed.), Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Canadian
Mathematics Education Group. P 51-57.


Gerdes, P. (1997). On culture, geometrical thinking, and mathematics education.

In A. Powell & Frankenstein (eds.), Ethnomathmatics: challenging Eurocentrism in
mathematics education. pp. 223-247. Reston, VA: NCTM.
Hinde, R. A. & Pulkinnen, L. (2000). Human aggressiveness and war. A chapter
presented at the 50th Annual Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs.
Queens College, UK retrieved on January 1 2008 at
Lave, J. (1988). Cognition in practice: mind mathematics and culture in everyday
practice. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Manyika, L. M. (2002). An investigation on the skills in Botswanas junior
secondary school curriculum in relation to the world of work: The case of streetvendors and house wives. Unpublished Bachelor of Education thesis, University
of Botswana, Gaborone.
Onstad, T. Kasanda, C. D. & Kapenda, H. M. (2003). Ethnomathematis: a link
between an abstract school subject, local culture & everyday experience. In P.
Chilisa, L. Mafele & J. Preece (eds.), Educational research for sustainable development.
pp. 36-56 Gaborone: Lentswe la Lesedi
Oschrag, C. O. (2004). Convergence amidst difference: philosophical
conversations across national boundaries. Albany: State University of New York.
Rauff, J. V. (2003). The varieties of mathematical experience: ethnomathematics
is a powerful tool for understanding other culturesmathematics Elsewhere. An
exploration of ideas across cultures. Book review. Natural History
The Hidden Messages (n.d.) (
retrieved on April 3 2006
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50th Annual Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs. Queens College,
UK retrieved at
on January 1 2008.
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Weber & Schmidt, Inc.: Boston.


Appendix 1: Excerpts of Junior Secondary School Maths Curriculum

Form 1


General objective


Specific objective


identify acute, obtuse, right, straight and

reflex angles


calculate angles using concepts of

supplementary & complementary
identify vertically opposite, corresponding,
alternate, interior angles
calculate the missing angles using the
concepts of vertically opposite,
corresponding, alternate, interior angles


c. acquire
knowledge on
d. Acquire
knowledge on

Form 2

a. Acquire
e in
r and angle

Name polygons (square, rectangle, rightangled triangle, circle, isosceles triangle,

equilateral triangle, kite, parallelogram,
rhombus and regular polygons up to 10
describe both line and rotational
symmetries of polygons
calculate the sum of interior angles of a
calculate the sum of exterior angles of a
calculate the missing angles in a polygon

x. add/subtract column vectors

xi. multiply a column vector by scalar
xii. draw the image of an object under
reflection, rotation, translation and enlargement
xiii. identify a reflection, rotation, translation and
xiv. describe fully a reflection, rotation,
translation and enlargement


Construct an angle bisector,

Construct perpendicular bisector

Form 3

b. Acquire

- in 3dimensional
figures and
i their

iii. name cube, cuboid, cylinder, triangular prism

iv. sketch cube, cuboid, cylinder, triangular
v. use paper, wood, wire to make -3-dimensional
vi. describe 3-dimensional figure when net is
vii. draw the net of a 3-dimensional figure

b. Acquire
on plans and

viii. Acquire knowledge on plans and elevations

d. Acquire

r on

ix. describe fully a reflection, rotation,

translation, and enlargement
x. recognize the differences between the
xi. mention real life examples of
xii. estimate the size of an object in an
enlargement or reduction using a known
measure or scale factor
xiii. measure the real size of an object in an
enlargement or reduction using a known
measure or scale factor
Construct parallel & perpendicular

a. Acquire
a in
& regular



Construct triangles,
quadrilaterals & regular

Source: 1996 Junior secondary school mathematics curriculum. Ministry

of Education, pages 5, 12, and 17.



Anes E. Abdelrahim Mohamed, University of Osaka, Japan
Akhtar Hassan Malik, University of Buraimi, Oman

Human life is a tension between history and possibility.

(Kohn, 1984, p.6)

Abstract: This article puts forth a new approach to language

education as a viable alternative to the existing ones. The new
approach which is called the dialectic approach is premised on
the observation that language education can either reproduce
the existing socio-economic structure as it is rooted in it or it
can consciously challenge it and set the stage for a different
one. As a consequence, it is argued that EFL practices are
glaringly out of step with the reality of English as a global
language and as such can only reinforce the status quo. A
detailed description is given of how the dialectic approach plays
out in the classroom.
Keywords: Dialectic, approach, language, education

Never before has the above quote been truer than today where humanity
is caught up in a historical moment of possibilities. In 2011, a powerful
wave of revolutionary movements swept through the Arab world and
spilled over into North Africa and beyond. These uprisings were triggered
by the contradictions lodged at the very heart of capitalist mode of
production. These contradictions are poignantly captured by this
Orwellian situation:
A young girl asks her father, "Why is it so cold in the house?"
"We don't have any coal", he says. "But why is there no
coal? she wants to know. "Because I lost our job", he
replies. Still unsatisfied, she asks one more time"And why


did you lose your job?" To which he answers, "Because there

is too much coal."
This situation tells the story of a world in which people suffer because
there is too much of everything. Thanks to neoliberalism or fast
capitalism, this inverted reality of not having enough because there is too
much has been replicated everywhere creating the conditions for the Arab
and the global uprisings. This global agitation is an expression of the
catastrophic disconnect between our highly developed technology
(possibility) and an outmoded socio-economic system (history). One need
not look further than the global economic crisis to see the absurdity of
this paralyzing economic system. Capitalism thrives on scarcity and so the
level of abundance in the world today is seen, in an Orwellian fashion, as a
big crisis. A better world is technologically possible but is hindered by a
history of scarcity-driven socio-economic system along with its distorted
and perverted value system. In short, the future is held back by the past.
What has this got to do with EFL? Like everything else, EFL is an
embodiment of the tension between its history and its possibility with
history still holding the reins. We often have the impression that EFL
exists in a blithe and cloistered world of faux academe where the world
outside is kept at bay. For instance, the prevailing approach to teaching
English language and culture is still CLT where culture is seen as a set of
communicative practices based on a monolithic notion of culture that
does not exist anywhere but the academic world. This seemingly apolitical
approach is as ideologically-laden as any other and can only serve to
reproduce the existing system.
There is a pressing need to bring EFL in line with the global changes in
the world today. EFL teachers should be able to play a constructive role
in reshaping the world in which they live. In this connection, it is worth
mentioning that neutrality is a dangerous illusion that not only it detaches
and alienates EFL teachers from the lived reality of the world but it also
makes them unwitting complicit in aiding and abetting in maintaining the
repressive status quo. In order to bridge the gap between EFL and our
global reality, a new model of language teaching and culture teaching in
general is in order.


The Dialectic Approach

This article lays out the theoretical principles and practical application of a
new practice-driven and globally relevant approach to language education
in general and EFL in particular. This approach which is called the
dialectic approach is the culmination of a long and a conscious effort to
offer a radical alternative to the current and anachronistic EFL
pedagogical practices. Having taught English in numerous EFL contexts
in different countries, we have come to see the need for an immediate
alternative to the way things are in EFL and in the world at large.
The ultimate purpose of the dialectic approach is to raise critical
consciousness by bringing the interconnectedness of things into sharp
focus. It consists of four dialectically interrelated steps. The first step has
to do with analyzing something as it appears to be in the present. The
main focus is on getting a sense of a particular situation before proceeding
to understanding how it came about. Followed by the second step whose
main concern is to go back in time and trace the historical trajectory of
how we ended up here. Having taken one step back, we take two steps
forward to envision how differently things could be like, and finally one
step back to the present to strategize and take action. It is important to
note that this process is cyclical.




Adapted from Ollman (2003)

Now lets turn to the textbook as the practical application of the dialectic
model. The textbook which is called Alterative View is based on the
premise that there are only two ways of teaching: either we teach for the
society in which we live or we teach for the one we want to see. To put it

differently, teaching cant be separated from the larger social context in

which it is situated. This is especially true about language teaching because
language expresses the totality of a given social structure. Having pointed
out this self-evident fact, I find the existing social order unsustainable in
all of its manifestations. Therefore, we strongly reject any approach to
teaching English that can wittingly or unwittingly be complicit in
maintaining and reproducing the status quo. This can be clearly seen in
the mainstream approach which is notorious for its consumerist-tourist
orientation in terms of its cultural content, teaching methodology, absence
of serious issues, and its attempt at masquerading as apolitical.
This approach; however, is fueled by our rejection of the current social
arrangements and guided by a vision of a better world. Alternative View
has been designed with this vision in mind. It is entirely different from the
existing commercialized materials in the market in that it is authentic,
relevant, and meaningful.
Authenticity has to do with the extent to which a given material reflects
actual language use. For instance, the set dialogues, which permeate
mainstream English textbook, are designed solely for the purpose of
teaching a particular grammar point with the result that it doesnt
approximate authentic spoken language. In other words, the content is
sacrificed for the form or function. Another artificial feature is the preselected closed questions to which learners are expected to give certain
responses. This violates the unpredictable nature of language. In contrast,
this textbook focuses more on content and less on form. The idea is that
through meaningful and engaged dialogues stimulated by open questions,
learners will come to pick up the form incidentally rather than
Relevance is another distinctive characteristic of this approach and
textbook. While the content of other textbooks is detached from the
lived reality of the students, Alternative View is rooted in an inclusive
environment where learners, regardless of their backgrounds, can find it
easy to relate to. Whats more, it is relevant in the sense that it addresses
controversial issues from an alternative perspective.
Last but not least, a great deal of emphasis is put on meaningful learning
which is defined as authentic, engaged, and relevant to a vision of a better
life. Our primary concern is to set the stage for a thought-provoking

learning environment in which students are encouraged to question their

taken-for-granted assumptions about the world. Equally important is the
emphasis on bridging the gap between our mental conceptions and the
level of technological development in the world today. We believe its
dangerously irresponsible to turn a blind eye to whats going on in the
world today. In a nutshell, teaching and learning should be geared toward
making this world a better place. For that to happen, we need to think
outside the box.
Alternative view is unique in the following ways:

It is conversation-based

Its dialogues are authentic

Its content is meaningful

It is relevant to our current global reality

It is thought-stimulating

It is participatory

It offers a different perspective on a wide range of issues

It encourages autonomous and responsible learning

It encourages thinking outside the box

It contributes to a better world by raising critical consciousness

It took three years to finish the textbook which has four levels:
elementary, pre-intermediate, intermediate, and advanced. Elementary
level does not include as many global issues as do the remaining levels,
which is only natural given the level of the students. However, some
elementary modules deal with sweatshops, global warming, stress, and so
on. Each module teaches a theme in the format of whats wrong with
something? In other words, the main focus of every module is to get the
students to analyze a situation, historicize, visualize, and organize. With
that in mind, students move from the familiar to the unfamiliar as they
incidentally learn vocabulary and expressions related to the topic. In order
to give a concrete sense of this approach, it is helpful and fitting to
describe how a class using the Dialectic model plays out.


Every module begins with six pictures related to the topic followed by a
lead-in which consists of five thought-provoking questions. The purpose
of the questions is to set the tone for the whole session and to tap into
what the learners already know about the issue at hand (analyze). At this
point the students sink their teeth into a lively dialogue as they explore
different aspects of the topic. Below is an example of a lesson taken from
intermediate level to illustrate this point:

Lead-in: look at the pictures and answer the questions:

What images spring to mind when you think of Africans?

What comes to mind when you think of Arabs?

What are white people usually associated with?

What adjectives can best describe women?

What adjectives come to mind when you think of Asians?

The topic of this module is stereotype, which is universal. The main

theme of this module is that power relations underlie stereotypes and for
this reason the people with power invariably label the dominated with all
sorts of negative stereotypes. To drive this point home, students are asked


to think of the prevailing stereotypes regarding dominated groups in their

own society and compare them with stereotypes associated with the
dominant. As the students answer these five questions, they pick up new
adjectives and expressions. This part can take about twenty minutes or
more depending on whether there are follow-up questions or not.
Another function of this section of the module is to encourage students
to actively participate in their own learning. A lot of students come with
notes taken from the internet as they search for information related to
something they do not know much about. Additionally, the questions are
open-ended with the result that students come up with a wide range of
responses. The upshot is that this exercise is designed in such a way as to
spur students into carrying out their own little research about different
topics and the amazing thing is that they do it on their own and of their
own accord. Personally, we have learned a lot from these notes as
students share them in the classroom.
Exercise 1 is called Points to ponder, which consists of pithy and
thought-stimulating quotes that challenge unexamined assumptions about
the human condition.


After some discussion, the students learn to draw parallel between racism
and sexism as a classic example of differential power relations. For
example, both African-American and women have been negatively
stereotyped because both of them have been historically oppressed
(historicize). The third picture describes how the oppressed tend to
internalize the stereotypical images and unwittingly become complicit in
their own oppression. The last picture throws light on the underlying
causes of stereotypes (historicize).
Exercise 2 is called Express yourself and is intended to have the
students relate the topic to their personal lives and lived experiences. The
exercise is made up of five questions:

Do you ever stereotype others?

Have you ever met someone who fit the stereotype you had in

Have you ever challenged stereotypes?

Have you ever been the victim of stereotypes?

Do you ever make ethnic jokes?

Each question can be probed deeper depending on the answer of each

student. The idea is to get students to look at their own prejudices and
stereotypes in order to tackle them. It is hoped that when students get to
the bottom of why we have stereotypes, they will come to see how unfair
and wrong it is to judge people on the basis of their appearance. For
instance, sometimes I have students from the dominant class and other
students from the dominated groups in one classroom which usually leads
to an interesting dialogue through which students question their long-held
preconceptions about others.
Exercise 3 is designed to familiarize students with vocabulary that they
will come across throughout the module. A list of vocabulary is presented
in a table and students are required to find the odd one out and give
reason. The thinking behind this exercise is that students should think
about their responses. Sometimes, the choices are almost similar that
more than one answer is possible.








To make an effort

To make a difference

To try







To find out

To fit

To understand

To reinforce

To influence

To strengthen

Every module has two listening exercises: 4 and 8. Students listen to

people expressing their views on the topic of the module and then answer
questions related to it. It should be noted that these audio recordings were
made at a local Studio and the interviewees were from different countries
such as Nigeria, US, Spain, Sudan, and Iran. The recordings are authentic
in the sense that no script was given to the interviewees who spoke
naturally. Below is a sample exercise of listening:

The third person mentions the changing perception of women to

show that

stereotypes have economic and biological origins

stereotypes have economic and historical origins

The fourth person mentions different behaviors of children to

show that

stereotypes come from different interpretations of certain


stereotypes come from the same interpretations of certain


The dominant classes are stereotyped positively because of


biological structure

power structure

self-fulfilling prophecy means that


stereotypes tend to become a reality

stereotypes tend to prove a certain reality

To what extent do you agree or disagree with these views?

The listening ends with a question to generate a dialogue about the views
expressed in the recorded dialogue. The idea is to try to turn every
exercise into a vibrant dialogue as students are exposed to a variety of
opinions and information concerning the topic at hand. Students are
expected to listen to the recorded dialogues for general understanding at
home and in class we focus on parts of the dialogue they do not
Exercise five is a dialogue designed to address some of the issues raised in
the module. Students are expected to focus on three elements in the
dialogue: the main theme, new expressions, and the grammar. The
underlined sentences show the grammar of the module while the italicized
sentences show the new expressions. Unlike mainstream textbooks which
have set and sterile dialogues designed to teach a particular grammar
point, the dialogues in Alternative View are again natural where grammar
emerges from the dialogue rather than writing a dialogue for the purpose
of a grammar lesson. The dialogue usually contains the four steps of the
dialectic model.
The stultifying way in which dialogue is taught in the mainstream
textbook where students listen to a dialogue and then repeat it line by line
is replaced with thought-stimulating questions at the bottom of the
dialogue. I often find it bewildering when I think of what students learn
from a dialogue if they have to just listen to a recorded version of it while
they can just look at the transcript which is provided anyway. Below is a
sample of a dialogue based on this new approach:
Ali: something strange happened to me the other day. I was having lunch
at a restaurant when an American tourist struck up a conversation with me
but the moment he found out I am from Iran, he got up and left. Even
though he doesnt know me, he made an unfair judgment about me
John: sorry to hear that. I guess he thought you were a terrorist despite
the fact that not a single Iranian has been caught in a so-called terroristic


act. Also, Americans tend to accept as true whatever the corporatedominated media tells them without trying to investigate (analyze).
Chico: I have been there. It is really sad and unfair when others treat us
based on hearsay and preconceptions. It is even more unfortunate that
stereotypes are everywhere. For instance, although Asians are very diverse,
most Westerners and Americans put us in one category (analyze).
Ali: This raises the question of why people stereotype others.
John: lumping people together is convenient because you dont need to make
any effort to understand them on their own terms. As Chico pointed out
most people have a pre-defined image of others and it makes little
difference whether you fit that category or not. So, in a psychological
sense, stereotypes help mentally lazy and uncritical people to interact with
Chico: I think stereotypes have political and economic origin in the first
place (historicize). For instance, the dominated classes everywhere in the
world are labeled with negative images while the dominant are labeled
with positive ones.
Ali: thats definitely true. Compare the stereotypes about Arabs and other
third world countries with stereotypes about Americans and Westerners
and you will see how politics influences and strengthens the formation of
false images about others (analyze).
John: I believe it is more humane to treat people on a case-by-case basis in
spite of the fact that it requires some efforts (visualize).
As stated above, the dialogue is followed by five questions:

What points do the people in the dialogue raise?

How does the dialogue account for stereotypes?
What might the phrase on their own terms mean?
What are the stereotypes about third world countries vis--vis the
first world?
What do you think of the views expressed in the dialogue?
These questions aim at turning a written dialogue into learner-initiated
dialogue. As students grapple with these questions, they practice speaking
and the last question prompts them to take a stand on the ideas discussed
in the dialogue.


This is followed by an exercise which is an implicit exposition of the

grammar of the module. Explicit explanation of grammar is given at the
end of the module because the emphasis is on the content rather than the
form. When grammatical explanation is given somewhere in the middle of
the module, it tends to distract students from paying attention to the
content. Below is an example of an implicit grammar exercise:

Despite belonging to different races,

Although I dont know Arabs well, I still think
Even though I have not come into contact with an American, I
still think
In spite of the fact that the first world is supposed to be
We judge others

Since the grammar of this module is concession words as can be seen

from the underlined sentences in the dialogue, this exercise provides an
opportunity for student to practice it. Once more, the students finish
these sentences with their own opinions.
The next part (exercise 7) is a table with controversial statements and
students are required to take a stand on each statement, either for or
against, and then defend their stand. In keeping with the dialogic and
dialectic approach of the textbook, the students usually get split into two
groups. This makes for an animated dialogue where students try to get
their messages across as they come up with arguments to support their
position. It should be noted that the statements usually follow some or all
of the four steps of the dialectic model. Below is a sample of this kind of


Power relations underlie stereotypes

Some stereotypes are true
People stereotype just for fun





We will always have stereotypes



Exercise 9 is a reading passage which begins with a pre-reading task in

which students are asked to take a look at the title and the pictures and
then write in a table what they know about the topic, what they want to
know, and what they learned and would still like to know after reading the
passage. Some new words and expressions in the passage are underlined
for exercise ten.
The reading passage is followed by comprehension questions and then
matching exercise based on the underlined expression or words in the
passage. A wrap-up exercise comes right after the matching exercise
where students answer questions that sum up the main points of the
whole module. Below is an example of a wrap-up exercise:

Where do stereotypes come from? (historicize)

What can be done to do away with stereotypes? (organize)

Is there a group of people who are guiltier than most of creating

stereotypes? (analyze)

Do you think information technology has reduced or increased

racial stereotyping? (analyze)

What do stereotypes tell us the current world? (visualize a better


As stated above, direct grammar explanation is offered at the end of the

module in order to make for a smooth and uninterrupted dialogue with
the content as top priority. The grammar point is followed by grammar
exercise to help students get a better sense of the structure and use of the
new grammar lesson. Finally, the module ends with a writing exercise
based on a controversial statement related to the topic of the module:
Writing: Stereotypes are inevitable. Do you agree or disagree?
Within this approach, the monolithic concept of culture is replaced with
class culture embedded within every society centered on social
stratification. The existing capitalist social formation is made up of two
main classes with diametrically opposite interests (capitalist and working
classes. However, between these two extremes, there is an upper-middle
class with enough resources to act as exploiters and a lower-middle class
with some degree of autonomy and assets but generally exploited. The

petty bourgeoisie whose function is commodity production lie between

the upper and lower middle classes. Alongside the capitalist sector, there
is a state sector with top decision makers and professional management
above the exploitation threshold and middle managers, clerical and
manual workers right below it. At the bottom of the state structure, there
is a class of welfare recipients (Andrew, 1992).
Capitalist sector

State sector





Upper-Middle class




Middle Management

Lower-Middle class





Welfare recipients

Working class

Hamnett et
al. (1989)

Welfare recipients
Unlike mainstream pedagogy and textbooks where only the values of the
middle and upper middle classes are represented (Arikan, 2005), this
approach along with its textbook attempts to draw attention to the class
structure of societies. For instance, the students are encouraged to draw
parallels between the stereotypes regarding oppressed groups in their
society and elsewhere (seeing oneself in the other). However, the dialectic
method goes one step further in dissecting the historical and economic
origins of a certain phenomenon. If class culture along with the socioeconomic system that undergirds it is whats wrong with this world, as the
dialectic model argues, then nothing short of restructuring the whole
system will work. To that end, language education can play a revolutionary
role by deourstifying the world for students as the above module has
demonstrated. To put it differently, the idea is to counteract the
ideological ourstification that pervades every aspect of life.
In conclusion, the dialectic model has a number of advantages over the
other models of teaching culture. For one thing, it lays emphasis on the
larger socio-economic and political context within which teaching takes

place. It is empowering to both teachers and learners alike as it

encourages participatory learning where even teachers learn. It challenges
teachers to play the role of a change agent rather than a voiceless and
deskilled facilitator whose job is facilitating the transfer of knowledge that
is not his/hers and knowledge that is irrelevant. In addition, it consciously
challenges the status quo as opposed to reinforcing it as the case with
mainstream pedagogy. It ultimately raises critical consciousness by
engaging learners in dialogues that challenge their taken- for- granted
assumptions as they navigate the ways in which everything is
interconnected. Equally important, it offers a viable alternative to the
existing approaches that flow from the current social order and ultimately
help keep it going. Above all, the dialectic model represents an amazing
theory-practice fit.

Al-Hassnawi, A; Scatolini, S; Milton, G. (2015). Foreword In Language, Culture,
and Education.
Charles A. Ferguson, Diglossia. In Word 15.
Fanon, F. (1952). Peau noire, masques blancs. Paris: Seuil.
Hazael-Massieux, M-C (non dat). Les langues creoles: formation et evolution
dans le contexte des contacts de langues dans la Caraibe. Retrieved on june 2015
March, C. (1999). Le discours des mres martiniquaises, diglossie et crolit : un
point de vue sociolinguistique. Paris : LHarmattan.
Melman, C. (2014). Lacan aux Antilles: entretiens psychanalytiques Fort de
France. France : rs.
Parlement europen (2015). La politique linguistique. Retrieved on 5 May 2015 from
Prudent, L-F. (1980). Des baragouins la langue antillaise. France: LHarmattan.
Scaron, S (2009). Lenseignement du crole lcole primaire en Martinique:
opinions et pratiques den seignement. Universit des Antilles de la Guyane.
Smith, R. (1995). The matrifocal Family: Pluralism and politics. London:



Creole teaching at the University of Martinique
(F.W.I), a European territory.
Le crole luniversit de Martinique, un territoire europen

Doctorale candidate
University of the French West Indies, Martinique

Abstract: Each year students enroll at the University of the French

West Indies in a program, in which they study culture and Creole
language. Most of them are from Martinique, but Creole is not the
first maternal language for all the students. Years after the
postcolonial period, West Indians have flouted their identity to the
detriment of the former French colonial power. Therefore,
speaking creole at home was forbidden. The students were forced
to learn and speak French at school, but most of them quickly
acquired their native language. One can say that there is a conflict
concerning the linguistic situation in Martinique because the
population has to face two languages: the prestigious language,
French; and the minor one, Creole. To apprehend such reality,
Ferguson coined the term diglossia. Today, the linguistic
situation of the island has evolved. French public authorities have
implemented a High School Teachers Certificate for Creole. This
allows the use the Creole language as a teaching language in
schools and universities. Learners are taught in the Creole linguistic
and about the process of Creolization. Does this mean that the
students are able assert his or her identity? Otherwise, what does it
mean to be Creole? Do they choose this program arbitrarily with
the sole purpose of continuing to the Masters level? It would be
interesting to focus this paper by interviewing students because it is

they who seem to overcome the indifference of other students who

come from other sectors.
Key words:






Rsum: Chaque anne les tudiants sinscrivent l'Universit des

Antilles (campus de la Martinique), dans un cursus de langue et
culture croles. La plupart d'entre eux sont des autochtones, mais
tous nont pas le crole comme langue maternelle. En effet, des
annes aprs la priode postcoloniale, les Antillais ont bafou leur
identit au dtriment de celle de l'ancienne puissance coloniale
franaise. Par consquent, parler le crole la maison a t interdit.
De ce fait, les tudiants ont d apprendre le franais malgr une
rapide acquisition de leur langue maternelle. La situation
linguistique de la Martinique est donc conflictuelle. En effet, la
population doit faire face deux langues : la langue de prestige, le
franais; et la langue mineure, le crole. Pour apprhender cette
ralit, Ferguson a invent le terme diglossie. Aujourd'hui, la
situation linguistique de l'le a volu. Autrement dit, les pouvoirs
publics franais ont mis en place un certificat d'enseignement
secondaire pour le crole : ce qui permet l'utilisation de la langue
comme langue d'enseignement dans les coles et les universits.
cet effet, les enseignements portent sur la linguistique crole et le
processus de crolisation. Est-ce dire que les tudiants soient en
mesure daffirmer leur identit? Autrement dit, que signifie tre
crole ? Choisissent-ils ce cursus dans le seul but daccder un
haut niveau de qualification ? Il serait intressant de se pencher sur
ce phnomne en interrogeant les tudiants parce que ce sont eux
qui doivent surmonter l'indiffrence des autres tudiants qui
viennent d'autres secteurs.
Mots cls : apprentissage, la langue crole, diglossie, l'identit,


Les politiques linguistiques dun territoire ont pour objectif, entre autres,
de promouvoir lenseignement et lapprentissage des langues trangres.
cet effet, la charte des droits fondamentaux de lUnion Europenne (UE)
se fonde sur la diversit linguistique et, de ce fait, bannit toute
discrimination lgard des langues. Autrement dit, la politique
linguistique de lUE se doit de protger lunit dans la diversit (Parlement
europen, 2015).
Cest le cas de la France qui ne reconnat que depuis peu, au sein de sa
sphre colinguistique, le franais, en tant que langue de la Rpublique et
les langues rgionales dites langues minoritaires, parles par les
ressortissants franais sur le territoire national et ultramarins. Parmi ceuxci, les croles base lexicale franaise (BLF) rpartis dans larchipel
cariben, au sein des rgions franaises dOutre-mer : la Martinique, la
Guadeloupe, la Guyane et la Runion. Anciennes colonies franaises, leurs
passs coloniaux ont laiss des traces de lancienne prsence ; constituant
dailleurs un isoglosse ethnolinguistique qui les distingue de sa mrepatrie : la France mtropolitaine. En effet, ne il y a trois cent ans sous le
joug colonial, le crole est issu de lapport lexical de dialectes de la langue
franaise et de la structure morphosyntaxique des langues africaines.
Notre tude porte donc sur lun de ces quatre dpartements franais
dAmrique : la Martinique au sein duquel se parlent deux langues
savoir : le crole martiniquais et le franais. Ces deux idiomes ne partagent
pas la mme aire colinguistique : le franais semploie gnralement dans
les administrations ; tandis que le crole se parle entre amis, dans les cours
de rcrations et dans dautres milieux informels. Toutefois, la situation
glottopolitique de lle a volu : laccs au concours denseignants du
ministre franais de lducation Nationale et la cration des tudes
suprieures en langues et cultures rgionales permettent lenseignement de
la langue rgionale dans les coles et luniversit.
Bien que la reconnaissance du crole dans les institutions scolaires soit
concluante, aucun indicateur ne permet daffirmer que la population
intgre dans leur reprsentation la langue crole en tant que langue
denseignement. cet effet, lapprentissage et lenseignement du crole
la Martinique ne seraient-ils pas sujets des rsistances qui

maintiendraient la langue dans les tiroirs linguistiques des parlers

baragouin et/ou pidgin ? Autrement dit, sexprimer en crole ne rappellet-il pas les conditions de la naissance de la langue et de celles des esclaves
noirs pendant la priode coloniale ?
Cette recherche intgre la parole des tudiants et associe les rsultats de
recherche dune tudiante qui avait pour objet de recueillir, en partie, lavis
des enseignants universitaires sur lintroduction du crole lcole. La
plupart dentre eux mettent un avis favorable quant lapprentissage et
lenseignement de ladite langue. Toutefois, nous pouvons nous demander
si ces autochtones se sont rellement appropris leur patrimoine
linguistique, afin dimpulser une vritable prise de conscience sur les
consquences de leurs actes de langage et leur possibilit daction sur leur
Notre corpus porte sur un chantillon de quinze tudiants en Lettres et
sciences humaines dont sept ont suivi un cursus en Langues et Cultures
Rgionales [LCR]. Ces entretiens sont agrments des travaux empiriques
effectus par un tudiant de luniversit.
Nous mettons lhypothse que les tudiants interrogs reconnaissent la
langue crole comme tant un objet patrimonial sans toutefois se dfaire
des rouages du colonialisme et aboutir des logiques daction permettant
une rappropriation de la langue et de la culture crole. Cette tude a
donc pour objet de montrer que la langue crole, bien que son statut in
vitro ait volu, na pas conquis les aprioris qui faisaient delle une langue
domine. Elle ne semploie, dans certaines aires, qu justifier une certaine
indiffrence dans la diffrence de langue avec la langue franaise : une
indiffrence, voire un handicap, qui place la langue rgionale au rang des
Ce travail permet de dgager trois grandes parties qui sont les trois
moments de dmonstration servant rpondre notre problmatique,
savoir :
Celle de montrer que sexprimer en crole est un rvlateur dun malaise
social ;
Que le passage de la langue matricielle son apprentissage en tant que
langue vivante rgionale laisse place des rsistantes dordre
ethnolinguistique qui limitent les projets de dveloppement du territoire.

et enfin que ces projets passent par une intgration linguistique et

culturelle du monde crole.

La langue crole : un rvlateur dun malaise socio-politique

Questionner la langue crole revient clarifier les conditions de sa
formation et ses spcificits davec les autres langues rgionales franaises.
Cest aussi expliciter les raisons pour lesquelles le crole ne cesse de
renouveler des marques dindiffrence voire de dnigrement aux yeux
mme de la population qui la parle. Ce paradoxe nest pas nouveau : la
langue crole, invente par le colon afin de crer un interlecte avec la
population servile, a t aussi dnigre par ce mme colonisateur, nomm
aussi blanc-crole. Par ailleurs, le qualificatif crole servait avant tout
dsigner les humains, animaux et vgtaux. Encore aujourdhui pour
qualifier lorigine locale dun produit, le mot crole est postpos au nom.
Cette assertion a toujours demeur dans les murs et sest ensuite tendu
la langue. En dautres termes, tre crole permet didentifier le caractre
dacculturation et dintgration sociale des tres vivants et objets. Le
crole en tant que langue sest forg dans la colonie, son degr
dappartenance y est donc attest. Pourtant cette langue ne dsigne pas un
parler commun tout territoire crolophone. Chaque crole est habit par
son histoire et sa langue officielle ; ce qui explique la cration de diffrents
croles (croles base lexicale franaise, anglaise, espagnol et
portugaises). cet effet, si nous nous penchons sur les croles base
lexicale franaise, nous observons des variations linguistiques en fonction
des aires gographiques respectives (Carabe, Afrique, Ocan Indien). En
effet, entre deux croles de mme origine, comme cest le cas pour le
crole hatien et le crole martiniquais, lintercomprhension passe par une
initiation de lune ou de lautre langue ; ce qui permet de confirmer la
signification attribu au mot crole ; traduit par criollo en espagnol qui
dsigne ceux qui sont ns aux les de parents venus dailleurs. Ce terme
a [donc] t en usage pendant toutes les colonisations espagnoles,
portugaises, franaises, anglaises, etc. (Hazal-Massieux, non dat).
Encore faut-il mentionner le caractre obligatoire de la formation de ces
langues croles, dans la mesure o, cest la dportation et la mise en
esclavage des bossales,(1) ds la deuxime moiti du XVIe sicle, qui sont la

consquence de la formation de ces langues, au XIXe sicle (HazalMassieux, non dat). Autrement dit, le colon sest vu contraint de crer un
entre-deux linguistique afin dentretenir des relations de servilit entre la
race blanche et la race noire. Ce qui permet daffirmer que le crole est
une langue de tradition orale qui loppose la langue franaise. En effet, la
plupart des colons originaires de classes populaires rurales et urbaines
furent des locuteurs de dialectes dol, devenus une des langues rgionales
de France.(2)
Ainsi le crole si fustig est devenu une langue part entire, parl par des
millions de crolophones, et convoit dabord par des chercheurs
trangers, ensuite par les autochtones. En effet, la langue et la culture
attirent la convoitise des intellectuels car la Martinique, apparaissent des
blessures bantes ; ce qui autorise Frantz Fanon (1952) qualifier ce
dpartement de socit aline. Une socit du mal-tre qui produit des
conflits culturels et de linscurit linguistique. La prsence des deux
langues : le franais et le crole place ce dpartement franais, au cur
dun malaise linguistique,(3) un malaise que Charles A. Ferguson (1959)
nomme la diglossie. Que faut-il entendre par ce concept ?
La diglossie dsigne la co-prsence de deux varits linguistiques : lune
dite haute, en loccurrence le franais, que lon qualifie de langue de
prestige car son statut politique, social et littraire est reconnue de tous et
par tous ; lautre dite basse, en loccurrence, le crole que lon qualifie de
langue minore, reconnue par tous mais pjor au dtriment de la langue
franaise. Le concept de diglossie se justifie aussi par la rpartition des
deux langues sur des aires colinguistiques bien distinctes. En effet, la
langue de prestige se dploie dans tous les lieux formels. Tandis que le
crole semploie dans les milieux informels, entre amis, en famille et autres
milieux au sein duquel la culture est fortement revendique : ce qui a
prvalu le qualificatif de langue de la mre par le psychanalyste, Charles
Melman (2014) car langue domine, oppose la langue du pre que serait
le franais, langue du pouvoir.


