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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19123

Title: Perspectives on Quality in Minority Education in China: The Case of Sunan Yughur Autonomous County, Gansu
Authors: Bahry, Stephen
Advisor: Cummins, James
Department: Curriculum, Teaching and Learning
Keywords: minority education China
stakeholders perspectives students parents teachers administrators
bilingual education
school-based curriculum
endangered language
language revitalization
Yughur language
Yughur nationality
quality education
Issue Date: 24-Feb-2010
Abstract: This exploratory multiple embedded case study investigates perspectives on education reform under conditions of minority language endangerment in Sunan Yughur Autonomous County, a minority-district in northwest China. The study included three school sites: a Yughur minority urban school; a Yughur minority rural district school, and a Yughur majority rural district school and four embedded cases: school administrators, teachers, parents and students, of Yughur, other minority, or Han nationality. Adult stakeholders were interviewed on what is important to learn in “education for quality”, and what aspects of Yughur knowledge, culture and language should be included in school curriculum as part of education for quality, while students were asked what they enjoyed studying and whether they would enjoy learning stories, poems and songs in Yughur in school. Findings include strong support among parents and students regardless of ethnicity or school site for Yughur language and culture as “essential qualities” to foster in Sunan County school curriculum, with moderate to weak support among educators ranges with some variation among sites. Three parallel visions emerge from the study of what it means today for Chinese minority student to be an educated person in contemporary China: (a) regular Chinese-medium education; (b) multicultural Chinese-medium education; and (c) maintenance bilingual education in Yughur and Chinese. The third vision envisions developing additive bilinguals who know the heritage of their minority as well as the national curriculum in Mandarin. A vision of balanced bilingualism and multiculturalism that sees heritage languages and Mandarin as “resources” is shared by the large majority of parents and students, most teachers and some administrators. Holders of other visions for local minority education largely share a “Language as Problem” orientation towards minority languages. One aim of devolution of school-based curriculum authority is to develop schools’ individuality. This study reveals three divergent models of local schooling that have developed in one minority school district: one that centres on a monolingual model of national culture, one monolingual, multicultural model, and one bilingual, multicultural model, with the latter model corresponding more closely to minority stakeholder perspectives that schools should play a stronger role in the maintenance and revitalization of their cultural and linguistic heritage.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19123
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning - Doctoral theses

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