Emerging Pedagogies of Linguistic and Cultural Continuity in Papua New Guinea

Steven Pickford

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper explores issues of linguistic and cultural continuity in vernacular education in the south pacific state of Papua New Guinea (PNG). It draws from an ongoing ethnographic study of the introduction of vernacular teaching in elementary and lower primary schooling where English has recently been replaced as the medium of instruction making way for PNG's more than 850 languages to potentially be languages of early school instruction. In this paper, PNG's multilingual setting is presented in terms of a linguistic ecology of which vernacular schooling is emerging as an integral part. The circumstances discussed have been selected to highlight the way the introduction of vernacular and the use of vernacular genres and storytelling practices has prompted the emergence of indigenous or culturally continuous pedagogies not previously apparent. They derive from visits to rural schools in two provinces, classroom observations and discussions with elementary school teachers, and video recording and discussions of micro-teaching sessions in storytelling with final year primary teacher trainees during 2003. The situated meanings of stori performance, gesture, circulation and place are discussed as key features of local communicative genres. The paper has relevance for educators working in multilingual, vernacular and language transition settings where, it is argued, pedagogy can be informed by a greater awareness, understanding and uptake of local language genres.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)139-153
    Number of pages15
    JournalLanguage, Culture and Curriculum
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2005


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