De la langue de la mre la langue vivante rgionale

Ce sous-titre : langue de la mre la langue vivante rgionale met en exergue
deux types de discours, lun pilinguistique et lautre politique. Ces deux
types de discours concernent la langue crole ; une langue qui est avant
tout de tradition orale et qui continue se forger dans les milieux fort
coefficient ethnoculturels. Cest le cas des milieux sportifs, des pitts
(arnes de combats de gallinaces), des salles de danses traditionnelles et
de tous les lieux dans lesquels les conversations familires sont dusage.
Ainsi, la langue crole subit ce que Lambert-Flix Prudent appelle la
minoration linguistique, une infriorisation de la langue sur trois plans :
historique, politique et pilinguistique ; ceci au dtriment dune langue
reconnue comme prestigieuse, en loccurrence le franais. Nanmoins,
cette situation, loin de crer de la mfiance chez les linguistes, cre de la
diffrence qui propulse la recherche au rang des hautes sphres
scientifiques. bien considrer, lindiffrence des autochtones envers le
crole entrane un rel engouement de la part des trangers ; ce qui finit
par provoquer finalement de lattirance intellectuel chez le linguiste
crolophone. Cest galement le cas des psychologues, psychanalystes et
autres praticiens qui passent par la langue pour observer des problmes
gnraux de notre rapport la langue et lhabitation quelle nous donne
en tant que parltres, soulignant la dimension de jouissance traumatique
de lesclavage dans laquelle ces questions restent englues aux Antilles .(4)
Ainsi, la langue de la mre est celle qui entretient des rapports dintimit et
qui se rfrent des filiations autre que celle du franais, la fois langue
du Pre et langue de linitiation. Le discours des mres martiniquaises
(March, [1999]) rvle des processus comportementaux et linguistiques
assez rvlateurs des socits antillaises. Leurs traits de personnalit et
labsence du pre placent ces femmes martiniquaises en premire position
dans la ligne familiale. Elles sont, dit-on dans nos parlers martiniquais, le
poto-mitan des socits antillaises. Elles confirment lemploi du concept de
matrifocalit (Smith, [1995]) qui, hrit du systme dorganisation familiale
des socits africaines, renvoient de nouvelles structurations sociales
permettant de mettre en lumire les pathologies des socits antillaises, d
notamment la destruction du rle des pres. La langue crole est une
langue domine lorsque la mre sefforant parler la langue de Molire
son enfant cre un interlecte, un parltre crant une inscurit linguistique

chez le petit locuteur martiniquais. Ses capacits linguistiques se

retrouvent donc en danger ds lors que sa langue maternelle devient aux
yeux de ses pairs, une langue de linterdit.
Larrive de la langue crole dans les sphres acadmiques est luvre
dune minorit dintellectuels, linguistes, crivains et militants qui sont
convaincus que lapprentissage de la langue et de la culture crole aidera
sortir du carcan communautaire qui laisse penser que le crole est
laffaire dAntillais militantistes. La gnralisation de la langue crole dans
linstitution scolaire doit pouvoir changer les moeurs et prouver que son
apprentissage permet de surmonter les difficults de bon nombre de petits
Sa mise en place fut tardive, si on la compare aux autres langues
rgionales de la France hexagonale. Malgr les lois en vigueur dont la
premire, la loi Dexonne (1951), il fallu trente annes (1984) pour que soit
crs des postes de conseillers pdagogiques en Langues et Cultures
Rgionales dans les rgions ultramarines. Quelques annes plus tard un
cursus en langue et culture rgionales est mis en place luniversit des
Antilles : ce qui permet dattester la valeur scientifique de la discipline.
Ensuite, en 2001, est cr un concours prparant au professorat de
lenseignement du second degr qui permet le recrutement denseignants
de crole de lducation Nationale franaise. Toutefois, la reconnaissance
de la langue dans les sphres acadmiques est valide par la matrise de
deux disciplines : le crole et une autre matire au choix (anglais, histoire
et gographie ou Lettres) ; une diffrence qui rend non seulement plus
complexe lobtention du certificat mais aussi plus paradoxale la
reconnaissance du crole en tant que langue et discipline part entire.
Autrement dit, le rle que lon attribue au crole pse lourd dans
lchiquier des politiques linguistiques compte tenu aussi des places
restreintes ouvertes dans chaque dpartement dOutre-mer. La situation
devient encore plus paradoxale lorsque la russite au concours rend
difficile la mutation vers une autre acadmie o se parlent dautres croles.
Certes, les preuves font mention des quatre croles (martiniquais,
guadeloupens, guyanais et runionnais), cependant le choix de la langue
est donn au candidat lors de sa prestation orale et crite. Il semble donc
vident que ce mme candidat sexprimera au moyen de sa langue
maternelle, le crole de son le et dlaissera les autres croles.


cet effet, aboutir un seul crole au sein des acadmies rgionales

semble contraignant pour les territoires crolophones et juste titre
puisque chaque territoire dsire lgitimer sa langue. Pour exemple,
luniversit des Antilles, nous nous devons denseigner les croles base
lexicale franaise mais nous sommes aussi face la problmatique du
et/ou des croles dans nos parlers quotidiens.

Lenseignement et lapprentissage du crole la Martinique :

rsultats et interprtations
Une enqute a t effectue (Scaron, 2009), auprs de trois universitaires
crolistes la facult des Lettres et sciences humaines de la Martinique.
Elle visait recueillir leur avis sur lintrt de lapprentissage du crole
lcole. Deux des universitaires pensent que lenseignement de la langue
doit tre obligatoire pour tous les lves et tous les niveaux. Selon ces
chercheurs, la place accorde la langue et la culture crole reste
drisoire malgr les volutions en matire de politiques linguistiques. Les
avis restent mitigs : le troisime universitaire maintient que
lapprentissage du crole doit sadapter au profil des lves. Selon lui, les
lves non crolophones doivent suivre un enseignement diffrent de
celui des autochtones. Cet enseignement serait davantage ax sur
lintgration culturelle. De ce fait, les classes bilingues seraient mises en
place en fonction des origines et des capacits linguistiques des lves. Il
en rsulte que lensemble des matires enseignes reflterait et prendrait
en compte le caractre crole de chacun des territoires crolophones. Ce
qui revient dire que ce qui doit tre obligatoire, ce nest pas tant la
langue en elle-mme, mais la prise en compte de notre appartenance
crole au sein des valeurs franaises et europennes.
Nous pouvons dduire que lenseignement du crole se rvle tre un
cataplasme identitaire et culturel. Nanmoins, la transmission de la langue
et de la culture doit se baser sur les ralits linguistiques et culturelles du
territoire. De ce fait, la communaut ducative, hormis leur discipline
denseignement, se doit de matriser son patrimoine linguistique et
culturel. Loin de se douter de sa comptence, il sagit de dpasser le
caractre identitaire dans lequel la plupart des autochtones ont toujours


t insrs et de penser une didactique et une pdagogie de la langue

crole. Cet idiome, relevant pour la plupart de lacquisition, ne doit pas
dlaisser pour autant la sphre acadmique et doit reconsidrer les enjeux
lis lapprentissage dune langue rgonale dans un territoire crolophone.
Ds lors, penser le bilinguisme pour lenseignement dune langue minore,
cest prendre en compte son appartenance locale, mais cest aussi sortir du
carcan communautaire afin de penser une didactique de la langue
rgionale (diffrentes de celle des langues trangres) et de privilgier un
enseignement contrast des deux langues prsentes sur le territoire, en
loccurence: le franais et le crole la Martinique. Ds lors, lheure o
lon parle de mondialisation, cette rappropriation linguistique et culturelle
li au territoire local permettrait une ouverture en dautres lieux
crolophones et non crolophones, par lapprentissage des croles et des
langues trangres. Autrement dit, un individu qui matrise les subtilits
didactiques et linguistiques sparant ses deux langues prendra conscience
des subtilits linguistiques dautres langues de linitiation.
Cette exprience est dautant plus vraie pour les tudiants de la facult des
Lettres et Sciences Humaines de la Martinique. cet effet, quinze
tudiants ont t interrogs dont sept sont inscrits dans un cursus en
Langues et Cultures Rgionales. La plupart des tudiants inscrits sont de
sexe fminin. Seuls deux hommes ont t interrogs dont un est inscrit en
LCR. La plupart des tudiants ont moins de 30 ans (13) ; 4 ont entre 40
ans et 50 ans : ceux-ci font partie du cursus LCR.
Parmi les tudiants crolistes, trois exercent une activit professionnelle
dans le domaine de la culture ou de lducation. Les autres nont pas
dactivit professionnelle. En ce qui concerne les non crolistes, 1 seul
exerce une activit professionnelle (secteur de lducation).


Cursus LCR

Autre cursus


Le crole : langue

Le crole : langue

Le crole et le
franais : langue



Tableau 1 : La place du crole dans le parler des tudiants

Sur les 15 tudiants interrogs (tableau 1), 9 ont le crole comme langue
premire, 3 comme langue seconde et les 3 derniers considrent quils ont
deux langues maternelles : le franais et le crole. Si lon prend en compte
uniquement les tudiants du cursus LCR, les donnes changent peu.
Quatre ont le crole comme langue premire, 1 comme langue seconde et
2 parlent les deux langues.
Par ailleurs, la plupart des tudiants inscrits en LCR sont dorigine
guadeloupenne ; cela peut sexpliquer par leur enracinement identitaire et
culturel beaucoup plus fort la Guadeloupe qu la Martinique. Une
tudiante guadeloupenne affirme parler le crole uniquement dans son le
natale. Ce cas se reflte sur dautres tudiants quelle que soit la filire
puisque 13 dentre eux (tableau 2) affirment parler le crole uniquement
dans les milieux informels, seul 2 le parlent dans les administrations. Pour
ceux qui sont issus du cursus LCR, 5 tudiants emploient le crole dans
les lieux informels et deux lutilisent sans complexe dans les deux milieux.
Deux des tudiants non crolistes dit ne pas parler le crole avec leurs
familles. Toutefois, ceux qui parlent la langue que ce soit en famille ou
entre amis disent ne pas se sentir laise.


Cursus LCR

Autre cursus


Lieux informels


Lieux formels

Lieux informels &




Tableau 2 : La variation diatopique du crole

Nous avons questionn les tudiants sur leur mtier quils souhaiteraient
entreprendre aprs leurs tudes. Plus de la moiti, dont 4 issus de la filire
LCR, souhaitent se lancer dans lenseignement (7). Nous observons que
quatre tudiants, dont un inscrit en LCR, nont pas encore fait leurs choix


Autre cursus



Evnementiels projets


Ne sais pas



Tableau 3 : les mtiers envisags par les tudiants

Afin daffiner la recherche, nous avons demand aux tudiants la raison
pour laquelle ils avaient choisi leur cursus, il savre que les tudiants
inscrits dans dautres filires autres que celle des classes LCR sont rests
assez vasifs, excepts ceux qui se destinent lenseignement. Les
crolistes ont rpondu, quils souhaitaient, soit enseigner la langue crole,
soit travailler dans les mtiers de lvnementiel et de la culture o

lemploi de la langue crole leur serait indispensable. Concernant les trois

crolistes qui ont une activit professionnelle, deux souhaiteraient
valoriser leur activit professionnelle par la matrise de leur langue et de
leur culture. Il semble vident que ceux qui ont choisi le cursus LCR,
contrairement aux autres tudiants, connaissent la raison de leur
inscription dans la filire. En effet, ils souhaiteraient, soit renforcer leurs
comptences professionnelles, soit connatre davantage sur lidentit
culturelle de leur le.

La plupart des universitaires et tudiants crolistes saccordent dire que
le crole fait partie de leur patrimoine culturel et linguistique. Toutefois,
les avis sont mitigs lorsquil sagit de gnraliser les enseignements de
crole et/ou en crole lcole. Ceci sexplique par le fait que la langue
crole est considre davantage comme un idiome caractre identitaire
quune langue rgionale. Qui plus est, un Martiniquais serait tonn
dentendre un non crolophone parler le crole. Or, celui-ci constitue une
des 70 langues rgionales de la France rpublicaine ; ce qui laisse penser
que les reprsentations tardent voluer au regard de la diffusion de la
langue rgionale au sein de linstitution scolaire. Les tudiants en Langue
et culture Rgionales ont saisi lintrt dun tel apprentissage puisque le
choix de leur cursus est fonction des perspectives professionnelles et dun
rel besoin de rappropriation des racines culturelles. Cette
rappropriation passe par une transmission rationnelle des savoirs, via
linstitution. Nanmoins, nous ne pouvons nier que la langue ne peut
sapprivoiser pleinement que si elle est apprise dans le contexte culturel et
linguistique qui sy prte. En effet, un individu matrisera les subtilits des
langues trangres que sil est compltement immerg dans le territoire
concern. Cest aussi le cas des langues rgionales, en loccurrence le
crole. Toutefois, la diffrence des langues trangres, cet idiome, nous
lavons dit, revt un caractre identaire et rappelle une histoire
traumatique. Par consquent, les enjeux lis lapprentissage de cette
langue doivent tre reconsidrs par le biais dune ngociation entre
didactique et pdagogie. Nous pouvons inviter tous ceux qui sintressent
lapprentissage de la langue crole rflchier sur les raisons dun tel

engouement. Est-ce un besoin de se cultiver et dapprendre le crole, au

mme titre quune langue trangre ? Cet idiome permet-il daffirmer une
identit culturelle et linguistique ? Est-il un cataplasme afin de sortir du
carcan des checs multiples ? Autant de questions avant de sengager dans
lapprentissage de telles langues.
Par ailleurs, les rsultats de lenqute ont montr que les tudiants
ressentaient une certaine gne lorsquils parlaient le crole. Ils sont
dautant plus mal laise lorsquils sadressent leurs parents dans cette
langue. Pourtant, la plupart affirment que le crole est leur langue
maternelle. Nous pouvons dduire quun climat dinscurit linguistique et
culturel rgne la Martinique. Cette situation nous laisse perplexe lorsque
nous nous interrogeons sur la situation pilinguistique de la population
martiniquaise. Se peroit-elle monolingue ? Ou serait-elle bilingue ? Les
reprsentations ont-elles rellement volu ? Si tel est le cas, la langue
crole relve-t-il dun apprentissage ou dune acquisition de la langue
contrast davec la langue franaise ? Car les difficults linguistiques de ces
autochtones sont bien prsentes ; des difficults qui se traduisent par
lusage dun franais dialectal, une sorte dinterlecte : mi franais, mi
crole, refus catgoriquement au sein de linstitution scolaire.
Cest aussi le cas de luniversit des Antilles o les universitaires
peroivent chez les tudiants dautres cursus, lemploi dun franais
dialectal, qui serait un entre-deux linguistique entre le franais standard,
langue requise luniversit et le crole. Une chose est certaine : toutes les
langues qui se sont forges par la violence coloniale ont eu tendance
crer un dialecte.
Ce dialecte a t form partir de la langue rgionale, le crole, acquise au
contact de pairs et de la langue franaise, langue de linitiation apprise
lcole. Il y a donc lieu de prendre en compte ces spcificits ; des
spcificits qui ont une grande porte littraire lorsque les deux langues
(franais et crole) sont matrises. De ce fait, la pertinence littraire
svaluera au niveau de la singularit autoriale, preuve dune appartenance
Toutefois, la Martinique, beaucoup plus francise que son le sur, la
Guadeloupe, se trouve face des complexes identitaires en dpit des
volutions en matire de politiques linguistiques. De ce fait, lindividu ne
matrisant pas ces aspects linguistiques et culturels transmettra ses pairs

des informations biaises. Linstitution savre tre le lieu de la

rationnalisation des savoirs mais ces savoirs doivent sassocier au savoirtre qui passe par un rel apprentissage de son patrimoine. Ds lors, nous
pouvons rflchir un enseignement dintgration linguistique et
culturelle local dans tous les cursus. En effet, hormis la filire LCR qui
prpare des corps de mtiers plus ou moins spcifiques, il serait
profitable que les tudiants dautres filires sapproprient leur culture afin
quils se projtent dans un avenir plus rassurant. Les rsultats denqute
des tudiants non crolistes ont rvl que la plupart dentre eux nont
aucune perspective professionnelle. Se pose alors un problme qui me
semble fondamentale : comment se projeter dans un avenir qui dailleurs
semble de nos jours si incertain alors que nous ne nous connaissons pas
nous-mmes. Georges Milton naffirme-t-il pas que: We were born as a
biological human beings, but we can live as existential humans thanks to factors such
as culture, language, and education. Without them, there would be no truly human
communities (as encompassing both religious and non-religious aspirations and value
systems)? Il devient urgent que la situation pilinguistique voluent au
regard des discriminations car en dpit de lvolution des amnagements
linguistiques, la charte europenne des langues minoritaires na toujours
pas t ratifi.

Notes de fin
1- Esclaves arriv(e)s libres dans les Amriques.
2- Les chiffres varient. Pour certains analystes, la France possde 75 langues
rgionales sur son territoire dont 24 dans les rgions Outre-mer.
Consult en septembre 2015).
3- Pourtant la charte europenne : European Charter for Regional or Minority
Languages, protg et defend ces langues.
The member States of the Council of Europe signatory hereto,
Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater
unity between its members, particularly for the purpose of safeguarding
and realising the ideals and principles which are their common heritage;


Considering that the protection of the historical regional or minority

languages of Europe, some of which are in danger of eventual extinction,
contributes to the maintenance and development of Europe's cultural
wealth and traditions;
Considering that the right to use a regional or minority language in private
and public life is an inalienable right conforming to the principles
embodied in the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, and according to the spirit of the Council of Europe
Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental
Having regard to the work carried out within the CSCE and in particular
to the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 and the document of the Copenhagen
Meeting of 1990;
Stressing the value of interculturalism and multilingualism and considering
that the protection and encouragement of regional or minority languages
should not be to the detriment of the official languages and the need to
learn them;
Realising that the protection and promotion of regional or minority
languages in the different countries and regions of Europe represent an
important contribution to the building of a Europe based on the principles
of democracy and cultural diversity within the framework of national
sovereignty and territorial integrity;
Taking into consideration the specific conditions and historical traditions
in the different regions of the European States,
Have agreed as follows
4- Melman, C. (2014). Lacan aux Antilles : entretiens psychanalytiques Fort de
France. France : rs, p.11.

Al-Hassnawi, A; Scatolini, S; Milton, G. (2015). Foreword In Language, Culture,
and Education.
Charles A. Ferguson, Diglossia. In Word 15.
Fanon, F. (1952). Peau noire, masques blancs. Paris: Seuil.
Hazael-Massieux, M-C (non dat). Les langues creoles: formation et evolution

dans le contexte des contacts de langues dans la Caraibe. Retrieved on june 2015
March, C. (1999). Le discours des mres martiniquaises, diglossie et crolit : un
point de vue sociolinguistique. Paris : LHarmattan.
Melman, C. (2014). Lacan aux Antilles: entretiens psychanalytiques Fort de
France. France : rs.
Parlement europen (2015). La politique linguistique. Retrieved on 5 May 2015 from
Prudent, L-F. (1980). Des baragouins la langue antillaise. France: LHarmattan.
Scaron, S (2009). Lenseignement du crole lcole primaire en Martinique:
opinions et pratiques den seignement. Universit des Antilles de la Guyane.
Smith, R. (1995). The matrifocal Family: Pluralism and politics. London:



Crativit langagire chez des migrants hatiens

la martinique
Dr. Max Belaise
Universit des Antilles, Martinique

Hati o la ngritude se mit debout

pour la premire fois et
dit quelle croyait son humanit.
Aim Csaire

Abstract: Research in cross-cultural psychology confirms that

Haitian people are a people on the move. This reality, which
makes of them the Jews of the Caribbean, is present in
Martinique (one quarter of the immigrants come from Haiti)
through linguistic integration. These sons of Toussaint
Louverture are Creole speakers who, fleeing poverty, found
asylum in a Creole-speaking island. Variations exist of course
between the two French-lexified creole languages and, through
contact, there emerges an interlecte which gradually allows the
foreigner to integrate Martinican culture, a culture dominated
by French assimilation and European integration. But
according to Glissant, "the Creole man is a demultiplied
rhizomed root extending in transversality and horizontality.
Because of our "original cultural multiplicity and our
mestizaje," we are therefore able to integrate the foreigner,
despite the harm that may come to him. In the case of
Haitians, integration means communication for these migrants
from rural areas and mastering the linguistic codes of the host
In this article we intend to focus on the linguistic creativity of
the Creole language, a creativity that leads to the neocreolisation of Martinican language and culture which are
confronted with substantial de-creolisation due to French
education and the emergence of an interlecte allowing two
speakers to understand each other. So how does it develop,

this performance that leads to a not-always-guaranteed intercomprehension of a highly metaphorical language? What
process is being put in place to facilitate integration in
Martinican society, participate in assimilation from the
origins as far back as French colonization - and eventually
become EU citizens without the adequate cultural trappings.
Key-words: Haitian creole/Martinican creole linguistic
linguistic performance- creativity-integration.
Rsum : Le peuple hatien est un peuple en dplacement,
affirme la recherche en psychologie inter-culturelle. Cette
ralit qui fait deux des juifs de la Carabe se dcline la
Martinique (un quart des immigrs vient dHati) travers
lintgration langagire. Ces fils de Toussaint Louverture sont
des crolophones qui, pour fuir la pauvret, trouvent asile
dans une le crolophone. Certes des variantes existent entre
les deux croles base lexicale franaise et se cre par contact
un interlecte qui, peu peu, permet ltranger de sintgrer
la culture martiniquaise ; une culture domine par
lassimilation franaise et lintgration europenne. Mais selon
douard Glissant, lhomme crole est une racine
dmultiplie, rhizome qui stend en transversalit, en
horizontalit. Ds lors, du fait de notre multiplicit
culturelle initiale et de notre mtissage , nous parvenons
intgrer ltranger, malgr la violence qui peut leur tre faite.
Dans le cas des Hatiens, sintgrer signifie communiquer pour
ces migrants dorigine rurale et matriser les codes langagiers
du pays daccueil.
Nous entendons dans cet article nous intresser la crativit
langagire de la langue crole ; crativit qui aboutit une nocrolisation pour la langue et la culture martiniquaise en
pleine d-crolisation due lducation franaise et
lmergence dun interlecte permettant deux locuteurs de se
comprendre. Comment se dveloppe cette performance qui
aboutit une intercomprhension pas toujours garantie pour
une langue minemment mtaphorique ? Quel processus se
met en place pour faciliter lintgration dans la socit
martiniquaise, participer lassimilation aux origines ds la
colonisation franaise et finalement devenir terme des
citoyens europens, sans le soubassement culturel adquat.
Mots-clefs : crole hatien/crole martiniquais crativit
langagire performance linguistique intgration.

Assurment, Hati est le pays o la Ngritude se mit debout pour la
premire fois. Le pote Aim Csaire est formel sur cet vnement qui a
conduit les fils et les filles de Toussaint Louverture rsister contre
loppression coloniale. Cependant, les nombreux coups dtat et
occupations de lle (dont loccupation tatsunienne) eurent raison de ce
fait historique, et ont fait de la plus africaine des les de la Carabe un
territoire o lIndice de Dveloppement Humain est lun des plus bas de la
Mais un autre aspect caractrise ce pays : cest la propension
limmigration. Lanthropologue Lannec Hurbon crit : Que toutes les
couches sociales en Hati vivent dans lobsession du dpart (1987, 25;
soulign par nous). Le chercheur Hatien crit dans un autre essai :
QuHati dverse ses enfants dans le monde entier (1987, 112).
Cette constation explique larrive massive la Martinique des Hatiens,
attirs par le niveau de vie de ces territoires franais : Les premires
arrives d'Hatiens en Martinique commencent dans les annes soixante
dix et actuellement, selon lAssociation des Hatiens de Martinique
(ADHM), ils seraient entre 5000 et 6000 en situation rgulire en
Martinique et 2000 3000 en situation transitoire ou irrgulire
(Alterpress, 2015). Cependant, ces immigrs sont souvent lobjet de
discrimination de la part des autochtones. Dailleurs, on dit " je ne suis
pas ton Hatien" comme on pourrait dire "je ne suis pas ton
domestique" (Les Hatiens en Martinique, 2015).

Une des voies dentre de ces ressortissants trangers se fait par lle
franco-hollandaise de Saint-Martin : Du fait de politiques de visas
divergentes entre la partie franaise et la partie nerlandaise de lle et de
labsence de contrle cette frontire (Les Hatiens en Martinique, 2015).
Nombreux sont donc ces hommes et ces femmes qui ont sjourn dans
cette le o la situation linguistique est complexe (George, 2015, 73), avant
de se retrouver dans les territoires franais de la Guadeloupe, de la
Martinique et de la Guyane. Ils dtiennent un bagage linguistique
particulier : le crole la plupart sont des ruraux et ne sexpriment que


dans cette langue , le franais, de langlais parl dans la Carabe et du

nerlandais. Certains ont aussi un parcours via le Venezuela ou la
Rpublique dominicaine, cest--dire des territoires hispanophones.
Ces migrants sont les exemples de ce qui se droule dans dautres rgions
du monde : le Moyen-Orient par exemple. Des rfugis politiques passent
dun territoire un autre avant dobtenir lasile en Europe occidentale.
Tout au long de leur priple, ils enrichissent leurs lexiques de nouveaux
lexmes. Ce qui en soi relve de la crolisation. Ainsi, na-t-on pas parl de
crolisation propos de lAfrique du Sud ? (Constant, 2006).

Le crole est aussi la langue parle la Martinique. Cest une langue qui est
ne de la rencontre de lEurope, LAfrique et de lAsie lors de la
colonisation de ces rgions du monde. Des linguistes ont pu dire que cest
la premire langue que lon voyait natre (Hagge, 1985). Quels problmes
surgissent de ces rencontres de ces insulaires crolophones ?

Lintgration de ces Franco-Caribens, pour la plupart illtr(e )s passe par
la langue crole ? En effet, cette main-duvre occupe des emplois sousqualifis quelle partage avec des autochtones le plus souvent plus
crolophones que francophones. Comment fait-elle pour sapproprier ce
crole tant sur le plan lexical que grammatical ? Ya-t-il une relle volont
de lapprendre et de le parler ?

Notre position de principe est quil y a une corrlation entre le temps de
prsence, intgration et lappropriation du crole du pays daccueil : le
crole martiniquais (C.M). La consquence de cette crolisation du crole est
un enrichissement de la langue cible, mais aussi la cration dun interlecte
compris par les Martiniquais, les Hatiens et dautres crolophones de la
Runionnais). Ce qui aboutit un phnomne de double voire triple et /
ou quadruple crolisation de la langue cible. En outre, nous faisons
lhypothse que cette appropriation est mdie par des facteurs socioculturels (niveau dducation, changes sociaux avec les autochtones).


Protocole de la recherche
F. Fanon navait-il pas raison quand il avanait lide selon laquelle :
Lanalyse du rel est dlicate ? Un chercheur peut adopter deux attitudes.
Ou bien, il se contente de dcrire [] ou bien, aprs avoir dcrit le rel, il
se propose de le changer (F. Fanon, 1952, p. 136).
Afin de rpondre notre problmatique, nous avons interrog un
chantillon de dix ressortissants Hatiens (8 hommes et 2 femmes) : soient
dix locuteurs natifs dHati (L1 L10). Nos entretiens se sont drouls en
crole martiniquais. Cependant, le plus souvent, nous avons d leur
expliquer notre protocole de recherche en crole hatien que nous
matrisons. La dure moyenne de nos entretiens tait de 20 minutes. Ces
interviews se sont tenues soit dans un quartier forte concentration de
migrants (Saint-Luciens, Hatiens, Dominicains, Dominiquais, Africains,
etc.) : le quartier melting-pot des Terres-Sainville Fort-de-France (la
capitale de lle). Lune des chercheuses de notre laboratoire qui a tabli un
contact informel avec les ressortissants de ce quartier de Fort de France y
a relve un phnomne indit en lien avec le crole (voir schma la page
suivante) :
des Hispanophones qui utilisent la koin du crole martiniquais,
mtine de termes espagnols ;
les Africains (Afrique de lOuest) qui utilisent le crole
martiniquais ;
les Hatiens qui mlangent les croles (hatiens et martiniquais) ;
les Saint-luciens qui mlangent deux croles (saint-lucien et
martiniquais) ;
dautres ressortissants (Saint martinois, Arubens, Guyanais,
Guadeloupens) qui mlangent diffrents croles : brokanglais,
papamiento, crole guyanais, crole guadeloupen avec le crole
martiniquais. (2)
Par ailleurs, nous nous sommes entretenus de manire informelle avec des
migrants qui ont diffrentes dures de sjour dans lle, et parmi eux une
Hatiano-saint-martinoise qui refuse de sexprimer en crole martiniquais
et qui parle en dehors de son crole maternel, un crole quelle pense tre
le crole guadeloupen.

Le premier point que nous voquerons est le phnomne de nocrolisation n de ces rencontres de croles. Il prend place au sein dune
langue en constante effervescence ; langue daccueil de ces crolophones
dHati. Le troisime point donne voir cette crativit travers les
entretiens avec ces dix Locuteurs (L). Avant de conclure notre article,
nous approfondissons notre point de vue sur le caractre mondial de cette
phnomnalit du langage.

1. Nocrolisation la Martinique
Dans son tude sur le lien entre Education et langue Saint-Martin,
Milton George rappelle le fondement. Le chercheur crit : When the
European colonial powers forcefully engineered Caribbean societies []
they created mixed, multi-lingual realities (crolit) which are a reflection
of the composite and syncretistic identities of the inhabitants of the region
(Id.). Une naissance que confirme la croliste Marie-Christine

Hazal-Massieux (n.d.) :
En revanche tous les croles classiques sont ns dans le contact
de langues diverses, pratiques par des populations dportes,
amenes reconstituer des socits nouvelles aux rgles
complexes, et donc les communications taient exclusivement
orales mme si les tmoignages dont nous disposons sont
ncessairement crits ce qui justifiera les prcautions
mthodologiques que nous avons d mettre en uvre, et qui
nous ont dailleurs mise sur la voie dun certain nombre
dhypothses significatives.
Divers travaux de recherche en linguistique confirment la rencontre de
langues dans le Nouveau monde. Le vocabulaire crole renferme des mots
amrindiens, africains, europens et asiatiques. Certains mots sont
quivoquent et peuvent prter confusion sur leur origine. Ainsi le mot
djok (tableau 3 : cf. infra)




Driv de

Driv de




terme usuel

terme usuel



en v(3)


N Djok


La langue cre lors de la premire mondialisation entre 1842 et les

premires annes du vingtime sicle (Relouzat, 1998, 19) a acquis
diffrents statuts selon les territoires. En Hati, elle est devenue langue
officielle depuis 1987. la Martinique, elle est en comptition avec le
franais. Certains observateurs de la ralit linguistique la Martinique, la
situation de la langue crole est mauvaise. Un pdagogue va jusqu
affirmer que cette langue est humilie, du fait de la diglossie
franais/crole : Kryol-la anba, i kraz, i mpriz. (4) La situation politique
de lle ne facilite pas laccession un meilleur statut : la France sur son
propre territoire peine reconnatre les langues rgionales ou
minoritaires ; allant jusqu se mettre en porte--faux avec les directives de
lUnion Europenne.
Cette langue serait en pleine dcrolisation (Bernab, 2010-11, 139) du fait
de lducation et de la politique assimilationniste de la France ; politique
qui est le pivot de la construction identitaire dans les vieilles possessions
franaises dAmrique (Jolivet, 1997, 820). Au point que des
observateurs on pu dire que le crole tait de plus en plus contamin par
le franais (Siganos, 2014, 87).


Nous, nous dfendons la thse dune no-crolisation due larrive de

Caribens (Blaise, 2013), mais aussi par les emprunts rcents dautres
langues telles que langlais (via la musique : rap par exemple). Un
phnomne qui en soi est la base de la langue crole : Kabch (crole)
renvoie cabeza (esspagnol) : la tte. La no-crolisation toucherait
dautres systmes culturels que la langue : la musique la cuisine la
mdecine populaire et la tradition orale (Jolivet, 1997, 814).

Lintroduction de lexme dun crole dans un autre se fait rgulirement,

en vertu du principe de mobilit des insulaires qui vont dune le lautre.
Linterpntration se dcline entre les croles de la Martinique et de la
Guadeloupe. Lobservateur relve des diffrences grammaticales,
phonologiques entre les croles, mais aussi lintrieur dun mme crole :
variations linguistiques en fonction des bassins de vie et des peuplements.

Guadeloupe envoy




Martinique envoy oy/vry






Le sociologue franais Edgar Morin (2014, 277) est conscient quil y a une
culture commune aux les anglophones, hispanophones, francophones de
la Carabe et ce, jusqu Carthage en Colombie. Ds lors, il suggre que
les populations dveloppent des relations entre elles. Le salut ajoute-t-il,
ladresse des Franco-Antillais, est dans lintgration dans la zone goculturelle naturelle et non dans une reconnaissance par la seule France.
Des liens naturels existent de tous temps avec les voisins de la Carabe qui
ont lhabitude de se rendre la Martinique et la Guadeloupe. Cest le cas
pour la Martinique avec Sainte-Lucie situe une trentaine de Kilomtres
de ses ctes ; et la Guadeloupe qui a longtemps dvelopp des changes
avec lle de la Dominique sa voisine distante aussi dune trentaine de
kilomtres de ses ctes.


Le rapport la langue crole nest pas le mme dans ces deux les
franaises, du fait de lhistoire de chacune. la Guadeloupe un sentiment
nationaliste sest trs tt dvelopp et la langue crole a t considre
comme la langue du combat contre le colonialisme franais. En outre, la
prsence caribenne est plus importante (officiellement plus de 20 000
Hatiens, officieusement bien plus ; de mme pour les Anglo-antillais de
lle de la Dominique). la Martinique le combat pour la langue a t
luvre duniversitaires (les croliste Jean Bernab, Raphal Confiant). Le
relais populaire par des passeurs de culture tels que les enseignants, les
syndicalistes ne fut pas le mme que dans lle sur de la Guadeloupe. Si
bien que les crolophones de la Carabe se retrouvent dans des contextes
langagiers diffrents : militant pour la Guadeloupe, moins engag pour la
langue crole la Martinique. Des dynamiques qui ne sont pas les mmes,
do des problmatiques dintgration diffrentes. La Martinique ne seraitelle pas un pays europen par son inconscient collectif (Fanon, 1952,
154) ?

2. Dynamique de la langue crole : langue de lintgration

Elle est la langue de lintgration de nombreux migrants de la Carabe
dans ces territoires europens. En effet, des proches voisins du sud de la
Martinique : les anglo-Antillais de Sainte-Lucie y sjournent et utilisent le
crole comme langue pour communiquer ; il en est de mme pour ceux
du nord de la Martinique : les Dominiquais. Dans ces deux les, il est
pratiqu un crole Base Lexicale Franaise, mtin danglais. La langue
crole facilite les changes entre les autochtones et ces ressortissants
anglophones. Elle sert de langue mdiatrice entre langlais cariben et le
franais parl localement :
Anglais (cariben)


franais (local)

Ce schma peut se comprendre dans la mesure o lon peut reprer des

analogies syntaxiques entre langlais et le crole. Ainsi lexpression
proverbiale crole qui se dcline dans tout larchipel cariben Pawol an
bouch pa chaj se traduit mot pour mot en anglais : words in mouth are not all.
De nombreuses analogies sont releves : culturelles, lexicales,

grammaticales (Jean-Louis, 2015). Danalogies lexicales, C. Jean-Louis (p.

