[MLE] Dissertation on: Language, Education, and Empowerment, Dr Cynthia Groff

Dear MLE friends,

Some of you know Cynthia Groff as she did extensive research in India on multilingualism. Her dissertation on "Language, Education, and Empowerment: Voices of Kumauni Young Women in Multilingual India" has now been published on the web: http://repository.upenn.edu/edissertations/115/.

An abstract is copied below. Belated congratulations, Cynthia, with this doctorate!

Karsten van Riezen
Education Consultant, SIL Int.

SIL, South Asia Group
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Recommended website: http://www.nmrc-jnu.org/

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My research explores the language and education situation in the Kumaun region of North India from the perspectives of rural Kumauni young women and in light of their views on empowerment and their aims for the future. My questions address language and education issues in the Kumaun 1) in relation to national policies and local ideologies, 2) as experienced and negotiated by young women, and 3) as applied in a unique Gandhian educational context. Based at Lakshmi Ashram, a Gandhian boarding school serving disadvantaged girls, I used ethnographic methods, focusing on a group of Kumauni young women. National-level language planning through the Indian Census, Constitution, and educational policies minimize some diversity. Locally, discourses about language and dialect, or bhasha and boli, and mother tongue allow for flexible categories and identities. Medium of instruction also takes new meaning through informal multilingual classroom practices. Each language – English, Hindi, Kumauni, and Sanskrit – is valued in its place or environment and in relationship with the other languages. Meanwhile educational opportunities vary in quality and reputation, including a push for English education. While constrained by social and economic realities, Kumauni young women look for ways to improve their lives. Alternative values advocated at the Ashram, and negotiated by the young women, point to empowerment as involving high thinking, self-confidence, and progress within community. I conclude using the ecology of language and continua of biliteracy to highlight significant themes and exploring the issues of collaboration, community, and ecology in relation to language and education.
Table of Contents (chapter headings)
Chapter 1. Introduction: Minority Voices, and Language and Education Choices       1
Chapter 2. Conceptual Framework: Valuing the Local and Dealing with Inequalities in Language and Education           11
Chapter 3. Setting: Lakshmi Ashram and the Kumaun         43
Chapter 4. Methods: Conducting Research in the Kumaun       75
Chapter 5. National-Level Language Policies in India: Kumaunis as Linguistic Minorities  108
Chapter 6. Language Use and Language Labels in Community and Education: Bhasha Boli,  Mother Tongue, and Medium of Instruction      138
Chapter 7. Language Ecology in the Kumaun: the Value of Each and the Relationships Among Them          202
Chapter 8. Young Women, Aims, and Education in the Kumaun     257
Chapter 9. Empowerment, Moving Forward, and Alternative Values in Education   309
Chapter 10. Conclusions: Collaborative Relationships and Ecology in Language and Education  352
Appendices           374
Bibliography           383
-- Education Consultant; SIL Intl, Mobile: 09868891282

--  Education Consultant; SIL Intl, Mobile: 09868891282