33) en relve :

Lexmes anglais

Lexmes creoles


You too

Wou tou

Toi aussi

A sidecar

An saybt


A mound

An mn


A riding-coat

An ridengt


A saucepan

An chaspan


A tray

An tr

Un plateau



Fille de joie

Pit for cock-fighting






Tableau 1 : Passage de langlais au crole

En outre de nombreuses expressions du crole viennent de langlais la
Martinique fut occup trois reprises par les Anglais : 1762, 1794, 18091814. Des traces subsistent de ces annes doccupation. En outre, le
crole est une langue qui emprunte beaucoup et qui dforme les vocables
emprunts. cet gard, lethnolinguiste Raymond Relouzat (1998, 16) le
signifiait en ces termes : La tendance profonde de [la langue crole] est
lindiffrence au lexique, puisquaucun ne lui appartient en propre, mais
pouvant tous les utiliser, en en modifiant phontiquement et
morphologiquement les termes selon une mtaphonologie elle-mme sans
organisation descriptive ce jour.
Nous avons observ ce phnomne de dformation phonologique :
lexpression think tank se transformait en siltang en crole, terme adopt
par diffrents locuteurs. Dans les travaux de C. Jean-Louis (p. 23) nous
relevons un exemple assez significatif de cette transformation morpho[152]

phonologique. Dans le nord de lle o de nombreux Dominiquais se sont

tablis, les locaux utilisent un syntagme ainsi dform de langlais :
Deseskray may got qui est la transformation de : Jesus-Christ my god .





Certes, les natifs de la Martinique utilis(ai)ent cette expression pour dire

leur dsarroi. Cependant, il faudrait tre bien avis pour retrouver le
syntagme initial.
Aujourdhui nos propres recherches sur les termes anglo-croliss drivs
du jamacains nous montrent que ce phnomne demprunts perdurent.
Les jeunes rappeurs ont colonis la langue crole de es expressions anglosaxonnes. Un phnomne mondial que lon retrouve dans une langue qui
sest toujours enrichi demprunts diffrentes langues (franais, espagnol,
anglais). Il sagit selon nous dune voie de ractualisation des termes
anglais que renferme la langue. Nous donnons dans un ouvrage en cours,
lexemple du mot gyal (gal) :
Ainsi, Girl Djal Gyal. Il reste acquis, pensons-nous, que le mot Gyal
de Girl permettrait de ractiver un terme anglo-crole djal terme encore
employ en Guyane franaise par les Guyanais dorigine martiniquaise et
qui serait selon un de nos informateurs un terme guadeloupen. De mme
lexpression Gaway pourrait provenir de langlais : get away ; quant
ryl-tin-k (vocabulaire des toxicomanes), il ne serait que la crolisation de
real thing, ou chose relle (Davidas, 2000).
Nous observons aussi le processus classique de dformation morphophonologique (D. Villeronce, D. Lynda, 2015) :

Lexmes anglais Lexmes croles Traduction franaise

bang ! bang !

beng ! beng!

onomatope de coup de feu

need to fuck

bizwen fok

envie de sexe

number phone

nomba fonn

numro de tlphone

Tableau 2 : Passage de langlais au crole


Le tableau 3 rpertorie quelques termes qui sont utiliss dans le crole et

qui proviennent du Jamacain. De nombreuses expressions sont utilises
sans que les locuteurs sachent la vritable signification des mots utiliss et
qui deviennent des insultes. Le terme jamacain bumboklaat qui dsigne un
lment de la toilette fminine est devenu bonmboklat (crole) et a pour
sens : un homosexuel ou une mauviette selon certaines personnes,
mais est aussi une insulte. Les usagers de cette expression nont aucune
ide de son origine mais en font usage pour fustiger tout vis--vis.

Cest dans ce contexte deffervescence de la langue que sintgrent ces

Hatiens qui, pour la plupart, ont fui la misre et linscurit politique. Il
est lorigine de lide de cration langagire de la part de ces migrants et
dactualisation de certains motifs langagiers prsents dans certaines parties
du territoire martiniquais. Ils vivent une langue qui est en constante
volution et qui est fondamentalement langue du vcu immdiat. Le
sociologue martiniquais de dire que lon ne la pntre quen la pratiquant
aux contacts des natifs-nataux : kryol an lang vcu, si ou pa viv-li ou pasa
Lintgration va donc se jouer sur plusieurs niveaux :
Dans la socit martiniquaise localement ;
Dans la socit franaise laquelle est lie la Martinique ;
Dans lensemble europen.
Ces migrants doivent se situer sur ces trois plans gographiques et sur
deux plans langagiers et plus selon les exigences de lUnion Europenne
de comptences de langues. Certes, cest la gnration de leurs enfants qui
subissent le mieux lacculturation. Le crole facilite ce processus
dassimilation, mme sil seffectue trs lentement aux niveaux deux et
Crole (Martinique)

Franais (France)

Dautres langues de la Communaut europenne (Europe)


Mot crole







de bonne qualit




Terme mlioratif


gangster (connotation



bad man






batty man
























chi -chi



de bonne qualit






manquer de respect




manquer de








l'intressant/prendre du
bon temps




se dplacer / se


les filles



gyal (dem)

individu de sexe

Tableau 3 :
Quelques exemples dexpressions anglo-crolises tires du jamacain (L.
Lecurieux-Lafayett, S. Terosier, 2014-5)


3. Crativit langagire :
une modalit de parler des locuteurs Hatiens
La crolisation martiniquaise (martinicanisation) du crole
Le croisement des croles que nous avons relev, mais aussi le croisement
culturel la musique hatienne est trs prise la Martinique parat
presque vident. En effet, Edgar Morin attribue la souffrance des vertus
de crativits. La souffrance est source de crativit , affirme-t-il (Op.
cit., p. 278).
Cette crativit, lexicale et syntaxique, nous la relevons de tous les
entretiens raliss. En ce sens, que les Hatiens la Martinique pour
ceux qui nont pas t ou qui sont faiblement scolariss (Locuteurs : L1
L10) subissent un double phnomne de crolisation et de francisation.
Il est vident que le phnomne variera selon que lon possde ou pas des
atouts culturels suffisant ds le pays de dpart (L2, L3, L9, L10). Ces
derniers ont reu des formations suprieures qui leur donnent des outils
facilitant leurs contacts localement (Cf. Annexe : Typologie de notre
Une chose est sre : aucun des locuteurs ne parle le crole martiniquais
(C.M) de manire fluide. Ils doivent rechercher leurs mots ; recherche
dautant plus facile quils ont lhabitude de pratiquer cette langue. Ainsi les
locuteurs 9 et 10 qui sont prsents depuis plus de 10 ans, mais qui, la
diffrence dautres compatriotes aussi longtemps prsents, possdent un
cursus dtudes suprieures ont une bonne matrise du C.M. En revanche,
le Locuteur 2 (L2) prsent aussi depuis plus de 10 ans ne possde pas les
mmes comptences langagires. Les extraits des entretiens nous ont
permis didentifier ces profils langagiers.

la question : Ki many sa pas pou riv Matinik ? Nous obtenons des

rponses dans un C. M presque parfait du locuteur L9 :
L9 : Mwen sti direkteman an Ayiti, l mwen fin pwan BAC mwen.
Mwen f an demand lenskription lIAG, pi mwen f kat lann dkonomi
(Matrise dconomie). Apr mwen tka travay nan sosyt Sent-Trez, sa t
vin an difikilt mwen vin travay Tsenvil.

Ce locuteur, qui est gestionnaire dans une entreprise de transfert de fonds,

dit parler davantage le crole martiniquais que le hatien. Il avoue oublier
le lexique de son crole maternel : Mwen mlanj l d ; ou pal l d. Pour
autant, dans son cadre de travail, il sexprime en crole avec des SaintLuciens, des Dominiquais, des Hatiens, des Africains. Quant aux
Dominicains, cest en espagnol ou en franais quil commerce avec eux.
Le locuteur L10, la question : rakont nou minist ou an Ayiti, nous a tenu
un propos bien construit en C.M :

L mwen t an Ayiti mwen t grandi adan an lgliz. Paw lgliz sa-a, yo

konsakr mwen kon an vanglis. Apr mwen al adan an lkol biblik L
mwen vir, mwen pas plizi lann andidan tanp-lan. Mwen t past asistan.
Mwen tk travayApr i retir mwen PotoPrens yo voy mwezn al

Le locuteur L2
la question : Esplitj mwen l ou tka f lkol an Ayiti, il nous a
rpondu en C.H. :
Bay la t kon pas. Mwen t laba, mwen t gen plizi klas : 6me la 4me
(en franais) [] Mwen vin jwenn on an pyi-la t invivab. Mwen t kon f
lkol anba katouch. Mwen t dsid pati mwen rantr Matinik. Mwen pa
t konen anyen. Mwen lag k mwen dan la masonri.
la question : Lavi-a a la Martinique ?
Relasyon toujou difisil. Gen labitid pi d dfo ki ka nui nou. Sim ta deveni
kon yo saka dranj mwen. (Traduction : Les relationsa avec les Martiniquais
sont toujours difficiles. Ils ont des habitudes et des dfauts. Sil me fallait
madapter leurs us et coutumes, cela ma perturberait).

Dans ces extraits on relve les nombreux marqueurs grammaticaux du




Les verbes

kon pas. / connatre

Mwen t laba, / jtais
mwen t gen / javais
Mwen vin jwenn on an
pyi-la t invivab // jai
Mwen t kon f lkol
anba katouch.
Mwen pa t konen anyen.
Mwen lag k mwen dan
la masonri / je me suis




Sim ta / si mwen
ta / contraction du
pronom personnel


/ dans
Dan / dans


An / dans

Tableau 3 :
Catgories grammaticales du C. H releves dans nos entretiens

Le locuteur 2 malgr ses 10 ans passs de prsence sexprime davantage

en C. H. que ses deux compatriotes prsents autant de temps que lui. Cela
tient sa propre reprsentation de la ralit martiniquaise. Tout en tant
sr de son lieu dexil, il entend ne pas perdre sa langue et ses habitudes :
mwen gen menm mani. Cependant, conscient de la diffrence des lexiques, il
a chang sa manire de sexprimer : mwen chanj many pal pou yo konprann
mwen. Cela tient au racisme quil dit rencontr et sa volont de sadapter
tout en refusant de se renier. Les locuteurs 9 et 10 sexpriment dans un
crole universel qui fait un peu de place des marqueurs grammaticaux
de la langue hatienne, en particulier la contraction : phnomne courant
dans le C.H. (J. Pyrame, 1999, p. 138) des pronoms personnels. Ils font
appel aux morphmes du (C.M.) pour exprimer le prsent progressif ka ;
le futur k ; le pass t et non ap ; pral ; tap du C.H. Le locuteur L10 face

aux difficults dintgration langagier alla jusqu squiper dun lexique du

C.M afin de se familiariser avec ce crole.

Parmi les locuteurs de moins de 5 ans :

Les postures sont varies. Le locuteur 3 qui fut enseignant de crole en
Hati discerne entre les deux croles. Il comprend 100 % le C.M., mais
ne le parle pas 100%, dit-il. En outre, il pose la problmatique du
lexique. Par peur dviter des contresens, il prfre ne pas trop parler le
C.M. Ainsi, le lexme kok ne signifie pas la mme chose dans les deux
croles : accrocher (C.H.) /faire lamour (C.M.). Dautres diffrences qui
sont minimes sobservent disent ces locuteurs de moins de 5 ans. Dire,
cest moi , ne se traduit pas de la mme manire : s pam vs s ta mwen
(L4). La locutrice (L8), nous a aussi livr cet exemple, sans la contraction :
s pa mwen vs s ta mwen. Dailleurs, dans la mesure o elle est capable de
nous donner les quivalents, elle dmontre en cela sa connaissance des
deux croles. Ainsi donne-t-elle sans hsiter : les quivalents martiniquais
des expressions : Ou ap f tenten et chelb soient : Ou ka f btiz et pwl. Ces
deux exemples tmoignent dune connaissance partielle du C.M. : mwen
aprann dtwa mo kryol-yo-a. Cette interface lexicale ne lempche pas de
communiquer, car elle possde des interlocuteurs (autochtones) qui
sintressent au C.H. : moun isi pal kryol pas mwen ; moun isi konet pas
mwen. Elle emploie des marqueurs du crole martiniquais : ladverbe isi
(C.M.) au lieu de isit (C.H.) et le verbe konet au lieu de konen.
Selon nous, il y a un enrichissement du C.M., mme si les natifs-nataux ne
matrisent pas les flexions phonologiques du C.H. Dans un cantique
dglise, nous avons vu la difficult pour les Martiniquais de prononcer le
Mador et de prfr dire Mwen adorw. Cs derniers ont en commun avec
les Hatiens une caractristique propre au sujet parlant : [Sa] conscience
phonologique est conditionne par la pratique de sa langue (M.
Mahmoudian, 2103-14, p. 84).

Une ractivation du lexique martiniquais

Nous croyons la no-crolisation (Blaise, 2013) qui passe par les

apports dautres croles. En mme temps une observation fine
nous montre une ractivation comme vu prcdemment de termes
endognes. C. Jean-Louis (ibid., 21) signale que le nan : mwen desann


nan bouk-la est employ la Martinique. La prsence hatienne ne

fait que participer son activation.
Cest quau sein du territoire subsiste des variations linguistiques,
qui rsult aussi des peuplements successifs. Le phonme k qui
prdomine la Guadeloupe et en Hati nexclut pas le tj qui lui
domine la Martinique. Cependant, le tj est utilis dans certaines
parties de larchipel guadeloupen : tjoul pour dire reculer en
franais mais on trouve aussi kil. Les locuteurs Hatiens rencontrs
disent aussi bien Kenb fm (C.H.) ou tjenb fm (C.M.) : tiens-bon,
selon le degr de martinicanisation de leur crole.
La gnration ne dans la diaspora : des cas de singularits
Cest le cas dune jeune femme que nous avons rencontre. Elle est ne
Saint-Martin de parents Hatiens. Elle est tablie la Martinique depuis 7
ans. Sa scolarit sest effectue Saint-Martin et sjourne la
Martinique pour la complter. Dans cette le, Les langues les plus
parles sont, dans l'ordre, l'anglais, le franais, le crole hatien, le crole
guadeloupen, le papiamento, le nerlandais, le crole martiniquais, l'espagnol,
le portugais et l'italien; Marigot, on compte un grand nombre de Noirs
anglophones. Trois croles Base lexicale Franaise coexistent : le crole
hatien, le crole guadeloupen, le crole martiniquais ; un crole Base Lexicale
Portugaise : le papiamento (Collectivit de Saint-Martin, 2007).
Notre interviewe pratique le crole hatien quelle a appris auprs des
siens Saint-Martin, et dit quelques mots en crole martiniquais.
Notre entretien sest droul en langue franaise quelle prfre, au point
que si on lui parle en crole martiniquais, elle rpond en franais. Elle na
aucune envie dapprendre ce crole.
Elle parle le franais, le broken english, le crole hatien et un crole quelle
dit tre du crole de la Guadeloupe la partie franaise de Saint-Martin a
longtemps t rattache larchipel de la Guadeloupe ; les liens restent
troits. Lentretien qui suit confirme lusage du crole guadeloupen,
cependant, elle ne distingue pas les croles de la Guadeloupe et de la
la question : Es ou p rankont mwen jan ou t lyce ? Peux-tu me raconter ta
vie de lycenne ? Elle rpond : Mwen pas anbon priod au lyce. Mwen

p di st difil an pa t enmen sa mwen chwazi. St plito lprof kit choisil. En

cours danne mwen f BEP, mwen t vl choisi skrtaria. Mwen fos f sa. Jodi
saka poz mwen problem. (6)
La rponse mle le franais (au lyce / En cours danne) et les deux croles
les plus pratiqus dans son le dorigine : des croles (choisil / Jodi saka poz
mwen problem/ Mwen an t vl chwazi) : C.G (guadeloupen) / C.H.
Dans son cas, il y a une absence de volont de sexprimer dans le C.
M : Je ne trouve pas lobligation de parler la langue ; Je nai pas
damis Martiniquais. En outre, elle matrise davantage le Hatien. Des
raisons fort subjectives expliquent son refus : Je nai pas envie ; Je
naime pas la mentalit martiniquaise.
La langue cesse dtre une langue juste pour communiquer : cest tout un
vcu quelle exprime dans ce cas. LHatien Un autre rencontre fut aussi
fructueuse, il sest agi dun jeune homme dorigine hatienne n au
Venezuela, ayant grandi Saint-Martin et vivant depuis ans la Martinique
et scolaris depuis ans dans cette le. Il dtient une formation suprieure
en comptabilit. Ce priple de vie la enrichit des deux croles : C.M. et
C.H. quil matrise aisment aux cts de langlais, du franais et de
Des parcours spcifiques qui donnent ceux qui les ont effectus des
atouts non ngligeables, sils en prennent conscience. Comment expliquer
ce qui se droule sous nos yeux ? Ce quexhibent ces migrants sont des
chemins linguistiques quexplique un des universitaires Hatien qui
sjourne frquemment dans lle.

Le point de vue dun universitaire

Cet universitaire est Hatiano-canadien et son point de vue sur ce sujet est
clairant. Selon Charles Pierre-Jacques, sociologue de lducation, qui a
par ailleurs dirig dans les annes 70 un Centre de recherche de
luniversit de Montral la Martinique, lHatien sintgre en prenant sa
revanche sociale. Quant la langue, il tente de la matriser :
Les personnes que je frquente sont des gens de conditions
modestes : des marchandes. Mme quand ils parlent crole, il y a
des mots du C. M. Par ailleurs, ils sont laise dans le C.M. Je nai
pas trouv de prjugs lgard du C.M. Soit, ils parlent en

mlangeant les deux croles ou ils parlent strictement en C.M.

Comment ces personnes humbles arrivent-elles prendre leur
revanche sur les difficults dintgration ? En misant sur leurs
enfants. Ainsi, un de ces vendeurs pu faire de son fils un
fonctionnaire de lEtat franais en laidant fait des tudes de
sciences politiques. Un autre a fait de sa fille un mdecin. Une
autre envoy ses enfants aux tats-Unis, etc. (7)
Contrairement certains intellectuels, jarrive frquenter les gens du
peuple, puisque ma mre tait une paysanne. Elle est la seule personne de
sa gnration qui savait lire et crire, comptence quelle a due un
pasteur qui lavait adopte. Jai donc une certaine affinit avec ces
personnes du fait de mes origines et je les ai ctoyes durant mon sjour
la Martinique.
Ils parlent le C.M. avec les Martiniquais. Entre eux, ils mlangent les deux
croles. Une logique qua saisie la locutrice L8. Elle tmoigne quelle parle
le C.H. avec ses compatriotes rcemment darriver. Par contre, elle se
permet de mlanger les deux croles (avec du franais) en conversant avec
ceux qui vivent depuis plus longtemps sur le territoire martiniquais. Elle
sexprime en C.M. avec les Saint-Luciens qui frquentent son commerce
dans ce quartier cosmopolite de Terres-Sainville.
On comprend ce processus dintgration qui passe par lusage de la langue
des autochtones. La connaissance raisonne de ce phnomne nous
conduit faire rfrence la conception quavait F. Fanon de la langue. Le
dtachement de sa langue peut tre difficile, mme le crole pas si loign
du C.M. Selon le psychiatre, parler, cest tre mme demployer une
certaine syntaxe, possder une morphologie de telle ou telle langue, mais
cest surtout assumer une culture, supporter le poids dune civilisation
(Op. cit., p. 13).
Ces migrants doivent assumer la ralit locale : le crole la Martinique
fait dbat. Grce aux combats de certains intellectuels (Jean Barnab,
Raphal Confiant, Patrick Chamoiseau), il lui est rserv une autre place,
en particulier lcole. Il nest pas la langue des mdias et de
ladministration. En revanche, dans lle sur de la Guadeloupe, le crole
est la langue militante : la langue de la revendication politique. Est-ce ce
qui explique lusage presque parfait du crole guadeloupen par un clerc
Hatien de passage la Martinique ?

Ils doivent assumer le poids dune culture, dune tradition, dune

civilisation. Il leur faut aussi assumer le racisme ordinaire de la part des
autochtones. Do lide dune crativit inspire par la souffrance, telle
que lexprime E. Morin ? Toutefois, on ne peut oublier le principe
qunonait R. Relouzat : lindiffrence du crole au lexique,
puisquaucun ne lui appartient en propre, mais pouvant tous les utiliser, en
en modifiant phontiquement et morphologiquement. Ces socits sont
des socits de loralit et les croles empruntent normment : kimoun ki
py bill-la ? Langlais bill, pour frais, est compris de tous ; de mme mk
chouw pour make suresont des crations rcentes. Ce qui est significatif
dun changement de la source demprunts : les annes 1960, la France ; les
annes 1980 : les USA.
Notre interlocuteur L6 qui a sjourn la Dominique, Sainte-Lucie avant
de sinstaller la Martinique tait en mesure de nous parler le crole
dominiquais (C.D.) et de distinguer les quatre croles C.H. / C.M. /
C.D. / C. SL (Sainte-Lucie) :
Zot ka manny biten mwen ! (C.D.).
Gad mwen tibwen ! (C. SL), (C.M.) et mme (C.G.).
Pouki zot pwan sa ?

Sa s ta zot (C.M.) ?
Sa s ba mwen (C.H.).

Quoiquil en soit, notre certitude cest quau-del de la langue crole, nous

sommes confronts une rinvention des parlers mesure que se fait
sentir les effets de la mondialisation.

4. Un phnomne mondial
La mondialisation ne peut fonctionner quavec un minimum de
mobilit (Agier, 2015, 21).
La question de la crolisation ne peut sexonrer dune rflexion sur la
mobilit des peuples de nos jours. Une certaine analogie sobserve avec ce
qui sest droul dans les Amriques noires. Salikoko Mufwene parle
dune crolisation qui ne suppose pas la nativisation permet dinclure dans


la catgorie crole une plus grande varit de langues (1989, p. 75). Le

linguiste sest lui-mme intress la crolisation en bantoue.

Force nous est de reconnatre que le phnomne que nous tudions se

dcline sous dautres latitudes et avec dautres langues. Les logiques de
fabrications sont les mmes. Nous avons rapproch la diaspora francoantillaise de la France continentale et mis le doigt sur la crolisation qui
sopre entre les croles de Martinique, Guadeloupe, Guyane voire Hati.
Des jeunes ns dans ces diasporas parlent un pan-crole qui mlange les
trois voire quatre croles, sans se proccuper des canons linguistiques :
pas un crole de savants. Ce crole mixte ou migann est celui des Hatiens,
mais cest celui qui sinvente entre des langues proches : larabe en Algrie.
Selon F. Khelef, et R. Kebiche, (2011) coexistent dans lAlgrie moderne
plusieurs langues arabes qui drivent de Larabe classique : la seule
langue de communication inter-arabe.
On y trouve :
Larabe standard moderne ou standard contemporain ;
Larabe intermdiaire :








muhaaba est la fois une variante simplifie de larabe standard

moderne et une forme leve de larabe dialectal ; possdant la
syntaxe et la morphologie du dialecte, il emprunte son lexique
aussi bien au dialecte qu larabe standard moderne, ce registre se
progressivement; sil est essentiellement oral, son domaine diffre
pourtant de celui de larabe parl (dialectal), et sutilise
couramment dans les mdias et dans lenseignement primaire et
secondaire. Il a cours dans les pays du Maghreb et quelle que
soit son appellation, il prsente des caractristiques linguistiques
semblables : Les sociolinguistes algriens font part, ces dernires
annes, de lmergence dune autre varit darabe qui serait une
variante intermdiaire entre larabe classique et larabe algrien,
savoir entre larabe classique et larabe populaire algrien.
Lmergence de cette nouvelle variante concerne tous les tats du

Maghreb, dailleurs au Maroc on parle de larabe marocain

mdian. (Youssi, 1986:29).
Et larabe dialectal.
Ce terreau est la base de la langue intermdiaire qui se nourrit de la
langue standard et des dialectes. Mais lchafaudage se consolide par des
apports de la langue franaise, anglaise, etc. Une logique analogique nous
conduit y voir un parallle la crolisation que nous avons voque.

Le processus dintgration ne se droule pas de la mme faon selon que
lon soit de haute qualification professionnelle et dtenteur datouts
culturels ou que lon soit de la classe ouvrire. Pour les universitaires,
mdecins, professeurs et ingnieurs Hatiens que nous connaissons,
lintgration seffectue sur la base dune excellente matrise de la langue
franaise. Qui plus est, ils bnficient de leurs atouts culturels et
universitaires afin de sintgrer. Il nen est pas de mme pour la masse
laborieuse, mme celle qui serait dtentrice de qualification suprieure en
Hati (L2, L3) ; elle compte le plus souvent sur lencadrement de ceux des
leurs qui dtiendraient ces atouts (le cas des pasteurs : L10).
Une certitude, cest lenrichissement du C.M. par les apports des autres
crolophones, en particuliers Hatiens. Nous avons tudi des
communauts protestantes et nous avons vu des autochtones chanter des
cantiques en C.H. sans aucune difficult ; vu des prcheurs sexprimer en
crole hatien devant un parterre de Saint-Luciens, Dominiquais, de
Guadeloupens et Guyanais. Les locuteurs que nous avons rencontrs
sont lorigine dun pan-crole et brise toutes les thories que peuvent
mettre des linguistes de cabinet.

Quel bilan ?
Il y a une relle crativit qui passe par un mlange des deux croles voire
dautres croles, tels que le crole guadeloupen ou dominiquais
rencontrs au cours ditinraire pas toujours linaires. De nombreux
facteurs sociaux y contribuent tels que lducation, mais dautres facteurs
plus subjectifs tels que la volont de sintgrer, de partager la destine du

peuple daccueil. Inluctablement, il ne peut en tre autrement pour ces

migrants grce auxquels le chiffre de la dmographie grimpe, et qui
donnent naissance des Martiniquais la double culture crole.

Le phnomne devrait studier sur des territoires tels que Saint-Martin, la

Guyane franaise o cohabitent plusieurs croles base Lexicale
franaise : C.G (guyanais) / C.G. /C. SL/C.M./C.H. De faon plus vaste,
lavnement de la seconde mondialisation offre des perspectives de
crolisation quil faut prendre en compte.

ANNEXE : Typologie de notre chantillon

Locuteur 1

Tranche dge(8)
Temps de
prsence en
Profession exerce

Niveau dtudes

20-30 aines

10 ans
Ouvrier (Commerant
en Hati)

Locuteur 2

Tranche dge
Temps de
prsence en
Profession exerce

Niveau dtudes

30 aines

10 ans
(Enseignant du
primaire en Hati)

Locuteur 3

Tranche dge
Temps de
prsence en
Profession exerce

30-40 aines

5 ans
Ouvrier polyvalent
(Enseignant du
primaire en Hati/



Niveau dtudes

Locuteur 4

Tranche dge
Temps de
prsence en
Profession exerce
Niveau dtudes

30 aines

5 ans

Locuteur 5

Tranche dge
Temps de
prsence en
Profession exerce
Niveau dtudes

60 aines

10 ans



Locuteur 6

Tranche dge
Temps de
prsence en
Niveau dtudes

40-50 aines

5-10 ans

Locuteur 7

Tranche dge
Temps de
prsence en
Niveau dtudes

60 aines
5- 10 ans

Locuteur 8

Tranche dge
Temps de
prsence en
Niveau dtudes

40 aines

10 ans

Locuteur 9

Tranche dge
Temps de
prsence en

40 aines

10 ans
Gestionnaire dune
socit de transfert

Niveau dtudes

Locuteur 10

Tranche dge
Temps de
prsence en

40 aines

10 ans

Niveau dtudes

Notes de fin
1- Hati occupe le 168e rang sur une liste de 187 pays tablie selon lIndice de
dveloppement humain (Idh), dans le dernier rapport du Programme des Nations
Unies pour le dveloppement (Pnud) : AlterPress,
2- K. Portel-Tareau : recherche en cours sur la communaut hispanophone du
quartier des Terres-Sainville de Fort-de-France.
3- Le crole, hritage africain. (2015).

4- Confrence la Mdiathque du Lamentin, le mercredi 8 juillet 2015.

5- Confrence la Mdiathque du Lamentin, le mercredi 8 juillet 2015.
6- Jai beaucoup apprci mon passage au lyce. [Toutefois], je peux dire que ce
fut difficile pour ce qui est de mon orientation. Je nai pas effectu un choix
volontaire : ce furent les professeurs qui dcidrent ma place. Je souhaitais faire
une formation en secrtariat. Jai d me rsoudre [lhtellerie], aujourdhui cela
me pose des problmes.
7- Entretien ralis au moment de la rdaction de cet article, en septembre 2015.
8- Certains interviews nont pas souhait donner leur ge. Nous leur avons
demand de se situer dans des diffrentes tranches dge.

Agier, M. (2015). La crise migratoire met en vidence celle de ltat-nation, in
Libration. , no 10682, 23 septembre 2015, pp. 20-21.
AlterPress, URL://
Consult en septembre 2015.
Blaise, M. (2013). No-crolisation en Martinique : processus d'intgration et
d'ducation de la communaut hatienne, in Archiplies, no 3-4, p. 128.
Bernab, J. (2010-11). Dfis et stratgies pour la prservation du crole
martiniquais, in Saragossa, special issue, no 187, pp. 132-142.
Collectivit de Saint-Martin, (2007).
URL:// Consult en
septembre 2015.
Constant, D. (2006). Peut-on parler de crolisation propos de lAfrique du Sud ?
in Revue Internationale des Sciences Sociales, no 187, 2006, pp. 173-184.
Davidas, R. (2000). Le lexique crole des produits drivs de la drogue et des
pratiques affrentes la Martinique, in Mofwaz, no 5, p. 128.
Fanon, F. (1952). Peau noire, masques blancs. Paris: Seuil.
Georges, M. (2015), Education and language in Sint Marteen. Language, culture
and education, pp. 71-98.
Hagge, Cl. (1985). L'Homme de paroles, Paris : Fayard.


Hazal-Massieux, M.-CH. (non dat). Les langues croles. Formation et volution

dans le contexte des contacts de langues dans la Carabe. Consult en
septembre 2015.
Hurbon, L. (1987), Comprendre Hati. Paris : Karthala.
Jean-Louis. C. (2015). Du crole langlais/ le crole martiniquais un outil pour
enseigner langlais des crolophones. Mmoire de Master sous la direction de S.
Colot. Universit des Antilles/Facult des lettres et sciences humaines.
Jolivet, M.-C. (1997). La crolisation en Guyane [Un paradigme pour une
anthropologie de la modernit crole] In : Cahiers d'tudes africaines. Vol. 37,
n148. La Carabe. Des les au continent. pp. 813-837.
Khelef, F., Kebiche, R. (2011). volution ethnique et dialectes du Maghreb.
Synergies Monde arabe, n 8, pp. 19-32.
Lecurieux-Lafayett, L., Terosier, S. (2014-5). Les jamacainisme dans le crole
martiniquais : Interactions entre pratiques culturelles et pratiques langagires,
travaux de Master sous la direction de Max Blaise. Universit des
Antilles/Facult des lettres et sciences humaines.
Les Hatiens en Martinique, URL://
Consult en septembre 2015.
Mahmoudian, M. (2103-14). Linguistique et science du langage, in La
Linguistique, vol. 49, pp. 67-96.
Nouvelles images dHati,
URL:// Consult en septembre 2015.
Relouzat, R. (1998). Tradition orale et imaginaire crole, Paris : Ibis Rouge
Mufwene, S. (1989). La crolisation en Bantou : le cas du kituba, du lingala
urbain, et du swahili du shaba. tudes croles, vol. 12, no 1, pp. 74-105.
Pyrame, J. (1999). Outil du crole et du franais. compte dauteur.
Siganos, A. (2014). Lesclavage est-il sans fin ? Paris : LHarmattan.
Villeronce, D., Dominique, L. (2015). Travail d'tude et de recherche travaux
sous la direction de Max Blaise. Universit des Antilles/Facult des lettres et
sciences humaines.



Teaching national languages
in a context of linguistic diversity
Ibrahima Dieme
Doctoral candidate
Arciv- Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar, Senegal

Abstract: The question of the introduction of national languages in

educational curricula in Senegal and Francophone countries is one of the
issues that arose on the occasion of the XVe Summit of Francophone
countries in Dakar, Senegal. The importance of this question to the lives
of these countries cannot be assessed without diagnosing the
difference/diversity that add to the maladies of African postcolonial
communities. This article explores and presents the processes and
background framework of national language teaching in the Senegalese
educational system from the 1960s to the present. It also attempts to
elucidate both the benefits and the limits of national languages teaching
in contexts of ethnic diversity as a pathway to an efficient transmission
of scientific knowledge and development.
Keywords: postcolonial Africa, francophony, language of instruction,
national languages, Senegal, curriculum

A pathway to a curriculum indifferent of difference

It was a temporary matter: for five days their electricity would be cut off
for one hour, beginning at eight P.M. A line had gone down in the last
snowstorm, and the repairmen were going to take advantage of the milder
evenings to set it right. The work would affect only the houses on the
quiet tree-lined street, within walking distance of a row of brick-faced
stores and a trolley stop, where Shoba and Shukumar had lived for three
years (Lahiri, 9)


The question of the introduction of national languages in the Senegalese

educational curricula is one of the important issues that have risen in the
occasion of the XVe Summit of Francophone countries in Dakar, Senegal
was engaged as remedy to the long unsolved breakthrough on
development through education. The importance of this fundamental
issue in the lives of the countries engaged in such a project cannot be let
without a deep diagnosis with regard to the recurrent conflicts that are
considered in the present article as the maladies of the African
postcolonial nation. If not a temporary one, the remedy that brings
changes in the orientations of the type of citizens that will thus be trained
through the new priority put on national languages will not lead the
cultural environment of the African nation still without a great unbalance
with respect to its diversity and peace.
If we move from the statement that: postcoloniality is a condition that
needs a cure, and the passage to that cure involves a return to the buried
memories of colonial trauma (Rukmini Bhaya Nair, Xi(1)) it means that
African and Francophone countries in particular are now in the process of
a favorable prognosis of the colonial malady as a linguistic feature that has
been unable to prompt them into being developed postcolonial and
francophone nations at large. French is no longer enough in the long
pathway that should carry out the development of the majority of the
participating countries: the outcry is now the recourse to the mixed
approach of national educational systems through the colonial and the
national languages.
Proceeding from the dialogue below, how one can stop questioning the
status of language in our postcolonial situation without an attempt to
grasp the depth of what it all means to shift into teaching in our mothertongues:
But we do not face a language barrier. What need is there
for an interpreter? Thats not what I mean. I would never
have told you otherwise. Dont you realize what it means for
me to tell you? What does it mean? It means that Im
tired of feeling so terrible all the time.(Lahiri, 39)
True enough, the language barrier if any, the possibility this only be one
that needs to be sought and fixed from within our own communities
rather from the perspective of the colonial language that still unites us.

Thus, what seems to be a ready-made cure to our deep post-traumatic

inability to use the colonizers language in our struggle to build strong
postcolonial economies has still some more bottlenecks that should not in
the present state of affairs be ignored. There is enough evidence that an
immersion into the cultural specificity of the postcolonial traumatic
malady will reveal important features that should be integrated into the
distribution of the didactic map in design.
If need be to move from being indifferent simple Interpreter of Maladies(2)
into healer that provides an effective response to the serious issue of
finding a way out of our present status of development, the political
project that underlies this groundbreaking perspective must start by an indepth study of the sociology of the African nation mainly with a focus on
the identity crises that it has generated ever since the early independent
years and that still play as a pivotal hindrance into the development of the
Since Louis Jean Calvet, languages are at war, and since Patrick Dhalet,
their battlefield is the speaker.(3) Indeed, the plurality of ethnic groups
and national languages henceforward cultural identities in most of the
francophone countries that would engage in the project with a full entry
of local languages into the curricula poses the fundamental question of the
framework that would encompass all the cultural-linguistic sensibilities
without awaking the old and pending ghost ethnic representations that
have always worked against political harmony and stability in many
Such a framework also calls upon the question of which languages will be
taught? Where will they be taught, local or nationwide? And beyond these
questions, there is the central question of the criteria for selection of the
languages to be taught. It goes without saying that if a language is chosen
it gives to its speakers a valuable means to enter into a massive
distribution of speakers, hence secures its future. The war of languages
upon the speaker also entails that some languages will lose the battlefield
by witnessing to the progressive fall of all its heritage into oblivion. The
security argument comes into play since many languages are now
endangered, the project in perspective offers a unique opportunity for
these languages to experience a new start and provide a source linguistic

More importantly, we have here a unique opportunity to move from

mono-ethnic linguistic enclosures into a cross-ethnic and cross-linguistic
era when all the citizens of a country can easily communicate beyond the
cultural and linguistic barriers that have always prevailed, though the
possibility of a cacophony of voices might be heard mainly within the race
for hegemonies that could hinder all chances of success.
The analogies of representation within the lenses of each ethnic group
(the Wolof for example views all other Senegalese national language
speakers as dwellers of the linguistic periphery through the notion of
Lakkaat(4) which functions here as the epitome of otherness or alterity
under the tropics the affective possessive pronoun sama + the name of the
ethnic group like in sama Joola Bi,(5) while the Mandinka, in return sees
everybody else through lenses where size is more than the central
governing feature that characterises the notion of ethno-linguistic
difference with the interplay of the concept of Mandinka bah(6) and all
the other ones being represented by the suffix ndingho(7) as in Suurwa
ndingho(8) which confers a certain preeminence of the Mandinka in the
nomenclature of languages therefore of cultures.
I have deliberately used the term affective in the representation of the
stereotypes in the above mentioned example of the Wolof in interaction
with other ethnic groups to show that it does not necessarily invoke a
context of conflict in the relationships between ethnic groups, but these
are only stereotypes and clichs that need to be wiped out of the common
postcolonial cultural and social-identity heritage. It goes then as a famous
Sports TV presenter has recently valuably anticipated in a groundbreaking
call into learning the national languages in the country.(9)
If such should be the case, and that a long-term and successful
implementation of the proceedings for the teaching of national languages
come true, let it not be the source of identity conflicts. We should move
beyond the subtleties of didactic approaches and the scientific urgent need
to back up the building of our economic development through the reform
of our educational system, in which our steps should cautiously integrate a
single dimension that plays as a preventive cure of potential pandemic
In The Chutnification of History: Salman Rushdie, Michael Ondaatje,
Bharati Mukherjee and the Postcolonial Debate,(10) Mita Banerjee has

suggested that Almsy, the English patient, is like a space of oblivion

the faceless patient is everything and nothing, everyone and no one at
the same time. As an empty space to be filled, he is, like the desert, a void
onto which the personality of the watcher is projected, at the same time,
however, he evades all attempts on the part of other to contain him, to fix
him into language (152).
Now that this facelessness of the postcolonial francophone has become
so difficult to bear so as to outcry for a linguistic-mix in order to speed up
the process of development. If it is not the failure of the system that has
always educated our scholars that is being admitted through what would
be synonymous of being postcolonial francophone patient in the
endemic void onto which our personality is subjected, falling into a new
void would also be a relapse into the same malady but with more serious
Facelessness is the result of a much inadequate approach to the pedagogy
of Educational policies in the Twenty first century for Africa. All
countries thriving to set on their development processes are face with the
challenge of world that is constantly in transformation but where our
educational should always draw from the endogen all the cultural values
necessary for a balanced interaction with the global. As such the policies
in making should stay open to the entire world over rather than profess
the francophone-national path of development and problem solving.
The orientation of the system in the strategic question of choice and the
ability of the African to decide of which educational policy should relied
on to carry out its development clashes with the central of the financial
autonomy of educational systems.
True enough, "Knowledge is generated within the framework of traditions
and the discernment of truth always has a temporal structure. As a
consequence, there can be no such thing as the correct or the final
understanding of autonomy: its meaning is always open to further
interpretations from new perspectives" (David Held, 166)
The temporality of the construction of knowledge that effectively
responds to the specific situation of economic dependency of external
sponsors is deemed to be more like to be achieved into the framework of
national languages as parallel medium into the mastery of science


henceforward the development of an autonomous body of researchers

that generate models of economies that be consistent with the traditions
of our cultural values.
But as David suggests, the teaching of national along with colonial
languages like French and other languages opens the possibility into
deeper interpretations from the new perspective of the global arena, in
which no community or identity can no longer be defined without taking
into account some governing bodies like diversity and plurality.
Understanding the linguistic autonomy of the postcolonial state in the
global context is at the unique cost of understanding how far can our
autonomy take us in the journey if still we dont have sovereign
educational systems.
It leads than the necessity to engage into a negotiation between former
colonial and endogen linguistic bodies within the postcolonial context of
diversity. But what should be the terms of the dialogues?
David Scott, in Refashioning Futures: Criticism after Postcoloniality,(1) suggests
that when a concept such as post-coloniality becomes normalized, it
becomes time "to ask whether the critical yield continues to be
productive, and "if not, to ask what set of questions is emerging in the
new problem-space that might reconfigure and so expand the conceptual
terrain in which an object is located" (Scott, 8-9)
An important set of questions in our francophone context of
postcoloniality should then be the following; do we have the right to
choice while elsewhere everything is moving global? If then, choosing the
bivalent linguistic scheme for our educational system is a possible option,
since there is still within the borderlines of each cultural and ethnic
country component the necessity of a subtle linguistic refashioning.

How shall we move from experimental intal into plain

From the experimental phase first concerned with the fight against
illiteracy among adult populations then targeted as experimental classes in
the Senegalese school system, the teaching of national languages has gone

through different stages and receptions that should allow us to look at it

with a particular gaze. It should be reminded that the Senegalese
constitution of 2001 recognizes six national languages and all other
codified languages as part of its linguistic map. The distribution of the
speakers of these languages as corresponding to their belonging to the
language includes:

The wolofs
The Pulaars
The Sereers
The Diolas
The Mandinkas
The Bambaras
The Soninkes
The Sarakholes

The Maurs
The Balantes
The Laobes
The Manjaaks
The Mancagnes
The Bassaris
The Kognaguis and the

If we shall consciously ignore the official statistics about the number of

speakers of each language and consider it as a feature that might blur the
real and invaluable attachment to the cultural values that go with
belonging and the speaking of a language as a higher criteria for choice. It
then leads to indifferently see each of these languages as a cultural body
that carries a certain heritage of equal value in importance to the eyes of
its speakers, be they a minority or not. It also goes without mentioning
that the specific varieties within certain languages like the Diolas (Fogny,
Buluf, Erring, Bayot), and within the Sereers Cangin (the None, the
Ndutt, the Safi, the Palor) spoken in the region of Thies, and the Sereer
Siin in the region of Fatick just shows the complexity of the titanic project
of integrating national languages in the Senegalese school system to which
the development the different variants of the curricula should not be
indifferent from its inception to the end. Each of these varieties also
stands as a linguistic micro-identity which defines and links each
individual to a specific soil and the subsequent cultural heritage that it
Both at the macro-ethnic and micro-ethnic dimensions national languages
contribute into giving an in-depth articulation of the contours that the
project should adopt in as far much responding to every single need of a

genuine match between schooling, knowledge and development within

the socio-cultural canons each body.
Though most Senegalese people speak Wolof as a lingua franca, it is
observed that the insistence of cultural belonging has become widespread
even among some elite who are aware of the importance of conservation
their cultural heritage. A look at the different associations of students in
the Senegalese campuses shows that a great proportion of them are in
reference to soil, village and much more belonging to the same minority
ethnic groups like The Bassaris, The Bediks to name but a few.
Indeed the development of micro-identities reveals a walk away from a
certain attachment to the western ideologies like Marxism, Socialism or
Liberalism that govern just at the surface level their belonging to the
political parties that claim their attachment to these ideologies.
If difference is today is more and more plainly lived in various aspects of
the lives our communities, the role of the policymaker should be
anticipate the eventual conflicts that might arise from neglect or just an
unconscious and hasty discrimination of the languages that should be
taught or how, whence and where these languages should be taught
before we be interested to the why question.
Because responding effectively to the needs of a linguistic community to
be educated in its own tongue means that Senegal develops curricula that
correlate all the cultural reservoir heritage within each the ethnic group in
the nation and that could in the long term help establish for each a
documented heritage that survives over generations of speakers. If mother
tongue schooling is first and for most a vector of development it is with
fully with the cultural values the cultural values that its continuity should
be sought.
Teaching these languages then poses the question of the curricula and its
content (historiography and culture) beyond any other interest, before its
adaptation or appropriation of science and all the pedagogic
methodologies to be inclusively applied in the teaching of each local
language. This is only possible if we develop a roadmap that is built in a
participative approach. The contribution of the population in the
validation of the sectorial programs by target language will fundamentally
help into a successful experience.


One of the difficulties that should face the development and success of
this project will reside in the effective communication and sharing with
the population on the different outcomes of the project in the scholastic
development of their children and its subsequent impact on the overall
national economic growth.
Often projects have been designed and implemented without having the
populations integrate the full benefit of them beforehand. If such policy
had to be forgotten there is still hope that teaching national languages in
all the Senegalese school system will have brighter days ahead.
Indeed, the experience of national languages teaching is not new in
Senegal. At Cheikh Anta Diop University, national languages like Wolof,
Diola, Mandinka, Pulaar and Sereer have been taught since the 1970s and
the department of linguistics as now moved into being an autonomous
body which no longer only provides optional classes in other departments
but is growing with each year a new wave of students. Next to it with the
CLAD (Centre of Applied Linguistics of Dakar) at Cheikh Anta Diop
University whose researchers together with their colleagues and their
students constitute a great reservoir that could efficiently fill up the gap in
well trained teachers in national languages. The profile and the
administrative status of the national languages teachers remains an
important feature.
But, in a country not devoid of experience in the domain one can only
express their hope in the success of the project if inclusive and efficiently
developed. Indeed, the linguistic nationalism that underlies the project of
national languages teaching has its background and full expression in
more other domains than in education.
A look at the Grammaire Moderne du Wolof by Path Diagne describes the
wolofal(11) trend that could be traced back to the independence years and
mottos like Mom Sa Rew(12) as well as in most of filmography of
Ousmane Sembene and Djibril Diop Mambety. Other references to
linguistic nationalism could incorporate Xarebi(News bulletin) to the
more recent terminology in the political life of the country like Rewmi
(The nation) and Yoonu Yokute (The pathway to development) that
translate a certain attachment to our language in the experience of our
daily endeavor for development.


In another domain, it is the work of Pr. Sakhir Thiam with his

groundbreaking experience of mathematics in Wolof that catch the eye of
any serious observer of the features that such a project should borrow in
order to reach its full potential. Though, the challenge will still be in the
transfer of knowledge into all language with the support of didactics
experts that assist the development of material and its implementation in
each language.
If the return to national languages be a means of decolonizing our minds,
it should also succeed into democratizing the tongue in the fullest respect
of linguistic diversity. French as the language of the colonizer has been
celebrated from the 1960s to the 1980s by late President Leopold Sedar
Senghor through his attachment to this language that shows from just a
glance at his rich literary career and work the entire place he has dedicated
to this language. But today, it is another challenge that faces our society
and to which every single segment of its linguistic atlas should keep a
share of responsibility.
Beyond all, teaching national languages means that Senegal sets up a
department of national languages in each of its teacher-training schools
that are equipped with the necessary skills and potential for carrying over
the project in very long term perspective. More, the curricula in national
languages will also need to bear a wider scope and move into faculties of
the Senegalese University System as an optional language that does not
compete with English and French but fulfills the objective of training our
scholars and scientists into the mastery of at least their local language of
their choice.
But if we should be ready for the radical shift, the complexity in which the
program will be implemented should be cautious of whether some
languages should be discriminated in favor of others. Because most of the
time the current and past project have moved from the only criterion of
the dominant language for choice, while losing sight of the fact that
identity will always govern the choice and way of life of communities
mainly when they are conscious that their future as a linguistic and ethnic
group and its heritage is subsequently in play.
If the memory of people lives through the bearing of its cultural memory
its preservation in every single stage of our shared spaces should call into


a constructive dialogism between public necessity and the respect of the

integrity of cultural bodies.
In 2005, the experimental phase of the national languages teaching has
recorded many withdrawals of children from the experimental classes with
the motive that this type of process would slow down their development.
This has happened, even if the program has made proof of excellent
results in many points of the country where it was experimented.
In fact, it should be admitted that indifference to difference in the
implementation of this project is the most rapid way to failure. Also, in a
country where the mobility of population for diverse reasons has brought
many individuals to settle everywhere in the country independently of
their natural locus, the plain attachment of individuals to their belonging
to a specific identity can read through different instances. So, the
fragmentation of the linguistic atlas complicates more the task of the
policymaker in such a way as to pave the way to the phenomenon of
cultural resistance as the main hindrance to the project. When a good
communicational approach to the matter that transcends fragmentation
aspects and linguistic sets a common ground of approach to which all
agree then we will live to witness the burst of new era in the Senegalese
school system. Meantime, let everything be thoroughly checked.

1- Nair, Rukmini Bhaya (2002). Lying on the Postcolonial Couch: The Idea of
Indifference. Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis.
2- Jhumpa Lahiris Interpreter of Maladies, New York: Mariner Books
3- Beacco, Jean-Claude (2014). Les Langues: Guerre et Paix, Le Franais
lUniversit 3-4. My translation.
4- One who speaks another language with a nuance of strangeness.
5- My joola, although the possessive might imply a different set of meanings in
the discourse of otherness.
6- The great Mandinka.
7- Little.


8- The little Wolof.

9- See Yatma LO in his famous weekly Budoka TV Show on the Senegalese
National TV.
10- Banerjee, Mita. The Chutnification of History: Salman Rushdie, Michael
Ondaatje, Bharati Mukherjee and the Postcolonial Debate. Heidelberg, Germany:
Universittsfrlag C. Winter, 2002.
11- Shifting into wolof.
12- Independence.

Banerjee, Mita (2002). The Chutnification of History: Salman Rushdie, Michael
Ondaatje, Bharati Mukherjee and the Postcolonial Debate. Heidelberg, Germany:
Universittsfrlag C. Winter.
Beacco, Jean-Claude (2014). Les Langues: Guerre et Paix, Le Franais
lUniversit, 3-4. (My translation)
Jhumpa Lahiris Interpreter of Maladies, New York: Mariner Books
Nair, Rukmini Bhaya (2002). Lying on the Postcolonial Couch: The Idea of
Indifference. Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis.
Scott, David (1999). Refashioning futures: Criticism after postcoloniality.
Princeton: Princeton: University Press. Conclusions des Assises de l'Education.



Dr. Alexis Oviedo

Universidad Andina Simn Bolvar, Sede Ecuador

Resumen: Este artculo parte de la premisa de que en el Ecuador perviven

formas de relacionamiento social propias de la poca colonial, cuya
permanencia y ejercicio ha sido denominada por la academia como
colonialidad. En este trabajo se analiza las implicaciones de la colonialidad en
dos conceptos bsicos de la cultura, como son la memoria y el patrimonio y
se comienza conceptualizndolos desde la realidad ecuatoriana y develando
de qu manera la Historia oficial los reconstruye desde una visin vinculada
al discurso homogenizante del mestizaje que potencia la colonialidad, as
como la influencia de la misma en la configuracin identitaria del
ecuatoriano. Por otra parte, se analiza la fiesta como un espacio de expresin
y representacin donde se ponen de manifiesto ambos conceptos. Este
trabajo complementa una investigacin realizada sobre la cultura y la
descolonizacin y es un primer acercamiento a un estudio particular del
patrimonio como discurso y la memoria como una construccin desde el
poder y la resistencia.
Palabras clave: Colonialidad, Memoria, Patrimonio, Mestizaje, Fiesta.

Abstract: This article starts from the premise that some particular ways of
social relationship, established during colonial times still o survive in
Ecuador. These presence and exercise has been called by the academy as
coloniality. In this paper the implications of coloniality on two basic
concepts of culture is discussed, such as memory and heritage. They are
conceptualized from the Ecuadorian reality and revealing how the official
history reconstructs them from a vision linked to the mestizos homogenized
discourse. This discourse enhances coloniality and its influence on the
identity configuration of Ecuadorians. Moreover, the party is analyzed as a
space for expression and representation, where these two concepts are
revealed. This work also complements a previous research on culture and
descolonization. It is also a first approach to a particular study of heritage as
speech and memory as a construction from power and resistance.
Keywords: Coloniality, Memory, Heritage Mestizaje, Party


Los orgenes mismos de la modernidad y la dominacin del Norte sobre
el Sur surgen con el colonialismo (Quijano, 2005), y con este, la estructura
colonial se constituye en el contexto donde operan las relaciones sociales,
de tipo clasista o estamental. La presencia y ejercicio de estas relaciones en
la actualidad es el proceso al que Anbal Quijano llama colonialidad
(Quijano, 1992). La colonialidad se basa en una estructura racial de larga
duracin fundamentada en la dualidad europeo vs. no-europeo, y que
ha sido el mbito constitutivo de la acumulacin capitalista, el cual desde
el siglo XVI se da a escala mundial y que pervive de manera sutil, velada y
abierta en varios aspectos de la cotidianidad de las ex colonias.
La colonialidad cultural eurocntrica sigue dndose principalmente debido
a la colonizacin del imaginario de los dominados (Quijano, 1992: 12) y
contina, a pesar de los distintos matices que pueda haber tomado en
cinco siglos. Uno de los aspectos en los que la colonialidad actualmente
pervive en las ex-colonias, es en la reproduccin de su dimensin
epistmica cultural (Castro-Gmez, Grosfoguel, 2005), donde el
pensamiento europeo-occidental es asumido como el nico vlido.
Dentro de la dimensin epistmica cultural, los materiales que simbolizan
la identidad cultural y la misma construccin identitaria tienen una
orientacin determinada, cuyas configuraciones han sido influidas por la
colonialidad. Una aproximacin a esta influencia en la memoria social, el
patrimonio y la configuracin de la identidad en Ecuador, es el sentido de
este trabajo.

Un acercamiento al patrimonio y la memoria social

Los componentes del patrimonio son un referente en la construccin de
las identidades y un sustento que nutre la memoria social. Ambos
conceptos se vinculan a travs de la conservacin de los materiales
importantes para la identidad cultural de un pueblo como registro
presente de un pasado social. Memoria y patrimonio se vinculan a travs
de situaciones de efervescencia colectiva que desencadenan procesos de
simbolizacin. Es a travs de la simbolizacin de los sentimientos que las

conciencias individuales cerradas, por naturaleza, las unas a las otras

pueden comunicarse entre ellas (Durkheim, 1970). La materialidad de la
memoria y el patrimonio es el conjunto de elementos que a lo largo de
una lnea temporal se entretejen y permiten que las personas hallemos
referentes de identidades seleccionndolos de acuerdo a nuestras
experiencias y conforme a nuestras necesidades para construir y
reconstruir nuestra memoria social histrica (Celi y Cazar, 2010: 2).
Un primer acercamiento al patrimonio cultural parte desde la etimologa
latina patrimonium (lo que se hereda de la familia), por lo cual nos
referimos a patrimonio en trminos de herencia cultural. Las formas de
transmisin de los elementos que han pasado de generacin a generacin
y que son relevantes, dignos de conservarse y transmitirse y que al formar
parte de la cultura de un pueblo son elementos constitutivos
fundamentales de su identidad (Sandoval Simba, 2009). Forman parte del
patrimonio el conjunto de bienes, el cmulo vivo de saberes,
significaciones, percepciones y concepciones, es decir, testimonios y
evidencias vinculados con hechos, episodios, personajes, formas de vida,
religin, produccin, colectividad, usos, y costumbres, que ilustran el
pasado y que reconfirman la identidad de una comunidad local, regional, o
nacional (Garca Canclini en Saltos Coloma, 2009: 53).
Por otra parte la memoria es la depositaria de conocimientos de diferente
tipo que se transmiten de generacin en generacin y que guardan
significacin especial para una sociedad determinada. La constituyen
tambin las interpretaciones, representaciones y nuevos significados que
se dan a los hechos y vivencias socialmente compartidas, desde esfuerzos
conscientes para reivindicar eventos que afirman su identidad. Por ello la
memoria social cumple un rol importante en la construccin del Estado
nacin, la identidad del mismo y la configuracin de los sentidos
colectivos de sus habitantes (Hidrovo Quinez, 2009).
Sin embargo, la memoria social no rescata todos los conocimientos del
pasado, pues al igual que el patrimonio, estos no tienen la misma
apreciacin, pues la estimacin tanto de la memoria como del patrimonio
se dan desde una valoracin ideolgica (Hidrovo Quinez, 2009). Es
decir, que tanto la interpretacin y valoracin que se da a los diversos


eventos, as como los elementos del patrimonio material e inmaterial son

determinados por la tendencia ideolgica en hegemona.

Patrimonio, memoria social y colonialidad

La institucionalidad cultural internacional (siguiendo el enfoque
eurocentrista), ha dividido al patrimonio cultural en material e inmaterial.
Esta dicotoma es rechazada por los grupos indgenas y populares, pues
ellos consideran al patrimonio como un todo orgnico y holstico que no
puede ser disgregado (Saltos Coloma, 2009).
El criterio holstico de patrimonio se sustenta en la realidad, ya que una
manifestacin cultural y su representacin simblica no aparecen
divididas. Saltos Coloma, explicando la importancia del criterio holstico
para la comprensin del patrimonio, pone como ejemplo la religiosidad
popular, cuyas expresiones del patrimonio material,(3) tales como la comida o
la msica, no pueden separarse de sus representaciones (patrimonio
inmaterial) tales como los valores, smbolos y creencias que forman parte
de dichas expresiones, por cuanto al hacerlo se perdera su carcter ritual,
lo cual es bsico en la conservacin vital de la religiosidad popular (Saltos
Coloma, 2012).
El retomar el criterio holstico del patrimonio permite que se viabilice la
reconstruccin del capital simblico de las culturas subalternas en su real
dimensin, es decir desde su cosmovisin y simbologa integrales y se la
enlace con la cultura oficial, predominantemente eurocntrica, con lo
cual el patrimonio cultural es un aporte en la construccin de la
interculturalidad. A la vez que analizar cules han sido los procesos
histricos de la mirada estatal e institucional del patrimonio en Ecuador,
en ese ejercicio de memoria y tambin de olvido, qu memoria se ha
reconstruido y que patrimonio se ha reconocido (Eljuri,(2) comunicacin
personal, Junio 29, 2015).
La reconstruccin del capital cultural simblico y la reconstruccin del
patrimonio local de los sectores subalternos no pueden hacerse sin su
participacin directa, alejados de su cosmovisin, saberes y espiritualidad,
sino asociados a su percepcin de la geografa y el entorno social y natural.


Para ello es imprescindible tener presentes los criterios de

plurinacionalidad, descentralizacin, autonoma y distribucin territorial.
La determinacin de los elementos relevantes y sus formas de
conservacin responde tambin a las relaciones de poder y posiciones
ideolgicas. Si bien el patrimonio sirve para unificar una nacin, las
desigualdades de su formacin y apropiacin exigen estudiarlo tambin
como espacio de lucha material y simblica entre las clases, las etnias y los
grupos (Garca Canclini, 1999: 18). El acceso diferenciado al capital
cultural, en el que las clases dominantes son favorecidas, determina que
estas hagan una apropiacin privilegiada del patrimonio comn y
adicionalmente se reduzca el patrimonio cultural a una prctica de
conservacin de los aspectos materiales de las representaciones colectivas
(Garca Canclini, 1999; Celi y Cazar, 2010).
Esta conservacin tambin va de acuerdo a la valoracin que se hace de
los capitales culturales desde la perspectiva del poder, dicha valoracin
invisibiliza las identidades histricas que no responde al proyecto de
dominio homogenizante. Con ello se privilegian aquellos capitales
culturales que legitiman los proyectos de dominacin en desmedro del
capital cultural simblico de los grupos subalternos. La revalorizacin de
este capital simblico debe aprovecharse puesto que su patrimonio
cultural est vivo y es sentido. De esta manera, el patrimonio es
efectivamente un capital social de las comunidades locales y se inscribe
en un proceso creativo, dinmico y multidimensional para el resguardo y
reproduccin de la cultura de una sociedad (Sandoval Simba, 2009; Saltos
Coloma, 2009).
Sin embargo, el rescate de los conocimientos del pasado tanto desde la
conformacin del denominado patrimonio inmaterial y por ende para la
construccin de la memoria social del Ecuador, tambin desarrollada en
Ecuador desde el legado de los museos, los ha tenido su base en la
colonialidad. Esto puede verse tanto desde la valoracin o no del
patrimonio inmaterial cuanto desde la organizacin de los museos como
organizaciones cerradas, con una organizacin determinada como
contenedores de memoria que responde a ciertos patrones donde no hay
una adecuada democratizacin simblica y los valores que estos animan
(Cartagena y Len, 2015). As, los valores identitarios y los elementos de la
memoria ecuatoriana se construyen desde perspectivas histricas que

resaltan ciertas identidades, eventos y smbolos asociados a la herencia

eurocntrica, en tanto que aquellos elementos provenientes de las culturas
ancestrales buscan ser, borrados o por lo menos folklorizados y
ocultados.(4) Los museos, por ejemplo nacen como mecanismos de poder
imperial, donde se expresan relaciones de poder que reproducen herencias
coloniales (Cartagena y Len, 2015), que han colaborado a que se
robustezca un tipo particular de memoria, funcional a la generacin de
discursos homogneos particularmente vinculados al sentido del estado
En efecto, esta construccin obedece al proyecto de consolidacin de los
estados nacionales, los cuales surgieron a partir del proceso
independentista y no tenan una identidad. Por tanto, para consolidar el
proyecto de Estado-nacin, fue necesario crear imaginarios comunes y
consolidar los sentidos de ciudadana desde una perspectiva
homogenizante (Oviedo, 2013) que se traduce en el discurso del mestizaje,
como un imaginario que busca borrar diferencias sociales y econmicas,
generar una cultura oficial, de marcado carcter etnocentrista, con
matices folklricos de la cultura indgena e invisibilizando por completo a
la cultura negra.

La presencia eurocntrica en la escritura de la Historia, el

patrimonio y la memoria social
En Ecuador se ha escrito una Historia que da un origen comn a
sociedades que provenan de procesos distintos y realidades diferentes
(Hidrovo Quinez, 2009), y que ha sido retocada de acuerdo a los
intereses de los criollos en el poder. La Historia oficial es la historia del
poder, desarrollada por hroes que son masculinos/ blanco-mestizos,
heterosexuales y cristianos. Una Historia donde las contadas mujeres
mencionadas, tienen papeles marginales y estn ausentes los sectores
subalternos. Como lo anota Tatiana Hidrovo, el modelo de historia
oficial (se circunscribe) al relato de las acciones de los gobernantes, lo cual
hace desaparecer la realidad social, la diversidad cultural y los procesos
econmicos (Hidrovo Quinez, 2009: 23). Esa visin de la Historia
hizo que se construya una memoria social (oficial) sesgada, que se


mantiene y alimenta de una visin colonial del patrimonio y de la memoria

Si bien podra hablarse de memorias, as, en plural, y considerarse incluso
que estas diversas memorias son ahistricas (Eljuri, comunicacin
personal, Junio 29, 2015), la escritura de la Historia oficial va de la mano
de una memoria tambin oficial. Por un lado el enfoque que la Historia
tiene de los eventos hace que sean o no considerados parte de la memoria
social (oficial), en la medida que se inscriban dentro de la posicin
interpretativa con que esa Historia se cuenta, es decir, sin concuerdan o
no con la ideologa y hegemona dominantes. Pero al mismo tiempo, esta
particular construccin de la memoria social, va reproducindose en el
imaginario de las generaciones siguientes y su prctica va a la vez
cualificando de determinada perspectiva el discurso histrico. Aunque por
supuesto las mltiples memorias no hegemnicas pervivan en la periferia
o pugnen desde la resistencia.
El patrimonio y de la memoria social determinados desde una perspectiva
de poder influyen en la determinacin de las estructuras sociales en
formas de esquemas de percepcin, valoracin, pensamiento y accin de
los diferentes grupos sociales (Rizo, 2005). Estructuras que son uno de los
componentes del concepto de habitus desarrollado por Pierre Bourdieu,
donde otro de sus sentidos son los esquemas de clasificacin e
interiorizacin de lo social y estructuradores de prcticas culturales y
representaciones (Bourdieu, 1980). En estos esquemas y prctica cuales
tambin influyen el patrimonio y la memoria social, y junto a otros
mecanismos de ejercicio de poder actan en el sujeto normalizando la
exclusin, la discriminacin y las manifestaciones de sujecin de los
individuos a la legitimacin del status quo. Al mismo tiempo, estas
construcciones unidimensionales de la memoria y del patrimonio justifican
la jerarquizacin entre culturas, subrayan la clasificacin de las mismas
entre superiores e inferiores e influyen en la cohesin simblica de los
estados nacin, pero sobre todo, en la configuracin identitaria de los
Sin embargo, la otra Historia, aquella que en su mayora no se escribe,
sino que se teje desde la tradicin oral, se ha ido re-construyendo desde la
resistencia de los pueblos y desde hace algunas dcadas se visibiliza y


posiciona, principalmente a partir del autoreconocimiento de las etnias,

pueblos y nacionalidades como sujetos polticos.
Desde su identificacin identitaria, concienciacin acerca de sus derechos
culturales y principalmente colectivos, y tambin desde los aportes
tericos del pensamiento crtico, es que los pueblos, nacionalidades y
sectores subalternos determinan otros sentidos, significados y sobre todo
valoracin de la memoria social y al patrimonio.
La Historia oficial, empieza a ser cuestionada desde el mejor desarrollo
organizativo de las poblaciones indgenas y afoecuatorianas, que resignifican su resistencia centenaria desde la lucha de las mujeres por sus
derechos, el laicismo y recientemente desde las demandas de los colectivos
GLBTI. A pesar de ello, no se ha logrado todava hacer una re-escritura
de la Historia desde estos parmetros y por ende no se ha podido influir
desde una visin contrahegemnica en una re-interpretacin de la
memoria social.
Una nueva conceptualizacin de la memoria social y del patrimonio(5)
necesita considerar perspectivas interculturales y especialmente en pases
como Ecuador (donde adems de la mestiza cultura mayoritaria existen 14
nacionalidades indgenas, el pueblo montubio y el pueblo
afroecuatoriano), requiere de autnticos sentidos que trasciendan las
limitantes propias del estado uninacional (De Souza Santos, 2007) hacia
plurinacionales. Un dilogo intercultural efectivo a nivel
nacional nos posibilitar una construccin colectiva de los fundamentos
de la Historia Nacional (Hidrovo Quinez, Sandoval Simba et al., 2010)
y de esta manera, la reinterpretacin histrica y la reconstruccin colectiva
de las identidades, la memoria y el patrimonio, finalmente sern
herramientas bsicas para la generacin de nuevas dimensiones
Siguiendo la clasificacin entre patrimonio material e inmaterial, se
constata que lo que se considera importante en ambos tipos de
patrimonio se corresponde con una visin eurocntrica. As el patrimonio
material se conforma desde la valoracin, salvaguarda y recuperacin,
principalmente de los monumentos, edificios y obras de arte creados en la
poca colonial y que muestran la herencia hispano-europea en su das de
esplendor. Si bien no se llega a descuidar e invisibilizar aquellas
edificaciones realizados en pocas prehispnicas particularmente

preincaicas, se las ve como una presencia lejana, muerta, sin presencia

actual, anula toda construccin indgena posterior incluso desde esas de la
poca incaica,(6) enaltece lo prehispnico como un pasado lejano
concluido(7) (Eljuri, comunicacin personal, Junio 29,
2015). El
patrimonio material prehispnico y pre-incaico, que se ha rescatado, ha
sido posible gracias a la investigacin arqueolgica, principalmente llevada
a cabo por cientficos europeos y que iniciaron su tarea a finales del siglo
XIX. Dicha investigacin se dio como parte de contextos cientficos ms
amplios. Miembros de la lite ecuatoriana, con el apoyo de cientficos,
especialmente, estadounidenses y alemanes, desde las primeras dcadas del
siglo XX y hasta finales de los aos 80, tambin investigan desde el
discurso conservacionista, las culturas de la que ellos denominan
Protohistoria y Prehistoria
(Borchard & Moreno, 1997). La
reivindicacin de la herencia aborigen se reduce entonces al
enaltecimiento del indio arqueolgico al tiempo que se desvaloriza al
indio real o del presente (Espinosa Apolo, 1999). Estas
denominaciones, colaboran a que el discurso oficial sustente su discurso
por el cual la Historia del Ecuador propiamente dicha empieza con la
colonizacin, la Protohistoria se inscribe en el perodo de dominacin
incaica de este territorio y el mtico Reinado de los Shyris y Kitu-Caras y la
Prehistoria detallando los primeros pobladores de donde se resaltan sus
vestigios cermicos (Silva Charvet, 2004). Con todo ello el rescate que se
hace del Patrimonio inmaterial se reduce a vestigios, pero no es
considerado como un elemento sustantivo de la formacin de la
En ese mismo sentido, la construccin del discurso sobre el patrimonio
inmaterial, enmarcado en un proceso selectivo y poltico (Eljuri,
comunicacin personal, Junio 29, 2015), tambin fue realizada para
resaltar la herencia hispana, invisibilizar la matriz cultual indgena y negar
el legado cultural africano. Desde los inicios de la colonia se comenz a
alterar las expresiones culturales de los pueblos no europeos, se impidi el
ejercicio de representaciones culturales propias y busc su eliminacin
sistemtica, tal es el caso de la religiosidad africana, que est presente en
otras latitudes del continente como en Cuba o Brasil o la espiritualidad
indgena vinculada de la hoja de Coca, que pervive en el mundo andino de
Per y Bolivia, pero no en el Ecuador (Landvar, 2015). Desde los das de
la conquista se impidi el ejercicio de la religiosidad indgena y africana y

se oblig a la adopcin del catolicismo y sus ritos. Son los procesos de

resistencia los que sincretizan la propuesta dominante con las
manifestaciones primigenias y generan una religiosidad popular, manifiesta
en nuevas expresiones y representaciones culturales opuestas a la oferta
caricaturizante del poder.
Es gracias a la resistencia de los sectores denominados subalternos, los
que transmitieron de generacin en generacin sus usos y costumbres, que
se pueden tener los elementos indgenas y afroecuatorianos del patrimonio
inmaterial desde sus formas esenciales o recreadas. La visin que el poder
tiene del patrimonio inmaterial, por el contrario, ha folklorizado estas
manifestaciones inscribindolas dentro del exotismo eurocentrista y de las
visiones del buen salvaje (Dryden en Thomson, 2006). Estas dos
expresiones del Patrimonio inmaterial, la de la colonialidad hegemonizante
y la de la resistencia, pueden verse en claramente en una de las
manifestaciones culturales ms poderosas: la fiesta.

La fiesta y la colonialidad
Una de las ms importantes muestras del patrimonio es la fiesta, pues en
ella confluyen varias expresiones y representaciones culturales y el
universo simblico de los celebrantes se devela en su esplendor. La fiesta
ha sido al mismo tiempo, el espacio donde se han transmitido y
transmutado prcticas con alta carga simblica, el espacio donde
interactan la cohesin y la diferenciacin y donde emergen las tensiones
entre lo tradicional y lo conflictivo (Vergara, 2012). La fiesta toma el lugar
de la metonimia, donde lo paroxstico de lo festivo es una muestra de
cmo se constituye la sociedad en la que es experimentado (Scribano,
2012), por lo cual esta expresin refleja esencias de determinado estrato
As, en la fiesta popular surge con ms fuerza el carcter de liberacin que
el individuo y el colectivo tienen ante una cotidianidad colonizada por el
trabajo. En las clases populares y subalternas este carcter se subraya
desde la propiedad de la temporalidad. As, el tiempo de la fiesta es
diferente del tiempo de trabajo, el tiempo de la fiesta es de uno, en
tanto que el del trabajo es de otro, del patrn o del empleador. Por ello


la fiesta se presenta como una segunda vida del pueblo trabajador, como
una liberacin transitoria. El tiempo de la fiesta, es un tiempo que se
opone el tiempo del trabajo, el cual que se ha vuelto mercanca y es por
tanto alienante (Vergara, 2012).
La fiesta tiene siempre una relacin profunda con el tiempo. En la base
de las fiestas hay siempre una concepcin determinada y concreta del
tiempo natural (csmico), biolgico e histrico (Bajtn en Vergara, 2012:
75). La fiesta puede, entonces, ser concebida como ese tiempo para el
disfrute, que es de uno y que no puede ser apropiado por nadie. Celebran
o anticipan acontecimientos, rememoran victorias, alegras o liberaciones y
marcan un quiebre brusco entre el descontrol y el ascetismo, como el
carnaval antes de la cuaresma (Vergara, 2012).
Es en ese sentido que la fiesta sea percibida como una segunda vida del
pueblo, como el espacio que le abre las puertas a una liberacin transitoria
a un mundo de igualdad, autonoma y abundancia (Bajtn en Vergara,
2012). Proporciona de nuevo a los hombres el poder de administrarse, sus
energas dejan de ser comandadas por los caprichos de las cosas y la
actividad productiva se da para gastar, no para acumular: Un espacio
donde se lo colectivo supera la dimensin de lo privado /egosta que va
ms de la convocatoria a la familia extensa sino tambin a los que no se
los ve habitualmente (Scribano y Boito, 2012).
La fiesta popular en el Ecuador, al ser parte de la denominada cultura
mestiza, se significa desde las mismas posiciones, desde el rescate directo
o velado de la matriz indgena americana matizada por aspectos de la
cultura europea o africana. Se gesta desde la resignificacin de la
propuesta festiva generalmente de carcter religioso catlico y desde la
resistencia a que desaparezcan los elementos fundantes de su
cosmovisin. Aun cuando los procesos de aculturacin, desculturacin y
la dinamia interactiva con otras culturas, en el contexto globalizado,
incluya elementos diversos en la fiesta popular, en esta no se pierde esa
esencia sincrtica primigenia, que por supuesto invaden, como dice
Scribano el espacio reservado para la pulcritud ciudadana mostrando
sin ambages las tensiones entre reciprocidad y poder, entre juego y
sacralidad, desde lo burlesco, lo hilarante y estruendoso del exceso
(Scribano, 2012).


La otra cara de la medalla festiva es la que rescata el patrimonio inmaterial

y por ende la fiesta desde la perspectiva de las elites ecuatorianas que
siguen reivindicndose como blancas y de origen hispano europeo. Desde
esta posicin se autodenominan herederos y continuadores del imaginario
gestado en los albores de la Repblica donde los criollos padres de la
Patria pertenecan a un ncleo tnico altamente consciente de pertenecer
a la aristocracia racial blanca, descendiente de los conquistadores
espaoles y autoasumida como una casta escogida de naturaleza
superior (Silva Charvet, 2004).
En ese sentido su significacin de la fiesta va hacia el rescate de las
expresiones culturales hispanas mantenidas y desarrolladas por y para ellos
en su condicin de grupo de poder y aseverando el vnculo a la metrpoli
colonial. Este rescate busca darse desde un carcter vernculo y
diferencindola de sus pares que se resignificaron desde su desarrollo
sincrtico en la cultura mestiza (Espinosa Apolo, 1999), a las que miran
desde una mirada desde la folklorizacin. Con ello estas fiestas incluso
entran en contradiccin con el proyecto homogenizante del poder del
mestizaje y buscan subrayar el blanqueamiento de su carcter y de sus
El caso, quizs el ms emblemtico, se da en la denominada fiesta
taurina, cuyo ejercicio, que generalmente coincide con la conmemoracin
de las fundaciones espaolas de las ciudades ms importante, es una
expresin de la esquizofrenia identitaria conjugada desde determinado
rescate patrimonial. En esos das las lites cristalizan sus subjetividad
tnico-cultural y pueden en el desarrollo de la fiesta, por fin sentirse
europeos puros al transvestirse en andaluces; no desde el uso del disfraz
como ocultamiento, sino ms bien desde una perspectiva que vincula el
ser con el imaginario anhelado. En la historia reciente, son estas lites las
que an defienden la tauromaquia enfrentndose a abrumadores mandatos
populares que solicitaron su cancelacin, no solo en estas latitudes por ser
una prctica colonial que adems atenta a los derechos de los animales.
En tanto que en los toros de pueblo, la fiesta taurina, sincrtica y
mestiza, aquella vista desde el poder como folklore, es ms participativa y
menos formal. Incluso puede ser vista como una parodia bufa del
ceremonial de la fiesta taurina espaola, lo cual en s es ya una
manifestacin de resistencia. En ella no se enfrentan en el ruedo un

diestro matador con un toro de lidia. En esta fiesta taurina hija del
sincretismo, ni el toro es de lidia, pues son generalmente vaconas o toretes
los que salen al ruedo, ni hay un diestro. Al ruedo improvisado ingresan
quien quiere hacerlo, toreros improvisados armados de un pocho, una
cobija o incluso mantel, que torean en medio de la beodez de la fiesta,
causando hilaridad en el pblico al huir y ser perseguidos por los vacunos.
En los toros de pueblo no hay ritual de sacrificio del animal, al
contrario, cuando ste se cansa y no pude seguir a la provocacin de los
improvisados toreros, es reemplazado por otro (Gonzlez Muoz, 2009).
Sin embargo, debe anotarse que hay tradiciones taurinas en contextos
indgenas con altos contenidos de resistencia manifiestos en la carga
simblica asociada a la muerte al animal. Tal es el caso de la Fiesta de los
Toros en Girn (Azuay), similar a los toros de Pamplona en el acto de
soltarlos en las calles, diferente en tanto la tarea andina es recapturarlos
para meterlos al ruedo. Al menos uno de los toros recapturados es
sacrificado y al hacerlo los captores beben su sangre. Un caso an ms
explcito del carcter scarificial se da esto es la Yawar Fiesta (Fiesta de la
Sangre) de la sierra peruana donde un cndor, representante del indio
oprimido es atado al lomo del toro, que representa al opresor espaol.
Ambos animales al tratar de librarse del otro se hacen dao. En la fiesta
morir el toro y ser liberado el cndor (Montoya, 1980; Arguedas, 2006).
Desde su posicin de poder y tradicional dominio del aparato estatal, es
que esa lite autodenominada blanca organiza las fiestas y celebraciones
oficiales. Hasta hace pocos aos en Ecuador, estos eventos estaban
asociados meramente a la colonia y a la independencia. Las fiestas
nacionales y locales conmemoraban el descubrimiento de Amrica, la
fundacin espaola de las ciudades y la independencia de las mismas y en
todas estas gestas los hroes y en menor grado heronas son miembros de
la constituida nueva lite blanca hispana, en el caso de la celebracin de la
fundacin espaola de las ciudades, o de la lite blanco-criolla en el caso
de la independencia. Tal es as que el discurso oficial por un lado se
invisibiliza el hecho de que la fundacin hispana de las ciudades vinieron
luego de verdaderas masacres de indios, a la vez que se reduce la
resistencia a la descripcin del calvario de los lderes indios apresados,
torturados y derrotados. Por otro lado se generan mitos que son
funcionales a la reproduccin de la colonialidad, subrayando el discurso
del mestizaje, reducido a la dimensin tnica que supuestamente se da

desde devaneos romnticos entre el vencedor blanco europeo y la sumisa

india americana, ocultando la realidad cruda de una de las masivas
violaciones de mujeres de la historia mundial. Donde el mestizo es un
producto nuevo () fruto de una fusin mticamente concebida como
simtrica y democrtica entre blancos e indios (Radcliffe y Westwood,
1999 en Silva Charvet, 2004: 29).
En el caso de la independencia los hroes son en su mayora hombres
criollos, descendientes de los conquistadores, los presentados como
mulos de sus pares del panten griego clsico, invisibilizando el rol de los
barrios populares (Espinosa Apolo, 2012), de los indios, mestizos y
negros, a pesar de ser estos grupos subalternos los que pusieron la
mayora de muertos en las guerras de independencia. De nuevo la historia
tiene un carcter cmplice con las lites y tiende a hacer una apologa del
individuo en desmedro del colectivo, negando que son los pueblos los que
se liberan de los yugos. Incluso pensadores de izquierda como Jorge
Enrique Adoum, siguen esta trama al rememorar a los pensadores
mayores y hroes ms altos meramente a prceres e intelectuales no
indios (Adoum 2000, en Silva Charvet, 2004: 36).
Por otra parte las fiestas religiosas que mantienen esencialmente la
ritualidad replicada por el coloniaje y exclusivas al catolicismo, implcita
religin oficial del Ecuador se elevan tambin al carcter de oficialidad
estatal. Sin embargo, debe subrayarse que a medida que han ido
distancindose Estado e Iglesia, estas fiestas oficiales se han reducido y
han perdido peso, mientras que las fiestas religiosas catlicas vinculadas en
el juego sincrtico con la ritualidad y tradiciones indgenas y negras - que
en los das de unicidad iglesia estado ya eran espacios de resistencia en la
catarsis de la fiesta transgresoras de la representacin eurocntrica- ha ido
ganando fuerza.
En ese sentido la dimensin festiva del Ecuador, coincide con lo que
manifiesta Scribano (2012): un acto colectivo atravesado por la disputa
poltica entre memoria conmemoracin y recuerdo (una trasgresin) que,
sin embargo, no significan la anulacin y eliminacin del poder de los
poderosos (Scribano, 2012: 233, 234).
Por otra parte si tomamos en cuenta que la salvaguarda del patrimonio
material e inmaterial y la construccin de la memoria social son
determinantes en la construccin de las identidades de los pueblos, es

imprescindible que su determinacin responda a las necesidades de la

diversidad cultural de sociedades que trascienden las adscripciones
identitarias eurocntricas.

Identidades, poder y colonialidad

El concepto de identidad puede asociarse a adscripciones individuales
voluntarias (preferencia) o involuntarias (herencia), las cuales siempre
implican sujeciones que el individuo tiene hacia algo o respecto de algo y
que proviene desde su subjetividad. Sin embargo, al hablar de grupos
humanos, desde lo colectivo, se pueden inferir que hay varias
Se puede inferir que la identidad est asociada directamente con
subjetividad (Munt, 2002), sin embargo sta, tambin guarda ntima
relacin con el poder. Foucault describe a la subjetividad como una de las
caras del poder, y al poder que emanan las diferentes prcticas, las cuales
nos marcan los lmites y a la vez nos posibilitan emprender acciones. Sin
embargo, los sujetos, sus subjetividades y su (s) identidad(es) emergen
como conceptos en relacin subordinada al poder y en oposicin al
concepto de agencia.
Es desde ambas premisas que la eurocntrica idea de identidad fundante,
basada en la perteneca a un Estado-nacin, es apenas una de las
adscripciones identitarias de los individuos y de los grupos humanos. La
identidad nacional se basa en un conjunto de relaciones fcticas,
acaecidas constantemente, sucesivas y consensuadas ahora entre los
diversos estamentos sociales que son producto de ellas y medio por el cual
ellas se suscitan permanentemente (Celi y Cazar, 2010: 3).
Para el anlisis de la identidad ecuatoriana se puede partir de un primer
nivel en el cual el individuo se ha dado cuenta de sus diferencias con
respecto a los atributos de otros grupos (externos) (Espinosa Apolo,
1999: 15), y se percibe adscrito al Estado ecuatoriano. Pero la
construccin de la identidad nacional, especialmente en el caso
ecuatoriano, no se corresponde con las identificaciones clsicas de la
cultura (lengua, historia y costumbres, etc.) inscritas en un territorio
determinado. Partiendo del hecho que en Ecuador coexisten diversas

nacionalidades y lenguas, lo cual da un sentido plurinacional y

pluricultural, no podra hablarse entonces de una identidad nacional.
Tampoco es posible hacerlo si tomamos en cuenta, que no hay una
definicin histrica comn para todos los ecuatorianos. Hacerlo sera
responder afirmativamente a una mediacin hecha por los intereses de
clase y la herencia colonial de la estructura de castas, que se mantiene en el
contexto de la colonialidad actual y que ha sido interpretada por las elites
criollas triunfadoras del proceso post independista.
En ese sentido, si se quiere definir la identidad ecuatoriana, atravesada por
contradicciones en la construccin de su memoria e interpretacin
histrica, debe partirse de la premisa que la identidad est asociada al
poder y especficamente al poder de la colonialidad, el cual debe ser
superado. Desde la consolidacin del coloniaje en el Ecuador son los
grupos hegemnicos, los herederos de los sectores ms favorecidos del
sistema de castas colonial, los criollos blanco mestizos, quines
determinaron que aspectos deben ser considerados dentro del patrimonio
material e inmaterial, la memoria y por ende en la conformacin de la
La conformacin identitaria basada en estructuras de poder matizadas por
su originario carcter colonial y que pervive en la actualidad, en las
idiosincracia y subjetividad de la sociedad ecuatoriana, recrea las diferentes
subjetividades, creadas por la estructura de castas de los das de la
conquista y al mismo tiempo genera falsas identidades, las cuales surgen
desde la negacin el ocultamiento y la pretendida invisibilizacin de la
matriz cultural indgena y el componente afroecuatoriano (Oviedo, 2013).
En ese sentido es importante para comprender la identidad ecuatoriana su
herencia tnico cultural, en la cual las falsas identidades se podran
vincular en las llamadas identidades de frontera (Van Wolputte, en Oviedo
2004). Por un lado el mestizo ecuatoriano niega su matriz cultural
indgena y/o afroecuatoriana, pero no pude abstraerse de ella y consciente
e inconscientemente est inmerso en ella, en la prctica de su variante
llamada cultura mestiza. Por otro lado, pretende alcanzar la orilla
superior, la orilla del eurocentrismo blanco/urbano/ civilizado y
moderno, olvidndose de sus races india/negra/rural/no civilizada y
antigua (Oviedo, 2004).


La colonialidad tambin hace que los indios, negros y denominado

sectores subalternos obligados por el poder de una sociedad racista, echen
mano de la hibridacin identitaria (Roitman, 2009) por la cual incorporan
ciertos elementos de la cultura occidental, entre ellos la vestimenta y el
lenguaje para actuar dentro de la sociedad mestiza.
Finalmente est la definicin de ecuatorianidad, entraa multiplicidad de
vacos, los cuales inician desde la perspectiva histrica del trmino la cual
no implicaba ninguna identificacin con las diferentes identidades
regionales que conformaron el nuevo estado Ecuatoriano, antiguo
departamento del Sur de la Gran Colombia. Desde ese mismo sentido es
que las identidades guayaquilea, quitea, cuencana o manabita no
conceban un proyecto unitario. Es entonces que un proyecto donde la
nacionalidad blanco-mestiza se justifica como una solucin integradora,
donde la raz espaola es la genuina matriz de la nacionalidad ecuatoriana.
Erika Sylva Charvet, muestra la visin de la nacionalidad ecuatoriana
homogenizante desde una analoga de sta con el mito del cristianismo,
donde el nacimiento, vendra con el reino de Quito; la muerte, cuando los
incas invadieron y conquistaron estos territorios y la resurreccin con la
organizacin colonial en la Real Audiencia de Quito, que luego fue la
Repblica del Ecuador (Sylva Charvet, 2004).
Aun cuando la colonialidad del poder (Quijano, 2005) manifiesta en el
racismo, elitismo y sexismo sigue presente, se han producido importantes
avances en el imaginario de los ecuatorianos al respecto, a la vez que se
han puesto como materia de debate estos temas, desde iniciativas tanto
estatales como de la sociedad civil. Al mismo tiempo, es importante
destacar que desde hace unas dcadas se prefigura una identidad
ecuatoriana de corte propio, que se sustenta en la diversidad y que a la vez
va superando el regionalismo. Identidad reforzada por factores subjetivos
que parten desde una valoracin de la autoestima realizada desde diversos
mbitos de los sectores tradicionalmente excluidos de la sociedad
Hay una profunda relacin entre los elementos que constituyen la
memoria Social, el patrimonio material e inmaterial y la tendencia
ideolgica dominante, que escribe la Historia y esta desde su carcter
oficial y hegemnico, a su vez condiciona la pertenencia o no de dichos

elementos culturales en la memoria y el patrimonio a las generaciones

Es necesaria por tanto una nueva reescritura de la Historia oficial a partir
de la participacin de los diversos actores culturas e identidades del
Ecuador. Los logros que se han dado en materia de derechos para
pueblos, nacionalidades y minoras tnicas o sexuales deben enfocarse
tambin en la reconstruccin de la memoria y del patrimonio, desde la
inclusin del aporte y las perspectivas de esos diversos segmentos sociales,
en especial aquellas invisibilizadas por el discurso oficial y desde las cuales
provienen los saberes ancestrales, pero tambin incluyendo a actores
emergentes como las culturas urbanas y nuevos colectivos culturales que
influyen en la dinamia transformadora de las culturas en el Ecuador.

Notas de fin
1- Scott, David. 1999. Refashioning futures: Criticism after postcoloniality.
Princeton: Princeton University Press.
2- Eljuri Gabriela, Secretaria de Patrimonio de la Secretara de Patrimonio, del
Ministerio de Cultura del Ecuador (2011-2013) Asesora del Ministro de Cultura
(2014-2015). Directora regional del Instituto Nacional de Patrimonio Cultural del
Ecuador INPC. Docente universitaria, Universidad del Azuay.
3- La UNESCO, adecua la concepcin del patrimonio, desde convenciones
diferentes que responden a momentos diferentes de la comprensin de lo
patrimonial, una la dcada de los 70 en que el patrimonio, s estaba vinculado a la
materialidad, a lo monumental y la otra del 2003 que incluye en el patrimonio
temas de diversidad y de lo inmaterial. Aunque la UNESCO, institucin
internacional de cultura, incluy en el 2003, en el patrimonio inmaterial tambin
la gastronoma y la msica e incluso la propia artesana por sentidos intrnsecos
de las mismas relativos a la inmaterialidad, en la prctica no las vinculan con otros
aspectos en la dinamia de las representaciones. Por otra parte, no es la
materialidad o inmaterialidad, en las nuevas concepciones que la institucionalidad
vaya adecuando, sino el sentido dicotmico y/o compartimentado que hace de la
realidad, propio del pensamiento eurocntrico, en contraposicin con una visin
4- En ese sentido, Cartagena y Len (2015), nos dicen que ante los lmites y
bordes puestos por la modernidad a todas las prcticas culturales, uno de los
desafos de los museos como contenedores de memoria es el abrirse a nuevos

dilogos entre culturas, para desafiar la lgica de la clasificacin y jerarquizacin.

De esta manera se lograra tener que el usuario tenga una apropiacin y genuina
participacin en estos espacios.
5- Eljuri considera, sin embargo, que debido a que memoria social y patrimonio
responden a procesos tericos e incluso ideolgicos bien diferentes, deberan
tener un estudio particular y tratarse por separado. En Ecuador, contina, esto se
dio ms bien desde parmetros propios de la institucionalidad organizativa del
Ministerio de Cultura.
6- Esta desvalorizacin de lo incaico se corresponde con uno de los mitos
fundantes del Estado nacin ecuatoriano, en el cual se identifica como enemigo
histrico externo al Per, como invasores de nuestro territorio desde los tiempos
del Incario, hasta los sucesivos problemas limtrofes de la poca republicana
(Oviedo, 2004). Mito que ha perdido vigencia desde la demarcacin definitiva de
fronteras y la firma de la paz en el ao 1998.
7- La ley de patrimonio de los aos 70, protege lo colonial y lo prehispnico,
donde este ltimo tiene incluso ms proteccin legal, pero paradjicamente
engrandece un pasado colonial y anula toda la visin indgena resistencia y

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Dr. Milton A. George
KU Leuven, Belgium & University of Buraimi, Oman

Abstract: This article investigates some basic ideas that have been
formulated in the historical study of education. Given that this is a
research concerning the writing of history, we must start by dealing
with some more basic questions about the nature of our enterprise,
more specifically, with the concept of history and history writing as
Keywords: history, education, Colonial writing, Oral history,

History can refer to different things for different people. In pre-modern
academic circles, the concept of history mostly referred to the view that
history was the discipline that recorded the facts, which had taken place
over the course of time and within a given space. People were often
unaware that the record of past events often came with interpretations
about the presumed intentional links between them, for example, in terms
of causal relationships and/or correlations.
However, although history was seen as a collection of annals and
chronicles, post-colonial and post-modern thinkers highlighted the
subjective dimension of any and all narrative about the past. For people
like Arthur Warwick, history is not only described or recorded, but also
invented. History is about finding things out, and solving problems, rather
than about spinning narratives or telling stories. History is a human
activity carried out by an organized corps of fallible human beings, acting,

however, in accordance with strict methods and principles, empowered to

make choices in the language they use (as between the precise and the
imprecise, for example), that corps of fallible human beings being known
as historians. This detective-like enterprise is capable of producing
knowledge thanks to its systematic evidence-gathering method: ()
history is the bodies of knowledge about the past produced by historians
applying the rigorous methods of professional history, and deploying
secondary sources in the analysis and interpretation of primary
sources(Marwick, 2001, p. 28).
This means that for Warwick, () there is a vital distinction between
history and the past. For him, it is certainly unacceptable to use the
word history to signify some a priori, unsubstantiated conception along
the lines of the material process by which the past itself becomes the
present and, indeed, the future, unfolding in a series of stages (or epochs
or periods), according to some pattern or meaning, involving conflicts or
accommodations in the exercise of power. Thus, he continues:
historians do not construct or reconstruct the past. It is knowledge
(open to discussion and debate as all knowledge is) about the past that
historians produce (Marwick, 2001, p. 29).
The birth of history is often a collective enterprise, whereby a group
produces a given knowledge of things that happened in the past. For
some, these bodies of knowledge are constructs of the mind: history is
imagined. According to Porter most definitions of history begin with
some term like inquire, ode of thought, or knowledge, which asserts the
primacy of something pre-linguistic, apart from language entirely. The fact
that the only history we know anything about is an artifact of words is
ignored, sunk beneath serious discussion as though that fact were too
obvious and insignificant to deserve attention (Porter, 1998, 69-89).
The fact that knowledge of history is imagined does not render it
superfluous. The opposite is true history is a necessity. Individuals,
communities, societies could scarcely exist if all knowledge of the past was
wiped out. As memory is to the individual, so history is to the community
or society (Marwick, 2001, 31).We, therefore, agree with Arthur Marwick
without history, we shall not begin to understand the problems of the
present and will be without the basic knowledge essential for grappling
intelligently with the future (Marwick, 2001, 37).

This elucidating dimension of history portrait, that there is no present

without the past. It is on the knowledge of what happened in the past that
the present is based and so the future will be on the experiences of the
present situation. Events happened in the past became a part of history
but they are presented, translated and constructed in various ways.
Therefore, people can contextualize, look at history from different
perspectives, background knowledge, philosophical understanding, and
give them different meaning. A particular event has different meaning in
different context; the overview that people look at the historical values,
norms differs from generation to generation, from time to time and from
society to society. In other words, history also involves presenting the past
for the future as part of history by means of stories. History is the way
people remember and reconstruct past events and their interconnections.
Philosophically speaking, events that make up human life have meaning
because they are understood and explained as being part of unfolding
stories. However, since the past is passed, in and of itself, it is silent. It is
human beings who knit together the traces of the past into a tapestry of
stories, placing individual events within general frameworks and
suggesting causes, effects and correlations. In contrast with Warwick,
history writing always remains storytelling. Or, as Michel De Certeau put
it, () history is not an epistemological criticism. It remains always a
narrative. History tells of its own work and, simultaneously, of the work
which can be read in a past time (Certeau, 1988, 43). History is,
therefore, always written or told from the present perspective of the
writer(s) or teller(s). Indeed, as Depaepe observed we are indeed
condemned to write and to continue to rewrite history from the present.
This, of course, does not imply legitimating systematically distorting it in
function of an ideologically fixed position. It does mean that we have the
task of constantly searching for the underlying motives and the sociohistorical definition of our work (Depaepe, 1993, 5).
Consequently, history is something that we do. We tell stories and write
histories, those stories and histories tell us who we are. This identity we
have is also part of our history. Premdas in his article on Caribbean
identity states that often this identity is formed in contradistinction to the
claims of other groups to a similar sense of uniqueness, so that in a real
sense identity formation is a relational and comparative phenomenon


locked into we-they antipathies which may be mildly benign or overtly

hostile (Premdas, 1996, 10).
Furthermore, Upton gives an example on history and national identity
there cannot be a nation without a national history. History tells the
nations what kind of people they are, what sort of policies they must
pursue if the nation is to survive, and it delivers graphic warnings about
nations which fail to read the lessons of history aright, which lose sight of
their national destiny and perish as a consequence. For a nation, the
knowledge of its history is held to be a matter of life and death Upton,
1999, 153).
However, each description of what history is or is supposed to be
depends on the historian behind the story. White explains this further it
is difficult to get an objective history of a scholarly discipline, because if
the historian is himself a practitioner of it, he is likely to be a devotee of
one or another of its sects and hence biased; and if he is not a
practitioner, he is unlikely to have the expertise necessary to distinguish
between the significant and the insignificant events of the fields
development (White, 1998, 15).
The hermeneutical process of self-understanding comes full circle.
Whichever way history is understood, it has to do with past events and the
purpose for which these events are used and explained. According to
Nol Caroll a historical narrative is not a transparent representation or
copy of a sequence of past events. Narration irreducibly entails selecting
the events to be included in its exposition as well as filling in links that are
not available in the evidential record. The historian does not find or
discover her narrative; she constructs it (Caroll, 1998, 35).
Different peoples tell and retell their past in a myriad of ways.
Communities, who have privileged the spoken word, have used oral
narrations as the channel of their historical consciousness. Others, who
give priority to the written word, have favored written documents and
sources. It is of paramount importance to bear in mind that the writers of
history as well as story tellers select whatever and whomever they consider
worth remembering. When attempting to write the history of education of
this or that country, one always runs the risk of giving a false impression
that historians always have access to how all things actually were; they do
not. Consequently (the) historical discourse does not follow the real; but

rather, it only signifies it, endlessly reiterating that it happened, but without
having this assertion be anything other than the obvious underside of all
historical narrative (Certeau, 1988, 42).
As such, history cannot escape being perspectival. Nancy F. Portner also
maintains this position as she argues that all accounts tell things and
what is told is contained in the telling. Further, all accounts of things are
of things past. In an important and primary, not secondary, sense,
history is contained in the category of all made accounts of, all stories,
and cannot exempt itself because of claims made about the actuality of
things outside the text. Those claims simply make history a special class of
accounts. The central conventions which govern all narrative the
organization of time, the distinction between contingent and significant
sequence, alias story unite history and fiction profoundly and
permanently (Partner, 1998, 74).This means that there is not merely one
story to be told or history to be written, but many. Hayden White insists
that in order to write the history of any given scholarly discipline or even
of a science, one must be prepared to ask questions about it of a sort that
do not have to be asked in the practice of it (White, 1998, 15).
Moreover histories gain part of their explanatory effect by their success
in making stories out of mere chronicles; and stories in turn are made out
of chronicles by an operation called emplotment (White, 1998,
15).Thus, since whatever we write or tell depends on our vantage point, it
is necessary that history writers provide others with the appropriate tools
to enable them to assess and critique the writers story. There is a need for
a transparent methodology. Furthermore, history and historiography are
not identical. While the former is about telling a story about the past or
letting the past tell some of its stories, the latter has to do with the history
of writing history. In other words () Intellectuals who use the word
history to signify the past then have to introduce the word
historiography to signify the writings of historians. But if one makes the
firm distinction, then that word is not needed, since what historians write
is history (Marwick, 2001, 29).
Thus, historiography separates its present time from the past, but
everywhere it repeats the initial act of division. Historiography is often
used to cover the history of historical knowledge and interpretation
surrounding non-written accounts of the past and the broader issues of

methodology. There is a firm line between literature and history in its

essence. Herbert Butterfield says what concerns us, therefore, is not just
the History of Historiography, the mere story of the development of a
branch of literature, but the unfolding of a whole great aspect of human
experience. We need to know how man came to acquire a concept of the
past. This means the concept of the past, mans consciousness of history,
a feeling for history and a sense of the past (Butterfield, 1981, 14).
Researchers usually focus on the written products of historical thinking,
but with constant reference to the larger sphere of social memory and the
way in which knowledge of the past has changed over time, there is a
growing awareness that written history is not the final word, so to
speak. The social recognition and status of historians changes in subject
matter and source materials. Michel De Certeau, therefore, states that the
situation of the historiographer makes study of the real appear in two
quite different positions within the scientific process: the real insofar as it
is the known (what the historian studies, understands, or bring to life
from a past society), and the real insofar as it is entangled within the
scientific operations (the present society, to which the historians
problematic, their procedures, modes of comprehension, and finally a
practice of meaning are referable) (Certeau, 1988, 35).
This also holds true for the philosophies and assumptions of historians,
and the ever-changing relationship between historical interpretation and
contemporary social and political contexts (Higman, 1999). Thus the
word historiography, accordingly, can be reserved for the specialist study
of the writings of historians (not the content of these writings) that is to
say, the history of history (Marwich, 2001, 29).
Methodology must, therefore, respond to the technical concerns of
historians and the theoretical frameworks which they employ to interpret
and communicate their findings. The technical concerns relate to the
means by which historians identify and access historical evidence; the
means they use to interrogate these data and the tools applied to analyze
them (Higman, 1999). Consequently, we must acknowledge, as Marwick
put it, that history embraces: the writings of historians; the research
activities which lie behind these writings; the teaching and learning of
both methods, on the one side, and ideas and information, on the other;
the communication of historical knowledge by various means; all the

activities associated with the learning outcomes inherent in the discipline

of history (Marwick, 2001, 31).
Thus, history is the privilege that must be remembered so that one
shall not oneself be forgotten. In its own midst it places the people, who
stretch from a past to a future. Hence, one type of history ponders what
is comprehensible and what the conditions of understanding are; the
other claims to reencounter lived experience, exhumed by virtue of a
knowledge of the past (Certeau, 1988, 4).
The growing awareness of the narrative dimension of history
understood both as a collective and subjective endeavor has been
enhanced by post-colonial history writing, which, therefore, deserves its
own treatment.

Postcolonial historical writing

According to Dipesh Chakrabarty () the academic discourse of history
that is, the history produced in universities is concerned with
Europe and Eurocentricity remains the sovereign, theoretical subject of
all histories, the point of reference from which East and West are divided.
Indian, Chinese, Kenyan, and other histories are continually being
related to European history and history-writing (Chakrabarty, 2000, 27).
The Euro-centric thrust of history writing in the previous centuries, which
is attacked by authors like Chakrabarty, is very present in post-colonial
thought. Nevertheless, there are also writers who warn against taking the
prefix post as a reflection of reality. Jeannie Suk underlines that the
postcolonial era does not necessarily represent a break with the past.
The terms disavowal by some and its justification by others work to
establish continuity in the face of the terms implied discontinuity. In the
debate over whether postcolonial describes the present or a state not yet
achieved, includes or excludes the past, the interplay between past,
present, and future points us to a paradox. The anticolonial process of
getting beyond colonialism that is crucial to some definitions of
postcoloniality implies a progress: the resistance to colonialism as moving
beyond it (Suk, 2001, 3).


It would, therefore, be misleading to think that the colonial structures

have been abolished. This would ignore the continuing world-wide neocolonial inequality. Seen from this angle, () there may in fact be nothing
post about postcolonial (Suk, 2001, 2).
People from former colonies often complain that the persistence of a
colonial substratum in the world economic and political order is also
reflected in history writing. For example, whenever European and North
American scholars impose their academic criteria on others, this would
constitute a form of academic neo-colonialism. This western normativity
has been described as part of the heritage of the modern educational
project (Depaepe, & Rompaey, 1995), which was far from emancipatory
(Depaepe, 2006).
However, as Brereton indicated, the end of the colonial period did not
usher in the end of biased accounts. Postcolonial states typically struggle
to create a universalist historical narrative, a single linear story which
captures the whole past of the new nation, presumably the intention of
the Florida legislator with respect to the history of the not so new nation
they belong to. The historical narratives often produced by ethnic groups
or local/regional communities may be seen as a threat to this single
narrative. Generally the kind of narrative produced before and after
independence by former colonies centers on heroic anticolonial struggles,
culminating in the attainment of formal nationhood, and usually ignoring
or obfuscating internal divisions whether of ethnicity, region, class, or
gender (Brereton, 2007).
However warranted the post-colonial mistrust may be, there is a need to
overcome an overly rancorous type of postcolonial studies. Paraphrasing
Hooper, we could say that once the differences between the colonial and
post-colonial discourses have been aired not effaced, the latter can
be made less contentious (Hopper, 2002). Post-colonialism thus becomes
more tolerant of methodological differences. Slemon draws further upon
this conclusion if the field of post-colonial critical studies resembles a
geographical terrain upon which discordant methodologies scramble
agonistically for purchase, it also remains the one institutional location
upon which the idea of anti-colonialist human agency can trouble the
monologic droning of Western self-reference, and can insert within that


drone-note the babble of cultural alterity . I like the noisy discordance

of post-colonial differences, and I welcome its clarity (Slemon, 1995, 15).
Since neutrality is hardly possible, it is essential that we ask ourselves what
elements of the European analytical criteria (George & Van Enckevort,
2010) can and must be adapted to ones reality when trying to re-tell the
story of St. Maartens history of education. In the postcolonial discourse,
we are often simultaneously collaborators and opponents, victims and
accomplices (Depaepe, 2004). The core of the post-colonial critique of
colonial history writing must also be brought to bear on post-colonial
historical explorations themselves. It would be unscholarly to merely
replace the colonial story, with its Euro-centric bias, with new stories,
with their own ethnic or class- or gender-based biases. Such an endeavor
would betray the ultimate goal of academic research in the field of history
writing, namely, the proposal of defensible descriptive and explanatory
Academic acceptability will, therefore, be vouchsafed by a works
transparency and the degree to which scholars can justify their method.
This will require that historians reveal the ways in which their data were
collected (including whose voice it represents), pieced together and
interpreted. Methodological questions are, therefore, not redundant. On
the contrary, they take on paramount importance. Since this research is
based primarily on the account of our interviewees, we shall now turn to
the issue of the relationship between written and oral history (or

Written and oral histories: a Caribbean case

The duality between written and oral histories has important implications
for the writing of i.e. Caribbean history. Whereas the written form has
been understood as European, modern, urban, the oral form has often
been associated with African, folklore and rural areas.
Both the written and the oral traditions are well developed and used in the
Caribbean. Nevertheless, because the written tradition (i.e. the
evidence/documentation theory based on written documents) can be
arguably described as having to date ignored the lives and institutions of

most average people, the oral modality has not been granted its due
importance. Written documentation has often been taken as the exclusive
source of true knowledge of the past. However, since most of the early
written documentation was under the control or supervision of the
colonial masters, the written tradition of the Caribbean may very well be
seen as colonial as history from above or from the outside.
Caribbean history was consequently, more often than not, written from
the perspective of outsiders, or at least from the perspective of people
who had problems identifying completely with their Caribbean geo-social
surroundings. The colonized peoples had their views, but these were
generally not written down. They were handed down or conveyed through
stories, poems, songs and dances. We can also understand their history in
terms of Negro spirituals, representing the narratives of the black
renaissance; calypso songs, for example, by Harry Belafonte in Trinidad
(McGill, 2005); or the traditional songs of the Surinamese Winti religion
(George, 2010). Theirs was an oral history a history from below or
from the inside.

The role of oral history in historical writing

History is not a closed book. It is continuously re-written and reinterpreted, just like our individual or collective memory (Leydesdorff,
2004). In that process of interpretation and re-interpretation, there is a
place for oral history.
Oral history refers to the historians search for and tapping into the
spoken word as a source of relevant information for historical
reconstruction. This may include: culturally-sanctioned oral traditions,
more or less rehearsed interviews and printed compilations of stories told
about the past. Everyone has a story to tell. Each story is a piece of
broader stories, which have been lived inside and out. For, indeed, the
memories of our lives are organized into stories.
Although the concept of oral history is relatively new, the methodology is
ancient. The tradition of storytelling has always existed. In ancient Greece,
interviews were employed to find out what had happened during a
particular event. Herodotus is seen by many as one of the first historians,

who engaged in writing down oral history. Furthermore, the writers of the
medieval chronicles often relied on the stories that they had heard from
oral sources (Evans, 1995).
Oral history is still more than merely quoting oral sources. It constitutes
() the systematic collection of living people's testimony about their
own experiences. Oral history is not folklore, gossip, hearsay, or rumor.
Oral historians attempt to verify their findings, analyze them and place
them in an accurate historical context. Oral historians are also concerned
with storage of their findings for use by later scholars (Moyer, 1993).
This especially applies to interviews, since the informants are given the
chance to recount their lives or to speak about special events. There is
even mention of remembering-activism, when groups demand that their
stories be heard (Leydesdorff, 2004). Researchers will seek to dig deeper
into their interviewees past, for instance, by asking them to elaborate on
aspects of their recollections or to explore different corners of their
memories (Walbert, 2002).
Interviewing people need not necessarily be linked to an event. The
capture of known life-stories is common. It involves interviewing elderly
people about their lives. These interviews often provide an interesting
insight into the past, into a way of life that no longer exists.
According to Bleyen & Van Molle (Bleyen, J. & Van Molle, 2012) oral
history can be understood in four differing ways. Firstly, it can be seen as
an activity. It is telling the past and listening to peoples memories. It
represents a certain coming to life again, a living history. Secondly, it can
refer to the product of the telling of and listening to the stories about the
past. In this sense, it gives rise to oral sources, which can give certain
albeit never direct access to the past. Thirdly, oral history can be the
result of the research process using interviews. This constitutes written
history based on the stories from the past. Lastly, it can refer to the
research method which seeks to find answers to historical questions or
case studies.
The writing down of oral history falls under the aspect of qualitative
research. It is mostly about case studies. Instead of working with statistics,
it deals with the discourse, which is usually found in stories. Given that
interpretation is typical of qualitative research, it is also part and parcel of


oral history and interviews. Oral history is both a cross-over-methodology

and an interdisciplinary endeavor (Bleyen, J. & Van Molle, L. (2012).

The usefulness of oral history

Oral sources of information are sought not only to fill in the lacunae in
written sources, but also to arrive at knowledge, which would otherwise
not be available. Information may or may not be available due to the state
of written sources or their nature. Thompson believes that the method of
transposing oral history into the written word could change the way that
history is written since history-writing would then be more in touch with
society. In other words, it would contain more research that is focused on
more socially and locally relevant issues.
The information gathered will, of course, be more than written records
can supply; for instance, it will include the mood behind the events and
not just their fixed records. Oral history allows researchers to learn about
the perspectives of individuals, who might not otherwise appear in the
historical records. This gives a voice to those whose voice was left out by
official history writers.
In the context of this research, the information, which we are after,
cannot be expected to be found in the official archives. Official sources
would not provide the researchers with information about the thoughts
and feelings of the teachers and students while they were in, for example,
a math lesson of a particular (colonial) teacher. For a writer of educational
history, who wants to present the unofficial story of the colonial
classroom practice, oral interviews of people, whose stories never made it
into the written archives, can open up new vistas (George, 2006).
Nowadays, technology has made it possible for researchers to record their
interviews; this has expanded the definition of recorded sources.
Once the researchers, who are engaged in the contemporary recording
oral history, publish the results of their work, this oral history enters the
stage of history writing and, thus, also of historiography. Said otherwise,
although the recording of oral history always concerns the more recent
past, since the informants should be alive to be able to tell their story


(Vansina, 1981), the posterior use of the recorded voices ushers oral
history into the broader process of history-writing.
Oral history becomes the systematic collection of living peoples
testimonies and encompasses the relationship between official history,
which is transcribed in books, and individual memories (Leydersdorff,
2004). The stories about the experiences of common people and their
everyday memories are historically important. When someone does not
collect and preserve those memories, clearly, at some point they will no
longer be alive to tell their stories and their traces will disappear forever.
The role of oral history is to particularly safeguard those types of stories,
because they are valuable treasures of the community (Moyer, 2001). Oral
history can also help to trace how the historical consciousness of a society
is formed and develops. This is as important for researchers as it is for
everyone, who uses interviews and storytelling for their professions
(Portellin, 1997).
Recording oral history (e.g. by means of interviews) is not a problem-free
enterprise. Some scholars like Michael Frisch have criticized the overevaluation of oral history as Anti-History. In his view, oral historical
evidence because of its immediacy and emotional resonance can at times
be viewed as something almost beyond interpretation or accountability,
as a direct window on the feelings and (...) on the meaning of past
experience (Frisch, 1990, 45).
This caveat is reinforced by the fact that, depending on ones perspective
at the time, people seem to remember different aspects of the past. One
cannot detach the oral representation of the past from the relationship of
narrator and audience from which it arose (Tonkin, 1992).
History writers using oral sources must therefore never relinquish the
onus of critical analysis. They will need to assess the reliability of the
narrator and of their narration. At this point, researchers must resort to
triangulation as a mechanism to limit the arbitrariness and the possible
biases that could be contained in their informant(s) account. According
to Karin Barber to grasp their historical intent we need to view
representation of pastness as literature; to grasp their literature mode we
need to view them as part of social action; to grasp their role as social
action we need to see their historical intent (Barber, 1989, 15).


Therefore, it will be necessary not only to interview someone who

possesses relevant knowledge, but also to interview more than one
person. Furthermore, ideally, the interviewees should be people, who
represent different angles of the story. For an accurate oral historical
account, the person who you are interviewing must have lived through
that event or during that period of time and must be able to recall details
and easily recount other memories.
Researchers of oral history face the question how to choose to whom to
listen. History offers meaning to people and that is why historical
accounts are still given today. The voice of the past matters to the present,
but whose voice or voices are to be heard? (Thompson, 1988). On
whose authority is the interviewees (re-) construction of the past based?
For who is it intended? Which one of the voices heard conveys the voice
of the past, especially when we consider that human actions inhabit the
world of meaning, not of physics? The human past is a semantic reality
and, as such, has many voices and senses.
All of the above raises the issue of objectivity, but also of subjectivity. In
the case of oral history, the most subjective accounts could be understood
as an objective source if and when we are interested in a persons feelings,
their evaluation or reflection on past events. However, despite the
subjectivity involved in every re-telling of the past, interviews will often
include factual components, which will presuppose a certain degree of
The accusation of absolute subjectivity that was leveled against oral
history is neither totally fair nor objective. When speaking of oral
history, the word subjectivity does not suggest that it is only concerned
about a personally colored story that, therefore, has little value. Rather, it
is about a personal view, which gives us new insights into how someone
lived during a certain age and provides meaningful insights into that age as
well. Additionally, historians have been using very personal sources for a
very long time in order to better understand the mood or sentiment of a
period. For example, personal documents, diaries, autobiographies and
photographs are common source material (Dekker, 2000).
Each source is of course in some way subjective and only represents the
views of an individual or a limited number of persons on a specific
historical topic. The only thing that the historian needs to demonstrate is

the reliability of the source. Interviews are always the result of an

interaction between an interviewer and an interviewee, between two
subjectivities, each with their own perspective (Leydesdorff, 2004).
Nonetheless, dates and places are both objective and relative. Time and
place depend on the measures used: a fixed point of reference must be
agreed upon.
Time is divided horizontally into periods and eras, and hung on key
events which operate as partitions and as interpreters of the meaning of
each period (Portelli, 1981).
Events are of themselves neither dated nor mapped. They have an
existence in themselves, which sometimes escapes us. We understand
them and assign them their place according to our human frame of mind.
By agreeing on conventional measuring systems, we can assess whether
the information that our informants tell us about past events are only true
for them but also true for others.
The research question will determine whether the researcher, who
employs oral sources, must zoom in on the more subjective content (true
for him/her) or whether he/she ought to navigate between the
subjective lines and go in search of the more objective details that may
emerge out of the accounts (true for him/her and true for others).
History writing is based on the interpretation of data. This is particularly
true when oral sources are used. Not only do history writers interpret
what they hear, their oral informants do this as well. The role of memory
in the act of looking back and the re-telling of the past can never be
stressed enough (Hodgson, 1976). The telling of a story preserves the
teller from oblivion (Portrelli, 1981). The tale itself creates a special time,
a time outside time (Tonkin, 1992). In order to narrate, the narrators
need to connect with their own memories and with those of their
audiences. The narrators, their audiences and the history writers will also
have to tap into the structure of the narration. The past that the narrators
reconstruct must continually be reconstructed. Oral accounts are,
therefore, not merely an exercise of providing information, but also an
interpretive task done by people, who have their own personal agendas
and interests (Depaepe, 2006).


History writers using oral sources will, therefore, have to ask these
questions: Were the various interviewees differently situated in
relationship to the events under discussion? Might they have different
agendas or perspectives, leading them to tell different versions of the
same story? Might intervening events for example, ideological shifts
between the time of the events under discussion and the time of the
interview, or subsequent popular cultural accounts of these events
have influenced later memories? (Shopes, 2009).
In short, researchers embarking on oral history projects ought to bear in
mind that the variables of perspective and interpretation, which are
involved in oral accounts (both in the informants telling and the
historians posterior use of the information), deter from over-rating oral
history. Nonetheless, oral history still has a corrective and complementary
role to play in historical reconstruction. For instance, when Caribbean
history or histories were solely based upon primary and/or secondary
written sources, the context, within which the events under study took
place, might be misrepresented. Some important segments of the past
might be ignored, whilst others would be given more attention than they
actually deserved and be considered to be more representative than they
actually were.
Used critically and methodically, oral sources can carry the countless
voiceless protagonists of our local and regional histories. These histories
are part of the cultural heritage of a community, upon which UNESCO
has increasingly been focusing its attention (UNESCO, 1976).
Consequently, one can suggest that oral history is an adequate means to
allow individuals to revisit their past, explore the cultural identity of their
group or nation and enhance respect for cultural diversity both inside and
outside their own communities. Recording oral history or histories could,
therefore, function as a tool to be employed not only by academic
researchers, but also by high school and college students (George,
Scatolini, Bou Mosleh, 2011).
For the historian, oral history is not an aim in itself but a tool. Historians
allow personal stories to become historical records and answer questions
about the past. By doing so, they enrich the existing knowledge of the past
by acknowledging the voice of people, who would otherwise have been
muted by approaches concentrated exclusively on documentary evidence.

One of the strategies perhaps the primary one to tap into stories and
record oral history is through personal interviews (Bleyen & Van Molle,

Methodology of interviews
Interviews allow the information obtained from written and printed
sources to be nuanced, looked at differently or even corrected. In cases
where these sources do not allow critiquing hypotheses from other angles
than those documented, interviews fill in the lacunae by providing new
information and facilitating alternative perspectives. Interviews can
actually become the main source for historical research.
Judith Moyer elaborates on the sequence needed for the recording of oral
history by means of interviews. She provides a list for the researcher, and
explains how to ask questions (selecting, listening, verifying, comparing
and relating) and prepare field notes as well as gives other useful
information. Much of it comes down to: doing the right thing and
minding your manners (Moyer, 1993).
You do not go to somebodys house armed with questions and shoot your
questions at the inhabitants like a machine gun, but you engage in a
conversation. Oral history is thus all about interpretation and action not
technique. On the other hand interpretation and narrative do not take
overhand (Portelli, 1997).

Writing the history of education

This project is not about history writing in general, but more specifically
about the history of the Caribbean education, St. Maarten, and draws
especially on the unwritten stories of those involved. When the history
of education becomes the focus, the phenomena and processes of
education and schooling are studied in their historical dimension. While
the methodology used is the scientific discipline of history writing, the
contents of the research are fairly diverse and relate to the diverse fields of
education (e.g. formal and informal education, school realities, innovation

processes, youth care, institutions for handicapped learners, history of

educational sciences, etc.). In most cases, the research focus is limited to
the understanding of the evolution of the educational mentality and
practice. Strictly speaking, it is not the task of educational history writers
to use history as a tributary to the creation of new pedagogical theories.
As such, their competency is in writing history. How the history of
education should be written is, therefore, a still much debated question.
Depaepes suggestion on how it should not be written might be an easier
approach: our message went that historians of education ought to think of
themselves as historians, and not as servants of any particular pedagogical
practice, theory, idea or whatever. That they would best avoid the pitfalls
of a historical utilitarianism as well as of the legitimizing and/or
mythologizing belief in a particular pedagogical system, in which the
history of the specialist field is so rich (Depaepe, 2004).
Notwithstanding the above, the history of education can still indirectly
influence and critique research being conducted in other educational
areas. Educational research is often multidisciplinary, as Depaepe
observes [] there is not, nor will there ever be, one single true
conception on the history of education, so that we shall probably have to
learn to live with methodological pluralism (Depaepe, 1993, 3).
For instance, studies in educational history can help explain and inspire
changes by situating them alongside the process of social development,
showing that societies are in continual interaction. Social phenomena are
not absolute; they always remain relative to numerous variables. Progress
has its discontinuities as well as its continuities. Education belongs to the
realm of cultural phenomena over a long duration of time. History writers
also find themselves within cultural processes that color their analysis, for
instance, by imposing present concerns and preoccupations upon the past.
Even when opposing paradigms can be used to explain change,
development also in the discipline of the history of educationstill
presupposes a continuum. This continuum presents itself as a richly
checkered process of intersecting outcomes (Depaepe, 2006).
After analyzing the history of education in St. Maarten, it appears that the
pattern of pillarization (verzuiling), which has been a feature of Dutch
culture and society throughout the first part of the 20th century, has also
become a part of St. Maartens educational praxis. Besides the pillarization

of education, the Netherlands Antilles has adapted an educational system

mirrored on the Dutch system (Van Enckevort, 2006). By forcing an alien
response to foreign variables upon St. Maarten, the colonizers alienated
the St. Maarteners from themselves and their most immediate insular
reality. This strategy was not unique to the Dutch colonizers; such a
process has usually gone hand-in-hand with colonialism. The Belgians
applied something similar in Congo, where it was said that (to) the
degree that institutionalized educational practice was a factor of power
and social control, education seemed (...) to lead to keeping down rather
than raising up (Depaepe, 1997, 209). In this way we can recover the
voice of the local population involved in education (administration,
personnel, students, and parents) of St. Maarten. Its purpose is purely
historical and does not directly aim to produce a critique of the Dutch
Antillean colonial education.

The conceptual framework that we have presented tells us that it is
neither easy nor simple to write about the history of education. This is
because the history of education is much broader than the history of mere
schooling. Furthermore, educational history should not be studied in
isolation from other cultural and social movements. Education helps to
transmit culture and the values of that culture from one generation to
another. This means that the history of education studies the entire
process of social development.
Thus if we would like to write about the history of education in the
Caribbean, St. Maarten, it will challenge us to look into the methodology
of oral history and at different authors, who discuss the complexities of
writing about the history of education and the use of oral history. Based
on this research, we know that there are still many questions which need
to be answered. There is a remarkable history in the Caribbean. The
colonial context shows that the different islands with their unique story
became special places where the people own unique identity and culture
have prevailed. The language issue, which has been and still is a much
debated topic, demands more research and reflection.


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A.S.M. Shamim Miah
University of Buraimi

Abstract: This paper will explore Hamlets examination of his

life and the unavoidable delay of retribution as a consequence
of strict mortification. It will investigate that Hamlet is dutiful,
pious, devout, religious and Christian. He has faith in God and
all the Christian paraphernalia including chastisement for sin
and perdition. Christianity is not gathered, hypothetical or
theoretical for him, rather causative of his veracity, the
question he asks, and the apprehensions he has are likewise
real and solemn for him. He is not utilizing religion as
avocation or as a part of the method for rationalizing, while
trying to remain a puritan underlining complete corruption. As
man is characteristically not able to practice choice, since
through Adams fall he has endured inherited ignominy.
Keywords: Shakespeare, Hamlet

The subject of Shakespeare and religion has been a permanent one,
though it cannot be confirmed what religion he practiced in isolation, yet
the fact of his being born under the rule of Elizabeth I, who was
Protestant and outlawed Catholicism, infers that his public faith would
have been Protestant. However, his parents, as Mabillard claims, were
very likely covert Catholics and Shakespeares father, John, was close
friends with William Catesby, the father of the head conspirator in the
plot to blow the Protestant monarchy to smithereens. (Mabillard, 2003).
One can learn about the religion around Shakespeare from the Catholics,
Calvinists, clowns, stoics and skeptics he placed onstage without
supposing that one discovers thereby the religion of Shakespeare
(Kaufman, 2011). Since the recent turn to religion in historical and

literary scholarship, Shakespeares religiosity in reference to Hamlet has

come to the foreground through a plethora of papers in diverse fields
including philosophy, religion, feminism, literature, psychology, culture
and history covering a wide range of aspects of the play. The tragedy of
Hamlet was written by William Shakespeare from 1600 to 1601 (Spencer &
Sinfield, 2005). The study inspects the function of religious beliefs for the
people and for the events of Hamlet, while offering a new perspective on
the characters motives. The article discusses the actions and thoughts of
the characters, especially the protagonist, to elicit the influence of religion
on them. The central questions which this study discourses are: is Hamlet
a believer? Is belief a prearranged and didactic impulse in the play? To
what extent does religion aid to develop Hamlets actions and guide the
readers? Was Shakespeare advocating Puritanism in this play or not? The
treatment of this subject has used the objective critical and scholarly
discourses that were available to make sense of the dramatists cognizance
of, relation to, and use of religious beliefs, religious culture, and religious
conflicts from both historically specific and transhistorical points of view.

Religious Environment in Elizabethan Era

The two major religions in Elizabethan England were the Catholic and
Protestant religions. The convictions and beliefs in these different
religions were so strong that they led to the executions of many adherents
to both of these. The reigning Monarchs dictated the favored religion.
Failure to adhere to the favored religion could often lead to great danger
imprisonment, torture, and execution. Whereas, adhering to the wrong
religion brought risks to personal wealth, freedom and life. However,
schools taught the official religion decreed by the reigning Queen or King.
Queen Elizabeth I (r. 1558 1603) succeeded her sister Queen Mary and
adhered to the Protestant religion and restored Protestantism as the
official religion. She firmly believed that people should be allowed to
practice the Catholic religion without fear of recrimination so long as it
presented no threat to peace in the realm and her rule over England.
Elizabethan Era also saw the rise of the Puritan movement in England, its
clash with the authorities of the Church of England, and its temporary
effective suppression in the 1590s by severe judicial means.

Religious Environment in Hamlet

In general this play is largely perceived in a context of religious beliefs
with religion being a pertinent by pass to understand the characters
motives, especially Hamlet. The speech by Hamlets fathers ghost, who
describes himself as having been sinful during his life, reveals the depth of
his faith, and includes advice about the sings that have been committed.
Describing how he wants his son to kill his brother, he talks about the
murder in the context of his faith and justifies his request on religious
grounds. Even, Claudius is devout at times; he blames himself and asks
for forgiveness in church (Hamlet III. 3.37 49). Stegner emphasizes that
the faith of metaphysics affects the actions and moves the characters.
Critics have observed the important of confessional rites in Hamlet
(Stegner, 2007).

Literature Review
Hamlet, the Dane, who made that celebrated soliloquy on life, instructed
the players like a schooled director, thought this goodly frame, the
earth, a sterile promontory and this brave over hanging firmament, the
air, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, a foul and pestilent
congregation of vapours, whom man delighted not, nor woman
neither, is an idle coinage of Shakespeares brain (Hazlitt, 1990) that
everyone contains in the form of a tinge of feelings, wants, and worries.
But, he is a character in a play, not in history (Weitz, 1964) who talked
with the grave-diggers, and moralized on Yorricks skull, but he is too
sensitive to avenge himself (Grebanier, 1960), because his world is one
where religion is existent, God is true the hereafter is valid, and what one
does in earthly life is very much a preparation for the next. He is the
school fellow of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern at Wittenburg; the friend
of Horatio; the lover of Ophelia, who is more sinned against than
sinning (King Lear, 3.2). Everything in him seems only that he
know[s] not and to be or not to be (Hamlet, 3.1) becomes a
question for all concerned around him, besides he feigns madness for
political purpose (Ferriar, 1813). He is very self-scrupled, but calm
and focused to kill the king and get the throne and follows his fathers

(Ghosts) orders to taint not his [thy] mind (Hamlet 1.5) that leads to his
inaction and postponement.
There are many controversial speculations regarding the use of religion as
a justification for Hamlets inaction, but one might just brush over the
fact that Hamlet is too constrained by puritan aesthetics that
everything he does to act becomes his cynicism. Puritan theology is based
on Calvinism asserting the basic sinfulness of humankind, but also
declaring that God has determined that someone will be saved despite
their sins. Perhaps knowing there is a chance of purgation and entry into
paradise, Hamlet restrains himself from killing his incestuous father
(uncle) Claudius, while he was praying. Hamlet is religious and
Christian. He believes in God and all the Christian theology, including
punishment for sin and damnation. It is not supposed, theoretical or
hypothetical for him, rather all part of his veracity, and the question he
asks, and the fears he has are also bona fide and solemn for him. He is
not using religion as justification in the way of making excuses, but trying
to remain a puritan emphasizing total depravity. Confirming which Hart
claims that as man is naturally unable to exercise free will, since through
Adams fall he has suffered hereditary corruption (Hart, 1986). Evil was
a palpable presence in the Puritans world, and it was often symbolized
by the struggle between light and darkness. In this system, it was
impossible to find disillusioned Puritans, for they believed that there was
no horror that man could not commit, but the self- discipline. There are
times when Hamlet acts somewhat promptly, for example, sending
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to their death that took very little
procrastination from him. The only inaction therefore being the revenge
of his fathers death is not for religious bent of mind rather determined
attempts to taint not Hamlets [thy] mind.
Hamlet is acutely motorized by Christian sense of goodness. He believes
that man should look into the Law of God and make an examination of
his life and state according to the Law. He does not act on instinct,
rather tries to understand through meditation and prepare for a
fitting response. This idea runs deep into the developing plot as we find
him incessantly trying to justify his vengeance, but Hamlet was
restrained by the conscience or a moral scruple; he could not satisfy
himself that it was right to avenge his father (Bradley, 1980).


Many perceive Hamlet to be mad as Polonius (father of Ophelia), king

Claudius and Queen Gertrude were convinced through his behavior, but
on the contrary he was quite a sensible man who knew exactly what to
do and when to do in what circumstance . Till then sit still my soul
(1.2.256) evinces his true intention, which stresses upon self-discipline
another of puritan code of belief that adds to suspension of his action,
but for the right reason i.e. to avoid hasty scruples also evinced by
Gertrudes matrimonial with Claudius. He is a thorough observant, a
thinker and perseverant. Just as his spiritual is committed to reflect all
these characteristics whether consciously or unconsciously, he is
embodying the cloak of sainthood. Hamlet, perhaps, very surely knows
that those who are predetermined as elect inevitably persevere in the path
of holiness to deserve paradise. Even more strengthened spiritually, he
embodies the very essence of Puritanism by committing to morality, a
form of worship, and conforming to Gods commandments. He
introspects to determine slighted indication of sin as if the spiritual strings
were genuine marks of sainthood, which he was too far from becoming,
because of own incestuous appetite so strongly growing for his mother.
But, in regards to his Oedipal complex, Bloom states, In Hamlet it
remains repressed; and just as in the case of a neurosis we only learn
of its existence from its inhibiting consequences (Bloom, 2003).
Hamlets soliloquy about suicide (O that this too too solid flesh would
melt, / Thaw and resolve itself into a dew! (i.ii129-130) ushers in what
will be an essential predicament leading to his reluctance, cowardice, and
disinclination. He finds that the world is painful to live in, because if one
commits suicide to end that pain, one damns oneself to eternal suffering
in hell. Therefore even with the severest of desire, Hamlet hesitates
and forsakes the attempt to end his pain, because the Everlasting had
[not] fixed / His canon gainst self-slaughter (i.ii.131-132). Just as a saint
in the making, he can already feel, as Marcellus says that something is
rotten in the state of Denmark (i.iv.67). He proclaims to be omniseer
not with the slightest of doubt, rather more with absolute buoyancy
when he says, I see a cherub that see them (iv.iii.47), teases
Guildenstern and Rosencrantz with his knowledge of their purpose of
arrival in Denmark, and demonstrates his supernatural ability to
prophecy, foresee, and anticipate things happening around him.
Moreover, he is a believer, strong one, without compunction. His intellect

is matchless, and perfect, because except him, everyone is too ordinary to

comprehend between what is and what is not in heaven and earth as he
advocates that [T]here are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, /
[T]han are dreamt of in ones [your] philosophy.
In regulating external conduct, the general aim of the state, in Calvins
view, is to insure justice or equity in society at large. Accordingly Hamlet
is seen set out to regulate the state of affairs in the country by first
wearing the black cloak to signify the moral corruption and pointing for
immediate recovery. Tis not alone his [my] inky cloak, but that of
Englands as well. The play, Hamlet was written around the year 1600 in
the final years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, who had been the
monarch of England for more than forty years and was then in her late
sixties. The prospect of Elizabeths death and the question of who
would succeed her was a subject of serious apprehension at the time,
since Elizabeth had no children, and the only person with a legal
imperial claim, James of Scotland, was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots,
and therefore represented a political bloc to which Elizabeth was
opposed. When Elizabeth died in 1603, James did inherit the throne,
becoming King James I. It is no surprise, then, that many of
Shakespeares plays from this period, including Hamlet, concern
transfers of power from one monarch to the next. These plays focus
particularly on the uncertainties, betrayals, and upheavals that accompany
such shifts in power, and the general sense of anxiety and the fear that
surround them. The appearance of the ghost gives physical form to the
fearful anxiety that surrounds the transfer of power after the kings
death, seeming to imply that the future of Denmarks future, comparing
it to the supernatural omens that supposedly presaged the assassination of
Julius Caesar in ancient Rome (and which Shakespeare had recently
represented in Julius Caesar). The ghost functions as a kind of internal
foreshadowing, implying tragedy not only to the audience but to the
characters as well. If king is murdered the truth is murdered too, and
king Hamlets assassination would be impossible to prove. His aim is
not to kill the king and get the throne. He is primarily concerned with
punishing the murderer of his father, punishing him under the shelter of
justice ( G r e b a n i e r , 1 9 6 0 ) . Therefore, he feigns madness for
political purpose (Ferriar, 1813). Hamlet is the man who would have
inherited the throne had Claudius not snatched it from him. He is a

malcontent, someone who refuses to go along with the rest of the court
for the sake of the greater good of stability. The question of the moral
validity of suicide in an unbearably painful world will haunt the rest of the
play; it reaches the height of its urgency in the most famous line in all of
English literature: To be, or not to be: that is the question (iii.i.58). In
this scene Hamlet mainly focuses on the appalling conditions of life,
railing against Claudiuss court as an unweeded garden, / That grows to
seed; things rank and gross in nature / Possess it merely (i.ii.135-137).
Throughout the play, we watch the gradual crumbling of the beliefs on
which Hamlets opinion has been based. Already, in this first soliloquy,
religion has failed him, and his warped family situation can offer him no
All the beliefs about the ghost are based in religion or at least religion
related superstition. The problem with Gertrudes marriage to Claudius
being incestuous is grounded in religion it was sinful to marry
Claudius. But the Ghost is not a mere figure. Hamlet is not a modern
altruist, considering his intelligence from the point of view of Mr. Henry
James and terrified by the vicious strains of his father. King Hamlet had
been a being of flesh and blood, and he spoke in toxic earnest, for the
rescue of his realm, for the retribution of sin, to his son, the successor
of that kingdom, the Prince of Denmark, who on his mothers demise
would be king. However, the other theory, that the Ghost was a chimera,
is isolated very circumspectly in the opening of the play. With his
customary talent in making the intention of state of affairs clear,
Shakespeare converts Horatio from the nonbeliever to a believer fully
persuaded. The Ghost might be the misapprehension of an emotional
psyche, in the appalling scene between the mother and son, when the
example of Nero and Agrippina is only too near Hamlets rancorous
mentality; but the whole spirit of the tragedy is not in favor of that
hypothesis, as in Shakespeares Hamlet no such education in deviltry is
indicated. When Hamlet speaks to Horatio of his father, and in his scorn
of his mothers neglect of that noble shade and in his tenderness, says
that his picture comes that very moment to his mind. He speaks as any
sorrowing son would speak; his father is before him, but he does not
pretend that it is the spirit of his father. There is no delusion, and he is
not insane at any time. Besides, his obedience to the ghost is highly
rewarding and conspicuous. It is as he is flesh of his flesh that Hamlet

is bound (by nature) to act on his fathers behalf (Dodsworth, 1985),

though there is deep-seated skepticism. Hamlet has contemplated
profoundly at Wittenberg, where liberal contemplation was the trend, but
he has not attempted, like Benvenuto Cellini, to raise spirits. Hamlets
plain duty, in the tragedy, is to obey the command of his fathers spirit.
The Elizabethans accepted it in this way. It was obvious, according to
their moral values, that Hamlets struggle was a struggle in opposition to
sense of duty, not a virtuous disbelief as to whether it was right for him
to annihilate the intelligent, kingly, deceitful, and understated criminal
whose sin in marrying his brothers wife, coupled with the rumor of a
more ghastly and clandestine offense, vulnerable to curse the whole State
of Denmark. It did not astonish the English of the beginning of the
seventeenth century that the murdered king should come back from the
state of purgation in which many Englishmen still believed. It is
impossible to kill the vital beliefs of a nation by mere edicts; and the
announcement of King Hamlet that he had been murdered without a
chance to confession, with his sins upon his soul, did not imply, as it
would have implied to the Puritan mind, that he was either in heaven or
in hell. He was in the middle state, suffering terribly, knowing, too, that
his beloved kingdom of Denmark was in the grip of a monstrous usurper,
and that, if his son were not awakened to the danger of the moment, his
dynasty must pass, perhaps forever, from the throne. The auditors in
Shakespeares time took the Ghost seriously. He was not merely a piece
of perfunctory stage machinery; he was the better part of a good man - not a saintly man and of a noble king. He had sinned, but he had not
died in mortal sin; he was suffering in purging fire, with the torment
of an awful secret upon him, fore-knowing that as a kind and a patriot,
he ought to reveal this secret to the Prince, his son. He must be mute by
day, but at night he may speak, and he may not reveal too much.
Drawing on sermon notes from first-generation pastor Thomas Allen,
Harry Stout describes the term jeremiad refers to a sermon or another
work that accounts for the misfortunes of an era as a just penalty for great
social and moral evils, but holds out hope for changes that will bring a
happier future. It derives from the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah,
who in the seventh century B.C. attributed the calamities of Israel to its
abandonment of the covenant with Jehovah and its return to pagan
idolatry, denounced with "lurid and gloomy eloquence" its religious and

moral iniquities, and called on the people to repent and reform in order
that Jehovah might restore them to his favor and renew the ancient
covenant. In Act I Scene I, a general discussion between Marcellus
and Horatio provides ample insight into the state of affairs of
Denmark, especially after the death of Senior Hamlet, and coronation of
King Claudius. Just as Oedipus Rex, pointed out that calamities had
befallen due to moral iniquities, Denmark is also seen busy preparing for
battle 24/7 including the holy Sundays. Gertrude despite the death of her
husband, hastes to a wedding lock with sometime brother-in-law Claudius
shortening the length of bereavement.
It is a humiliation that stresses upon the conviction of conscience by
which Hamlet (seeker) realizes that he will be (is) under sin, if he commits
suicide. His canon gainst self slaughter. (1.2.132) life is futile, sterile
and meaningless for him because he experiences abject despair and
misery. He sees all his efforts as vain and inconsequential before [a]
perfect Claudius (God). The stricken Hamlet attempts to redress the
wrongs he has done through "legal obedience" to the covenant of works.
He turns to good works as a remedy, but this effort fails and he is
brought to deeper despair. This is caused due to his awareness of the faith
by possession.
Hamlet is stricken not by external scruples of any sort, rather internal
more accurately as such his self-conscience which doles like a free
pendulum much without will but more for the design and make-up. He
suffers from a self-deluded predicament in regards to Claudius to be or
not to be the murder of his father. This quandary becomes a quagmire
never to set him free until death, but during entire length of the play he
seems to be questioning what should be the fear? Bradley states,
When Hamlet mentions, as one possible cause of his inaction, his
thinking too precisely on the event, he mentions another, bestial
oblivion as there is preparation for disciplining the exasperated soul. He
meditates unlike any normal person, as if he was Christ because Thomas
Hooker (15861647), in The Soules Preparation for Christ (1632) deems: "It is
a settled exercise for two ends: first to make a further inquiry of the truth:
and secondly, to make the heart affected therewith", both of which
Hamlet meticulously adheres to first by staging a mousetrap play for
gathering information about the murder of his father and second
by feigning madness and obeying the ghost as if he was meant to by

virtue of Gods will. He relentlessly struggles to discipline his blood

seeking soul. There is no urgency, rather tardy and sluggish, approach to
plot out a premeditated retribution on Claudius. According to Ann
Stanford, the process of meditation involves the "vivid picturing in the
imagination of a scene called the 'composition of place.' The scene may
be drawn from the Old or New Testaments, the details of the life of
Christ, the terrors of hell, or a more present situation. . . . . After
imagining a scene, or seeing the subject of meditation before one in the
fields, the meditator draws arguments from it regarding eternal truths
or his own relation to God. The last step is a colloquy with God or with
the creature, theoretically involving the will, in which the meditator
determines to have more faith, to cease from sin, to abide by God's law,
or comes to some moral discernment" (Bradstreet, 1867). Evidently,
Hamlets postponement of revenge is a result of his overindulgent
thinking i.e. premeditation in search of truth for rationalization of the
punishment that he wishes to plan for Claudius. He is no ordinary human
being who would stoop to action to further complicate the state of
affairs. He wants to be absolutely sure that the punishment is
puritanically just so that it is pragmatic to his sense of objective faith. He
achieves this through comparing and gathering information by staging
the mousetrap play which according to Richard Baxter, "There is
yet another way by which we may make our senses serviceable to us,
and that is, by comparing the objects of sense with the objects of faith;
and so forcing sense to afford us that medium, from whence we may
conclude the transcendent worth of glory, by arguing from sensitive
delights as from the less to the greater" (Baxter, 1872).
Religious writings, and bibles are no more the things to be put up on
walls as show pieces as was the case in Measure for Measure, rather
more a matter of mundane learning for spiritual guidance. People in
Denmark were profoundly responsive to religion as Mr. Boswell argues
that the sentiments which fall from Hamlet in his soliloquies, or in
confidential communication with Horatio, evince not only a sound
but an acute and vigorous understanding. Similarly, Dodsworth
states, Hamlet regards the Ghost as eminently questionable
(Dodsworth, 1985), that is, which invites question as Jenkins has it,
but more pertinently uncertain, doubtful (Dodsworth, 1985). Such
skepticism is contemptuous on the part of Hamlet, but not

without optimistic rationalization. But, Even when he doubts, or thinks

he doubts, the honesty of the Ghost, he expresses no doubt as to what
his duty will be if the Ghost turns out to be honest (Bradley, 1980),
because he wishes to ground his madness on this impeccable but
conceited predicament of to be or not to be.

Baxter, R. (1872). The Saints' Everlasting Rest: Or A Treatise on the Blesssed
State of the Saints in their Enjoyment of God in Heaven. London: T. Nelsons &
Bloom, H. (2003). Hamlet: Poem Unlimited. New York: Berkley Publishing Group.
Bradley, A. (1980). Shakespearean Tragedy. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Bradstreet, A. (1867). The Works of Anne Bradstreet in Prose and Verse (1841 ed.). (J.
H. Ellis, Ed.) Boston: A.E. Cutter Charleston.
Dodsworth, M. (1985). Hamlet closely observed. London: Athlone Press.
Ferriar, D. J. (1813). An Essay Towards a Theory of Apparitions. Warrington.
Grebanier, B. (1960). The Heart of Hamlet, The Play Shakespeare Wrote. New York:
Thomas Y. Crowell Company.
Hart, J. D. (1986). The Concise Oxford Companion to American Literature. New York,
USA: Oxford University Press.
Hazlitt, W. (1990). Lectures on the Literature of the Age of Elizabeth and
Characters of Shakespeare's Plays. (pp. 73-81). London: George Bell and Sons.
Kaufman, P. I. (2011). Hamlet's Religions. Religions, 427-448.
Mabillard, A. (2003, August 20). Shakespeare's Religion. Retrieved May 22, 2015,
from Shakespeare Online:
Spencer, B., & Sinfield, A. (2005). Hamlet. (S. Wells, Ed.) Lonon: Penguin Group.
Stegner, P. (2007). Try what repentance can: Hamlet, Confession, and the
Extraction of Interiority. Shakespeare Stud Columbia, 35, 105-126.
Weitz, M. (1964). Hamlet and the Philosophy of Literary Criticism. Chicago: University
of Chicago.


Dr. Mehmet zcan

Afyon Kocatepe University, Turkey

Abstract: The principal is the lead learner in schools and is

responsible and accountable for quality teaching and learning.
Depending on where a principal or vice-principal is in his or her
career path and in what community he or she is situated, it is
important to recognize that administrators will not be equally
skilled in every area of this framework. All principals and viceprincipals are expected as educational leaders to demonstrate
responsibility for their personal professional growth, and as
leaders recognize the importance of continuously striving for
excellence in all areas of the Educational Leadership. They may
be moving towards these leadership expectations by
differentiating to their own growth needs relevant to the
communities in which they lead. What is known is that personal
inquiry and ongoing self-assessment builds and strengthens
leadership and learning. This document is a guide for education
leaders on self-reflection and personal professional growth.
Keywords: School
Leadership, Quality.




Concept of Educational Leadership
Educational management is a field of study and practice concerned with
the operation of educational organizations. There is no single generally
accepted definition of the subject because its development has drawn
heavily on several more firmly established disciplines, including sociology,
political science, economics and general management. Interpretations

drawn from different disciplines necessarily emphasize diverse aspects of

educational management.
Bolam (1999) defines educational management as an executive function
for carrying out agreed policy. He differentiates management from
educational leadership which has at its core the responsibility for policy
formulation and, where appropriate, organizational transformation.
Writing from an Indian perspective, Sapre (2002) states that management
is a set of activities directed towards efficient and effective utilization of
organizational resources in order to achieve organizational goals.
Management is directed at the achievement of certain educational
objectives. Unless this link between purpose and management is clear and
close, there is a danger of managerialism, a stress on procedures at the
expense of educational purpose and values (Bush, 1999). Managerialism
places the emphasis on managerial efficiency rather than the aims and
purposes of education (Newman and Clarke, 1994; Gunter, 1997).
Management possesses no super-ordinate goals or values of its own. The
pursuit of efficiency may be the mission statement of management but
this is efficiency in the achievement of objectives which others define
(Newman and Clarke, 1994).
While the emphasis on educational purpose is important, this does not
mean that all aims or targets are appropriate, particularly if they are
imposed from outside the school by government or other official bodies.
Managing towards the achievement of educational aims is vital but these
must be purposes agreed by the school and its community. If managers
simply focus on implementing external initiatives, they risk becoming
managerialist. In England, the levers of central monitoring and
targetsetting have been tightened to allow government to manage schools
more closely, for example through the National Literacy and Numeracy
strategies (Whitty, 2008). Successful internal management requires a clear
link between values, aims, strategy and day-to-day activities.
The centrality of aims and purposes for the management of schools and
colleges is common to most of the different theoretical approaches to the
subject. There is disagreement, though, about three aspects of goal-setting
in education:
1. The value of formal statements of purpose
2. Whether the objectives are those of the organization or those of
particular individuals

3. How the institutions goals are determined.

The formal aims of schools and colleges are sometimes set at a high level
of generality. They usually command substantial support but, because they
are often utopian, such objectives provide an inadequate basis for
managerial action. A typical aim in a primary or secondary school might
focus on the acquisition by each pupil of physical, social, intellectual and
moral qualities and skills. This is worthy but it has considerable limitations
as a guide to decision-making. More specific purposes often fail to reach
the same level of agreement. A proposal to seek improved performance in
one part of the curriculum, say literacy or numeracy, may be challenged by
teachers concerned about the implications for other subjects.
The international trend towards self-management has led to a parallel call
for managers, staff and other stakeholders to develop a distinctive vision
for their schools with clearly articulated and specific aims. Beare, Caldwell
and Millikan (1989) say that outstanding leaders have a vision of their
schools a mental picture of a preferred future which is shared with all
in the school community. Where educational organizations have such a
vision, it is possible for effective managers to link functions with aims and
to ensure that all management activity is purposeful. In practice, however,
as we shall see later, many visions are simply generalized educational
objectives (Bolam et al., 1993) and may be derived from national
government imperatives rather than being derived from a school-level
assessment of needs.
Leadership is a high priority issue for many people concerned with
education these days. Reformers depend on it. The public believes that it
is what schools need more of. It is not surprising, then, that so many
people are trying to make a living peddling their latest insights about
effective educational leadership. Indeed leadership by adjective is a growth
industry. We have instructional leadership, transformational leadership,
moral leadership, constructivist leadership, servant leadership, cultural
leadership, and primal leadership (Goleman, Boyatzis & McKee, 2002). A
few of these qualify as leadership theories and several are actually tested
leadership theories. Consider, for example, the terms, especially popular in
North America, instructional leadership and, in England, learning
centered leadership: they typically serves as synonyms for whatever the
speaker means by good leadership with almost no reference to models
of instructional or learning-centered leadership that have some conceptual
coherence and a body of evidence testing their effects on organizations
and pupils.


With all this confusion about the concept of leadership in our

environment, we might be persuaded to think that hard evidence about
what is good or successful or effective leadership in education
organizations is lacking or at least contradictory but we would be
wrong. We actually know a great deal about the leadership behaviors,
practices, or actions that are helpful in improving the impact of schools
on the pupil outcomes that we value. As one example, the review of
educational leadership effects on pupil learning reported almost 10 years
ago by Hallinger and Heck (1996) included about 40 studies. And many
more have been reported since then.

2. Instructional Leadership
Instructional leadership differs from that of a school administrator or
manager in a number of ways. Principals who pride themselves as
administrators usually are too preoccupied in dealing with strictly
managerial duties, while principals who are instructional leaders involve
themselves in setting clear goals, allocating resources to instruction,
managing the curriculum, monitoring lesson plans, and evaluating
teachers. In short, instructional leadership reflects those actions a
principal takes to promote growth in student learning (Flath, 1989). The
instructional leader makes instructional quality the top priority of the
school and attempts to bring that vision to realization.
More recently, the definition of instructional leadership has been
expanded to include deeper involvement in the core business of
schooling, which is teaching and learning. As emphasis shifts from
teaching to learning, some have proposed the term learning leader over
instructional leader (DuFour, 2002).
The National Association of Elementary School Principals (2001) defines
instructional leadership as leading learning communities, in which staff
members meet on a regular basis to discuss their work, collaborate to
solve problems, reflect on their jobs, and take responsibility for what
students learn. In a learning community, instructional leaders make adult
learning a priority, set high expectations for performance, create a culture
of continuous learning for adults, and get the communitys support for
school success.
Blase and Blase (2000) cite specific behaviors of instructional leadership,
such as making suggestions, giving feedback, modeling effective

instruction, soliciting opinions, supporting collaboration, providing

professional development opportunities, and giving praise for effective
Inherent in the concept of instructional leadership is the notion that
learning should be given top priority while everything else revolves
around the enhancement of learning. Instructional leaders need to know
what is going on in the classroom. Without this knowledge, they are
unable to appreciate some of the problems teachers and students
encounter. That is why, on a given day, teachers and students will see me
walking the halls, praising student work, and acknowledging what teachers
are doing. Instructional leaders need to work closely with students,
developing teaching techniques and methods as a means for
understanding teacher perspectives and for establishing a base on which
to make curricular decisions.
Whitaker (1997) identifies four skills essential for instructional leadership:
* Effective instructional leaders need to be resource providers. It is not
enough for principals to know the strengths and weaknesses of their
faculties; they must also recognize teachers desires to be acknowledged
and appreciated for a job well done. From my experience, teachers seek
only tiny morsels of praise and the assurance that I am there to support
them as a resource provider.
* Effective instructional leaders need to be instructional resources.
Teachers count on their principals as resources of information on current
trends and effective instructional practices. Instructional leaders are tuned
in to issues relating to curriculum, effective pedagogical strategies, and
assessment. For example, teachers come by my office daily to seek
suggestions on the best way to reach a child who is not grasping concepts.
* Effective instructional leaders need to be good communicators. They
need to communicate essential beliefs regarding learning, such as the
conviction that all children can learn.
* Effective instructional leaders need to create a visible presence. This
includes focusing on learning objectives, modeling behaviors of learning,
and designing programs and activities on instruction. As an administrator,
more than half my day is spent focusing on these objectives. For example,
I recently implemented a move to small-group instruction in reading and
math by providing the resources, explaining how it works, and serving as a
model for those teachers who struggled with the concept.

The instructional leader also needs to have up-to-date knowledge on three

areas of education: curriculum, instruction, and assessment (DuFour,

3. Transformational Leadership
According to Fullan (2001) the more complex society gets, the more
sophisticated leadership must become. Thus, Lewis, Goodman and Fandt
(1998) assert that school administrators are expected to cope with a
rapidly changing world of work to be effective at their schools. For this
reason, they require abilities such as being team-oriented, strong
communicators, team players, problem solvers, change-makers and
transformational leaders. Many researches have been made to define
leaders roles in organizations. In this regard, transformational leadership
has been frequently studied in the leadership fields (Bass, 1998). Initiated
by Leithwood and his colleagues in the late 1980s and early 1990s,
numerous studies have demonstrated positive relationships between
transformational leadership and various school and teacher organizational
conditions (Anderson, 2008).
According to Northouse (2001), in the simplest terms, transformational
leadership is the ability to get people to want to change, improve, and be
led. It involves assessing associates' motives, satisfying their needs, and
valuing them. Besides, some researches claim that transformational
leadership is the leaders ability to increase organizational members
commitment, capacity, and engagement in meeting goals (Bass & Avolio,
Hallinger (2003) puts that transformational leadership models
conceptualize leadership as an organizational entity rather than the task of
a single individual. In this context, Evers & Lakomski (1996) suggest that
these models rely too heavily on the transformational skills of the leader.
It is claimed by many researches that transformational leadership
behaviors have direct and indirect effects on followers behavior, their
psychological states and organizational performance (Leithwood, Jantzi &
Steinbach, 1999). It has influences on teachers commitment to change in
vision building, high performance expectations, developing consensus


about group goals and intellectual stimulation, communication, supportive

leadership, and personal recognition (Chew & Chan, 2008).
According to Moolenaar et al., (2010) transformational leadership is
positively associated with schools innovative climate and it motivates
followers to do more than they are expected in terms of extra effort and
greater productivity changed teacher practices (Stewart, 2006),
organizational learning organizational commitment and extra effort for
change, and collective teacher efficacy (Ross & Gray, 2006) in a variety of
international settings (Bommer, Rubin & Baldwin, 2004).
Transformational leadership has three basic functions. First,
transformational leaders sincerely serve the needs of others, empower
them and inspire followers to achieve great success. Secondly, they
charismatically lead, set a vision, instill trust, confidence and pride in
working with them. Finally, with the intellectual stimulation they offer
followers of the same caliber as the leader (Castanheira & Costa, 2011). In
this model, the school becomes less bureaucratic and it functions as its
own transforming agent. Instead of empowering selected individuals, the
school becomes empowered as a collective unit.
Furthermore, McFarlin & Sweeney (1998) claim that the most successful
managers in the future should be transformational leaders comprised of
strengths, weaknesses and also characteristic behaviors. If leadership is
accepted as a process of interaction between leaders and subordinates
where a leader attempts to influence the others behaviors to accomplish
organizational goals (Yukl, 2005), then, leaders must foster strong
community support for the change by creating a vision for the
organization and stimulating them at school (Bass, 1998).
While Bass & Avolio (1997) assert that transformational leaders focus on
capacity building for the purpose of organizational change establish that
they sharpen their subordinates skills and enhance their knowledge from
their own experiences. What is more, this approach can help school
administrators become exceptional leaders. Leithwood & Jantzi (2000)
assert that transformational leadership has seven dimensions at schools.
These are; building school vision and establishing school goals, providing
intellectual stimulation, providing individualized support, modeling best
practices and organizational values, setting high academic standard


expectations, creating a
participation in decisions.






Taking everything into consideration all these characteristics largely fall

into four circumscribed areas in educational settings as idealized influence,
inspirational motivation, individualized consideration and intellectual
stimulation. In this context, idealized influence is defined as considering
the needs of others before their own personal needs, avoiding the use of
power for personal gain, demonstrating high moral standards, and setting
challenging goals for their followers. The other one is inspirational
motivation which is to motivate and inspire those around them by
displaying enthusiasm and optimism, involving the followers in
envisioning attractive future states, communicating high expectations, and
demonstrating commitment to the goals. The third one is individualized
consideration that represents the leaders effort to behave individuals as if
they are special people and act as a coach or mentor to develop their
followers potential. The last one is intellectual stimulation which means
the leaders effort to stimulate followers to be innovative and creative.
These components create additive effect if managers combine these
components to reach performance beyond expectations (Northouse,

4. Moral Leadership
Moral leadership has become an increasingly popular topic in the field of
educational administration. It has been the focus of policy initiatives,
accreditation standards and a body of research that emerged over the past
fifteen years identifying moral leadership as a characteristic of high
performing schools, particularly among high poverty schools (Fullan,
2003; Hodgkinson, 1991). However, the increased attention to moral
leadership in schools has not shed much light on how to best teach moral
leadership in the preparation of school administrators. The burst of
interest since the early 1990s in developing moral leadership in schools
has largely taken the form of identifying moral leadership as an important,
in some cases critical, element of a strong school.


A resurgence of interest in moral leadership has been spurred on by

anecdotal evidence that increasing pressures to meet student
accountability measures brought on by state reform and the federally
mandated No Child Left Behind Act have resulted in an increase of both
fraud and unethical allocation of school resources (Pardini, 2004). A
general concern with thin applicant pools for school leadership positions
has also raised concerns that many ascending to top school positions may
not be ready to make strong moral decisions in the face of increasing
pressures (Pardini, 2004; Stover, 2002). In a survey of chief state
education officers, executive directors of American Association of School
Administrators (AASA) state affiliates, and executive directors of the
National School Boards Associations (NSBA) state affiliates
approximately 60% felt they were facing a leadership applicant pool crisis,
over 84% felt the quality of the applicant was decreasing, and 75% of the
respondents cited a need to improve pre-service graduate programs
(Glass, 2001; Stover, 2002)
Despite a spike in scholarly activity advocating for moral leadership and
increased attention to ethics regulation, the body of research exploring the
nature of moral leadership remains thin. From these studies researchers
have found that for school district leaders: size of district and salary are
positively correlated, and years of service negatively correlated, with more
ethical responses to moral dilemmas. These same studies show that in
general terms the ethical capacity of school leaders was not sufficient for
the demands of the job (Pardini, 2004; Fenstermaker, 1996). Fenstermaker
(1996) found that less than half (48.1%) of 2790 responses to borderline
ethical dilemmas by 270 randomly selected superintendents that
responded to the survey were scored as ethical. The growing evidence of
ethical shortfalls within the profession in the mid-1990s led to a broad call
from within and outside the field to address the moral decision making of
school leaders. Both pre-service and in-service ethics education programs
were prescribed to teach ethics to aspiring and sitting administrators
(Pardini, 2004; Fenstermaker, 1996).
As those shaping policy and developing responses to the moral crisis in
schools began their work it became clear that talking about morals in
schools was still a controversial topic and there was not a clear definition
of what moral leadership was, despite the charge to hire more of it and
help those already hired to have it (Starratt, 1994). Research that claims

moral leadership as a key indicator of student success often fails to define

what moral leadership looks like, and when definitions are provided they
vary greatly across schools and studies. In a review of moral leadership
studies from 1979 to 2003, it has been concluded that a limitation of the
studies of moral leadership within the past 20 years is that few scholars
have defined clearly what they mean by moral leadership (Greenfield,

5. Cultural and Symbolic Leadership

Sergiovanni (2006) states that symbolic and cultural leaderships are
presented in excellent organizations. The symbolic force for leadership
relates to those things the principal pays attention to while cultural
leadership is about focusing the attention of followers on these matters of
importance over time (Schein, 1992). Both Sergiovanni (2006) and Schein
(1992) say that symbolic and cultural leadership need not be anything
particularly remarkable; rather, it is in the day-today expression of routine
work that these are expressed. Schein (1992) in his book about
organizational culture and leadership identified a number of mechanisms
by which the leader can foster culture in the organization. These
mechanisms are divided into two general groups; one is called the Primary
Embedding Mechanisms (PEMs) while the other is called the secondary
reinforcement and articulation mechanisms. The six PEMs are what
leaders pay attention to, measure and control on a regular basis; how
leaders react to critical incidents and organizational crises; the observed
criteria by which leaders allocate scarce resources; deliberate role
modeling, teaching and coaching; observed criteria by which leaders
allocate rewards, and; the observed criteria by which leaders recruit, select,
promote, retire, and excommunicate organizational members. It is
apparent that these mechanisms can be interpreted as either matters
concerning task completion, relationship maintenance, and as clearly
identifiable events.
As part of their work school administrators interpret policy; execute
curriculum; look after student welfare, equipment, and the financial and
physical resources of the school; carry out staff induction and
development, and nurture stakeholder relations with their school[247]

community which includes staff, pupils, the parents and the department.
School leaders are involved in goal setting, assigning duties, consulting
others, making decisions, initiating change, gaining support from others,
monitoring progress, coordinating activity, and regulating the pace of
change. Jirasinghe and Lyons (1996) surveyed 99 British leaders of schools
to identify the main tasks performed by themselves in their workplace.
Managing tasks and people figured most prominently, followed by
working with information and communicating with others. Tasks
concerned with making plans and motivating others were reported about
a third more times than the next most reported task category which was
about appraising, evaluating and developing people.
Schein (1992) stated that those things which are closely monitored and
measured by the leader are the same things where direct intervention by
the leader is more likely to occur. Following the 1983 publication of
Donald Schns seminal work The Reflective Practitioner, a number of
professions, including education, have made extensive use of reflection as
a means to understand what a professional does (Smith, 2001). Schn
legitimizes informal knowledge. In his book, Schn identifies reflectioninaction, which might be likened to thinking on your feet, and reflectionon-action, a process which takes place sometime after the event, and is
similar to the one used in the present study. Smith (2001) explains Schns
idea that an ability to think on ones feet requires that a professional has,
at his or her disposal, a repertoire of images, ideas, examples and actions
to draw on when faced with commonplace or unique situations. Reflective
practice is about learning from these personal and professional challenges.
Repertory Grid Technique, the research instrument of Personal Construct
Theory, provides a semi structured way for professional reflection to
Personal Construct Theory (PCT) was developed in 1955 by clinical
psychologist, George Kelly (Kelly, 1955). At its heart the theory accepts
the fact that all people have a personal view about the world in which they
live and that each individual uses that view to make sense of the events
that occur and to anticipate the likely outcomes of future events. Kelly
notes that people are just as likely to be able to adjust their personal
construct of the world in light of new evidence, as to be unable to change
in spite of new evidence to the contrary. It is the person, Kelly argues,
who decides how important a particular event is or is not, and in their

world view determines whether some constructs are subordinate, or

superordinate, to other constructs, leading to a hierarchical system of
constructs where the impact of inconsistencies can be lessened.
Each person is able to determine whether the anticipated event is similar
to a previous event, but not everyone will interpret the same event in
exactly the same way, or attach the same level of significance to the event.
Personal constructs are imposed upon events, not abstracted from them.
Repertory Grid Technique (RGT), the research instrument developed by
Kelly for PCT, was first envisaged as an idiographic instrument by which
a person (the subject) could come to understand him or herself better.
This is how RGT was used in the present study.

6. Conclusion
Effective leadership and management are essential if schools and colleges
are to achieve the wide-ranging objectives set for them by their many
stakeholders, notably the governments which provide most of the funding
for public educational institutions. In an increasingly global economy, an
educated workforce is vital to maintain and enhance competitiveness.
Society expects schools, colleges and universities to prepare people for
employment in a rapidly changing environment. Teachers, and their
leaders and managers, are the people who are required to deliver higher
educational standards. The concept of management has been joined, or
superseded, by the language of leadership but the activities undertaken by
principals and senior staff resist such labels. Self-management is practiced
in many countries, expanding the scope and scale of leadership and
providing greater potential for direct and indirect influences on school
and pupil outcomes. Successful leaders are increasingly focused on
learning, the central and unique focus of educational organizations. They
also face unprecedented accountability pressures in what is clearly a
results driven business. As these environmental pressures intensify,
leaders and managers require greater understanding, skill and resilience to
sustain their institutions. Heads, principals and senior staff need an
appreciation of the theory, as well as the practice, of educational
management. Competence comprises an appreciation of concepts as well
as a penchant for successful action. The next chapter examines the nature

of theory in educational leadership and management, and its contribution

to good practice.

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Economic development and preservation of the
environment Oman as an example


Salim Hamood Al-Amri
University of Buraimi, Oman

English summary
This article deals with the economic development and preservation of the
environment in the Sultanate of Oman from a social or sociological
perspective. It discusses the process of change, including the private,
economic and environmental development, which has been taking place
in the Sultanate since the 1970s. It briefly looks into Ibn Khaldun and his
analysis of traditional Arab societies, both of the Bedouin and the urban
dwellers. The contribution also deals with the location and designation of
Oman, the political and institutional structure of the modern Omani State,
and the type and size of its economic development from the seventies
onwards. The coming to power of Sultan Qaboos in the 1070s was the
real beginning of the Omani economy. The aim was to achieve modern,
balanced growth combining economic and social dimensions and
reflecting positively on the Omani citizen. At present, 2020 functions as a
watershed to secure employment for Omanis and a reasonable per capita
income as a stepping stone to 2040.
In the second part of this article, the subject of environmental
development is linked to the environmental resources of renewable
natural resources and natural non-renewable resources, the most
important of which are oil and natural gas. In fact, the oil sector has

witnessed great development, leaving a clear impact on the development

of the country economically and socially since its discovery in 1962 and its
export in 1967. The oil revenues have led to the establishment of the
infrastructure of various production sectors and services. It has also
helped to provide a decent life for the citizens. As for its biodiversity,
Oman is a land rich in organisms that have adapted to the climatic
conditions prevailing in the Sultanate.
This contribution also focuses on the subject of environmental
management. The government realized early on that development would
generate complex environmental problems. The increasing use of the
natural resources, the effects of technology, and the production of
pollutants would expectedly take a toll on the environment. In fact, the
government has become increasingly aware of the need to coordinate
technological and infrastructural development with the provision of
secure employment, housing, and sanitation for all the residents, and
especially the citizens, as well as with the management of Omans
environmental resources. Consequently, in the last two decades, a growing
body of research has been carried out to identify, assess and inventorize
the levels of pollution and to articulate a vision for the future
conservation and management of the natural resources of the country.




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Dr. Sergio Saleem Scatolini

Rustaq College of Applied Sciences, Oman

Verily in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of
night and day, there are indeed signs for people of understanding.
(Qurn 3:190)

Abstract: Ibn Tufayl, from Al-Andalus, wrote the fictionary story of Hayy
Ibn Yaqzn, a sort of Tarzan-like mystical philosopher and scientist. This
contribution argues that the characters intellectual journey from ignorance
to the knowledge of the Creator contains not only an implicit critique of the
Muslim community, but also a view of human knowledge and education.
Keywords: Ibn Tufayl, Hayy Ibn Yaqzn, Al-Andalus, philosophy, Islamic
mysticism, education

Ab Bakr Muhammad Ibn Tufayls Hayy Ibn Yaqzn(1) is a medieval piece
of literature from Al-Andalus. However, the books implied take on
knowledge, prophecy, revelation, institutional religion, and governance
was more progressive than what most Muslim scholars and imams might
be willing to espouse nowadays. In this contribution, I shall only focus on
the view of education implicit in the book.


Ibn Tufayl
His Life
Ab Bakr Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Malik Ibn Muhammad Ibn Tufayl alQais (493-581 ah / 1100-1185 CE), known in the West as Abubacer or
Abentofail, was a renowned and important Arab philosopher in
Muwahhid Hispania (Sharif, 1963).
Ibn Tufayl was born of the prominent Arab tribe of Qais in Wadi Ash
(Guadix), near Granada. He composed poetic verses and practised
medicine and politics. He initially served as secretary of Sid Ab Sad
(son of the first Almohad Khalif of Hispania Abd al-Mumin, 10951163 CE), governor of Ceuta and Tangier. He was married, and fathered
three children.
From 1163-1184 CE, Ibn Tufayl served as wazr, chief royal court
physician and Qdhi (Islamic judge) at the court of Khalif Muwahhid
Sultan Ab Yaqub Ysuf (r. 558-580 AH / 1163-1184 CE). It was this
Khalif who would introduce Ibn Tufayl to Ibn Rushd, the great Andalus
philosopher. Later on, as Ibn Tufayl gave up his position as court
physician in 578 AH / 1182 CE, he recommended Ibn Rush as his
successor. However, Ibn Tufayl retained the Khalifs esteem up to the
latters death, and could count on the appreciation of his son and
successor Khalif Ab Ysuf al-Mansr, who attended Ibn Tufayls
funeral in Morocco in 581 AH / 1185-1186 CE.
Ibn Tufayl, along with his contemporaries, Ibn Bjja (also known as
Avempace) and Ibn Rushd, formed the avant-garde of Muslim Andalus
philosophy, the opening through which Aristotle was reintroduced into
West-European philosophy. He also belonged to the movement that tried
to integrate al-Ghazl and Sufism into the orthodox Islamic theory.
Before Ibn Tufayls time, during the Almoravid period, Sufism had been
looked at with suspicion in al-Andalus; reading the works of al-Ghazl
had been forbidden, and many of his books had been burnt. However,
under the Almohads, al-Ghazl was rehabilitated.
The above is important for the reading of Hayy Ibn Yaqzn since the book
clearly states in its preamble that al-Ghazl is one of its points of

departure. Furthermore, Ibn Tufayl seems to have belonged to a Sufi

Tarqa led by Ab-l-Hasan Ibn Abbd, a physician that had left his office
to dedicate himself to asceticism (Ela, 2004).

His writings
With the exception of some fragments of poetry, his only extant work is
Hayy Ibn Yaqzn (The Living, Son of the Vigilant). The title and names of the
characters of this work were borrowed from two of Ibn Sinas
philosophical treatises, Hayy Ibn Yaqzn, and Salmn and Absl. The
framework was borrowed from an ancient eastern tale, The Story of the Idol
and of the King and His Daughter. The title was taken from the name of the
main character, Hayy Ibn Yaqzn. In the introduction and conclusion, the
author addresses the reader directly. In other parts of the work, he uses a
thin veil, a symbolic form to express his philosophical views.
Ibn Tufayl is recognized for his poignant philosophical discourse.
Indeed, as Sami S. Hawi remarked, Hayy Ibn Yaqzn is a well-structured
book with a clear conceptual plan. In addition, this work impacted not
only the Muslim but also the Christian world. It was translated into Latin
and Hebrew at an early stage, and subsequently into English, Dutch,
French, and Spanish. It appears that Leibnitz thought much of the story
and was influenced by it, and that Spinoza, whose knowledge of Hebrew
philosophy included Arab philosophers, also knew the Hebrew translation
of Ibn Tufayls masterpiece.

Hayy ibn Yaqzn

The Preamble
The tale is presented as a letter, a risla, to a friend, explaining certain
philosophico-mystical issues.(2) The preamble spells out its aim: Noble
brother, my dear, kind friend (...) You have asked me to unfold for you, as
well as I am able, the secrets of the oriental philosophy mentioned by the
prince of philosophers, Avicenna [Ibn Sina]. Then you must know from
the start that if you want the truth without flummery you must seek it and
seek it diligently (Goodman, 1983, p. 95). To give you a glimpse of the
road that lies ahead, let me tell you the story of Hayy Ibn Yaqzn, Absl

and Salmn, who were given their names by Avicenna himself. For the
tale points a moral for all with heart to understand, a reminder for anyone
with a heart or ears to listen and to hear (p. 103).
Ibn Tufayl states then that he intended to expound the Oriental or
illuminative wisdom, which Ibn Sina had spoken of and which was
reducible, according to the author, to mysticism. In order to do this, he
opted for the allegorical, narrative genre.

The Main Body of the story

The scene is set on a desert island in the Indian Ocean, and the chief actor
is Hayy, who has either been generated spontaneously on that island or
been brought from another island. A doe that had lost her fawn took care
of Hayy until he grew strong and could help himself actually, up to her
own death. Hayy could thus be described as being a medieval
combination of Tarzan and Robinson Crusoe but with essentially
philosophical and mystical elements.
Ibn Tufayl subdivided Hayys life according to ages in terms of
septenaries, from 1 to 7, from 7 to 21, from 21 to 28, from 28 to 35, and,
finally, after his 49th year of life, once he was 50. These periods denote
especially significant watermarks of his life of development and discovery.
At the age of 7, Hayy became aware of his nakedness (Goodman, 1983, p.
111). At that age too, his mother-doe died, bringing the first crisis into his
life. At the age of 21, he gained a great understanding and control over his
habitat (p. 118). At the age of 28, his attention shifted from the
changeable beings around him to the unchanging heavenly bodies (p.
128ff.). At the age of 35, he radically committed himself to the pursuit of
knowing his Creator (p. 134ff.). At the age of 50, he met the first being
that resembled himself, i.e. another human being, in the person of Absl
(p. 156ff.). The tale has been construed in such a way that each period
indicates Hayys development towards his spiritual fulfilment, thus
showing that mystical knowledge and experience are not opposed to
practical everyday life and scientific discovery; in fact, they are built on
them bringing Hayy to the ultimate experience and knowledge of reality.
During his initial seven years, Hayy observed other animals, imitating or
competing with them. However, he soon realised that his skin was bare
and that he lacked the natural means of self-defence that other animals

had. When he was seven he covered himself with tree leaves or animal
hides for protection.
The first critical moment in Hayys life came when his mother-doe died;
this saddened him terribly and led him to adopt a critical, i.e. reflective,
stance on life and death. After conducting a rudimentary autopsy, he
concluded that the cause of death was a disorder of the heart leading to
the departure of the spirit, the bodys vital principle. Observing that death
did not bring about any immediate, visible corporeal damage, he deduced
that death was the result of the separation of a beings life principle (the
soul) and its body. Hayy discovered life as different from the individual
life forms.
Hayys second major random discovery was fire. By observing the
analogies and differences between animals and plants, their various ranks
or species, he concluded that there must also be a spiritual world, related
to the principle of life. First, he noticed that every entity was marked by
binarity: there was the corporeity and the form of corporeity. In living
entities, this form corresponds to the soul. Second, the place along the
scale of perfection of each living form would depend on the complexity
of the powers of the soul.
Between his 25th and 28th years of life, Hayy noticed the incorruptible
world of the universe (exemplified by the stars) and recognized the
necessity of a Creator. As to the duration of the world as a whole Hayy
viewed the issue of the eternity or non-eternity of the world as irrelevant
to the demonstration of the existence of its Cause, so too would
Maimonides and Thomas Aquinas at a later stage (Goodman, 1983,
p. 131ff.).
The Cause of the universe must of necessity possess all the perfections
which we discover in the world around us, and be free of imperfection.
Hayy wondered then as to how he had arrived at the intuition of a
universal Cause that escaped the range of his sensory experience. He
decided that it must have come to him thanks to the workings of the soul,
the personal constituent that informs the body (hylemorphically
speaking). This discovery increased his awareness of the nobility of his
soul, its superiority over the material universe, and its independence of the
conditions of corporeal generation and corruption.


The same process of analytical soul-searching led Hayy to the awareness

of his own existential kinship with: (1) animals; (2) the celestial spheres,
and (3) the Necessary Being. His existential make-up meant concretely
that he had a threefold vocation in the world. Firstly, he must tend to the
body and be mindful of its essential needs. Secondly, he must advance in
contemplation (i.e., the intellectual), thus developing the potentials of his
soul. Thirdly, he had to aim at perfect contemplation whereby all
consciousness of ones own relative and individualised self is somewhat
obliterated or annihilated in the process when the individual self finds
itself within the Absolute and universal Self. Hayys ultimate goal would
be the obliteration or, better still, the submersion of the self, namely his
absorption in God (fana).
Not unlike other Sufi writers, Ibn Tufayl highlighted the ineffability of the
ultimate mystical utter annihilation. He described Hayys final vision of
Hayy in terms combining Neo-Platonic and Sufi elements, similar in many
ways to that of al-Ghazl. Once Hayy reached the consummated stages of
mystical absorption, he was able to perceive the highest heaven and that
immaterial entity (dhat) which was neither the essence of the True One,
the Soul of that heaven, nor something else. That entity may be
compared to the reflection of the sun in a mirror, from which it is
nevertheless distinct. Hayy was even able to contemplate an immaterial
prototype of his own soul, reflected a thousandfold in the innumerable
souls which were once united to their bodies. It is fair to say that Hayy
had in fact caught a glimpse of the intelligible world of Neo-Platonism.
He became aware that no explanation of the necessary being can be
given, only mere signs, as Ibn Sina contends in al-Isharat wa-'l-tanbihat
(Remarks and Admonitions). One who seeks an explanation of this state is
like one who seeks the taste of colours inasmuch as they are colours
(Inati, 1998).

The Epilogue
In the Epilogue, Ibn Tufayl delves into another major theme of Muslim
Neo-Platonism, namely the harmony of reason and revelation, of
philosophy and religion. The tale goes on to speak of a neighbouring
island where there was a religious creed that had been introduced by an
ancient prophet. Two of its adepts are mentioned: Absl and Salmn,
who function as types. While Absl was inclined toward a life of

contemplation and the inward or esoteric, his friend Salmn, the ruler of
the island, believed in living within society and held it unlawful to
withdraw (Goodman, 1983, p. 163), preferring the outward or exoteric
interpretation of his faith (p. 156ff.).
One day, Absl, not knowing of Hayys existence, decides to retire to
Hayys island to dedicate his life to meditation and prayer. The day
came, however, on which Absl caught sight of Hayy, but restrained from
speaking to him. Hayy, who had never come across another human, did
not realise what kind of creature this new being was. Their paths were
bound to cross, and so they did. That was the beginning of an enriching
Once Absl had taught him to speak, Hayy began to share his experiences,
especially the mystical ones. On the one hand, Absl realised that the
references in the Scripture (read: the Qurn) to the angels, prophets,
heaven and hell conveyed by means of established religious language the
spiritual realities which Hayy had perceived on his own in the absence of
all traditioned jargon. Hayy, on the other hand, concluded that the content
of Absls creed and ritual was in keeping with what he had experienced
himself. It is clear that the book intended to show that there is an essential
consonance between Absls prophetically-mediated religion (i.e. Islm),
and Hayys mystical knowledge, which he had acquired through thorough
scientific analysis and contemplation. The same idea would later on be put
forward by Ibn Rush (or Averroes), Ibn Tufayls successor.
Beside the issue of reason and revealed religion, there is another old
question spoken about in the religious and academic world of al-Andalus
which surfaces at the end of the book: a difference is made between two
groups in society, i.e. one following the general trend and the other
possessing deeper knowledge and insight. The book does this by means of
Salmn and Absl, who embody two different hermeneutic readings of
religious knowledge. Salmn adheres to law-based, established religion,
whereas Absl seeks to follow the mystical path. Even though the book
does not fail to validate the former, it nonetheless points to the latter as
being the one that encapsulates the enlightened understanding of religion
(which, by the way, coincides with Hayys own experience).
The problem at hand is translated into two questions: (1) why did the
Prophet resort to representations concerning the divine world instead

of speaking directly and openly, thus avoiding anthropomorphic

difficulties? (2) Why did he prescribe particular rituals and permit the
indulgence in the pursuit of vain pleasures that are not necessary for the
sustenance of life?
The pragmatic answer to these questions required that Hayy revisit his
reading of the state of human society. He had presumed that all men and
women were made of superior parts. However, he now had to accept
that the masses tend to be ignorant and dull. The bulk of people cannot
be left either to their freedom or to the insights of mystical experience
because they would succumb to all sorts of perils. Therefore, they need
hard and fast rules stipulating what they must, may, may not and must not do.
Moreover, despite Hayys attempts to teach the masses (For the tale
points a moral for all with heart to understand, a reminder for anyone
with a heart or ears to listen and to hear; Goodman, 1983, p. 103), he
realised that his instruction or preaching of the mystical way would be in
vain since the majority of his audience was no better than beasts. That is
why Scripture had spoken to them in the only language they understood:
that of similes and sensory representations. Hayy then apologized to
Salmn and his countrymen, and admitted to his own mistake in
exhorting them to seek the hidden meaning of Scripture, and he decided
to leave. His last message was that they should carry on doing as they had
done before. In other words, they should cling to the prescriptions of the
law. Together with Absl, he now understood that this was the path which
suited the intelligence and inner development of the masses, and that if
most people were to forsake it, they would be irretrievably lost. With a
somewhat disillusioned and saddened heart, they returned to Hayys island
and resumed their worship of God in solitude.
Ibn Tufayl restated the Neo-Platonic postulate that religion and
philosophy are not opposed to one another, while implicitly showing that
the masses are quite unable to see this consonance. The masses live and
learn by pigeon-holing things, without seeing the inner harmony and
interconnectedness of all knowledge. Mysticism is none other than the
peak and coronation of the scientific knowledge of the universe, but it is
not within everyones reach. (Ordinary) faith is after all another manner of
coming to the knowledge of the order of being, not its denial or a leap out
of it.

Ibn Tufayls epistemology

Al-Andalus can be characterised as the place where universal reason
related to revealed doctrine as a complementary source for arriving at
the Truth about Existence. In 12th century Al-Andalus, the power, validity
and role of human reason vis--vis religious doctrine were established
beyond doubt. Ibn Tufayl and his successor, Ibn Rushd, as well as Ibn
Maymun (or Maimonides, a Jewish philosopher), testify to this common
It can safely be argued that Ibn Tufayls view of the sciences must have
been influenced by Islams self-presentation as a very naturalistic and
rational religion, for the simple reason that the whole of the world is seen
as a hypertext containing Gods signs. The Qurn invites Muslims to
investigate systematically natural phenomena, not simply as a vehicle for
understanding nature, but also as a means for drawing close to God.
Surah 10, for example, reads: He it is who has made the sun a [source of]
radiant light and the moon a light [reflected], and has determined for it
phases so that you might know how to compute years and to measure
[time] in the alternative of night and day, and in all that God has created
in the heavens and on earth, there are messages indeed for people who are
conscious of Him (Q. 10:5-6). Furthermore, about one-third of the
Qurnic verses describe the virtues of reason. It was, therefore, not
strange that for Ibn Tufayl, scientific inquiry, based on reason, should be
seen as a form of worship. Moreover, the Muslim tradition has attributed
to Prophet Mohammed the thought that ( The
search for knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim).
Although Islam has always implicitly supported the idea that reason and
revelation are complementary and integrated methods for the pursuit of
the Truth, different scholars have stressed either end of the equation,
namely reason and reasoned truth, or revelation and revealed truth.
People such as Ibn Rushd, Ibn Tufayls successor, underscored the role of
reason arguing that the revealed Qurnic text requires interpretation, as
does any text, so that the inner meaning may be discerned from amidst
the apparent meaning. The very Qurnic text would therefore call for
human, reasoned argumentation and demonstration. Ibn Rushd rejected
the possibility of making an appeal to some theoretical unanimity (or

palpable consensus) of interpretation. Nobody can honestly say that there

has ever existed an accomplished interpretation of the revealed truth
which has been agreed upon by all the faithful at all times and in all places
(Hourani, 1976).
Islamic epistemology in classical Islam was a product of the fusion of the
religious conviction of the plausible fit between faith and reason (as
represented by Greek philosophy). Ibn Sinas theory of knowledge taught
that while in the Qurn, the Creator addresses one man (i.e. the Prophet,
through the agency of the archangel Gabriel), in the realm of science the
divine word is transmitted through reason and understanding to any and
every person who cares to listen. The result is an amalgam of rationalism
and ethics. Therefore, for Muslim scholars and scientists the objective
order is laden with metaphysical content such as values, goodness, and
evil. The human reason can acquire at least seminally all knowledge,
including the knowledge of God. This idea is strongly reinforced by Ibn
Tufayl in his story about Hayy Ibn Yaqzn, who in spite of having grown
on an island in isolation from other humans had still been able to discover
general and particular facts about the structure of the material and
spiritual universe, had also deduced the existence of God, and arrived at
union with the Divine Being by the sheer means of observation and
induction, and the use of deductive reason.
The fact that some of the greatest medieval scientists were in fact Muslims
proves that the medieval Islamic tradition was no obscurantist religion.
For example, let it suffice to mention people such as Ibn al-Haytham (d.
1039 CE), who discovered the basic laws of optics, and al-Biruni (d.
1048 CE), who measured the circumference of the earth and discussed
the rotation of the earth on its axis.

Ibn Tufayls philosophical-mystical thrust (3)

Ibn Tufayls philosophical thrust was about the investigation of the telos or
end goal of oriental philosophy and wisdom in the experience of
communion with God. Following the Aristotelic characterization of
happiness, Ibn Tufayl viewed being-in-communion-with-God as a given
that must therefore be sought in experience; moreover, it was not
understood as an idle addendum to human intellectual development, but
as the culmination of any inquiry into the dynamics and character of


reality as such. Mystical knowledge would thus be the crown of scientific

knowledge. So as all roads lead to Rome, so too ought all branches of the
sciences to lead to the knowledge of God and to communion with the
Divine Creator. Such an epistemological understanding was based on the
metaphysical conviction that there are not two different realms of being
(and knowledge thereof), namely the natural and the supernatural, but
only one interrelated totality, i.e. one reality encompassing God and Gods
world. This metaphysical view worked on the basis of the qurnic
concept of creation, which entails (1) that the creating process
always-already bespeaks a Creator and creatures, and (2) that it is never
ending insofar as the non-created being depends on the Creating Being
for its being.
What Ibn Tufayl did was use Hayy Ibn Yaqzn in order to offer a portrayal
of the natural dialectical development towards Truth. Mysticism was not
presented as a supernatural addendum to human knowledge, but as its
summit. Mysticism is the completion of natural science because the
knowledge of and immersion in the created world attains to its peak only
when knowledge of and communion with its Creator is reached. This path
to Truth was systematically delineated by means of the diverse elements
that constitute Hayy Ibn Yaqzns intellectual self-development from the
very first conscious intake of analytical data through the accumulation of
empirical knowledge by trial and error, to the discovery of the faculty of
reason, to the rationally deduced proof of the necessary existence of God,
and to the investigation of the divine attributes, all the way through to the
concluding recognition of the limitations of reason vis--vis the
irreducible wholeness of the One.
Ibn Tufayl used Hayys immediate experiences to take the readers by the
hand and lead them along the path of reason. Hayys anxiety at the death
of his mother-doe marks the initiation of Hayys lifetime inquiry. In other
words, Ibn Tufayl faced his readers with existential questions about life,
death, and human specificity. That initial given introduces a narrative
process whereby the whole of the universe is dissected and the dynamics
of the elements of Hayys immediate experience are observed. Hayy
begins thus to string together his separate observations into a unified
cosmogony. His model of the origin of the world is marked by some
important ontological facts: firstly, that oneness always seems to ground


being; secondly, that there is always an element that transcends physicality,

namely the soul; and, thirdly, that there is such a thing as causality.
By focusing on the chain of causes and effects, Ibn Tufayl wanted to lead
his readers to the realization that there must be a cause that is prior to the
world, and that it cannot exist within the sphere of space and time. Such a
cause is God, the Necessary Existent. Human consciousness, his
investigative tool, can then be described as the divine manifestation in
man. Furthermore, Hayy deduces that the only way to reach happiness in
life and experience a proper death is to commune with God. He also
reasons that in order to be with God, he must embrace his three modes of
existence: as an animal, as a heavenly body, and as a spiritual being in
communion with the Necessary Existent. This means that Hayy must:
(a) preserve his bodily animal life by eating only what was necessary
(which recalls the views of the Stoics),
(b) spend the longest time possible in a detached meditative state to free
himself of all distractions, disturbances of desires and animal
temptations, and
(c) relentlessly try to die to himself, to experience his nothingness within
the Wholeness of Being.
It is at the level of the communion with God that Ibn Tufayl presented
his readers with Hayys disappointment at institutionalized religion (first
and foremost: the Islm community). When Hayy left his island and saw
how ordinary this religious community worshipped God, he found that
their way was quite minimalistic, underdeveloped, and unsatisfactory. And
Salmn, their political leader, functioned as the symbol for political,
institutionalised society.

Ibn Tufayls implicit philosophy of education in Hayy Ibn Yaqzn

In Hayy Ibn Yaqzn there are three implicit descriptions of education. On
the one hand, there is Hayys own process of self-teaching and, on the
other hand, there is Hayys attempt at teaching Absls and Salmns
people. In between the two, there is also Ibn Tufayl as a teacher-writer.


Hayy the self-teaching learner

The relationship between author and his writing is not always

straightforward. Those who stress the role of the intentio auctoris (authorial
intent) might feel inclined to see the character, Hayy, as reflecting Ibn
Tufayls thinking, or even as providing a proxy to his own ideal.(4) Be that
as it may, the self-teaching process delineated by Ibn Tufayl for Hayys
attainment to scientific and mystical knowledge comprises certain features
that have a clear didactic content.
Being observant and knowing how to imitate: Hayy is described as a
child who learns by careful observation and imitation of other
animals. The idea is therefore that if learning is to be interiorised by
children and seen as being meaningful, it must necessarily entail the
understanding of both positive and negative aspects of their
immediate environment. Next to observation, there will also be a
need for imitation of skilled behaviour. Both mechanisms are related
to the human ability to adapt easily and creatively, the importance of
which can hardly be stressed enough.
Becoming more equipped and better endowed: Although Hayy was
naturally weaker than other animals, he gradually learnt to make up
for his natural deficiencies by using tools, such as branches of trees,
stones, and pointed flints. With these, he gained supremacy over all
other animals. In didactic terms, this means that defeat in an early
battle must not be seen as defeat in the entire war. The observational
and imitative disposition spoken of above can help learners to make
up for their shortcomings, meeting their needs and procuring their
own survival and advancement (Hawi, 1974).
Discovery, experimentation, improvisation and application or
extended utilisation: Hayy accidentally discovered fire through
friction. His apprehension about the unknown was overcome by his
courage to discover something new. Discovery was then followed by
the creative application or extended utilisation of newly acquired
knowledge and skills. All these elements are features of successful
learning, which must help learners to venture beyond the known, to
inquire, and to experiment. Discovery and application belong to the
creative and adaptive processes whereby an individual learns to make


a place for him or herself within his or her own natural and societal
environment. Tool-making and industry are based on these aptitudes.
Moderation and abstention: After the age of 35, Hayy began to practise
planned moderation and abstention in his daily routine. For example,
he ate fruits but not the seeds, herbs but not the roots, and if it was
unavoidable, he ate the eggs and flesh of not-endangered animals. Ibn
Tufayl must have seen moderation and abstention as important
features of the self-learning process, among other things, because they
make manifest the individuals ability to prioritize some things over
others. Learners who have no sense of moderation and abstention
run the risk of becoming entangled in a jungle of distractive and
debilitating liaisons.
Gradual development (significance of the ages of 7, 21, 28, 35 and
50): Hayys development is presented as an unfolding process
following some sort of regularity and correspondence between bodily
and psychological evolution. The idea of the unfolding of human
personality according to more or less identifiable stages has become
anchored in the arena of evolutive psychology and pedagogy for quite
some time now; think, for instance, of Piaget and his impact on
didactics and pedagogy.
A process with an all-encompassing, ever-transcendent goal: When
Hayys whole education is looked at, it becomes manifest that Ibn
Tufayl conceived of education as a process that ought to progress
step by step, layer by layer, from the more immediate to the more
transcendent. For Ibn Tufayl, the scientist must grow into the mystic.
Such a view goes beyond a minimalistic understanding of
confessional education since it detaches faith from conventional
ritual practice and established truths alone, and redefines it as a
disposition whose nature lies in the continual search for the
Unknown, including through science. However, this is no mere
intellectual gymnastics; it is an existential search involving the whole
person and aimed at reaching ones communion with the Creator.

Hayy the teacher

Upon hearing about Absls people, Hayy deeply pitied mankind and
hoped that it might be through him that they would be saved. He was


eager to go to these men to reveal and explain the Truth (Goodman,

1983, p. 162). Hayy, the self-taught scientist, philosopher, and mystic
wanted to go and share his insights with others.
When Hayy and Absl disembarked on the latters Home Island, a group
of people that were described by Absl as being nearest to intelligence
and understanding (p. 162) approached them. They were filled in on
Hayys wonderful life story, and Hayy started to teach and explain some
of his wisdom to them. But the moment he rose the slightest bit above
the literal or began to portray things against which they were prejudiced,
they recoiled in horror from his ideas and closed their minds (Goodman,
1983, 163). Culture became a problem. The peoples inborn infirmity
simply would not allow them to seek Him [God] as Hayy did, to grasp the
true essence of His being and see Him in His own terms. They wanted to
know him in some human way (ibid.).
Hayys own existential predicament had preserved him from cultural a
prioris and literalism; he had learnt to seek the Truth outside the
parameters of any given human culture and language. After all, Ibn
Tufayls depiction of Hayy as growing up in the company of animals and
away from other humans implies that his intelligence was at the start a
tabula rasa, and that his minds eye could cast an unbiased look at reality (at
least as far as human prejudices are concerned). Hayy did not grow in
nature insofar as this is a human construct, but in a state of intellectual
innocence (or, perhaps, in phenomenological terms, of epoche).
The above implies that if Hayy was to succeed as a teacher, his listeners
would have had to consent to a process whereby their mental structures
would be deconstructed and broadened. Absls people needed to start
looking at reality through different glasses and to transcend their own
words going beyond literalism. In other words, they had to accept that
there is no one-for-one correspondence between the symbol and what
it represents, neither in everyday parlance, nor in religion (especially not in
religion!). Such literalism is not tolerable with ordinary figures of speech,
and it is all the less tolerable in this special context (p. 154).
After some time, Hayy came to the hard realisation (and Comte would
agree) that the sole benefit most people could derive from religion was
for this world, in that it helped them lead decent lives without others
encroaching on what belonged to them (p. 164). Furthermore, he saw

that most men are no better than unreasoning animals, and realized that
all wisdom and guidance, all that could possibly help them was contained
already in the words of the prophets and the religious traditions. None of
this could be different. There was nothing to be added. There is a man for
every task and everyone belongs to the life for which he was created
Did Ibn Tufayl mean that true education for the Truth beyond biases is
impossible? Can people not be taught to seek the Truth beyond the
cultural truths by means of which they were socialized and humanized?
Hayy Ibn Yaqzn does not espouse a radical pessimism, but a nuanced
realism about education. Even though it would appear that the book
holds the view that the bulk of people can only be educated with
pragmatic goals in mind (i.e. to be good citizens vis--vis one another), it
still leaves room for educating people such as Absl who will dare venture
out in search of the Ultimate Truth (as stated in the Preamble).

Ibn Tufayl, the writer, as a teacher

It is in the Preamble that Ibn Tufayl, the writer, bridges the gap between
the real and the narrative world by becoming a first-person narrator. He
compares learning to walking, moving towards the Truth. It is clear that
for Ibn Tufayl, a teacher is somebody who shows the path to be trodden.
In fact, he declares that he wrote Hayy Ibn Tufayl to give a brief glimpse
of the road that lies ahead (Goodman, 1983, p. 103). A guides task,
however, is not to walk somebody elses way. Teaching means mapping
out the known terrain so that the learners may go further into the
unknown: I want only to bring you along the paths in which I have
preceded you and let you swim in the sea I have crossed, so that it may
bear you where it did me and you may undergo the same experience and
see with the eyes of your soul all that I have seen. Then you will not need
to confine yourself within the limits of my knowledge (ibid.). Ibn Tufayl
the scientist, philosopher, and mystic knew that no extant answer
would ever be enough to stop the questioning process. Ibn Tufayl would
have agreed with John of the Cross, his fellow Iberian Christian mystic, in
suggesting that for learners to go where they do not know, they must go
along ways that they do not know.


A critique of Hayy Ibn Yaqzns

implicit philosophy of education
Now that Hayy Ibn Yaqzns main points have been presented, there are
some questions that can be raised. The first concerns language; the second
is about Hayys view of his own body; and the third is about the role of
socialization in human learning.

The way in which the scene is set for Hayy Ibn Yaqzn warrants the
conclusion that Hayy operated in a complete absence of any (human)
linguistic experience. Nonetheless, although the book makes it clear that
Hayy was capable of abstract thought, it offers no explanation how he
developed his discursive reasoning, especially considering that he had
been brought up by a mother-doe. When and how he was able to cross
the threshold between animal and human mental activity is not dealt with
thematically. Would such a passage not have been necessary for him to
reason discursively? Can humans reason methodically without a coherent
symbolic system, a language, whereby the flow of phenomena is
functionally fixed and mapped out so that it becomes re-cognizable (as
Cassirer explained)?

View of the body

It has been argued that Ibn Tufayl saw the soul as a vital structure
inherent in living bodies, as a bodily disposition causing it to become
active: the body seems to be its external manifestation and outer face
(Hawi, 144).
Ibn Tufayls medical training must warn his readers against thinking that
he viewed women as a superfluous addendum in human life, for he knew
all too well that women were needed for the procreation and education of
children. It must also be borne in mind that Ibn Tufayls context was
quite favourable towards womens position in society. Even though the
Muslims of the time were often polygamous, it appears that the custom in
Al-Andalus was that the first wife could include in the marital contract a
clause whereby her unique status would be protected against the whims of
her husband. She could demand, for instance, that he could not take other

wives or concubines, or that he would not be absent from home for long
periods without her consent. Moreover, women in Al-Andalus could have
free access to the judge to ask custody over their children or over their
common goods. Furthermore, one of the differences between Al-Andalus
and other Muslim societies was that women could go to school and
meetings together with men. They were also allowed to receive visitors in
the home without much further ado. Children would often also carry the
mothers surname when she not the father was the determinant
factor for their state in society, e.g. whether they would be free men or
women, or enslaved subjects.(5)
Hayy Ibn Yaqzn would appear to be all about the individuals search for
and education into the Truth, and this is the overall framework within
which the issue of corporeality must be placed. Ibn Tufayl did probably
not intend to speak of the body in opposition to or in combination with
the soul in general, but of its place within the educative process whereby
individuals can climb the staircase of knowledge.
It is in light of the above that Hayy Ibn Yaqzn developed a narrow
understanding of the role and function of the body. There seems to be no
place for the enjoyment of corporeal pleasures, such as eating and
drinking, given that the needs of the body were all subordinated to
survival at the service of contemplation. The isolation in which Hayy
grows up suggests a picture that brackets out the issue of human sexuality
(albeit without denying it), both in its relational and erotic dimensions.
Hayy knew much about the vegetable, animal and celestial worlds, but
nothing about human society, let alone intimacy.
This neglect of the body seen as a multidimensional reality, both in Hayys
life as a self-teaching learner and as a teacher, betrays Ibn Tufayls
Platonic tendencies. Despite the key role of the body in the Islamic
tradition (e.g. washing, standing, bowing, kneeling down in prayer,
clothing, posture, etc.), Ibn Tufayl did not assign to it a directly central
role in his work. In the beginning, Hayy did indeed relate to reality via the
body insofar as it was his bodily needs that motivated much of his
learning; yet, the more abstract his thinking became, the further away he
moved from any appreciation and discovery of the emotions of his body.
It may be asked whether the readers were expected to place the body and
all that relates to it among those things which have been reserved for

those of lower intellectual capacity, for those who cannot reach the peak
of philosophical and mystical contemplation.
Even though it would be unfair to ask of Ibn Tufayl that he should share
Marcels conviction that humans do not have a body, but are our bodies, it
is still true that any education that fails to reaffirm the body will run the
risk of sowing the seeds of self-alienation among the learners. Hayys
appraisal of the body is in keeping with the Neo-Platonism that was en vogue
in the Islamic philosophical circles, also in Al-Andalus, and in keeping
with Ibn Tufayls membership of one of the Sufi paths (Ela, 2004).

Socialization in education
Philosophers such as Wittgenstein have drawn attention to the fact that
language and socialization belong to one and the same process.
Paraphrasing Heidegger, language does not only speak to us (intransitively),
it also speaks us (transitively).
How did Hayy, the self-teaching learner, humanize himself in the absence
of other humans? Was he a human before he met Absl, before the latter
taught him to speak? Was his DNA encoding alone enough for him to be
described as existing as a human person before being welcomed within
the human matrix of a society, language, and culture (which he, by the
way, almost immediately abandoned)?
Consequently, al-Boustani, one of the pioneers who turned their attention
to the problems of education in the Arab world, has stressed that
socialization can be achieved only by and within society itself.
Accordingly, Al-Boustani completely rejects the possibility that a human
being might attain to knowledge by its own efforts, without the help of a
society, as taught by Ibn Tufayl in Hayy Ibn Yaqzn (Abou Rjail, 1993).

Concluding remarks
Hayy Ibn Yaqzn stands out as an exceptionally insightful piece of Hispanic
Arabic literature. The originality of its timeless ideas and its creative
narrative approach will continue to intrigue speculative minds.


Even though the book unveils its philosophical nature at the very outset
of the narration, it warns its readers that what follows will be written in a
veiled fashion because its core, the experience of union with the
Necessary Being, cannot be reduced to a book.
The tale about Hayys journey to knowledge has much to say about
education, both in terms of the education of the self and of others.
Self-education is based on openness to ones surroundings through
observation and imitation as well as on asking questions transcend the
sensory data. Hayys inquisitive disposition was his existential second
nature, not just intellectual curiosity.
The main idea is that education seen as the search for the Truth is
possible, yet not universal. Not every human is naturally equipped to
undertake such endeavour. Most people can only aspire to attain to
practical knowledge so that they can function adequately and decently in
society. Ibn Tufayl becomes a guide only to those who can and will go
after the Truth. The Preamble lets the readers catch a glimpse of Ibn
Tufayl as a teacher: I want only to bring you along the paths in which I
have preceded you and let you swim in the sea I have crossed, so that it
may bear you where it did me and you may undergo the same experience
and see with the eyes of your soul all that I have seen. Then you will not
need to confine yourself within the limits of my knowledge (Goodman,
1983, 103). In short, the role of the teacher is that of a guide that shows
his or her learners the paths that have already been discovered by others
while letting them figure out their own itineraries as they go along.
Ibn Tufayls Almohad context and Ibn Bjjas influence, among other
things, meant that for Ibn Tufayl complete education, including the
most adequate knowledge of and union with the Necessary Being, was
something that not everyone was really called to. Furthermore, the role of
society at large was seen with suspicion, for society needs a more
pragmatic education that socializes the learners and teaches them how
to become good citizens. According to the tale of Hayy Ibn Yaqzn, those
who want to go all the way would somewhat have to isolate themselves
from the masses, curtail their bodily desires, and become fully focused on
their goal. However, it is also important to bear in mind that for Ibn
Tufayl, there was no radical opposition between scientific and mystical
knowledge: they were both part and parcel of reading the signs of the

Necessary Being that are spread all throughout the universe. At this point,
Ibn Tufayl was merely repeating a traditional qurnic teaching.
On the one hand, Ibn Tufayls Hayy Ibn Yaqzn can be seen as an implicit
critique of the established social, political, and religious order of
Al-Andalus, in particular, and of Islamic governance and religious life, in
general. On the other hand, it offers some insights into Ibn Tufayls own
view of education as self-education and as education of others, and of his
own role as a teacher.
Ibn Tufayl based self-education on observation, induction, and deduction.
He was optimistic as to how far an individual can reach in his or her
search of the Truth. In fact, practical knowledge should develop into
scientific knowledge, and the latter ought to lead to the mystical
knowledge of the One Necessary Being, the principle of unity behind
diversity. Mysticism is thus presented as the culmination of science, not as
its opposite pole. Ibn Rushd, Ibn Tufayls successor, would at a later date
state that there can be no contradiction between reason and faith, for
both are about the knowledge of the one Reality within which human
beings live, think, and hope for the best.
Ibn Tufayls understanding of his task as a teacher presented him as a
guide along the road to Truth. Moreover, he was a guide who knew that
his learners would really have learnt when he had became redundant. He
perceived the teacher as an enabler, as somebody who empowers, who
provides his learners with wings so that they may soar towards the heights
which they have personally been called to.
Ibn Tufayls depiction of the education of others raises the question about
the very possibility of the education of the masses at large or, better still,
of how far different individuals can get in their personal journey towards
the Truth. The fact that in the end, Hayy arrives at the conclusion that
there are different types of people, and that each one of them is given a
different goal in life and a different intellectual endowment, clearly
suggests that Ibn Tufayls answer would be that not everybody can
handle the Truth. Was this plain discrimination, since he would seem to
have limited higher education to a few, or was he merely being
pragmatic and voicing a view with which many teachers would still
concur? Be this as it may, Ibn Tufayls Hayy Ibn Yaqzn offers the
present-day readers a glimpse into a critical debate on education, society,

and the relationship between reason and established, revealed religion that
took place within a 12th century Muslim society and which the rest of
Christian Europe was going to join only some centuries later.
Al-Andalus was far from perfect, for it knew far too many revolts and
inner fighting, but it was open enough to allow some of its citizens (such
as Ibn Bjja, Ibn Tufayl, and Ibn Rushd) to critique the very structures
that sponsored their intellectual quests.

1- Whenever Hayy Ibn Yaqzn is italicized, it refers to the book; which is not the
case when the character is meant.
2- I shall closely follow Fakhrys summary (Fakhry, 1970, pp. 265-270).
3- Cf. Ahmed El Sayed, Betwixt the Conceptual and the Affective: Hayy Ibn
Yaqzan Revisited, in Online version:
Retrieved on 19th September 2004.
4- Http:// Retrieved on 20th
December 2004.
5- Http:// Retrieved on 15th
October 2004.

Ela, R. H. Shamsuddin (2004). Avempace e Ibn Tufayl. Dos filsofos de la Espaa
musulmana. Online article: (sub:
Civilizacin Islmica). Retrieved on 10th December 2004.
Goodman, L. E. (1983). Ibn Tufayls Hayy Ibn Yaqzn: a philosophical tale translated
with introduction and notes. Los Angeles, CA: gee tee bee.
Hourani, G. F. (1976). Averroes: On the Harmony of Religion and Philosophy. A
translation, with introduction and notes of Ibn Rushds Kitab fasl al maqal, with
its appendix (Damina) and an extract from Kitab al Kashf an manahij al adilla.
London: Messrs. Luzac & Co. For the Arabic text with a French translation,
cf. Geoffroy, M. (1996). Averros: Le livre du discours dcisif. Paris: Flammarion.

Inati, Sh. C. (1998). Ibn Tufayl, Abu Bakr Muhammad (before 1110-85). In
Muslim Philosophy. Routledge. Retrieved on 10th December 2004 from
Fakhry, M. (1970). A History of Islamic Philosophy. New York London: Columbia
Univ. Press.
Goodman, L. E. (1983). Ibn Tufayls Hayy Ibn Yaqzn: a philosophical tale translated
with introduction and notes. Los Angeles, CA: gee tee bee.
Abou Rjail, Kh. (1993). Boutros al Boustani (1819 83). Prospects: the quarterly review
of comparative education, vol. XXIII, no. 1(2) 125-133.
Sharif, M. M., ed. (1963). A History of Muslim Philosophy. Wiesbaden: Otto
NB. Unfortunately, some of the online articles whose texts were accessible on the dates
indicated above may have been taken offline.